According to US intelligence sources, "intelligence assessments say the missile platforms were moved to the outposts in the Spratly Islands within the past 30 days". It cited sources who divulged the information seeking anonymity. "China's activities in the South China Sea is to uphold our sovereignty and territorial integrity".
These incidents were then followed by a massive display of Chinese military might in the sea on April 12, culminating in a parade led by Beijing's only aircraft carrier and personally reviewed by President Xi Jinping. China lays claim to a number of disputed islands and territories, which often results in touchy situations during routine drills.
"We are concerned with the reported China's missile deployments over the contested areas in the West Philippine Sea", Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement.
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary also warned of "consequences" over the ongoing military buildup.
A 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China's claims to the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei had "no legal basis".
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According to sources, the missile system was deployed on several artificial Islands, built by the Chinese in the disputed Spratly archipelago.
Roque said that while the Philippines maintaines "close" relations with China, Manila would seek a diplomatic solution to address the recent development.
"We don't comment on matters of intelligence", a spokesman said. The HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missile, on the other hand, can target aircraft, drones, and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles. "When China sees that it can get away with these types of actions with little cost ... it only makes it more likely they will keep pressing", he said. "Once occupied, China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania", Davidson said.
Last month, U.S. Admiral Philip Davidson, nominated to head U.S. Pacific Command, said China could use its "forward operating bases" in the South China Sea to challenge the U.S. regional presence and "would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea claimants".