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    Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan

    China Claps Back at Reports of Sending Fighter Jets to Disputed Islands

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    Asia & Pacific
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    China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman called on the media to be objective in light of the recent deployment of Chinese fighters to the island of Woody in the South China Sea, saying that the activity in these areas fall under the sovereignty of China.

    Woody Island, a island in the South China Sea occupied by China and claimed by several other countries, is shown in satellite images taken on February 14, 2016 and February 3, 2016, in this handout image provided by ImageSat International N.V. 2016, on February 18, 2016
    © REUTERS/ ImageSat International N.V. 2016
    China reiterated that as far as it was concerned, there was no dispute over ownership of the Paracels, and so China could deploy what it wanted on its territory without reproach.

    Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying on Wednesday in response to media reports said that China's activity in this area is absolutely legitimate and falls under the sovereignty of China.

    “Because when you pay attention to what China is deploying, do you also pay attention to other countries which have over the years, on Chinese islands they have occupied, deployed many radars and advanced weaponry? I hope friends in the media can objectively, justly, rationally and calmly make their reports.”

    Earlier, Fox News Channel, with reference to the representatives of the US government reported that China has sent fighters to Woody Island, which is one of the disputed Paracel Islands (Xisha) in the South China Sea.

    China's official Xinhua news agency said the "hype" about China's "so-called militarization" failed to mention that China had for many years deployed defensive measures on Woody Island.

    “For the South China Sea waters to be calm, Washington should first stop its ugly practice of smearing China and avoid any move that stirs up tension in the region,” it said.

    According to the Fox news television channel's Tuesday report, US intelligence spotted China’s Shenyang J-11 and Xian JH-7s aircraft (NATO reporting names Flanker B+ and Flounder, respectively) on Woody Island in the past few days. Beijing had previously deployed two batteries of HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles on the same island, the media outlet said.

    The deployment marked the latest step in China’s military buildup in the Parcel and Spratly archipelagos, where at least six nations have overlapping territorial claims.

    China, however, argues that both archipelagos are its sovereign territory, a claim that Washington has aggressively challenged by conducting so-called freedom of navigation exercises in which US warships deliberately pass within 12 miles of Chinese held islands.

    Woody Island, a island in the South China Sea occupied by China and claimed by several other countries, is shown in satellite images taken on February 14, 2016 and February 3, 2016, in this handout image provided by ImageSat International N.V. 2016, on February 18, 2016
    © REUTERS/ ImageSat International N.V. 2016
    Woody Island, a island in the South China Sea occupied by China and claimed by several other countries, is shown in satellite images taken on February 14, 2016 and February 3, 2016, in this handout image provided by ImageSat International N.V. 2016, on February 18, 2016

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    Tags:
    smear campaign, sovereignty, disputed islands, Fox News, Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, South China Sea
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