US says Chinese missiles on South China Sea island an indication of militarisation

An aerial view of construction at Mabini Reef by China, in the disputed Spratley Islands, in the south China Sea.
An aerial view of construction at Mabini Reef by China, in the disputed Spratley Islands, in the south China Sea.PHOTO: EPA

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The deployment of missiles on the Paracel islands in the South China Sea would be contrary to China's pledge not to militarise the region, Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, said on Wednesday (Feb 17).

He said such a move would represent "a militarisation of the South China Sea in ways that President Xi said he would not do."

"It would be a clear indication of militarisation," Admiral Harris told a briefing in Tokyo, where he was meeting with Japanese defence officials. 

 

China has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of the disputed islands it controls in the South China Sea, according to Taiwan and US officials, a move that has raised tensions in the region.