Vietnam sends rocket launchers to South China Sea

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Maritime rocket launcherVietnam has discreetly moved new mobile rocket launchers to the disputed South China Sea to fortify several of its islands. The launchers are reportedly capable of striking China’s runways and military installations across the area, Reuters cites Western intelligence officials.

According to the report, Hanoi has shipped the launchers from the Vietnamese mainland into position on five bases in the Spratly Islands in recent months, a move likely to raise tensions with Beijing. The launchers have been hidden from aerial surveillance and they have yet to be armed, but could be made operational with rocket artillery rounds within two or three days.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry did not confirm the report and denied it had such launchers or weapons ready in the Spratlys but reserved the right to take any such measures.

“It is within our legitimate right to self-defense to move any of our weapons to any area at any time within our sovereign territory,” the ministry said.

The move is a reaction to China building up runways, radars and other military installations on seven islands it reclaimed in the Spratlys archipelago.

Vietnam, China and Taiwan claim all of the Spratlys while the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim some of the area.

China took its first Spratlys possessions after a sea battle against Vietnam’s then weak navy in 1988. After the battle, Vietnam said 64 soldiers with little protection were killed as they tried to protect a flag on South Johnson reef – an incident still remembered in Hanoi.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Vietnam has discreetly moved new mobile rocket launchers to the disputed South China Sea to fortify several of its islands. The launchers are reportedly capable of striking China’s runways and military installations across the area, Reuters cites Western intelligence officials.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Maritime rocket launcherVietnam has discreetly moved new mobile rocket launchers to the disputed South China Sea to fortify several of its islands. The launchers are reportedly capable of striking China’s runways and military installations across the area, Reuters cites Western intelligence officials.

According to the report, Hanoi has shipped the launchers from the Vietnamese mainland into position on five bases in the Spratly Islands in recent months, a move likely to raise tensions with Beijing. The launchers have been hidden from aerial surveillance and they have yet to be armed, but could be made operational with rocket artillery rounds within two or three days.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry did not confirm the report and denied it had such launchers or weapons ready in the Spratlys but reserved the right to take any such measures.

“It is within our legitimate right to self-defense to move any of our weapons to any area at any time within our sovereign territory,” the ministry said.

The move is a reaction to China building up runways, radars and other military installations on seven islands it reclaimed in the Spratlys archipelago.

Vietnam, China and Taiwan claim all of the Spratlys while the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim some of the area.

China took its first Spratlys possessions after a sea battle against Vietnam’s then weak navy in 1988. After the battle, Vietnam said 64 soldiers with little protection were killed as they tried to protect a flag on South Johnson reef – an incident still remembered in Hanoi.

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