China secretly installs cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts

South Korean president Moon Jae-in and Chinese president Xi Jinping

Virtually confirming the deployment of the missiles, Hua said, "relevant deployment is not directed against any country". It cited sources with direct knowledge of US intelligence.

One of the disputed reefs in the South China Sea Beijing is militarising.

According to sources close to the U.S. intelligence, the recent missiles were installed by the Chinese military in the last 30 days in the disputed South China Sea. Its foreign ministry said China has irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratlys and that necessary defensive deployments were for national security needs and not aimed at any country.

Speaking to CNBC, a Pentagon official said the United States have "consistently" asked China and other claimants not to resort to reclaiming more land, set up fresh facilities, militarise disputed features and to show commitment towards managing and resolving disputes peacefully among themselves.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary also warned of "consequences" over the ongoing military buildup.

"We are well aware of Chinas militarisation of the South China Sea".

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It claims an enormous swath of territory through the centre of the South China sea based on its self-proclaimed principle of nine dash line and has attempted to reinforce its hold on the area by creating and militarizing artificial islands in the Spratlys and the Paracels.

Photographed through the window of a closed aircraft, an aerial view shows Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines on July 20, 2011.

The Palace has remained silent on the reported presence of Chinese missiles, as President Rodrigo Duterte continues to cozy up to Beijing, even suggesting in March the co-ownership of the West Philippine Sea.

CNBC reported that anti-ship cruise missiles have been identified as YJ-12B missiles which possess a range of 295 nautical miles. And the HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missiles could hit aircraft up to 160 nautical miles.

"China sees its participation in the exercise as a sign of its acceptance among the world's maritime powers", he said. The same month, Australian warships on their way to Vietnam were challenged by the Chinese navy as they traversed the South China Sea, leading Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to assert Australia's right to travel in these global waters.

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