*Satellite images taken last month show deployment of a surveillance drone
*The Harbin BZK-005 drone doesn't appear to have been armed in the image
*Comes as tensions heighten around Woody Island in the South China Sea
*As well as China, Taiwan and Vietnam have laid claim to disputed territory
It comes as tensions escalate in the region of the disputed
Island, with China, Taiwan
each claiming the land. Vietnam
The images, obtained from ImageSat International (ISI), show the deployment of the Chinese Harbin BZK-005 long-range reconnaissance drone.
The drone doesn't yet have the capability to fire missiles, and it doesn't appear to be armed in the satellite images taken last month.
The images, obtained from ImageSat International (ISI), show the deployment of the Chinese Harbin BZK-005 long-range reconnaissance drone
However it can remain airborne for 40 hours, and is primarily used for surveillance.
Further satellite images taken of the island show that HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles that had been stored in one site on the northern part of the island have been transferred to other locations.
The move has most likely been made to make them more difficult to destroy in the eventuality of an airstrike.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook has acknowledged that the Pentagon has ‘concerns’ about
behaviour in the region. China
‘You’ve heard us talk at length [about] our concerns about militarisation in the South China Sea, not just by
he said at a press conference. China
Further satellite images taken of the island show that HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles that had been stored in one site on the northern part of the island have been transferred to other locations
It comes as tensions escalate in the region of the disputed Woody Island, with China, Taiwan and Vietnam each claiming the land
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Pictured, satellite imagery shows additional activity on the disputed Woody Island, including two launchers partially covered by camouflage nets
China first built a runway on Woody Island, which is located in the Paracel chain of islands in the South China Sea, in the 1990s
[Video: In November China Warned US to Stop Meddling in South China Sea]
It comes just the day after reports that
US has stepped up its deterrence measures around
the South China Sea in recent months, due to
an international territorial dispute.
Malaysia, Taiwan and have overlapping claims. Brunei
Washington has accused Beijing of militarising the sea after creating some 3,200 acres of artificial islands atop former rocks and reefs farther south in the Spratly Islands, while Beijing, in turn, has criticised increased US naval patrols and exercises in Asia.