US Says China Had Artillery Vehicles on Artificial Island in South China Sea

US officials announced Friday that two large artillery vehicles were detected on one of the artificial islands that China is creating in the South China Sea, underscoring ongoing concerns that Beijing may be trying to use the land reclamation projects for military purposes. The discovery was made at least several weeks ago by the United States, but it was not clear if the weapons were still there or if they had been moved or hidden out of sight. US officials, however, have been watching the rapidly expanding land reclamation by China, which, according to estimates, totals more than 2,000 acres in the South China Sea. The revelation comes as defense secretary Ash Carter begins an 11-day trip, including several stops in the Asia Pacific.