Home » Aviation » China Defends Deployment of Anti-Ship Missiles to South China Sea Island


China Defends Deployment of Anti-Ship Missiles to South China Sea Island

A People's Liberation Army Y-62 missile launch on Woody Island that circulated on the Chinese language Internet last week via aviation site Alert5.

A People’s Liberation Army Y-62 missile launch on Woody Island that circulated on the Chinese language Internet last week via aviation site Alert5.

Beijing is defending the deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles to Woody Island in the South China Sea, according to a Wednesday statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.

“China’s deployment of national defense facilities on its own territory is reasonable and justified,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday.
“It has nothing to do with the so-called militarization.”

Last week, several international news outlets reported the Chinese fired an YJ-62 cruise missile from Woody Island based on images that emerged on the Chinese language Internet.

Woody Island is part of China’s disputed holdings in the Paracel Island off the coast of Vietnam. In the last few months, China has moved more offensive military hardware to the chain Beijing has controlled since the early 1970s.

Last month, news broke that China had deployed several HQ-9 anti-air missiles batteries to Woody Island after the U.S. conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FON op) near Chinese holdings at nearby Triton Island.

Then as now, the foreign ministry said moving military kit to Xisha Islands – the Chinese name for the Paracels – was well within their rights and the missiles were for defensive purposes.

News of the new missiles on Woody comes as little surprise to experts who have monitored the military developments in the region over the last several months.

“While the HQ-9 deployment was a big deal because it was the first observation of a major weapon system on Woody Island, the YJ-62 is really the second act that provides an anti-surface capability to complement the HQ-9’s anti-air,” Chris Carlson, a retired U.S. Navy captain and naval analyst told USNI News on Thursday.
“In my view, China is making it clear that any attempted intrusion, be it by air or on the ocean surface, will be met by their defenses.”

While in open conflict, the fixed position of the islands would make the missiles easy targets but the weapons could have a coercive effect to China’s neighbors and U.S. operations in peacetime, Bryan Clark, naval analyst Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) and former special assistant to past Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, told USNI News on Wednesday.

“In a conflict, the islands will be hard to defend, but their value is in curtailing U.S. peacetime operations and in the opening moves of a conflict when they can threaten U.S. forces with a surprise attack,” he said.
“If the U.S. deployed similar forces to Palawan [in the Philippines], it could similarly impact [People‘s Liberation Army] operations.”
There is a concern now that China could use the same rationale for deploying offensive weapons on its disputed artificial islands in the Spratly Island chain — closer to the Philippines.

“Chinese activities in the Paracels will likely at least partially presage activities in the Spratlys. Beijing may act as if it is using Paracels-based actions to signal — with the implication that they will deploy infrastructure and systems robustly in the Spratlys only if ‘forced’ to do so because Washington ignored Beijing’s message,” Andrew Erickson, a professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College, told USNI News on Wednesday.

In the last year-and-a half China has stepped up land reclamation efforts in the Spratlys, building facilities that could easily host military equipment.

  • Don Bacon

    “In my view, China is making it clear that any attempted intrusion, be it by air or on the ocean surface, will be met by their defenses.”
    Exactly. China is protecting its own security, which doesn’t harm the U.S.

    • sferrin

      Yep, it’s true, there’s one born every minute. Just to dumb it down for you, this latest stunt goes hand-in-hand with China’s militarization of the South China Sea and using intimidation on everybody in the area with a claim. Yes, yes, we all know you hate the US for selling your country the F-35 but get over it already. You cruise around from comment section to comment section trolling for all it’s worth like a petulant little child.

      • Michael Rich

        What country does he live in anyways?

        • Don Bacon

          I’m guessing that Chris Carlson, the retired U.S. Navy captain and naval analyst who I quoted, probably lives in the U.S.

          • Michael Rich

            I meant you.

