China has deployed anti-ship cruise missiles, and surface-to-air missiles in at least four locations among its military installations in the South China Sea, it was confirmed this week. "We've raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this and there will be near-term and long-term consequences", Sanders said.
China's installment of missile systems on the Spratly Islands comes amid another move by the country that is a cause for concern in the region.
Fiery Cross Reef in January 2018 - one of the locations of the missile deployments.
The South China Sea issue has been brewing for years and involves both island and maritime claims from several countries within the region, namely Brunei, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The US has made a habit of backing all claims in the South China Sea so long as they conflict with China's.
China "hopes relevant parties can objectively and calmly view this", she added. "Visits of ships are really fantastic, ships (and) carriers demonstrate our commitment to the US-Philippines alliance, the region, and also to do whatever we can to protect global flights, freedom of navigation and overflight", Kim said during the "Kapihan sa Embahada" at the US Embassy in Manila.
"The further militarisation of outposts will only serve to raise tensions and create greater distrust among claimants", the official said. "All we can do is manage it", Koh said. Dispute the controversy, China has been carrying land-reclamation efforts, building artificial reefs and has established air bases, radar and communication systems, naval facilities and defensive weaponry.
China could use the bases to challenge the USA regional presence, and "would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants".
But the US Navy itself frequently sends warships and aircraft carriers to patrol the area.
Last month, U.S. Admiral Philip Davidson, nominated to head U.S. Pacific Command, said China's "forward operating bases" in the South China Sea appeared complete.
U.S. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, US, May 3, 2018.
On the topic of the South China Sea, Xi said at the time that "China does not intend to pursue militarization".