Vietnam’s deputy defense minister said on Saturday that reports China had placed mobile artillery weapons on a reclaimed island in the disputed South China Sea were, if true, a very worrying development. “If it has actually happened it is a very bad sign for what is already a very complicated situation in the South China Sea,” General Nguyen Chi Vinh told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a security forum in Singapore.

The United States said on Friday that China had placed mobile artillery weapons on a reclaimed island in the disputed South China Sea. Analysts said the artillery could pose a threat to nearby Vietnamese bases, also on disputed territory. The development was described by the Pentagon as one that creates more “uncertainty” in a situation that has grown increasingly tense over the past six months after satellite images showed significant land reclamation activities by China. The U.S. says the Chinese have added some 2,000 acres to five outposts in the resource-rich Spratly islands, including 1,500 acres this year. FULL REPORT