China Building Structures To House Missiles

The presence of an American aircraft carrier strike group in the South China Sea has prompted China to test President Donald Trump’s diplomatic skills.
On February 18, the US Navy said in a statement that the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier “The USS Carl Vinson” began “routine operations” in the South China Sea. Immediately after the US Navy issued the statement confirming Carl Vinson’s presence in Asia, Beijing announced that it has almost completed construction works of some buildings, which could house missiles, on Pagasa Island that belongs to the disputed Spratly group of islands.
The Asian giant did not make a false claim, as two senior American officials (too) informed Pentagon that China was building two dozen structures on the artificial islands in the South China Sea for housing long-range surface-to-air missiles. However, it is still not clear whether the Trump administration will take a tough stance on China in near future.
The Trump administration slammed China for building artificial islands in the South China Sea, saying that the move was illegal. Washington further accused the Asian powerhouse of triggering tension in the region by constructing military-length airstrips on the Spratly Islands chain. “It is not like the Chinese to build anything in the South China Sea just to build it, and these structures resemble others that house SAM batteries, so the logical conclusion is that’s what they are for,” said a US intelligence official.
Meanwhile, senior spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Geng Shuang rubbished the American officials’ claim, stressing: “China carrying out normal construction activities on its own territory, including deploying necessary and appropriate territorial defence facilities, is a normal right under international law for sovereign nations.”
Geng also criticised America for deploying the aircraft carrier to conduct “routine operations” in the South China Sea. He said that the US made a mistake by undermining China’s sovereignty. “China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight all littoral countries enjoy under international law,” Geng told the local media in Beijing.
With the Trump administration making preparations to take a much more confrontational stance toward Beijing, there is a high probability that relations between the two major powers will deteriorate in the coming days and that will not be good for China and other countries in the region.

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