China has defended its military expansion in the South China Sea and denied claims that it’s militarizing the artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, according to USA Today.
China vs. U.S. South China Sea
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
The comments come immediately after U.S. President Barack Obama finished his six-day Asian trip, during which he repeatedly criticized Beijing’s military expansion in the disputed region.
Failing to immediately respond to Obama’s comments about China’s military efforts in the South China Sea, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said on Sunday that the U.S. was testing China by sending warships through the area. Liu claimed Beijing’s construction projects on the sea are a “public service” to protect the reefs and islands that China claims its own, while the move of station personnel to the disputed islands is “for the benefit” of other countries using the waters of the South China Sea.
“One should never link the military facilities with efforts to militarize the South China Sea,” Liu told reporters, according to USA Today. “This is a false argument. It is a consistent Chinese position to firmly oppose the militarization of the South China Sea.”
Liu also warned other countries against “stirring up trouble” in the South China Sea. China’s alleged militarization efforts in the region have been the reason for escalating tensions in the region, with many experts worrying that the conflict could lead to a military confrontation between the U.S. and China.