Pentagon says Chinese missile tests in South China Sea disturbing

The Pentagon on Wednesday condemned weekend missile tests by China in the contested South China Sea.

Over the weekend, China carried out an anti-ship ballistic missile test and fired at least one missile into the South China Sea, which contains several hundred tiny islands claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other countries.

Among them are the Spratly Islands, where a buildup of Chinese military installations has been seen. Observers said the missile may have been a DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, known as a “carrier killer” and capable of crippling an aircraft carrier.

China previously moved land-based anti-ship cruise missiles to its military stations in the region, a crucial shipping route where $3.4 trillion in goods travel each year.

“Of course the Pentagon was aware of the Chinese missile launch from the man-made structures in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn said. “What’s truly disturbing about this act is that it’s in direct contradiction to President Xi’s statement in the Rose Garden in 2015 when he pledged to the U.S., the Asia-Pacific region, and the world, that he would not militarize those man-made outposts.”

The tests came as the United States and China agreed, at the G-20 weekend summit in Osaka, Japan, to restart trade talks and commit to avoiding new tariffs on imported goods.