South China Sea Military Build Up Could Escalate US-China Tensions

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
By Paul Martin

A new report suggests that China has dedicated significant effort to militarizing outposts in the South China Sea, but the US remains ready to respond to further “aggressive” behavior.

Newly-surfaced images show a buildup of multiple defense bases in the Spratly islands, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, although China has promised not to install weapons on the artificial islands. Regardless of how China develops its regional bases, “we will not allow a shared domain to be closed down unilaterally,” Admiral Harry Harris of the US Pacific Command fleet said during a speech in Sydney.

The new Chinese fortifications feature anti-aircraft guns thought to be a defense against cruise missiles, while China insists they are minimum defensive requirements, not part of a scheme to project power.

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