      • Cocidius

        Pot calling the kettle black…

    • Zephon

      In light of the continued use of our Military – Naval assets making provocative transits around and Bombers makings runs over Chinese Islands that could be considered an attack.

      It only makes sense that China increase their abilities to defend their territory. We would do the same if the situation were reversed.

      • John B. Morgen

        How many times that Chinese bombers have flew over United States aircraft carriers, or how many times that Soviet bombers flew over American carriers. Under your reason, the United States would have been at war with both China and the Soviet Union many times over during the Cold War—a lone! China is lucky that Americans are [NOT] trigger happy of firing SAMs at Chinese/Soviet aircraft.

      • Cocidius

        Creating artificial islands hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland and then attempting to then enforcing bogus 12 mile limits from those points in international waters has nothing to do with their “territory”.

        • Lee Sk John

          Its already their territory when japan return them after ww2.

  • sferrin

    ““China’s deployment of national defense facilities on its own territory
    is reasonable and justified,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on
    Wednesday.

    “It has nothing to do with the so-called militarization.””

    Wow, that’s some serious double-speak. “What? Militarizing this island has nothing to do with militarizing this island.” And the useful idiots believe it.

    • .Hugo.

      if that’s called militarization, then the u.s. has militarized many places in the world too. 🙂

  • publius_maximus_III

    “If the U.S. deployed similar forces to Palawan [in the Philippines], it could similarly impact [People‘s Liberation Army] operations.”

    Sounds like a great idea to me. Have the plans on my desk in the morning, Admiral.

  • Hugh

    The Chinese are ramping up offensive weapons in their stated guise of being defensive. And do they intend to restrict commercial shipping and aircraft through the area? They are not only leading the region’s arms race, but are grossly outstripping all their neighbours in a bullying and threatening way. And are they going to interfere with innocent passage of naval vessels and overflights of military aircraft of other nations? Their aggressive tone is unambiguous.

  • John B. Morgen

    This is even more reason that the United States Navy should be building and deploying large cruisers (frigates) armed with 155 mm guns; and I am [not] referring about building anymore Zumwalt class, so-called destroyers. Or maybe we should be building a new generation class battleships, armed with automatic 16 inch guns or rail guns……We must block China from making the South China Sea into their [gold fish pond].

    • Don Bacon

      Why must the U.S. block China, what China actions are to be blocked, and how is China to be blocked? Without specifics, such talk is meaningless.

      • John B. Morgen

        China is a threat to free Trade and free navigation within the South China sea. The nation-states within this region need to reform SEATO, which will include Vietnam. Members of this reform organization will take political-military corrective action against China, if China does [NOT] respect the said rights of these neighboring nation-states. The United States and the members of this reform SEATO will need to enact a more aggressive rearmament programs, to assured free Trade and navigation within the South China Sea.

        • Zephon

          Over 80% of the shipping traversing the South China Sea goes to and from China! Why should we waste American blood and money defending Chinese shipping and territory when they want to do it for themselves?

          Just another Red Herring that the Warmongers want to promote – and the other one “resources” is also poor excuse for our continued containment of China.

          The only real reason to promote this war with China is that China has risen from the several hundred years of colonial subjugation and we don’t like that. Then again falling into a Peloponnesian Trap with a rising power is common in the history of mistaken and tragic wars created on false pretenses and bad alliances.

          • John B. Morgen

            Not all of trade that travels through the South China Sea is strictly for China because some of that trade also travels to South Korea, Japan and Russia. Your claim of several hundred of years of colonialism doesn’t stand up because after World War Two, China has maintained complete independence from foreign intrusions. Such claims are irrelevant now because no other nation-state has assert itself upon China since after World War II because China is now unified and military strong.
            China has learned from history that the stronger naval power will prevail over the lesser naval powers, if one wants to expand its territory with the use of military force. China is now acting as the belligerent naval power, which threatens the United States trade interests in the South China Sea, and such interests is worth protecting with American blood. The freedom of seas is at stake, and China wants to change all that by the use of its modern PLAN… the South China Sea will [NOT} be a Chinese pond.

