China has installed anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles in South China Sea: Report
China has reportedly installed "anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems" on three of its outposts in the South China Sea, a US TV network said on Wednesday.
The report citing intelligence sources said this could be China's first attempt to deploy missiles in the hotly contested South China Sea area which consists of Spratly islands where several countries including Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan lay their claim.
The US network quoting intelligence sources said the missiles were moved to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef within the past 30 days.
The South China Sea has seen military manoeuvres by the US and its allies who have been conducting military exercises which has been severely criticised by China.
Last month, the Chinese Navy was involved in an "encounter" with the Australian Navy vessel. The Chinese Navy said it acted "professionally and lawfully".
Greg Poling, a South China Sea expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, told Reuters that deploying missiles on the outposts would be important.
The report said YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles allowed China to strike vessels within 295 nautical miles. It said the HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missiles could target aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.