"China has to realise that they've benefited from the free navigation of the sea, and the US Navy has been the guarantor of that", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.
The White House has warned there will be short and long-term consequences if China continues its militarisation of the South China Sea, in the wake of the CNBC reports. Just $5 a month. In February, it was reported that China has transformed those reefs into artificial island fortresses with multiple naval and air facilities, including runways and helipads.
He added that such deployments were expected as China built missile shelters on the reefs past year and already deployed such missile systems on Woody Island further to the north.
Deputy assistant secretary for south-east Asia, Joseph Felter, dismissed the Chinese foreign ministry's claim that any country that had no "invasive intention" did not need to worry about the defence facilities on the islands.
However, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying neither confirmed nor denied the deployment.
Independent bloc lawmakers Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate and Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano are up in arms over the latest "aggressive" move of China in the West Philippines Sea (WPS). But while anti-ship cruise missiles and anti-air missiles can play a defensive role, unlike the point-defense systems deployed earlier, they are capable of offensive force projection as well.
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Malacañang expressed concern following reports on Thursday of China's deployment of missiles in the West Philippine Sea. The YJ-12B has the capability to strike ships within a 295 nautical-mile radius, while the HQ-9B has the potential to target aircraft within 160 nautical miles.
"We're well aware of China's militarization of the South China Sea", she said.
Duterte also said that China had already started building its installations in the Spratlys during the time of his predecessor, and that the Philippines' closest ally, the United States, did nothing to stop it. Given the non-confrontational nature of those presence operations, however, China is more likely using them as pretext for buildups they intended anyway.
Over the last week, Beijing has conducted major military drills, including reportedly sending its aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait and flying jets between Japan's southernmost islands (the latter of which was explicitly described by the Chinese military as a preparation for future wars).
"China's activities in the South China Sea is to uphold our sovereignty and territorial integrity".
"We will continue to do our operations and ensure that the Chinese understand that they can not, and should not, be hostile and understand that the Pacific is a place in which much commerce goes through". It claims an enormous swath of territory through the centre of the South China sea based on its self-proclaimed principle of nine dash line and has attempted to reinforce its hold on the area by creating and militarizing artificial islands in the Spratlys and the Paracels.