WOODY ISLAND, Paracels 16°50’03.0″N 112°20’15.0″E
[Woody Island is not in the S. China Sea, but is instead, in the E. China Sea, representing a whole new set of antagonists. It will probably not be long before the same thing happens down south.]
President Barack Obama has called for “tangible steps” to reduce tensions in the South China Sea, after a two day summit with Southeast Asian leaders concerned at Beijing’s military build-up. Video provided by AFP Newslook
China deployed missiles to a disputed island in the South China Sea, according to a statement from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, even as President Obama called for reduced tensions in the region at the conclusion of a summit with Southeast Asian leaders.
Commercial satellite imagery picked up the deployment, Fox News reported. The network said it obtained imagery from ImageSat International (ISI) showing two batteries of surface-to-air missile launchers and a radar targeting arrays on the island.
“The Taiwanese Defense Ministry has learned of China’s deployment of surface-to-air missiles on the Woody Island in the Paracel Islands,” the statement from Taiwan said, according to CNN. Taiwan’s military “is closely monitoring further development of the situation,” the statement said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi downplayed the incident. “We believe this is an attempt by certain Western media to create news stories,” Wang said..
Speaking of the building of infrastructure including light houses and weather stations, Wang said: “All of those are actions that China, as the biggest littoral state in the South China Sea, has undertaken to provide more public goods and services to the international community and play its positive role there.”
China, Taiwan and Vietnam all claim Woody Island as their own, according to Fox.
The U.S. recently challenged China’s territorial claims in the Parcel Islands, sending the Navy missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur within 12 miles of one of the islands claimed by China. China responded by calling the move a violation of Chinese law.
The South China Sea has become hotly contested as China and other nations in the region seek to control trade routes and mineral deposits in the area. China has complicated the regional tensions further by building new “islands” in the sea by piling sand on reefs and then constructing military installations.
“We discussed the need for tangible steps in the South China Sea to lower tensions, including a halt to further reclamation, new construction and militarization of disputed areas,” Obama said in his concluding statement Tuesday after the meeting with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“I reiterated that the United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, and we will support the right of all countries to do the same.”
Contributing: The Associated Press