22:40 GMT17 February 2020
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    Earlier US President Barack Obama accused China of “throwing elbows” and “pushing people out of the way.”

    Chinese authorities stated on Wednesday that their activities in the South China Sea are “legitimate”, denying the claims that it misinterprets norms of international law, Xinhuanet reported.

    "What [international] law forbids China to conduct reasonable construction on its own islands and reefs?" Foreign Ministry representative Hua Chunying asked.

    Hua stressed that China has always adhered to the principles of international law and that the country is not going to harm other states to benefit itself.

    "China will not violate international laws nor harm others to benefit itself. However, it will safeguard its own sovereignty, security and development interests," Hua said.

    Earlier US President Barack Obama called on China to stop land reclamation in the South China Sea, calling such actions “aggressive” and “counterproductive”.

    The United States has repeatedly expressed its disapproval of China's dominant policy in the region, including the reclamation of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The islands are a disputed territory. Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam have been making claims for the archipelago which have lead to interstate tensions.


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