We will continue reclamation projects - China

At a security summit in Singapore over the weekend, the People Liberation Army’s deputy general chief of staff Admiral Sun Jianguo dismissed the United States of America claims that China’s projects are causing friction in the area. Defying the United States’ calls for it to stop its reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea, China said it was merely fulfilling its “international responsibilities.” “The situation in the West Philippine Sea is on the whole peaceful and stable, and there never has been an issue with the freedom of navigation,” he said. He also rebuffed accusations that China is aiming to militarize the occupied islands, saying the projects are just meant to improve its existing facilities’ non-military capabilities as well as the living conditions of its personnel. 


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 said, adding that his country’s end goal has always been to “preserve” the maritime security for every country in the disputed areas. Earlier, Washington accused Beijing of being “out of step” for its reclamation activities and claimed it had posted two mobile artillery pieces in its occupied islands last month. The artillery pieces have since been removed. Sun however, said China up until now has tolerated the US and its fellow rival claimants in the West Philippine Sea even though it has a “legitimate right” to the area. “In spite of the sufficient historical and legal evidence and its indisputable claims, rights and interests, China has exercised enormous restraint,” he said. China claims the entire West Philippine Sea as its own, putting it at odds with its smaller Southeast Asian neighbors who each have overlapping claims. It is also engaged in a word war with the US after the latter said it does not recognize China’s sovereignty in the area and will continue to conduct air and sea patrols. In turn, China has criticized the US for “interfering” in what it sees as a regional dispute.
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