China deploys fighters to disputed South China Sea island

China deploys fighters to disputed South China Sea island
Woody Island, Paracels. (Image via maritime-executive.com)

In a move likely to further increase already volatile tensions in the region, China has deployed fighter jets to a contested island in the South China Sea, the same island where China deployed surface-to-air missiles last week, two U.S. officials tell Fox News.

The dramatic escalation came as Secretary of State John Kerry hosted his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, at the State Department.

Wang said Tuesday he hoped that “close up” military flights and patrols by U.S. Navy ships over the contested islands would end.

Kerry said he wanted China to end its militarization of the contested islands in the South China Sea.

“We want to halt the expansion and the militarization of occupied features,” he said.

His Chinese counterpart added that he didn’t want to see any more U.S. military over flights or patrols. …

Kerry however refused to blame China directly for the military buildup in the South China Sea.

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