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Courtesy: The Center for Strategic and International Studies

New satellite images show China put weapons on its disputed South China Sea islands


China has reportedly put weapons on its controversial South China Sea islands.

Anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems

The Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a report late Wednesday that the anti-aircraft guns and close-in weapons systems designed to guard against missile attack have been placed on all seven of China's newly created islands, according to the Associated Press.

CSIS based its conclusions on satellite images taken in November and published on the website of its Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.

Trump tweeted about the islands this month saying Beijing didn't ask to build a military complex.

'Appropriate and legal'

In a statement, China's Defense Ministry repeated that development on the islands was mainly for civilian purposes, but added that defensive measures were "appropriate and legal."

"For example, were someone to be threatening you with armed force outside your front door, would you not get ready even a slingshot?" the ministry statement said. 

Beijing says the islands are intended to boost maritime safety in the region.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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