Ad­mi­ral op­poses ‘un­safe’ ac­tions in S. China Sea

Work on the Nan­sha Is­lands is le­gal and also has civil­ian pur­poses, navy com­man­der says

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China firmly op­poses in­ter­ven­tions in the South China Sea from coun­tries out­side the re­gion, the com­man­der of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Navy said.

Ad­mi­ral Wu Shengli also said China op­poses un­pro­fes­sional and un­safe acts by ships or air­craft in the South China Sea as well as at­tempts to use “free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and flight” as an ex­cuse to com­pro­mise sovereignty and to desta­bi­lize the re­gion.

“The con­struc­tion work on the Nan­sha Is­lands, which are our own ter­ri­tory, is com­pletely law­ful and rea­son­able. There are de­fense fa­cil­i­ties, but most of the in­fra­struc­ture on the is­lands is to serve civil­ian pur­poses. They can pro­vide a wider range of pub­lic ser­vices to neigh­bor­ing na­tions and the en­tire in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” he said.

Wu also sug­gested that other coun­tries should re­spect his­toric facts, re­sort to ne­go­ti­a­tion for dis­putes, en­hance mutual trust and per­son­nel ex­changes, and im­prove joint drills.

The ad­mi­ral made the re­marks on Thurs­day in Bei­jing at a cer­e­mony held by the PLA Navy to mark the 70th an­niver­sary of China’s re­cov­ery of the Xisha and Nan­sha is­lands from Ja­panese ag­gres­sors.

About 120 se­nior PLA of­fi­cers, lo­cal govern­ment of­fi­cials, for­eign mil­i­tary at­taches, and Chi­nese and for­eign ex­perts took part in the cer­e­mony. Li Jingsen, 95, who was an ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of a war­ship 70 years ago, re­called his ex­pe­ri­ences in the re­cov­ery op­er­a­tion.

Ear­lier this week, United States Se­na­tor Marco Ru­bio in­tro­duced a bill, en­ti­tled the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanc­tions Act of 2016, in the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on For­eign Re­la­tions, propos­ing sanc­tions against China over its ac­tiv­i­ties in mar­itime dis­putes in the East and South China seas, The Diplo­mat re­ported.

Last week, Ad­mi­ral Paul Zukunft, com­man­dant of the US Coast Guard, told Voice of Amer­ica that he had pro­posed to the US De­part­ment of De­fense that his force wants to play a big­ger role in pa­trolling the dis­puted wa­ters of the South China Sea.

“A strong navy and a strong air force are cru­cial to safe­guard­ing China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea” be­cause a mighty mil­i­tary is a de­ter­rence, Zhou Yong­sheng, a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at China For­eign Af­fairs Uni­ver­sity, told the au­di­ence at the cer­e­mony on Thurs­day.

“There­fore, China must con­tinue to strengthen its mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties, es­pe­cially those of the air force and the navy, for long-range pro­jec­tion and strik­ing,” he ex­plained.

Rear Ad­mi­ral Yang Yi, for­mer di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies at the PLA Na­tional De­fense Uni­ver­sity, wrote in Thurs­day’s Global Times that the Chi­nese mil­i­tary is ready to han­dle armed provo­ca­tions chal­leng­ing China’s sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity.

The con­struc­tion work on the Nan­sha Is­lands, which are our own ter­ri­tory, is com­pletely law­ful and rea­son­able.” Wu Shengli, com­man­der of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Navy

ZHANG LEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

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