        • Don Bacon

          China, one of the greatest traders in the world, is not a threat to free trade. What is the basis for that claim that you make?
          What China is against is provocative forays into its waters by US naval ships who are falsely claiming “innocent passage.”

          • Saf

            South China Sea militarization is a threat to the free trade of major US allies, not just US-China trade

          • John B. Morgen

            The South China Sea is still international waters, and it is [NOT} own by China or any other nation-state. It is China acting like an Imperial China by intimidating the lesser Asian nation-states into submission to China’s wishes. For many decades China has been relative a coastal naval power, which the Chinese have not really been bellicose with its neighboring Asian nation-states, except for Taiwan, but ever since China’s naval renaissance the Chinese have been quite adventurous and belligerent in the South China Sea……

  • olesalt

    What will the US do with this latest move? China is determined to show it is the overall “Master” of the South China Sea. The Chinese will watch developments, and their analysts are looking to confirm whether the US is just a “paper tiger”. Every country in the region is also watching US next moves. It is also reminding the next US President that China is a Force to be reckon with, and Asia is under its jurisdiction, not tolerating any US interference. Unless something decisive is done by the US, this Chinese domination will be confirmed in due course. Already Chinese fishing boats protected by their China Coast Guard patrol vessels have intruded into Indonesian & Malaysian territorial waters. Chinese Explanation: These fishing grounds are part of Chinese “traditional fishing areas”. Chinese strategy in domination is aggressive. Only way to deal with China is to be firm and decisive & never look weak.

    • John B. Morgen

      I agree but the United State should refer to our history experiences we had with Imperial Japan, when Commodore Matthew C. Perry sailed into Edo (Tokyo) Bay, Japan on 8 July 1853 to established relations with the Japanese. The first results were disastrous because Commodore Perry shown weakness before the Japanese government officials. Nevertheless, Commodore Perry returned to Japan on 13 February 1854, with eight warships instead of the original four warships. His second visit resulted the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa on 31 March 1854 with Imperial Japan, which opened up relations between the two nation-states.
      Showing weakness of any form will [not] be well received by any Asian power; including this modern day China. This profound new construction of the PLAN with modern designed warships had given the Chinese Dragon the will to be more aggressive for establishing the means of dominance over the South East Asia; including the South China Sea. The Chinese has read Admiral Mahan’s doctrine….

  • Curtis Conway

    It’s called “incrementalism”.

    • Don Bacon

      ..without any rational objective that might be attained.
      The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:
      Is a vital national security interest threatened?
      Do we have a clear attainable objective?
      Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
      Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
      Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
      Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
      Is the action supported by the American people?
      Do we have genuine broad international support?

      • Curtis Conway

        The United States has pursued a Service Based Economy with a vengeance for several decades, making us almost totally dependent on imports for most of the things Americans need. Manufacturing has mostly moved overseas. Except for these items that fall under NAFTA (North american solution for the problem) the economy of the United States relies heavily on imports (e.g., open Sea Lines Of Communications [SLOCs]). Are we getting the picture yet? many of those goods come from the pacific, and yes that includes China. However, if we give up Freedom of Navigation of the sea lines of communications to a foreign power, then we deserve everything we get in return, including mandatory tariffs of what ever. Getting that back will cost blood and lots of it. This administration, and yes the two before it, have taken us to this place in time, space, and HiStory. How’s them apples?

        • Don Bacon

          I am trying to understand your argument which is difficult since you aren’t specific. Apparently you are concerned that China by putting defensive missiles on islands might somehow use them to form a blockade of, for example, Vietnamese clothing bound for the U.S. via the SCS?

          • Curtis Conway

            When defensive missiles are placed where none were previously present, and none are needed, they can only be used for one thing. This is an escalation. At one time Woody Island was a potential vacation destination. Try flying there now.

