04:25 GMT11 May 2021
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    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing will invite foreign journalists to the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea after the completion of construction works.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) – Beijing may consider the possibility of access for foreign journalists to the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea after the completion of construction works, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Tuesday.

    The country has been in a dispute with several other nations over the Spratly Islands, known as Nansha Islands in China. They are a group of more than 750 islands and reefs, lying on important commercial shipping lanes and believed to hold significant oil and gas reserves. Beijing has been constructing artificial islands in the area, claiming sovereignty over the land and the 12-nautical-mile zone surrounding them.

    "China is building the necessary civilian infrastructure and we will provide services to the international community. At the moment, we are at the construction stage. Once the construction is completed, and the necessary conditions are created, we will, of course, consider the possibility of inviting journalists, including foreign ones on these islands and reefs," he stated at an annual press conference.

    The Nansha Islands are part of China’s native land, the foreign minister stressed, adding that China had no intention to impose new territorial claims in the South China Sea.

    Commenting on the military infrastructure located on the archipelago, Wang said China used the legitimate right to ensure its security.


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