The White House warned China Thursday of "consequences" for its ongoing militarization of the hotly contested waters of the South China Sea.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued the warning while she was responding to a question regarding CNBC's report that China had installed missile systems on outposts in the Spratly Islands, which are two-thirds of the way east from southern Vietnam to the southern Philippines.
"We're well-aware of China's militarization of the South China Sea," Sanders told reporters. "There will be near-term and long-term consequences."
The Pentagon also weighed in on the development.
"We have been very vocal about our concerns about them militarizing these artificial islands," Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White said. "China has to realize that they have benefited from the free navigation of the sea and the U.S. Navy has been the guarantor of that."