China says South China Sea militarization depends on threat


BEIJING – The amount of military facilities China builds on islands in the South China Sea depends on the level of threat it faces although China does not seek militarisation, the navy chief told his US counterpart on Wednesday.

Every year more than $5 trillion of world trade is shipped through the South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas, which China claims almost entirely. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

China has been reclaiming land and building artificial islands there that it says are mostly for civilian uses but are also for defensive purposes.

This month, Beijing landed three flights on Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly archipelago, angering Vietnam and the Philippines and drawing criticism from the United States, which expressed deep concern that it will exacerbate tension in the region.

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