United States warns Beijing for militarising South China Sea

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington

Sanders issued the warning while she was responding to a question regarding CNBC's report that China had installed missile systems on outposts in the Spratly Islands, which are two-thirds of the way east from southern Vietnam to the southern Philippines. On it informs TV channel CNBC, citing sources.

Earlier media reported about the plans of China to open a new military base overseas, like "Bagnet".

Beijing sees the area as key to pushing its defences beyond China's coast and securing oil supply routes.

Speaking to CNBC, a Pentagon official said the United States have "consistently" asked China and other claimants not to resort to reclaiming more land, set up fresh facilities, militarise disputed features and to show commitment towards managing and resolving disputes peacefully among themselves.

Alejano said Pag-asa is the largest Philippine-controlled island out of the nine features in Spratlys that the country is claiming. The HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missile, on the other hand, can target aircraft, drones, and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.

Vietnam and Taiwan have rival claims over Spratly islands.

Last month, US Admiral Philip Davidson, nominated to head US Pacific Command, said China could use the bases to challenge the US regional presence, and "would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea claimants".

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).

"We have formally demarched the Chinese government, and we've requested that the Chinese investigate these incidents", she said. "China's activities in the South China Sea is to uphold our sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Defence sources say the confrontations between HMAS Anzac, HMAS Toowoomba and HMAS Success and the People's Liberation Army occurred before the Australian vessels' arrival for a three-day goodwill visit in Ho Chi Minh City.

Despite the Philippines' mended ties with China, Beijing has continued to assert its extensive claims to the disputed waterway.

Apart from China that claims nearly all of South China Sea, there are other nations including Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan with counter claims over the disputed waters.

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