Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pentagon Acknowledges Weapons on China's Artificial Islands |

Pentagon Acknowledges Weapons on China's Artificial Islands | Senior Pentagon officials acknowledged for the first time that China is placing weapons on artificially constructed islands in the South China Sea in an apparent attempt to assert more control and claim more territory in the region.

"We can confirm that we have identified some weapons on one of these reclaimed Chinese islands," a Pentagon official said Tuesday.

The admission comes as Defense Secretary Carter announces a new Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative designed to support a Senate Armed Services Committee proposal to arm and equip U.S. allies in the Asia Pacific.

"Thanks to the leadership of the Senators here today and others, Congress has taken steps to authorize up to $425 million dollars for these maritime capacity-building efforts," Carter said Saturday in a speech in Singapore.

Carter was referring to new language, inserted into the 2016 defense bill by SASC Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that seeks to provide funds to train and equip allied countries in the Pacific such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The new funding for U.S. allies in the Pacific appears to be a deliberate effort to counter, mitigate or deter Chinese activities in the region. Carter's new initiative is taking place within the context of China's continued effort to build artificial land areas in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.