          • Don Bacon

            No. Defensive missiles are for defense, including deterring attack. The US has been sending warships, China responded with defense. That’s completely normal.
            Now you’re on vacations. What about your concern about commerce?

          • Curtis Conway

            Don, I bet you have brown eyes . . . I’m done!

          • sferrin

            Just ignore him. He’s a troll. Go around the internet and you’ll see him on various military boards dancing around with his pom-poms anytime the topic turns to something that hurts the US or it’s interests.

          • Lee Sk John

            Not all that side chinas action are troll.
            He writes with wisdom and logic.

        • publius_maximus_III

          German princes built castles all up and down the Rhine River, not for national defense, but to exact tolls from passing river boat captains, and to hold them in their dungeons until their demands were met. As the Black Knight likes to say, “None shall pass.”

          • Curtis Conway

            Thank you for identifying that ancient mindset and spirit that pursues these kinds of policies that benefits a small minority who doesn’t need the help, at the expense of those who need the help. Our nation is not served, and our security (and jobs) is less due to loss of manufacturing capability. We would have a hard time building a nuclear power plant in the United States using American parts today. Sound like a good thing to you?

          • publius_maximus_III

            We “re-learn” lessons from the past at our own peril.

  • Zephon

    Every country has a right to defend their territory. China is doing what I would expect us to do if a foreign country were using their military in simulated attacks on our territory. Something we have done to China time after time again – most recently with Naval combatant ships and Air Force bombers over Chinese Islands.

    • Zephon

      Funny thing is the US Navy helped China recover these Islands in the South China Sea – in both the Paracel and Spratly chain of Islands. And this US Navy help is one of the reasons why the largest and only naturally habitable Islands there are still manned by the Chinese to this day since their return from Japan per Japan’s peace treaties and surrender agreements ending WWII!

      • Zephon

        The destroyer USS Decker was one of the assets we gave China at the end of WWII. They renamed it the KMT Taiping for Taiping Island in the Spratly Chain of islands. Taiping Island is the largest in that chain and the only naturally habitable one there.

        Taiping Island translates to “Peace Island” (renamed at it’s return) for the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty, also called the Treaty of Taipei that was signed by only China and Japan that specifically includes the South China Sea Islands as territory Japan returns to China ending WWII hostilities.

        • John B. Morgen

          The USS Decker (DE-47) was transferred to the Nationalist Chinese and was renamed RCON Tai Ping in 1946. On November 14, 1954, the Tai Ping was attacked and sunk by the PLAN’s motor torpedo boats off of the Tachen Island.

          • Zephon

            Correct.

      • Lee Sk John

        Usa back then was white knight now became dark vaders.

        • Cocidius

          Perhaps you can try speaking better English when posting here

          • Lee Sk John

            I am trying to improve.
            just to correct u, trying to write better english rather than speak.

          • .Hugo.

            never mind that, english is only one of the 6 official languages in the u.n. 🙂

        • .Hugo.

          also when it was the roc/nationlist china that the u.s. was helping, not communist china. 🙂

    • Cocidius

      “Every country has a right to defend their territory.”

      Creating artificial islands and enforcing bogus EEZ’s 500 miles from mainland China has absolutely nothing to do with their “territory”.

      There are also countless examples in the last 10 years of the Chinese military conducting war games that simulate attacks on other nations (Taiwan is a perfect example).

