/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe/Handout via Reuters REUTERS
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Beijing is installing radar facilities on its artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, an American think tank has said, in a move analysts warned would "exponentially improve" the country's monitoring capacities.U.S. Navy Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told lawmakers in Washington Tuesday that the installation of radars and other equipment was raising the stakes in the region.Asked about the radar installations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday that the area was Chinese territory "beyond dispute" and Beijing was entitled under international law to the "necessary and limited deployment of defense facilities".Beijing says it defends the right to free passage, and insists its island building has civilian purposes, such as search and rescue facilities, as well as military.A host of installations with potential military use are being developed, according to CSIS, including as many as three runways – at least one of them 3,000 meters long.
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