China defends its right to ‘ready slingshot’ in South China Sea

A satellite image released by the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies shows construction of possible radar tower facilities in the Spratly Islands. Photo taken February 2016. CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe

A satellite image released by the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies shows construction of possible radar tower facilities in the Spratly Islands. Photo taken February 2016.
CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe

By Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina | BEIJING Thu Dec 15, 2016 | 9:44am EST

China defended its right on Thursday to put “necessary military installations” on artificial islands in the South China Sea, after a U.S. think-tank said Beijing appeared to have deployed weapons such as anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings, made available first to Reuters on Wednesday, were based on analysis of satellite images of islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.

The United States has previously criticized what it called China’s militarization of its maritime outposts, and stressed the need for freedom of navigation by conducting periodic air and naval patrols near them that have angered Beijing.

China’s Defence Ministry said in a statement on its website on Thursday that the construction it had carried out on islands and reefs in the disputed Spratlys chain was “mainly for civilian use”.

“As for necessary military installations, they are mainly for defence and self-protection and are legitimate and lawful,” it said. “If someone makes a show of force at your front door, would you not ready your slingshot?”

The United States has conducted four freedom of navigation patrols, seen as a challenge to China’s extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea, in the past year or so, most recently in October.


AMTI said satellite images of islands China has built in the Spratlys showed what appeared to be anti-aircraft guns and what were likely to be close-in weapons systems (CIWS) to protect against cruise missile strikes.

Other images showed towers that likely contained targeting radar, it said.

Beijing regards the islands as its sovereign territory, and has often said it is entitled to limited and necessary defensive installations.

AMTI director Greg Poling said the think-tank had spent months trying to figure out the purposes of the structures shown in the images.

“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,” he told Reuters.

“This is militarization. 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.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing in Beijing that he “did not understand” the situation referred to in the AMTI report.

“The Nansha islands are China’s inherent territory. China’s building of facilities and necessary territorial defensive facilities on its own territory is completely normal,” he said, using China’s name for the Spratlys.

“If China’s building of normal facilities and deploying necessary territorial defensive facilities on its own islands is considered militarization, then what is the sailing of fleets into the South China Sea?”


The Philippines, one of several countries with competing territorial claims in the South China Sea, said it was still verifying the report.

“But if true it is a big concern for us and the international community who use the South China Sea lanes for trade,” said Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana. “It would mean that the Chinese are militarising the area which is not good.”

Lorenzana’s comments were made during a visit to Singapore with President Rodrigo Duterte, where he also said the United States had agreed to sell the Philippine Navy two advanced radar systems to boost its surveillance capability in the South China Sea.

Australia too voiced concerns about China’s actions in the disputed waterway.

“The building of artificial islands and the possible militarization is creating an environment of tension and mistrust between claimants and other regional states,” said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in a statement.

“We urge claimants to refrain from coercive behavior and unilateral actions designed to change the status quo in disputed areas.”

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has criticized Chinese behavior in the South China Sea, while signaling he may adopt a tougher approach to China’s assertive behavior in the region than President Barack Obama.

The State Department said it would not comment on intelligence matters, but spokesman John Kirby added: “We consistently call on China as well as other claimants to commit to peacefully managing and resolving disputes, to refrain from further land reclamation and construction of new facilities and the militarization of disputed features.”

(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom and Yeganeh Torbati in Washington, Karen Lima and Manuel Mogato in Manila, Greg Torode in Hong Kong and My Pham in Hanoi; Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Source: Reuters “China defends its right to ‘ready slingshot’ in South China Sea”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


13 Comments on “China defends its right to ‘ready slingshot’ in South China Sea”

  1. Bill says:

    I could not refrain from commenting. Very well written!


  2. Steve says:

    In short, China need to militarise the islands. This is one of the main reason China engineered those islands, to militarise against the US military attack from the SCS especially its nuclear submarines in times of war. The US military bases in the Philippines will come into calculation for destruction because the US will utilise those bases to attack China. China is surrounded and will need to project outward maritime power.


  3. Simon says:

    I always knew Phillipine’es Duteret cannot be completely trusted. Seems he is unhappy about China’s militarisation of islands in SCS. China should revoke Fillipino’s fishermen from Scarborough Shoal and suspend loans.


    • Steve says:

      President Duterte and Perfecto Yasay has reversed DM Lorenzana comments. Duterte said Philippines will not go against China’s militarisation of the Spratlys. It cannot be stopped as there are other bilateral claimants in that region, it’s up to China’s decision. Duterte is more concerned of Philippines bilateral negotiation on Huangyan island with China. This is good news for China.




    Why are Chinese foreign affairs ministry and military so slow in taking the counter offensive propaganda back to the U.S.?

    Why has the foreign ministry spokesmen and women not taken the opportunity to highlight the 400 U.S. military installations with nuclear warheads, missiles, submarines and destroyers and bombers fitted with cruise missiles fitted with nuclear warheads, illegal biological weapons, and other illegal outlawed weapons of mass destruction – all aimed and targeted at the Chinese people?

