Washington: In a recent development that would make the edgy situation between the USA and China more stressed, an advanced surface-to-air missile system has been deployed by the Chinese Military in one of its contested islands in the South China Sea.
According to Fox News, the missiles arrived within the time period of the past week. While the island was empty on February 3, the same was not the case by February 14. The ‘apparent deployment’ has also been confirmed by a US defence official.
The two batteries of eight surface-to-air missile launchers as well as a radar system have been set up on Woody Island which is a part of the Paracels chain, under Chinese control for more than 40 years.However, it is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
US President Barack Obama has aimed to urge restrain in the controversial region. This move, however, has spiked tensions. In response to the same, Major General David, Taiwan defence ministry spokesman, said they wanted to work together with interested parties to maintain peace and stability in this region and claims to refrain from taking decisions single-handedly that could further aggravate the situation.
The launch has created a major upheaval with the US because it had specifically urged all parties to cease reclamation and construction work in the South China Sea. China initially had promised not to militarise constructions but their actions have been quite on the contrary.
In January, a US Navy destroyer had sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the Paracels chain. The Pentagon had said that this was aimed to ensure freedom in the disputed waters. China had condemned the action and called it provocative.
This hasn’t been the first time China has sent such weapons to the Paracels, according to Mira Rapp-Hooper, a South China Sea expert from of the Center for a New American Security. Thus the launch of this missile has not been an unprecedented deployment actually.