Were Chinese missiles deployed on a Southern China Sea island?

e20a53b1b5c74075a80f6a092c795784_18

[File:Reuters]

Recently, several suspected surface-to-air missile batteries have been deployed by China on a very disputed island in the Southern China Sea. Officials reported this on Wednesday, increasing the amount of concern in the United States and Asia about Beijin’s recent expanding determinations in the region. Images from a satellite even showed the missile sites that were released. This was right after President Obama had just finished up a summit with leaders from nations, making rival maritime claims in the region.

Taiwan stepped in, their Ministry of National Defense saying in a statement, that “it had grasped that Communist China had deployed missiles,” and urged “any relevant parties to refrain from any unilateral measure that would increase tensions”. This statement also followed a report on Fox News, on Tuesday. This report said that the satellite images were acquired by a private company. The U.S Defense officials also confirmed the deployment of the missiles.

While the Paracels Islands have been under Chinese authority for more than 40 years, they have also been ‘claimed’ by Taiwan and Vietnam. The Chinese had also followed a U.S. naval operation in which a missile destroyer sailed nearby the Paracels island, last month. In addition to this, China has also built seven artificial islands in the Spratly chain in the Southern China Sea, and even went as far as to construct airstrips on three of them. This prompted the West to worry about the intent of possible military aggression. In defense to this, China argued that the other nations in the same region had also built airstrips on their reclaimed land.

One U.S. official told Fox News the images had appeared to show an HQ-9 air defense system, which has a mind-blowing range of 125 miles and would pose a major threat to any planes flying in the HQ-9’s radius. China’s “Woody Island” also hosts an artificial harbor, an airport, army posts and command centers, and roads criss-crossing the entire island, among many other buildings.