BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy Wu Shengli has stressed that China and the United States have key roles in ensuring peace and stability in the South China Sea, and cooperation between the navies of the two countries is "the only correct option."
Wu made the remarks on Monday while meeting with his U.S. counterpart Admiral John Richardson and his delegation to discuss maritime security.
Describing the current security situation in waters around China as "complicated and sensitive" and noting the escalating South China Sea issue, Wu said Richardson's visit will be beneficial for the two countries to strengthen communication, promote trust, resolve doubts and avoid misjudgments.
"We will never sacrifice our sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea," Wu said, stressing that it is China's "core interest" and concerns the foundation of the Party's governance, the country's security and stability and the Chinese nation's basic interests.
Wu said that China will not recede over territorial sovereignty or fear any military provocation, which the Chinese navy is fully prepared to cope with.
"We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway... the Nansha Islands are China's inherent territory, and our necessary construction on the islands is reasonable, justified and lawful," Wu said.
He stressed that "no matter what country or person applies pressure," China will push forward and complete island construction as planned.
According to Wu, China will never be caught off guard, and the number of its defense facilities is completely determined by the number of threats it faces.
Wu vowed that China will never give up its efforts to solve the South China Sea issue peacefully, despite "many negative factors at present," but also warned that "any attempt to force China to give in through flexing military muscles will only have the opposite effect."
Wu expressed his hope that the two countries' air and maritime forces fully follow the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters to avoid strategic misjudgment or exchange of fire, and to jointly ensure the peace and stability of the South China Sea.
Wu called on the two sides to promote strategic mutual trust, seek common ground, expand the scope of cooperation and create new momentum for China and the United States to develop a new type of major-power relations between the two countries.