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China has fully militarized three islands in the South China Sea, says the U.S. Admiral | South China Sea

China has fully militarized at least three of the several islands it built in the conflicting South China Sea, armed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, lasers and jammers, fighters, and all countries operating nearby. We are intensifying the aggressive movement that threatens. , The commander-in-chief of the US military said on Sunday.

Admiral John C. Achillino, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific, said hostile behavior is in stark contrast to China’s past guarantee that Beijing will not turn an artificial island in conflict waters into a military base. Stated. , He said.

“For the past two decades, we have witnessed China’s greatest military buildup since World War II,” Aquilino told The Associated Press in an interview using the initials of China’s official name. The effects of weaponization have destabilized the region. “

There was no immediate comment from Chinese authorities. Beijing claims that its military profile is purely defensive and arranged to protect what it claims to be sovereignty. However, after years of rising military spending, China now boasts the world’s second-largest defense budget after the United States. The army was rapidly modernized with a weapon system that included a J-20 stealth fighter, supersonic missiles, and two aircraft carriers, a third under construction.

Aquilino spoke with the Associated Press on a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane that flew near a Chinese-owned outpost in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea, one of the most fiercely contested areas in the world. Chinese callers warned that they had illegally invaded what they said was Chinese territory and ordered them to leave the plane.

“China has sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and the surrounding waters. Stay away immediately to avoid misunderstandings,” said one of the toughest radio messages with an obscured threat.

However, the U.S. Navy plane dismissed multiple warnings and conducted reconnaissance at a short but tense moment witnessed by two AP journalists invited on board. “State”, US pilots have returned wirelessly to the Chinese.

“The exercise of these rights is guaranteed by international law and I work with full respect for the rights and obligations of all states,” he said.

Navy commander Joel Martinez, who led the crew of the P-8A Poseidon, said there was a dangerous maneuver in a conflict area where a Chinese jet flew near a US aircraft. In aircraft safety regulations, he said.

As the P-8A Poseidon flew near Chinese-occupied coral reefs, it appeared to contain skyscrapers, warehouses, hangars, ports, runways, and radar. Near the fiery cross, more than 40 ships appeared to be moored.

Aquilino appears to have completed construction of missile weapons, aircraft hangers, radar systems and other military installations on Mischief Reef, Subi Reef and Firely Cross, but China seeks to build military infrastructure elsewhere. He said it was unclear if he would.

“The function of these islands is to extend China’s offensive capabilities beyond the continental coast. They can fly all the offensive capabilities of the missile system in addition to fighters and bombers.”

Admiral John C. Achillino (left), commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Army, is watching a video of Chinese buildings and buildings aboard a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft flying over the South China Sea on Sunday. Photo: Aaron Favila / AP

He said military and civilian aircraft flying over disputed waterways could easily enter the missile system of the Chinese islands.

“It’s a threat that exists, and that’s why we’re concerned about the militarization of these islands. They threaten all the countries operating in the neighborhood and all the international seas and airspaces.” He said.

China sought to strengthen its vast territorial claims over almost the entire South China Sea by building an island base on the Coral Atoll almost 10 years ago. Although not claiming in itself, it has been deploying naval vessels and aircraft for decades to patrol and facilitate free voyages in international waterways and airspace.

China routinely opposes US military action in the region. Other political parties such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei claim all or part of the ocean, shipping about $ 5 trillion in goods each year.

Despite China’s aggression, long-simmering territorial disputes should only be settled peacefully, Aquilino said, favoring the Philippine government’s successful move to bring the dispute with China into international arbitration in 2013. Quoted as a template.

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