Home China U.S. Warns of Consequences for Beijing’s Missiles in South China Sea

U.S. Warns of Consequences for Beijing’s Missiles in South China Sea

The U.S. has warned Beijing there will be consequences for its installation of missiles on contested islands in the South China Sea.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told media that: “We’re well aware of China’s militarization of the South China Sea.”

Huckabee Sanders said that the U.S. has raised their concerns with the Chinese over what is occurring.

“There will be near-term and long-term consequences,” she said.

Huckabee Sanders did not say what those consequences might be.

She was responding to a question raised by a journalist about media reports originating from a CNBC article citing unnamed sources describing how the Chinese have established missiles on three fortified outposts west of the Philippines.

The CNBC report stated that Beijing quietly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands over the past 30 days. Radar jamming equipment has also been installed, said the report.

See this report from Fox News:

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also voiced her disapproval over the news, saying that what the establishment of missiles is “contrary to China’s stated aspiration that it would not militarize these features,” reported AAP.

Beijing claims most of the South China Sea as its own. That’s a 1.4-million-square-mile stretch of open ocean where some $5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes through annually.

To back up claims that stretch 1,200 miles from its own shoreline, Beijing has been busy turning atolls and rocky outcrops into islands that are being militarized, the Pentagon has repeatedly said. Around 3,000 acres of new territory have been built on seven reefs.

See this report from ABC News:

A U.S. defense expert told Reuters that the recent missile deployment is “a major escalation.”

“When China sees that it can get away with these types of actions with little cost — as they did all through 2015 and 2016 — it only makes it more likely they will keep pressing,” said Eric Sayers, a former consultant to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

“China sees its participation in the exercise as a sign of its acceptance among the world’s maritime powers, but Beijing should not be allowed to militarize this open maritime domain and still be honored as a welcomed member of the maritime community,” said Sayers.

In February 2016, the Chinese deployed surface-to-air missiles and fighter jets on the contested Woody Island, which is part of the Paracel Island chain that is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

Chinese officials have long said there would be no militarization of the contested strategic waterways. In March, Premier Li Keqiang said as much, but added that defense equipment would be added to built-up islands to ensure “freedom of navigation,” reported Reuters.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan also have contesting claims in the South China Sea, but what Beijing has done dwarfs all of their efforts combined.

Beijing has repeatedly rejected international arbitration over the islands. In July 2016, Beijing ignored the results of a tribunal with the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague that ruled against China’s claims over the sea.

The  installation of missiles has occurred around the same time as reports that Chinese personnel in Djibouti have used powerful lasers against American aircraft.  Two U.S. pilots reportedly suffered minor eye injuries.

See this Fox News report on why Beijing is a bigger problem for the U.S. than Moscow:

Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our weekly email

James Burke
What keeps the world ticking? James is always looking for the answer and the latest news from around the globe. When he's not behind his computer, he's basking in the Thailand sun, or dreaming of the southern hemisphere, where he grew up in rural Australia.

Most Popular

Constitutional Possibilities for a Second Trump Term: Dershowitz

Amid continuing suspicion of fraud in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the Trump campaign has taken its objections to the projected results...

A New Theory: Water May Naturally Occur on All Rocky Planets

Life is deeply dependent on water, but where does water come from? Based on new research, researchers believe it may emerge in...

How to Conduct Preventive Maintenance for EVs

Electric vehicles are taking the world by storm. These news EVs are something of an enigma for drivers used to more traditional...

Trees and Green Roofs Can Help Reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect

An urban heat island is an urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The temperature difference is typically...