Palace concerned on China's reported missile deployment in WPS


"We are concerned with the reported China's missile deployments over the contested areas in the West Philippine Sea", Roque said. "There will be near-term and long-term consequences, and we'll certainly keep you up to date", she was quoted as saying by CNN.

Further, Pentagon chief spokeswoman Dana White reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the worldwide waters.

"We will continue to do our operations and ensure that the Chinese understand that they can not, and should not, be hostile and understand that the Pacific is a place in which much commerce goes through".

"It has been clear that these were coming since at least a year ago when China constructed shelters for them at each of the islands, but the actual deployments are still significant", Poling said.

This comes after China quietly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three outposts in the disputed region.

However, a USA defense official said that it was unclear if the missiles remained on the outposts following the April exercises.

They would be the first Chinese missile deployments in the Spratlys, where Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei also have claims.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

This reef is one of the seven areas in the South China Sea that was reclaimed by China. USA intelligence says there is a high probability the Chinese military had deployed anti-ship and anti-craft missiles to three artificial islands during recent military drills.

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CNBC said the YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles allow China to strike vessels within 295 nautical miles.

The drill was held amid frequent forays made by USA naval and aircraft into the South China Sea to assert the freedom of navigation especially around the artificial islands built by China, where it has also established garrisons.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying declared that China has "indisputable sovereignty" over Spratlys, also known in China as Nansha Islands.

Adding, "The relevant deployment targets no one". To reiterate the defensive narrative, the spokeswoman said that no other countries needed to worry about the new anti-ship and anti-air missiles unless they had an "invasive intention".

Quoting unnamed sources with direct intelligence reports, United States news network CNBC reported on Wednesdaythat missiles were moved to Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, Zamora (Subi) Reef, and Panganiban (Mischief) Reef within the span of 30 days.

Florin Hilbay, the former government lawyer who argued the case against China at The Hague, said that the government's response to the recent missile deployments "is the weakest possible statement".

"We have formally demarched the Chinese government, and we've requested that the Chinese investigate these incidents", she said.

"We have been very vocal about our concerns about them militarising these artificial islands. I just think that (Beijing) believes everybody, including the claimants, understands this is inevitable".