15:56 GMT +314 November 2018
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    Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, photographed by a USN surveillance aircraft in 2015

    Vietnam Demands China Withdraw Alleged Military Equipment From S China Sea

    © REUTERS / U.S. Navy/Handout
    Asia & Pacific
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    Earlier, media reports appeared that China had deployed missiles in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway that for a long time has been an apple of discord between Beijing and Southeast Asian countries.

    Hanoi has asked Beijing to withdraw military equipment that it reportedly deployed in the South China Sea, according to the country's Foreign Ministry.

    "Vietnam requests that China, as a large country, show its responsibility in maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea," the ministry's spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement following reports in the media on Chinese military activity in the South China Sea.

    "Militarization activities, including the installation of missiles on the Spratly islands, is a serious violation of Vietnam's sovereignty," she continued.

    READ MORE: What's Behind China's Alleged Missile Deployment in the Pacific?

    Vietnam's request comes after the CNBC reported earlier in May, citing sources in US intelligence, that Beijing had deployed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its military posts on the Spratly Islands — the Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef. The deployment, if confirmed, could mark the first installation of Chinese missiles in the South China Sea.

    China, which has territorial disputes with neighboring Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, has not yet commented on the news about the alleged deployment of missiles to the Spratly Islands, but noted that all its military facilities there are purely defensive. Washington, in its turn, refused to comment on the reports, noting that the Defense Department doesn't "comment on matters of intelligence."

    Beijing lays territorial claims to 90 percent of the maritime territory it calls the Nansha Islands, which are believed to be energy rich. Neighboring Asian countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, have rival claims to this territory, whereas Taiwan and Vietnam contest the Paracel Islands, known as the Xisha Islands in China.

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    Tags:
    dispute, missiles, South China Sea, China, Vietnam
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