China deploys missiles on Paracel Islands, Taiwan claims

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China Deploys Missiles In South China Sea on Island of Paracel Chain – www.philippineslifestyle.com

China has deployed surface-to-air missiles on an island in the Paracel chain in the South China Sea, the Taiwan government has claimed.

A statement released by the Taiwanese Defence Ministry says that it has first-hand intelligence that confirms the existence of missile batteries in the region, which is hotly disputed by China and its neighbours.

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“The Taiwanese Defence Ministry has learned of China’s deployment of surface-to-air missiles on the Woody Island in the Paracel Islands. The Republic of China military is closely monitoring further development of the situation,” a statement from Taipei reads.

“Regarding China’s military deployment in the region, the Taiwanese Defence calls on cooperation from all parties to safeguard the South China Sea’s peace and stability, and avoid any unilateral action that will escalate tension.”

China Fires Rebuttal

Beijing fired back at the claims, with a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman telling reporters at a regularly-scheduled briefing that China’s developments in the South China Sea were peaceful.

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“We’ve repeatedly stated our stance; the constructions on relevant islands by China are mainly to provide more public service to the international community as well as to facilitate rescue, fishery and medical operations,” ministry spokesman Honglei said.

“The relevant facilities will be used by the international community when needed. At the same time, we want to emphasise that the installation of military facilities is for self-defence, a right that China has in accordance with international law. It will not affect the freedom of navigation and overflight that all other countries are entitled to under international law.”

President Obama earlier called for the halt of the militarisation of the South China Sea.

Speaking at the close of a meeting with Southeast Asian leaders in California, Obama pressed for a “halt to reclamation, new construction and militarisation” of Asia’s oceans, an indirect reference to China’s rapid construction in the South China Sea of air strips and ports that could have military uses.

Other countries around the South China Sea, including Taiwan, have have developed islands in disputed waters, including the construction of airstrips capable of handling military aircraft.

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