China says defense facilities on islands had been in place for years

February 17, 2016 10:43


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BEIJING - China's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday defense facilities on "relevant islands and reefs" had been in place for many years, when asked whether China had deployed a surface-to-air missile system on one of the disputed islands it controls in the South China Sea.

The Paracel Islands are China's territory, so China is within its rights to deploy defense facilities there, the ministry added in a statement to Reuters.

"China's air and naval defensive deployments on the relevant islands and reefs have existed for many years," the statement said, adding that reports by certain western media were nothing but "hype".

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