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China firmly opposes 'US interference'

Updated: 2015-06-01 04:27
By ZHANG YI (China Daily)

China firmly opposes 'US interference'

Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army

Construction on territorial Nansha Islands is 'not targeting any country'

Senior Chinese officials have spoken harshly about US interference in the South China Sea situation as China talked about its commitment to regional stability at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore over the weekend.

At the dialogue on Sunday, Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, voiced China's "firm opposition" to the United States as it has ignored history, legitimate reasons and fact, delivered a number of "alienating comments", and made false accusations over China's construction on territorial islands.

Construction taking place on China's Nansha Islands is "not targeting any country or impeding the freedom of navigation", Sun said.

"Never expect us to surrender to poorly reasoned arguments, might and hegemony, and never expect us to accept the bitter consequences brought by sabotaging national interests in regard to sovereignty, security and development" Sun said.

Last week, a US air force reconnaissance aircraft flew near the Chinese islands and reefs on a spying mission and received warnings from the PLA.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at the dialogue on Saturday that China has quickly done extensive land reclamation recently, and he criticized China's actions in the South China Sea as out of step with international norms and rules.

The PLA senior official told insiders at the annual international defense affairs gathering that the construction on the islands and reefs is "completely within the scope of China's sovereignty, justified and legitimate".

There is no change "in China's pursuits regarding the South China Sea", and "in China's position of peacefully resolving disputes through negotiation and reconciliation", Sun said.

"The engagement of US vessels and aircraft has fueled regional tension, has brought changes to the nature of the disputes and drastically squeezed the space for a diplomatic settlement," Zhao Xiaozhuo, researcher at the Center on China-America Defense Relations at the PLA's Academy of Military Science, warned in an article.

In response to Carter's comments, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Saturday that "the US is not a party to the South China Sea issue. It is not and shall not become an issue between China and the US".

Hua said Beijing urges the US to "honor its commitment of not taking sides on issues concerning territorial sovereignty" and "show sincere respect to regional countries' efforts to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea".

Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, in an article published on Saturday, hailed "common efforts by China and ASEAN countries" for "positive progress that has been made in the consultation of the code of conduct in the South China Sea".

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