China May Have Deployed Anti-Ship Missiles on Paracel Islands

March 24, 2016 Updated: April 10, 2016

New images suggest the Chinese regime has deployed anti-ship cruise missiles on Woody Island, in its latest move to weaponize disputed territory in the South China Sea.

An image of a YJ-62 anti-ship missiles being fired on what appears to be Woody Island was posted on China’s Weibo blog on March 20. The missile has a 248-mile range, and is designed to sink modern warships.

Richard Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, explained the validity of the image in a report from intelligence company IHS Jane’s.

Fisher said the image of the missile is consistent with photos of the YJ-62 published in Chinese military magazines. He also notes the image “shows a radar dome that the Chinese blogger makes a strong case for being on Woody Island.”

The development would be consistent with recent Chinese news reports. A report from the South China Morning Post said the Chinese regime may deploy anti-ship missiles and other advanced weapons to islands in the South China Sea.

The Chinese news outlets cited Li Jie, senior researcher at the Chinese regime’s People’s Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, making the claims.

China has been in the process of weaponizing the islands—some of which it seized, and some of which it constructed itself.

The Chinese regime recently deployed jets, radar, and anti-air missiles on the islands. Reports also suggest it is building a helicopter base for anti-submarine warfare.

By weaponizing the islands, the Chinese regime is moving closer to what defense analysts have been warning about for years. They say China is trying to establish an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy to gain military control over the region.

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