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China sends missiles to contested South China Sea island

China sends missiles to contested South China Sea island

J.R. Wu and Andrea Shalal | Reuters

China has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of the disputed islands it controls in the South China Sea, Taiwan and U.S. officials said, ratcheting up tensions even as U.S. President Barack Obama urged restraint in the region.

Taiwan defence ministry spokesman Major General David Lo told Reuters on Wednesday the missile batteries had been set up on Woody Island. The island is part of the Paracels chain, under Chinese control for more than 40 years but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

A U.S. defence official also confirmed the "apparent deployment" of the missiles, first reported by Fox News.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States expected to have "very serious" talks with China about militarization of the South China Sea.

"There is every evidence, every day that there has been an increase of militarization of one kind or another. It’s of serious concern," Kerry told reporters when asked about the reported deployment.

"We have had these conversations with the Chinese and I am confident that over the next days we will have further very serious conversation on this."

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