China’s Army Plays Down South China Sea Island-Building

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BEIJING — China’s military on Tuesday compared its controversial island-building in the South China Sea to ordinary construction such as road-building going on elsewhere in the country, trying to deflect criticism over an issue seen as inflaming tensions in the region.

At the same venue, however, the Defense Ministry issued a report reaffirming China’s more assertive approach to national defense that has put its neighbors on guard.

The document on China’s military strategy said the navy would be adding “open seas protection” to traditional remit of “offshore waters defense,” while boosting its ability to counterattack and conduct joint operations at sea.

The air force, meanwhile, will “endeavor to shift its focus from territorial air defense to both defense and offense,” said the 25-page report, which was issued in English and Chinese at a rare news conference presided over by uniformed officers.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/05/26/world/asia/ap-as-china-south-china-sea.html?_r=1

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