Chinese Shijiazhuang missile destroyer at a Russian port in 2017. Photo: Yuri Smityuk/TASS via Getty Images

China has deployed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on several of the outposts it built in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, first reported by CNBC and the Chinese foreign ministry confirmed, per the Sydney Morning Herald.

Why it matters: The South China Sea is among the more potentially volatile of the growing number of flash points between the U.S. and China. U.S. threats of "consequences" are likely viewed as hollow, given how few options the U.S. has, short of war, to dislodge the Chinese from these massively expanded bases.

"There will be near-term and long-term consequences."
Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, said in response

Unhelpful ally: In response to the report of the missile deployment, according to Al Jazeera, a Philippine presidential spokesman said: "With our recently developed close relationship and friendship with China, we are confident that those missiles are not directed at us."

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