HQ-9 ground-to-air missile. (File photo)
Chinese military expert Yin Zhuo told CCTV that China's military deployment in the South China Sea is completely reasonable, in light of the powerful naval force of the U.S. in the region.
He made his remarks after American media outlet Fox News quoted the U.S. intelligence community, saying that China has sent hundreds of surface-to-air missiles from the mainland to the South China Sea. Fox News reported that China has deployed more than 500 missiles on South China Sea islands, including CSA-6B and HQ-9 missiles, as well as the anti-ballistic missile interceptor HQ-26.
A U.S. official said these locations are "only temporary" and anticipated that the missiles would soon be deployed to the Nansha Islands and Yongxing Island. Some people believe China will form a comprehensive air defense system once it deploys CSA-6B, HQ-9 and HQ-26 in the South China Sea, increasing its power to cope with U.S. forces in the region.
Yin noted that the speculation by Western media makes no sense at all, since the U.S. has maintained powerful forces in the region, including bombers and aircraft carriers. He said neither the U.S. nor surrounding countries are the targets of the missile, adding that they won't be launched unless China's sovereignty over these islands and reefs are violated.
Yin said the U.S. is the one who truly threatens regional stability, though Western media has been spreading the theory of the so-called China threat. The situation in the South China Sea has been stable since the U.S. presidential election. However, some countries are still pushing issues, hoping the U.S. will maintain its Asia-Pacific Rebalance strategy.
China will never give up its core interest in the South China Sea, stressed Yin.
"We will never start a fight as long as others remain peaceful, but we'll fight back when violated," he added.