Paracels build-up a pointer to China's broader South China Sea ambitions

  • World
  • Sunday, 21 Feb 2016

A protestor from League of Filipino Students and Kabataan (Youth) Party list group holds an effigy symbolising a missile and placards during a rally by more than a dozen students outside the Chinese Consulate in Manila's Makati financial district in the Philippines, February 19, 2016. A statement from the League of Filipino students said that they trooped to the Chinese Consulate on Friday after reports that China deployed a surface-to-air missile system near the disputed West Philippine Sea- in Woody Island, part of the Paracel Island Chain which was also being claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - From listening posts to jet fighter deployments and now surface-to-air missiles, China's expanding facilities in the Paracel Islands are a signal of long-term plans to strengthen its military reach across the disputed South China Sea.

Diplomats and security experts in contact with Chinese military strategists say Beijing's moves to arm and expand its long-established holdings in the Paracels will likely be replicated on its man-made islands in the more contentious Spratly archipelago, some 500 kms (300 miles) further south.

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