"We’re well aware of China’s militarization of the South China Sea. We’ve raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this, and there will be near-term and long-term consequences and we’ll certainly keep you up to date," Sanders said when asked about recent reports of China installing a new missile platform in the South China Sea.
China and several other countries of the region — namely Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines — have disagreements over maritime borders and areas of responsibility in the South China and East China Seas. China considers the Spratly Islands its territory, despite the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling which said there was no legal basis for China's maritime claims. The arbitration proceeding was initiated by the Philippines in January 2013.