By Sam LaGrone
USNI News March 30, 2016
Beijing is defending the deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles to Woody Island in the South China Sea, according to a Wednesday statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.
“China’s deployment of national defense facilities on its own territory is reasonable and justified,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday.
“It has nothing to do with the so-called militarization.”
Last week, several international news outlets reported the Chinese fired an YJ-62 cruise missile from Woody Island based on images that emerged on the Chinese language Internet.
Woody Island is part of China’s disputed holdings in the Paracel Island off the coast of Vietnam. In the last few months, China has moved more offensive military hardware to the chain Beijing has controlled since the early 1970s.
Last month, news broke that China had deployed several HQ-9 anti-air missiles batteries to Woody Island after the U.S. conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FON op) near Chinese holdings at nearby Triton Island.
Then as now, the foreign ministry said moving military kit to Xisha Islands – the Chinese name for the Paracels – were well within their rights and the missiles were for defensive purposes.
Source: USNI News
Read the original Chinese FM spokesperson’s statement at Website of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs