The number of military facilities China builds on its South China Sea islands will depend upon the level of threat it faces, People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) chief told his US counterpart on Wednesday in a video teleconference.
Admiral Wu Shengli, PLAN commander, stressed that Beijing does not seek militarization.
This month, Beijing landed three commercial airplanes on Yongshu Jiao in the Nansha Islands. While Vietnam, the Philippines and the US protested, Beijing said its sovereignty over the region is indisputable.
Earlier in January, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that China had completed an airfield on Yongshu Jiao, China’s southernmost airfield.
Wu told US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson that the landings were made to see whether the airport was up to civilian airline standards, according to China’s Ministry of National Defense.
This would better help China meet its international obligations and provide more public service to other countries, Wu said.
The two-hour discussion was the third time the two have engaged with each other through video teleconferencing, the previous time being last October. Conversations between the two heads of navy serve to establish a dialogue that reduces the risk of miscalculation between their two forces, the US Navy said in a press release.
“Our necessary defensive step of building on islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands is not militarization, but that interpretation has been maliciously hyped up by certain countries and media,” Wu told Richardson.
Read more: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/us/2016-01/22/content_23208667.htm