      • .Hugo.

        wrong logic there.

        the artificial islands are built inside chinese maritime territory announced long before the reclamation. 😉

        taiwan is also not “other nation” but the roc government on the chinese province of taiwan. even the current roc government admits that. 🙂

  • Zephon

    Here is a quote from State Dept South China Sea expert Ambassador Chas Freeman on the recent Obama pivot to contain China in the South China Sea:

    “In practice, as some in the region recall, long before the United
    States turned against them as part of its “pivot to Asia” in 2010,
    America had supported China’s claims in the Paracels and Spratlys. The
    U.S. Navy facilitated China’s replacement of Japan’s military presence
    in both island groups in 1945 because it considered that they were
    either part of Taiwan, as Japan had declared, or – in the words of the
    Cairo Declaration – among other “territories Japan [had] stolen from the
    Chinese” to “be restored to the Republic of China.” From 1969 to 1971,
    the United States operated a radar station in the Spratlys at Taiping
    Island, under the flag of the Republic of China..

    Neither the Paracels nor the Spratlys ever mattered to the United
    States at all (except as hazards to navigation) until they became
    symbols of Washington’s determination to curtail the rise of China’s
    power along its periphery. No country with claims to the Spratlys
    interferes with shipping or peacetime naval transit in the South China
    Sea. Nor does any party in the region have an interest in threatening
    commerce transiting it. The South China Sea is every littoral nation’s
    jugular. China and the other countries on the South China Sea have a
    far greater stake in assuring freedom of navigation in and through it
    than the United States does.’

  • Bill

    Dare we hope for a major typhoon to scourge these islands?

    • John B. Morgen

      The typhoons are coming, and we will see rather or not that Mother Nature is still Master of the South China Sea. Or a tsunami will destroy these Chinese out-posts islands. “Don’t mess with “Mother Nature.”

    • .Hugo.

      guess you will be disappointed, for the area has already seen many huge typhoons. china has simply excelled in the area of infrastructure constructions in severe conditions. 🙂

  • Duke

    Once again the Obozo Clown Posse leaves a giant vacuum in world leadership and it’s filled by the communists. He’s making us sooooo proud!

  • Zephon

    Foreign Policy magazine 1/15/16 has an article by Dan De Luce and Keith Johnson titled “How FP Stumbled into a War With China – and Lost”. It goes over scenarios of a war regarding China protecting their sovereign territory after an incursion by Japanese activists. The war game played unfolds with great tragedy for Americans and the Japanese… Thinking of the South China Sea where a similar engagement could occur whether planned or as an unintended consequence would mean the basic destruction and loss of life for our military and allies across the region.

    The hallmark sentence from the war game scenario “To get into this fight is a strategic failure of the first magnitude.”

    • Zephon

      Here is a quote/conclusion of that article:

      “Chastened at the results, we came away with several conclusions after our quick-and-dirty foray into the East China Sea.

      First, alliances can be dangerous things, as the ancient Athenians learned more than 2,000 years ago when their allies in Corcyra sucked them into the Peloponnesian War.

      Second, it’s hard to put a lot of defense into the mutual defense treaty with Japan. Its ships, aircraft, and home islands are all vulnerable, even if any attacking force would suffer huge casualties. Missile defense, in particular, is exceptionally difficult — if not impossible — given China’s vast and lethal missile arsenal.

      Third, China’s military advances have totally changed the game for all sides. A decade ago, Japan could have fended off any challenge in the Senkakus all by itself. Now, China has a modern navy, a vast array of ballistic and cruise missiles, an effective air force, and increasingly sophisticated drones.

      Fourth, America’s super aircraft carriers are a bit of an albatross. They are vulnerable as never before to long-range strikes, especially from Chinese anti-ship missiles. But the steps needed to safely bring carriers into the fight either escalate matters (striking at Chinese missile sites) or reduce the ships’ effectiveness (by having to operate at a safe distance.) Conversely, American stealthy attack submarines are very useful operationally — but perhaps lead to more trouble at the strategic level. Ordering a submarine strike is a tempting option, perhaps too tempting; as we saw, a submarine’s risk-free ability to inflict punishment drew us into a state of war with China.

      And finally, for all three countries in our scenario, nationalism is hugely powerful and potentially deadly. It sparked the initial spat, fueled each successive escalatory step, and severely constrained each nation’s available responses as the crisis escalated.”

