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China Slams Reports of Missile Defense Deployment in Disputed Islands

Sputnik News

14:13 17.02.2016(updated 17:11 17.02.2016)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China considers reports about the deployment of eight surface-to-air missile launchers and a radar system on Woody Island in the South China Sea as attempts by certain Western media to fabricate news.

"We believe that this is an attempt by certain Western media to create news," said Wang Yi.

Earlier it was reported that satellite imagery obtained by Fox News showed that China had deployed two batteries of eight surface-to-air missile launchers and a radar system on Woody Island. A US official verified the imagery accuracy.

The official said that the air defense system shown in the photos might be the new generation medium- to long-range, active radar homing surface-to-air HQ-9 missile system.

China deployed HQ-9 air defense system on the hotly disputed Woody Island in the Paracels in the South China Sea long ago, the Chinese Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

"The Paracel Islands are an integral part of Chinese territory. China has the undisputed right to place military infrastructure on its territory to protect its national security and sovereignty. Chinese air defense systems have been on these islands for many years already," according to a written commentary from the Chinese Defense Ministry to RIA Novosti.

The foreign ministry spokesman added that China's national defense build-up had nothing in common with the so-called militarization of the region.

In late January, the US Department of Defense said the USS Curtis Wilbur had carried out "a freedom of navigation operation" near Triton Island in the Paracel Islands chain, administrated by China and claimed by both Vietnam and Taiwan.

China and neighboring countries – Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines – have differences over maritime boundaries and zones of responsibility in the South China and East China Seas.

China believes that countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam have deliberately used US support for the escalation of tensions in the region. Woody Island – one of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea – is under Chinese control.


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