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China Daily Website  

China's defense facilities on Yongxing 'not news': spokesman

Updated: 2016-02-18 21:28

BEIJING -- China's deployment of defense facilities on Yongxing Island -- the largest island in the Xisha Islands group in the South China Sea -- is "nothing new," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

Hong Lei made the comments at a routine press briefing following media reports that Beijing had installed advanced surface-to-air missiles on the island.

The deployment of defense facilities on Yongxing Island is China's exercise of sovereignty and has been going on for decades, Hong said, noting the Xisha Islands are an inherent part of China's territory and they are not a "disputed" area.

The deployment is not related to "militarization," Hong stressed, urging players to do more that is conducive to regional stability instead of "hype."

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that demilitarization in the South China Sea should not be about only one country or manifest double standards.

Demilitarization requires joint efforts from countries both in the region and beyond, said the minister.

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