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Vietnam concerned over Chinese weapons in South China Sea

Dec 17. 2016
A file picture dated 20 July 2011 and taken through the window of a closed aircraft, shows an aerial view of Pagasa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea, located off the coast of western Philippines/EPA
A file picture dated 20 July 2011 and taken through the window of a closed aircraft, shows an aerial view of Pagasa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea, located off the coast of western Philippines/EPA
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By Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Vietnam has expressed concern over reports of new Chinese weapons placements on contested islands in the South China Sea, as Beijing seeks to assert its territorial claims over the archipelago.

"Vietnam is very worried about this information," Le Hai Binh,Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a statement issued late Friday, adding that the Spratly islands rightfully belonged to Vietnam.

China has installed anti-aircraft guns and other weapons systems on each of seven artificial islands constructed by it in the archipelago, according to a report published on Tuesday by the US think tank the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.

The construction works shows "that Beijing is serious about defence of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea," the report said.

"Among other things, they would be the last line of defence against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others against these soon-to-be-operational air bases," it continued.

Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei all have competing claims with China in the South China Sea.

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