"China could deploy fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles tomorrow if they wanted to ," the AMTI director said.
It looks like China has successfully installed weapons on all the seven artificial islands in South China Sea. As we can all see on the photos recently released online by the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), structures in the islands now come equipped with anti-aircraft guns and anti-missile weapon systems.
A statement from AMTI says:
“It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defense fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron reefs.
“This model has gone through another evolution at (the) much-larger bases on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs.”
“These gun and probable CIWS emplacements show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea.
“Among other things, they would be the last line of defense against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others against these soon-to-be-operational air bases.”
“This is the first time that we’re confident in saying they are anti-aircraft and CIWS emplacements. We did not know that they had systems this big and this advanced there.
“The Chinese can argue that it’s only for defensive purposes, but if you are building giant anti-aircraft gun and CIWS emplacements, it means that you are prepping for a future conflict.”
Donald Trump, the President-elect of United States, takes office starting January 20, 2017. He has earlier said that he will take a tougher stance against China than outgoing President Barack Obama did.
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