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The US has made a new response to China building artificial islands in the South China Sea. On December 7, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter met with Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, reaching an agreement on the expansion of defense, and the US will deploy the anti-submarine aircraft P-8 Poseidon in Singapore.

BBC Chinese network reports, according to a US Defense Department official, there will be more deployments to Singapore in the future. This is the US’s response to China’s expansion in the South China Sea, which has increased tension in the region.

The US has already deployed P-8 Poseidon aircrafts in Japan and the Philippines, and it has also sent the aircraft from Malaysia for the purpose of surveillance. The agreement points out that the deployment of a P-8 can enhance the military interoperability within the region through bilateral or multilateral military exercises, and provide immediate support regarding maritime security and disaster relief.

China Times reports, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokespeople Hua Chun-ying responded that China believes that US’s enhancement in military deployment and promoting military actions in the region is not in accordance with the mutual and long-term interests of both countries. The Chinese government hopes relevant countries will take actions that can truly safeguard regional peace and other developments.

However, UDN reports, information on China’s construction of airstrips in the South China Sea still remains unknown. The Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson declined to elaborate on the purpose of constructing airstrips in the South China Sea, and he didn’t say how many airstrips China is going to build. The only piece information available is all military installations in the South China Sea are just for defensive purposes.

According to satellite photographs, except for the 2.4 km-long airstrip China owns on Yongxing Island in the Paracel Islands, the other airstrip located on Fiery Cross Reef will be completed soon. This airstrip will be longer than the one on Yongxing Island, reaching up to three km long. It can allow the takeoff and landing of the Xian H-6 bomber. Signs show that there are airstrips under construction on the other islands as well.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang