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China has militarised three islands – US admiral claims 

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Chinese president Xi Jingping has repeatedly promised to deescalate tensions in the South China Sea around Taiwan, however after recent reconnaissance flights by the U.S. navy it would appear this is not the case. According to U.S. Navy officials the islands of Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and Fiery Cross have been armed with anti-ship and anti-air missile systems, laser and jamming equipment, and fighter jets.

U.S. Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John C. Aquilino shared the developments with Associated Press Journalists while on board a P-8A Poseidon plane during a reconnaissance mission. Aquilino stated that “I think over the past 20 years we have witnessed the largest military buildup since World War II by the [People’s Republic of China].”

Associated Press photographer Aaron Favila took the following images while on board the flight:

The U.S. Navy also released the following video from the flight

Aquilino added that “they (China) have advanced all their capabilities and that build-up of weaponization is destabilizing to the region,” noting that the move could antagonise other nations near the South China Sea.

Currently Chinese officials have not responded to the current accusations, but Beijing insists that its military stance is solely defensive and designed to protect its sovereignty.

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