Tension in the South China Sea

Notable events leading up to Wednesday's news that China had put anti-aircraft missiles on a South China Sea island:

January 2015: China begins construction on airstrip at Fiery Cross Reef. The airstrip will have an estimated final length of 1.93 miles, long enough for any Chinese military aircraft.

May 20, 2015: A U.S. P8-A surveillance plane carrying a CNN crew flies over disputed territories in the South China Sea to monitor China's island-building processes. The flight triggers eight warnings from the Chinese Navy.

May 29, 2015: In a speech in Singapore, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter calls for an "immediate and lasting halt" to China's land reclamation projects.

June 16, 2015: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announces that "as planned, the land reclamation project" will soon be completed on some islands and reefs. He notes that China will continue to build facilities on them.

September 2015: China completes the 1.93-mile runway.

Oct. 29, 2015: An arbitration court in The Hague says that it has jurisdiction to hear territorial claims the Philippines has filed against China over disputed areas in the South China Sea. China rejects the court's authority.

Nov. 5, 2015: Carter visits the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the South China Sea. "Being here … is a symbol and signifies the stabilizing presence that the United States has had in this part of the world for decades," he says.

Nov. 8, 2015: Two U.S. B-52 bombers take off from Guam and fly around the Spratly Islands near China's artificial islands. Chinese air traffic controllers on the ground warns one of the U.S. aircrafts that it had "violated the security of my reef."

Nov. 24-29, 2015: The Hague tribunal hears oral arguments in the Philippines case against China.

Dec. 10, 2015: Two U.S. B-52 bombers get within 12 nautical miles of China's man-made islands. China's Defense Ministry calls it a "serious military provocation."

Jan. 28, 2016: Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou visits a disputed Taiwan-controlled islet in the South China Sea and calls for peace among claimants of the disputed territories.

Feb. 13, 2016: New satellite images show construction of Chinese helicopter landing sites on a disputed island.

Los Angeles Times