China claims legitimacy of defensive facilities on South China Sea
People's Daily Online
By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online) 16:30, December 16, 2016
The recent accusation by the U.S. of China's deployment of defense facilities in the South China Sea was denounced by the latter's diplomatic and military authorities, which reiterated the country's sovereignty over the disputed waters.
In response to a U.S. think tank's accusation that China is installing weaponry systems on seven islands in the South China Sea, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang stressed on Dec. 15 that the islands are China's territory; building facilities and deploying necessary defense equipment on them is the right of a sovereign state as recognized by international law.
The same day, the Chinese Defense Ministry also objected to the accusation, adding that China has stated its position many times - that the construction activities are primarily for civilian purposes.
"It's not very common for the two ministries to make public declarations at the same time. Tensions between China and the U.S are already heightened after Donald Trump's recent public accusation of China's stance on the South China Sea, and the joint responses have shown China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty," a Hainan-based military expert told People's Daily Online.
Despite China's efforts to keep regional peace, the U.S. said it would confront China should it continue its maritime claims in the South China Sea. According to Reuters, U.S. Admiral Harry Harris said on Dec. 14 that his country will not allow a shared domain to be closed down unilaterally no matter how many bases are built on artificial features in the South China Sea, and the U.S. will be ready to confront China if necessary.
The U.S. has been trying to hype up the dispute in the South China Sea in an effort to escalate an already complicated situation. However, the accusations are groundless and are not helpful for regional peace and stability, the expert said.
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