Chinese weaponry spotted on artificial island

2015-05-30 09:00

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Singapore - US surveillance has detected two large artillery vehicles on one of the artificial islands that China is creating in the South China Sea, US officials say, heightening concerns that Beijing could use the land reclamation projects for military purposes.

The revelation came as Defence Secretary Ash Carter was in the region for an international security summit in Singapore where he is expected to demand anew that China and other nations halt all such projects. While scolding China for aggression, Carter is not expected to offer any indication of what the US might do if the projects proceed.

The weaponry was discovered at least several weeks ago, and two US officials who are familiar with intelligence about the vehicles say they have been removed.

The Pentagon would not release any photos to support its contention that the vehicles were there.

Expansive claims

China's assertive behaviour in the South China Sea has become an increasingly sore point in relations with the United States, even as President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping have sought to deepen co-operation in other areas, such as climate change.

Pentagon spokesperson Brent Colburn said the US was aware of the artillery, but he declined to provide other details, saying it was an intelligence matter.

Defence officials described the weapons as self-propelled artillery vehicles and said they posed no threat to the US or American territories.

In the past year, the US has escalated its criticism of China's claim to virtually all of the resource-rich South China Sea, saying it is unsupported by international law. Beijing's expansive claims to the waters and reefs overlap those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Read more on:    us  |  china

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