13:26 GMT +319 November 2017
Live
    Two excavators are pictured at a construction site on Taiping island in the Spratly chain in the South China Sea on March 23, 2016

    ‘No Such Thing’: Beijing Balks at Island Construction in South China Sea

    © AFP 2017/ SAM YEH
    Military & Intelligence
    Get short URL
    34339189

    The Chinese Defense Ministry rejects the notion that man-made islands are a real fixture in the South China Sea, alleging there is “no such thing” via a spokesman on Thursday.

    Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian promptly acknowledged that China had engaged in a large construction endeavor in the South China Sea, but said "most of the building is for civilian purposes."

    Wu declined to specify exactly what was meant by the comment, saying that Beijing has already provided this explanation on multiple occasions. 

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has said China’s projects in the sea are "a normal right under international law for sovereign nations," while noting that the construction is "normal" and not part of plans to militarize the region.  

    In a slight against Washington, Wu said regional countries have reached a stable equilibrium in the South China Sea for now, but outsiders want to amplify hostilities concerning the area’s waters.

    An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Taiwanese military plane shows the view of Itu Aba, which the Taiwanese call Taiping, at the South China Sea, March 23, 2016
    © REUTERS/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

    Satellite imagery captured on March 6 showed the build-up of a military installation on the North Island of the Paracels. Taiwanese media outlets noted that the construction looked like "preparation for a harbor," indicating China may be looking to bolster its naval presence in the area. The Paracels are claimed by a host of countries, including China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

    In the nearby Spratly Islands, China has developed structures that defense analysts say could be used to store and station surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. One US intelligence official remarked that “it is not like the Chinese to build anything in the South China Sea just to build it," Sputnik reported February 23.  

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has blasted Beijing’s activity in the South China Sea as illegal and threatened to blockade China’s access to the area. This prompted an op-ed in the Global Times to fire back, saying that blockades in the South China Sea would lead to a "military clash."

    Related:

    South China Region Records 20 Cases of Bird Flu in 2017
    China Building Potential Military Asset on Paracel Islands in South China Sea
    Beijing Sortie Through South China Sea Scares Taiwan; Japan Scrambles Jets
    Chinese Premier: Expand Military Presence in South, East China Seas
    Beijing Outmaneuvering US Navy in South China Sea
    Tags:
    militarism, Geng Shuang, Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson, Vietnam, Taiwan, South China Sea
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
    • Сomment