China Installs Rocket Launchers on South China Sea

Beijing continues to inflame tensions with its neighbors along the South China Sea after installing rocket launchers along the Fiery Cross Reef, according to state-run newspaper Defense Times.

The publication reports China installed Norinco CS/AR-1 55mm anti-frogman rocket launcher defense systems to protect itself against military combat divers from Vietnam, a neighbor that also lays claims to the South China Sea. The reported military buildup would add to China’s militarization of the disputed waters. However, Beijing maintains it is merely building up defenses in its own territory – something the United States disagrees with. In the past, former President Barack Obama often sent Naval ships into the territory to uphold what it says is freedom of navigation.

Fiery Cross Reef is administered by China but also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

China claims virtually all the South China Sea, a lucrative waterway that seed more than $5 trillion worth of trade pass through it each year.