Maritime Asia Transparency Initiative (MTI) at the Center for Strategic Studies said they also detected the hexagon-shaped building in the Fiery Cross reef, Mischief and Subi in the Spratly Islands since June and July.

The findings were in contrast to the fact that China has previously insisted that it has no intention to establish military power in the strategic trade route, claimed by some neighboring countries including Malaysia.

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China had earlier said that the construction was done on an artificial island that is open to the public and is absolutely legitimate and normal to maintain it.

“Arms and the possibility of the existence of weapons of defense close range (CIWS) shows that Beijing seriously maintain contingency involving armed artificial island in the South China Sea.

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“Among other things, they will be the last line of defense against a missile fired by a US or a country that is targeted to the airbase,” the group said, referring to a photo that seems to indicate the aircraft hangar being built in the area.

Chinese Defense Ministry, however, said in a statement, the placement of military equipment in the disputed Spratly Islands is valid in terms of the law.