China values South China Sea navigation freedom more than anyone: spokesperson
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 20:57, March 02, 2017
China values freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Seamore than any other country, a spokesperson for the top political advisory body said Thursday.
Wang Guoqing, spokesperson for the fifth session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the comment at a press conference, citing the fact that China is a major trading nation and meanwhile the largest littoral country of the South China Sea.
Certain countries outside the region have alleged that China threatens freedom of navigation, an entirely "pseudo-proposition," he said.
Since China recovered the South China Sea islands at the end of World War II, there has never been a problem with navigational freedom in the region, Wang said.
Stressing that the South China Sea islands are an integral part of China's territory, Wang said that it is "perfectly normal" for China to build facilities, including those for necessary defense purposes, on its own territory. International law entitles sovereign states to do so, he added.
China, Wang reiterated, resolutely defends the freedom of navigation that every country enjoys in the South China Sea according to international law.
"We have set up cooperation mechanisms with many other countries to ensure safe navigation," he said.
The civilian facilities China has built on the South China Sea islands, such as lighthouses, have played a positive role in guaranteeing navigation safety and humanitarian rescue, Wang added.
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