Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

China deploys missiles on disputed South China Sea island: report
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 17, 2016

Anti-China sentiment simmers in Vietnam on anniversary of border war
Hanoi (AFP) Feb 17, 2016 - Vietnamese activists chanted anti-China slogans in Hanoi Wednesday as they marked the 37th anniversary of a border war with their giant neighbour, in a memorial that followed reports that Beijing has installed missile systems in contested seas.

The two communist countries are locked in a long-standing territorial dispute over the Paracel and Spratly islands in the South China Sea.

Vietnam's premier is due to return home Wednesday after attending a summit hosted by the United States aimed at bolstering regional resolve in the face of China's military muscle-flexing.

On Wednesday images relayed by Fox news appeared to show two surface-to-air missile systems installed by Beijing on Woody Island in the Paracels chain, which is also claimed by Taiwan.

In a pre-planned event, more than 100 people gathered in Hanoi to mark an older territorial conflict: China's 1979 invasion of Vietnam's northernmost provinces.

Security officials stood by as veterans chanted "down with China, down with China's invasion."

The short but bloody war came after Vietnam toppled the Beijing-backed Khmer Rouge regime in neighbouring Cambodia.

It claimed tens of thousands of lives and ended with Chinese forces withdrawing but both powers claiming victory.

Although Vietnam fetes its military victories over the French and American armies, it has not arranged any official events to mark the China border war -- much to the chagrin of veterans and activists.

"We are very sad that there has never been any official organisation (memorial) for the day," 64-year-old Vietnamese war veteran Pham Thanh told AFP at Wednesday's commemoration in central Hanoi, where demonstrators carried banners that read "we will never forget".

Beijing's increasingly assertive stance in contested waters has triggered public anger and rounds of protests in authoritarian Vietnam where the demonstrations are sometimes forcefully broken up.

China is also Vietnam's largest trading partner, complicating Hanoi's position towards its neighbour.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama announced plans to make his first state visit to Vietnam in May, which Vietnam's foreign ministry hailed as "carrying Vietnam-US relations to new heights".

China has deployed a surface-to-air missile system on one of its contested islands in the South China Sea, a report said Tuesday just as President Barack Obama called for "tangible steps" to reduce tensions in the region.

Fox News said that images from civilian firm ImageSat International show two batteries of eight missile launchers and a radar system arrived within the past week on Woody Island, part of the Paracels chain.

A US warship last month sailed close to another island in the chain -- which is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam -- in a gesture to assert freedom of navigation in the region which drew a quick protest from Beijing.

The report on the missile batteries came as Obama wrapped up a two-day Southeast Asian summit in California where leaders voiced concern over Beijing's military build-up in the strategic and resource-rich area.

"We discussed the need for tangible steps in the South China Sea to lower tensions," Obama said, calling for "a halt to further reclamation, new construction and militarization of disputed areas."

China's increasingly muscular actions in the vital waterway featured heavily at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) talks at Sunnylands, a sprawling California desert retreat.

In a joint statement, Obama and the 10 ASEAN leaders demanded the "peaceful resolution" of a myriad of competing territorial claims over islands, atolls and reefs.

Obama has tried to muster an informal coalition of Pacific allies to demand that Beijing respect the rule of law, hoping that China will want to avoid being painted as a regional bully.

South China Sea islands: facts on a decades-long dispute
Beijing (AFP) Feb 17, 2016 - A decades-long, multi-pronged dispute over territory in the South China Sea escalated this week with the claim that Beijing has put missile batteries on a contested island in the region.

Commentators say the 3 million square kilometres (1.16 million square miles) of water is a potential flashpoint for regional conflict.

Here are five key questions about the sea and the issues around it.

- What's there and who's disputing it?

It's mostly empty, and hundreds of the small islands, islets and rocks are not naturally able to support human settlement. Significant chains include the Paracels in the north, and the Spratlys in the south.

But everyone surrounding the sea -- Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, tiny Brunei, Taiwan and, most significantly, China -- lay claim to some part of it. Beijing says it has sovereignty over almost the whole area, citing an ill-defined "nine-dash line" originating in 1940s-era maps as proof.

