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BEIJING, February 18. /TASS/. China has already been using defense infrastructure on the Paracel Islands for many years, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Hong Lei said on Thursday.
"Deploying defense systems on Shish (Paracel) Islands is not news. China has already been using such infrastructure for many years as it has full sovereignty over the archipelago. At the same time, implementation of measures of defensive nature and militarization of the region, which several countries state, are not the same thing," Hong said.
On Tuesday China deployed HQ-9 surface-to-air missile launchers on Woody Island (part of Paracel Islands) in the South China Sea. The HQ-9 is China’s new generation medium- to long-range, active radar homing surface-to-air missile. This is the first Chinese defense system capable of intercepting ballistic missiles. Chinese Foreign Ministry Wang Yi said that Beijing is entitled to deploying defense infrastructure on the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
Beijing has for decades been involved in a dispute with many countries in the region over the territorial jurisdiction of a number of islands in the South China Sea, where significant reserves of hydrocarbons have been found. This refers, above all, to the Xisha archipelago (the Paracel Islands), the Nansha Islands (the Spratly Islands) and Huangyan Island. Other countries involved in the dispute are Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. As of the end of 2013, China has been engaged in large-scale hydro-engineering and construction work on the expansion and development of the territories under its control.