  • Zephon

    Look at what Japan is doing with territory that is disputed – such as Yonaguni island that should still be part of the Ryukyu Kingdom’s people centered in Okinawa. Japan is building a new Naval and Air base there… why is the US Navy and State Dept not making a big deal about that militarization?

    • Cocidius

      A better question is why Japan feels the need to build a new military base.

      One needs to look no further than the activities of the Chinese military in and around Japanese territorial waters to see why Japan feels threatened.

    • Zephon

      Yonaguni island is 1100 miles away from the nearest Japanese Kyushu Island that was agreed upon by the victors in WWII as Japanese territory; Hence Yonaguni is disputed as Japanese territory – yet only 110 miles from the nearest Chinese Island of Taiwan returned to China after WWII from Japan… Japan building these new bases for their Navy and Air Force is certainly provocative to the Chinese.

      And we complain about China’s militarization of their territory defending it from more Japanese encroachment.

      Also compare Okinotorishima reef where Japan has spent hundreds of millions putting in steel and concrete to support a submerged reef 1300 miles away from Japan so they could stake out a 200 mile EEZ from it in 2003… absurd for our hypocrisy for not telling Japan that such a submerged reef is no part of Japan and has no territorial rights!

      • Zephon

        Time to stop the genocide of the Ryukyu people and return to them their lands and dignity.

        • Lee Sk John

          China will deal with okinawa together with diao yu when the time is ripe.

  • Bill

    We are clearly losing the “Internet Troll Race” to the ChiComs.

    • John B. Morgen

      Don’t give the ship! All hands on deck!

    • juliet7bravo

      We have not yet began to bloviate!

  • Lee Sk John

    Since usa have sent warships close to china borders she has the right in defence.
    China even has the right to question thelegitimacy of usa rule over the pacific islands.

    • publius_maximus_III

      We won ’em fair and square…

      • Lee Sk John

        In that case since there was no natives, China won south china sea even fair amd square.

        • publius_maximus_III

          OK then, Lee, we’ll trade you “our” uninhabited moon for it… Nah, never mind.

  • Papasan Pauly

    A lot of people are looking at this all wrong. If China seizes control of South China Sea and starts shooting we simply pull back and pick them off in the open. If they very unwisely attempt a breakout their surface forces will lack fleet based air cover which will require continuous land based air to protect them. That will make them easy prey in deep water. Same will hold true for their submarines because without coordinated air and surface support we’ll simply hunt them down and kill them with hunter killer groups.

    People can come up with all the theory and simulations they want but nothing replaces real world combat experience gained over decades at high cost. We won’t fire first … we never do so if China makes that big mistake it’s game over and they lose.

  • Lex Barber

    From an Australian perspective with much experience in Indonesia its not as bad as you all think! There are alternatives for shipping to North Asia from the Indian Ocean. Your President just needs to bring Indonesia into the picture. If the South China sea is a problem, just go around it and that Duerta in the Philippines. Indonesia would love and desperately need some revenue from a shipping hub in Eastern Indonesia. They will never accept China as strategically dominant over their country. A deal just needs to be made!
    I would say that the worry is that the old non democratic guard and Indonesian military are
    re-positioning themselves by releasing the Golem of intolerance. I think
    they see the huge economic potential of being the new US stalwart ally
    in South East Asia now that the Philippines is bought by China. The
    economic benefit of becoming the main shipping hub to North Asia from
    the Indian Ocean through the Wallace line and the potential of a new
    Singapore being built in Indonesia is very attractive, given that the
    Malacca strait will become but one rout and South China sea will be
    controlled by China. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Military comes back
    completely like in Thailand or at the very least they will wring huge
    concessions from Jokawi to shore up their economic position in the new
    suddenly strategically important Indonesia. Having sold its Northern
    port Australia has made a shortsighted strategic move as the center of
    refueling transport for shipping moves South towards our continent.