Published: Fri, July 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Pentagon slams China's missile test in South China Sea

Pentagon slams China's missile test in South China Sea

Over the weekend, China carried out an anti-ship ballistic missile test and fired at least one missile into the South China Sea, which contains several hundred tiny islands claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other countries.

Ahead of the exercise, Beijing warned other ships not to enter a designated area between the Spratly and Paracel Islands for five days, according to the BBC.

China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about Dollars 5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Eastburn said the move was a "direct contradiction" to a 2015 pledge by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting with then-U.S. President Barack Obama not to further militarize its man-made outposts in the South China Sea.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said the launches were made from artificial structures in the South China Sea, near the Spratly Islands.

Aerial view on the The Spratly Islands, one of the major archipelagos in the South China Sea.

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The U.S. rescinded China's invitation to multinational military exercises a year ago after revealing the country had deployed missile batteries on reclaimed reefs.

An Australian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, echoed the concerns telling the ABC the Chinese activity was "significant" but "not altogether surprising given Beijing's rapid military build up in the area in recent times". The US and its allies and partners are beefing up their presence in the region.

At the weekend, the US Navy announced the littoral combat ship USS Montgomery was making a port call in Davao, Philippines.

Meanwhile, warships from Australia, Canada and France have been in and around the South China Sea during the last 12-months, as the United States encourages allies to support a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The Filipino fishermen claimed they were left to drown by the Chinese boat and were only rescued hours later by a Vietnamese boat.

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