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Military

Iran Press TV

China defends construction work on disputed islands

Iran Press TV

Sun May 31, 2015 4:58AM

A Chinese military official says his country's ongoing construction work on disputed islands in the South China Sea has defense purposes and is meant to enhance China's capabilities toward meeting its international obligations, including those regarding environmental issues.

Admiral Sun Jianguo, the deputy chief of the general staff department in the People's Liberation Army, said, "China has carried out construction on some islands and reefs in the South China Sea mainly for the purpose of improving the functions of the relevant islands and reefs."

Addressing the security summit Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, he added, "Apart from meeting the necessary defense needs, it is more geared to better perform China's international responsibilities and obligations regarding maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and relief, maritime scientific research, meteorological observation, environmental protection, safety of navigation, fishery production, services."

Sun was speaking a day after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter demanded an immediate end to China's construction work on disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing says it has sovereignty over the islands.

Washington claims Beijing has undergone a "land reclamation" program in the resource-rich South China Sea.

Sun said, "When dealing with maritime disputes… in spite of the sufficient historical and legal evidence and its indisputable claims, rights and interests, China has exercised enormous restraint, making positive contributions to peace and stability."

Washington sides with its regional allies in the East Asian maritime disputes and does not recognize China's sovereignty in the disputed areas.

China's territorial claims in the South China Sea overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines.

XLS/HSN/HJL



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