The Trump administration is demanding that China remove all advanced missiles deployed on disputed islands in the South China Sea, the first time such a demand has been made public.
The call to take out the anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles was disclosed in a fact sheet from the State Department on Friday outlining the results of a strategic dialogue between senior U.S. and Chinese officials.
"The United States called on China to withdraw its missile systems from disputed features in the Spratly Islands, and reaffirmed that all countries should avoid addressing disputes through coercion or intimidation," the statement said.
The Pentagon disclosed in June that China has fielded advanced anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles and electronic jamming equipment on the Spratly Islands, a group of reefs and islets located close to U.S. ally Philippines that China claims as its own territory. Military officials said the missiles threaten U.S. warships and aircraft that have stepped up freedom of navigation operations near the islands in a bid to counter Chinese claims to control over 90 percent of the South China Sea.