BEIJING, March 31 -- “Militarization of the South China Sea” should not be blamed on China, but on the US, said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense (MND) at a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday.
Senior Colonel Wu made the remarks when commenting on relevant moves and remarks made by the US side. According to reports, the US Department of Defense named China the "most consequential strategic competitor" for the US in its recent National Defense Strategy Report to the Congress. Meanwhile, the US Indo-Pacific Commander Adm. John Aquilino recently patrolled the South China Sea on a P-8A Poseidon plane and said that China’s construction on relevant islands and reefs there has damaged regional stability and threatened nearby nations. He also added that Washington’s main objective in disputed regions is to prevent war through deterrence. If deterrence fails, the second task is to get ready for combat and win. Furthermore, another news report said that the US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship USS Miguel Keith had entered the South China Sea days ago.
In response to the above actions and remarks by the US side, Defense Spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had a video call with US President Joe Biden at invitation on March 18. The US side reiterated its commitment that it does not seek a new Cold War with China, does not seek to change China’s system; does not seek to counter China through strengthening alliances, does not support “Taiwan independence”, and has no intention of conflict with China. Wu pointed out that China believes that what the US has done is seriously inconsistent with President Biden’s commitment and China is firmly opposed to that.
Wu said that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. China’s deployment of necessary defense facilities is not only the legitimate right of a sovereign state, but also a necessary measure to deal with America’s provocations, which is in full compliance with relevant international law and practice.
Senior Colonel Wu stressed that “Militarization of the South China Sea” should not be blamed on China, but on the US. He added that when Adm. Aquilino flew over the South China Sea, he must have seen not just a scattering of islands and reefs, but also a number of American ships and planes throwing their weight around. They have come all the way to the South China Sea to stir up troubles. Regional countries know exactly what they want. Facts have proven that the US is the biggest instigator of the militarization of the South China Sea, and the biggest destroyer and troublemaker to the regional peace and stability.
Wu continued that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the Shanghai Communiqué. As two major countries in the world, China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Standing at a new historical starting point, we hope the US side will work with China to draw experience and wisdom from history, and steer the relations between the two countries and two militaries back to the right track of healthy and steady development as soon as possible, so as make greater contributions to world peace and stability.