China has accused the US of “double standards” on the issue of militarisation of the South China Sea, days after it emerged that Beijing has deployed surface- to-air missiles on an island in the hotly disputed area.
“Instead of questioning China about “militarising” the region, the US should reflect on its own behaviour. Stopping patrols, drills and reconnaissance will be the right way for it to serve its own interests and others,” the official Xinhua news agency said in a hard-hitting commentary.
“The US has taken double standards on the militarisation in the South China Sea,” it said, accusing Washington that it automatically links Chinese defence facility deployment to militarisation while “selectively dodging” the Philippines and Vietnam that have “militarised” the Chinese islands they occupy or the US joint drills and patrols.
US and Taiwanese officials last week confirmed satellite images showing two batteries of eight HQ-9 missiles placed on Woody Island in the resource-rich South China Sea (SCS).
China has not denied the appearance of the missiles, but says it was well within its rights to defend its territory.
Woody Island is part of the Paracels chain, under Chinese control that is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
“The US, the self-styled guardian of freedom of navigation, rationalises its navy and air force patrols for such purposes and says it will continue to do so,” it said.