    What kind of a demented monster is this nuclear armed America?

    You wiped out your native Indians the way the Australians and New Zealanders massacred the local native inhabitants when you coveted their lands. Now you would seek to do the same to the rest of the world?

    You almost launched a nuclear missile from Okinawa at China during the height of the Cuban missile crisis but whose order was fortunately stopped by an alert officer.

    So my question – why is the Chinese military incapable of showing satellite photos of the U.S. military’s naked AGGRESSION at China from 400 places surrounding China? Why is it not using such information to show the world who is this lying slandering brute of a monstrous U.S. government given custody of such deadly weapons of mass destruction now ready to be used for offensive and NOT deterrent purposes?

    As a propaganda campaign, Beijing can have a year long propaganda blitz covering these installations one by one and give mud to the face of the ostensible peaceful, liberty & democracy loving, U.S. ? Let the truth show up Amerika as a mad war mongering imperialistic global domineering country.

    Time to get off your *rse you foreign and military officials and earn your keep. Show some creativity by depicting the American government and its armed forces in a bad light to the world – the way they have been demonizing China to the world.

    Your English channel CCTV to date, is a useless, brainless, unsophisticated, and a cowardly if not most boring TV channel in the world. (I have stopped watching it for a long time!)

    Use the Global Times to hit back. The free blogs and websites outside of China will do the rest in spreading the war-like and threatening nature of the U.S. armed forces.

    Fight to win the propaganda war. Fight fire with fire.


    • Allen Lau says:

      Propaganda is an art. The Americans are good at it. The US propaganda machine has been in high gear.on the SCS disputes.

      In order to be effective, propaganda has to move public opinion. Who is the audience you want to influence? Everybody in the world knows the US is a war monger. Negative attack ads will not accomplish much. They are more boring than CCTV channel.

      On the other hand, the Americans have turned to twisting facts, lies, fake news with great success (it got Trump elected with a campaign of half truths and fake news). The US media has twisted the Chinese defensive move on the SCS islands into an act of militarization.

      Take a lesson here of how US is adding fuel and fanning the flame:

      1. Vietnamese installed offensive rockets and missiles on their islands with a range able to reach all of China’s facilities in the SCS. Their’s are offensive weapons as compared with the defensive ones of the Chinese. Why doesn’t the US think tank count the Vietnamese action as militarization?

      2. American twisted logic is laughable – accusing China of preparing to defending itself. Of course, China is prepared to use the defensive weapons when attacked. China should showcase some of it.

      3. Vietnam could not have acquired these advanced missiles from Israel without approval from the US. In a twisted plot, the US supplies Vietnam with weapons to attack China and accuses China of militarization when it tried to defend itself.


      • Anon says:

        Why the diversion from attention to U.S.’s military bases packed with nuclear tipped missiles all offensively aimed at China to Vietnam?

        What negative ads? Why the attempt to downplay potential Chinese counter propaganda to depict the U.S. for what it is? What so negative about revealing to a uninformed world the truth about U.S.’s aggression?

        What’s the purpose of throwing cold water on Chinese efforts to recover their good image in the face of the U.S.’s negative propaganda?

        Sounds very much like a psyop from the U.S. side.


        • Allen Lau says:

          The key is “tell the world something they don’t already know”. You need to reveal the plot that people don’t know in order to move public opinion.

          1. Clearly, the US media is not neutral. US media simply will not cover any news with anti-US sentiments. How can you move US public opinions? You have to name the players (alt-right, pentagon hawks etc) who hatched the “China threat” propaganda and the resulting pivot to Asia.

          Australian filmmaker decries U.S. provocation across Pacific – Xinhua …

          2 days ago – The documentary explores the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific … and threatened by some 400 U.S. military bases, with the U.S. Navy …

          2. It is more effective to turn the table on the US by using public opinion in Korea, Okinawa, Philippines against US militarization (Koreans are against THAAD deployment, and Okinawa and Philippines people are against US bases).


          • Anon says:

            “The key is “tell the world something they don’t already know”. You need to reveal the plot that people don’t know in order to move public opinion.”

            It is clear you are a half baked “intellectual” who doesn’t know he has limited “intellect”, trying to teach grandmothers how to suck eggs. In fact you talk like the empty boastful street types vagrants trying forever to sucker simple gullible mothers, grandmothers, young men and children into “buying” your goods or services with nonsensical warped logic. Sounds clever but usually total nonsense.

            You are obviously a charlatan.


          • Bruce Lee says:

            You talk now exactly what Eastern Looking Glass was proposing in the fist place, after trying to talk like you are a sifu! Either you have poor English comprehension or it’s in your nature to go around lecturing others with your kindergarten level mentality wrapped in ostensible respectable internet references? You sound like an illiterate nut-job.


          • Zikka says:

            Cliches are not wisdom. People are already familiar with them.