Gov't airs concern over China missile deployment

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A crewmember walks by a flight line of fighter jets aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt during a visit by the American aircraft carrier to Manila Bay, April 13, 2018.

"We are concerned with the reported China's missile deployments over the contested areas in the West Philippine Sea", Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

When asked about the report, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, "We're well aware of China's militarization of the South China Sea".

CNBC reported the missiles were moved to the Spratlys within the past 30 days to Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief Reefs.

The network said the YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles permitted China to strike vessels within 295 nautical miles. It said the HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missiles could target aircraft, drones, and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles. The report did not name the source but said the information came from US intelligence.

"Our interest is clear".

Further, Pentagon chief spokeswoman Dana White reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the worldwide waters.

"We are taking it seriously".

CNBC first broke the story, citing sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports who said the missile platforms were deployed on the outposts within the past 30 days.

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Malacañang on Friday said it "would explore all diplomatic means to address this issue". "The second thing would be to call in the ambassador from China into the Palace for talking to." he said. "Unfortunately, these actions happen without even a whimper of protest from the Philippine government", Zarate said. Statements from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the island build-ups and point-defense systems did not constitute "militarization" were a rhetorical strain on the term, but it is true that those earlier systems had mostly defensive utility and were broadly non-threatening.

"We will continue to work with all countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea", she added.

China on Thursday defended the deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems in the disputed, saying it has "indisputable sovereignty" over the area.

"Contrary to the freedom of navigation, it poses a serious security concern for the entire region because it means that whoever traverses those areas are well within China's missile range", the official, who requested anonymity, said.

"You can not just tell China that you are prohibited here..." It's a big challenge for our diplomats around the world.

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"We are hopeful with the developments in North Korea and we hope it will go well".

Philippine Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto urged President Rodrigo Duterte to use his "warm personal relationship" with Chinese leaders to stop China from militarizing islands in the sea. "And there are possibilities of cooperating without damaging your own claim", he said.

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