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China deployed artillery in S.China Sea: US officials

An aerial photo shows Thitu Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea on July 20, 2011China recently deployed two artillery pieces on one of its artificial islands in the South China Sea, an unprecedented move that suggests Beijing is trying to extend its military reach in the contested waters, US officials said Friday. The heavy weapons, since removed, posed no security threat but their positioning — within range of territory claimed by Vietnam — underscored Washington’s concerns that China is pursuing a massive island-building project for military purposes, officials said. It is the first time that China has been accused of deploying artillery or other weaponry on their manmade islands in the area.

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