US: China’s militarization of West PHL Sea has consequences

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said during the May 3 press briefing that China’s militarization of West Philippine Sea will have near and long-term consequences.

“We’re well aware of China’s militarization of the South China Sea. We’ve raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this,” Sanders said when asked to comment on report quoting US intelligence that China installed new missile platforms on disputed islands in West Philippine Sea.

“And there will be near-term and long-term consequences. And we’ll certainly keep you up to date,” she added.

Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said “China has to realize that they’ve benefited from the free navigation of the sea. And the U.S. Navy has been the guarantor of that.”

“We will continue to do our operations and ensure that the Chinese understand that they cannot, and should not, be hostile and understand that the Pacific is a place in which much commerce goes through. And it’s in their interest to ensure that there’s a free navigation of international waters,” White added.

On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said that “anyone with no invasive intention will find no reason to worry about this. We hope that the relevant party could view this matter in an objective and calm way.”

“Our peaceful construction activities on the Nansha Islands, including the deployment of necessary national defense facilities, are meant to safeguard China’s sovereignty and security, which is also the rights a sovereign state is entitled to,” Hua Chunying said.

According to CNBC’s sources, the missile systems were installed in the past 30 days. CNBC said in the report that the YJ-12B land-based anti-ship cruise missiles allow China to strike surface vessels within 295 nautical miles of the reefs.

It added that the long-range surface-to-air missiles designated as HQ-9B, have an expected range of targeting aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.

Sources: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/press-briefing-press-secretary-sarah-sanders-050318/; https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1511983/department-of-defense-press-briefing-by-pentagon-chief-spokesperson-dana-w-whit/; http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/t1556501.shtml; https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/02/china-added-missile-systems-on-spratly-islands-in-south-china-sea.html