US surveillance of Chinese artificial islands shows weaponary: Report
Iran Press TV
Fri May 29, 2015 8:29AM
The United States says its surveillance of China's artificial islands indicates that Beijing has positioned weaponry on one of the islands it has built in the South China Sea, according to a new report.
Citing unnamed US officials, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the surveillance imagery detected two Chinese motorized artillery pieces on one of the islands developed almost one month ago.
China has been building artificial islands in the South China Sea, drawing criticism from its neighbors including the Philippines and Vietnam.
According to the report, the motorized artillery poses no threat to US planes or ships, but it could reach neighboring islands and this contradicts China's statements that the islands are mainly for civilian purposes.
"There is no military threat," the Journal quoted the officials as saying. "But it is about the symbolism." The artillery is also within range of an island claimed by Vietnam.
According to analysts, China's attempt to build islands in the South China Sea is "not that unusual" since the Philippines and Vietnam are also doing the same.
"The point that has to be made is that the Chinese, like the Russians, are very, very clear that the United States and their NATO allies are in a war mobilization, preparing for war on Russia, preparing for war on China," American political commentator Michael Billington told Press TV on Thursday.
US accuses China of using territorial claims to gradually assert control in the South China Sea.
On Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned China to stop building islands in the South China Sea, saying Washington will not stop patrolling international waters and airspace in the region.
China, however, rejects the allegations and accuses Washington of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.
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