China Puts New Weapons on South China Sea Islands, Report Says
BEIJING — China is adding new anti-aircraft weapons to a string of artificial islands in the middle of the disputed South China Sea, according to a report by U.S. policy-watching groups based on satellite analysis.
The findings, drawn from a study by the Maritime Transparency Initiative and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, appear to challenge vows by China’s leader last year not to “militarize” the area.
In recent years, Beijing has turned scattered coral reefs into small, strategic outposts by piling sand and then building things like barracks, lighthouses and military-grade airstrips. China claims sovereignty over the full South China Sea — in direct conflict with international rulings and other countries bordering the sea, including the Philippines and Vietnam.
In a recent television interview, President-elect Donald Trump accused Beijing of building a “massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea.”