BEIJING (AP) — China’s second-ranking general recently visited the country’s man-made islands in the South China Sea, the Defense Ministry said Friday, underscoring China’s defiance in the face of calls by the U.S. and others to cease construction work that they say is raising tensions in the region.
According to the brief statement, Gen. Fan Changlong led a group of military commanders to the Spratly island group to visit troops and observe construction work. The statement didn’t say when and where Fan, a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission that controls the People’s Liberation Army, visited.
The announcement comes after China issued an angry response to what it says are provocative plans announced Thursday that the U.S. would send troops and planes to the Philippines for more frequent rotations and will increase joint sea and air patrols with Philippine forces in the South China Sea.