China’s reportedly deploying missiles in the Spratly Islands outposts could mean an act closer to declaring an Air Defense Identification Zone in the disputed waters and Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam should raise voices to protect their rights, experts said. U.S. news network CNBC reported on Wednesday that China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the South China Sea. The report quoted unnamed sources as saying that according to U.S. intelligence assessments, the missiles were moved to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef within the past 30 days. “If the story is correct, this is a significant step of China toward militarization of Spratly Islands,” Euan Graham, Director of International Security Program at Lowy Institute, told VnExpress. He said the missiles would be a stage before China launching combat aircraft later this year, and declaring an excercise restriction area. The approach is likely going to be followed by the declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), said Graham. “The range of China’s cruise missiles is about 300 miles, so that it will extend the coverage of anti-ship capability across much of the Spratly Islands. China can then effectively create… Read full this story
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