Washington Times


Woody island missiles

Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough

June 15, 2001

Inside the Ring

Woody island missiles China is fortifying its South China Sea forces with new air defense missiles, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Surveillance of Woody island showed the recent deployment of HY-2 Seersucker anti-ship missiles. The missiles could be used to threaten or sink the large number of ships that pass through the strategic waterway. For example, most of Japan´s imported oil travels on tankers that pass through the South China Sea.

Woody island, part of the Paracel Islands, has become a major military outpost for Chinese forces in recent years.

Navy strategists say the Chinese military is progressively expanding its power farther into the South China Sea. It is part of China´s "island chain strategy" that calls for increasingly advancing China´s control farther and farther from its borders through what Beijing has identified as two island chains stretching from the South China Sea all the way to the North Pacific.

The HY-2 is a long-range anti-ship cruise missile capable of sinking destroyers up to 3,000 tons. The discovery followed recent Chinese military exercises on Woody island earlier this month that included an amphibious landing by Chinese marines.