China has nearly completed the construction of military and dual-use objects on the disputed islands in the South China Sea, according to the report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the USA (CSIS) titled "Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative".
Its director Greg Poling told Voice of America that new antennas had been spotted on Subi and Fiery Cross, so he expected deployments there soon.
AMTI said China's three air bases in the Spratlys and another on Woody Island in the Paracel chain further north would allow its military aircraft to operate over almost the entire South China Sea, a key global trade route that Beijing claims most of.
"This is a new proposal, a bilateral consultation mechanism specifically on the South China Sea", spokesman Charles Jose told reporters.
Duterte said he told Kim that he was surprised by what he described as US inaction when newspapers were publishing pictures of China's construction of runways and other structures on the newly built islands in the disputed waters.
These features appear on the Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross reefs, all part of the Spratly chain - which the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei lay partial or complete claim to also.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said during his first overseas trip in February said that China had "shredded the trust" of its neighbors, and advocated for a diplomatic solution to the conflicting regional claims.
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Earlier this month, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop rejected calls for joint Australian and Indonesian naval patrols in the South China Sea.
During President Rodrigo Duterte's birthday eve meeting with US Ambassador Sung Kim, he apparently demanded to know why the US did not send its navy to stop China from building a runway on reclaimed land in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
In a speech delivered at People's Day in Oriental Mindoro, Duterte said that during his Monday's meeting with Kim in Davao City, he had raised his concern over U.S. failure to stop China's activities in the contested waters.
China is believed to have installed HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles at Woody Island more than a year ago and had deployed anti-ship cruise missiles there on at least one occasion. The only area they don't have covered is the north east-and this is why the Scarborough Shoal, or reef, just 150 miles off the Philippines coast (and 400 miles away from China) is so important and so contentious.
China claims almost all of the sea, even waters approaching the coasts of the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations.
In a press briefing in Beijing, a transcript of which was posted in the official website of the Chinese Embassy in Manila, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said the two sides agreed during the 20th round of Sino-Philippine diplomatic consultation last January to establish a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue, with the two foreign ministries as the coordinators, to discuss issues of mutual concern and promote maritime cooperation and security.