- If there's nothing there, why is there any dispute?

Scientists believe that the seabed could contain unexploited oil, gas and minerals, which would be a boon to any country that can establish their claims to the region's waters, especially in resource-hungry Asia. It's also home to abundant fisheries that feed growing populations.

But the sea's key value is strategic. Shipping lanes vital to world trade pass through it, carrying everything from raw materials to finished products, as well as enormous quantities of oil.

Beijing views the South China Sea as its own backyard, a place where it is entitled to free, uninterrupted rein and where its growing navy should be able to operate unhampered.

- How are these disputes playing out?

For years now, various claimants have been fortifying and building up the tiny reefs and islets to bolster their claims to ownership.

China's land-reclamation programme has been particularly aggressive. Satellite pictures now show inhabited islands where there was once only submerged coral.

Many have multiple facilities, including some with runways long enough for huge commercial or military planes.

Beijing insists its intent is peaceful and the features it is constructing are for civilian use, such as maritime rescue, as well as military purposes.

The US and others suspect China is trying to assert its sovereignty claims by changing the facts on the ground, and say that it could pose threats to the free passage of ships through the region's waters and air space.

- What's happened this week?

Commercial satellite operators have published pictures that reportedly show the presence of missile launchers on Woody Island, part of the Paracels chain over which China has had control for decades.

Taiwan Wednesday confirmed it believed Beijing had moved batteries there.

When challenged, China did not deny the claims, but insisted anything it had done was "consistent with the right to self-preservation and self-protection".

Reports on the weapons said they were surface-to-air missiles with a range of about 200 kilometres (125 miles), which would suggest they are not targeted at anything on land.

- What will happen next?

The United States and its ally Australia have carried out a number of so-called "Freedom of Navigation" overflights and sail-bys in the region.

They say they are asserting the right of any sovereign nation to use international waters and skies. China calls these operations "provocations" and insists they are violations of its territory.

With the South China Sea home to runways capable of launching fighter jets that could patrol over the sea, and now missiles that could threaten wayward planes, the stakes in the dispute have got higher.


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Cuba returns lost dummy missile to US: State Department
Washington (AFP) Feb 14, 2016
The United States has recovered a missile that was accidentally sent to Cuba in 2014 after a logistical mixup in Europe, bringing an end to an unusual and sensitive episode in the world of defense. The dummy training version of a US Hellfire missile was returned to the US with the "cooperation of the Cuban government," State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said Saturday, declining to ... read more

Edgar Mitchell, astronaut who walked on Moon, dead at 85

The forgotten moon landing that paved the way for today's space adventures

ASU satellite selected for NASA Space Launch System's first flight

Lunar Flashlight selected to fly as secondary payload on Exploration Mission-1

Becoming a Martian

Site of Martian lakes linked to ancient habitable environment

Opportunity climbing steeper slopes to reach science targets

Opportunity Reaches 12 Years on Mars!

Are private launches changing the rocket equation?

NASA tests solar sail deployment for asteroid-surveying CubeSat NEA Scout

Orion Crew Module processing begins for first mission

Mars or the Moon

China Conducts Final Tests on Most Powerful Homegrown Rocket

Last Launch for Long March 2F/G

China aims for the Moon with new rockets

China shoots for first landing on far side of the moon

Putting the Public in the Shoes of Space Station Science

Russians spacewalk to retrieve biological samples

Russia to Deliver Three Advanced Spacesuits to ISS in 2016

Russian spacewalk marks end of ESA's exposed space chemistry

ULA Launches NROL-45 Payload for the National Reconnaissance Office

SES-9 Launch Targeting Late February

Spaceflight Awarded First GSA Schedule Contract for Satellite Launch Services

SpaceX to carry military payloads as US phases out Russian rocket engines

Earth-like planets have Earth-like interiors

The frigid Flying Saucer

Astronomers discover largest solar system

Lonely Planet Finds a Mum a Trillion Km Away

Honeywell developing virtual reality technologies for military

Body temperature triggers newly developed polymer to change shape

Light used to measure the 'big stretch' in spider silk proteins

Making sense of metallic glass

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.