Beijing has hit back at US criticism of its land reclamation operations around the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands) in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), saying, “No one has the right to instruct China (on) what to do.”
Observers warned that Washington is playing with fire as it has adopted an increasingly high profile over the South China Sea situation in recent months. Last week, China drove off a US navy P-8A surveillance plane that flew near China’s Nansha Islands on a reconnaissance mission.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter called on Wednesday for a halt to construction by all parties in the South China Sea and an end to the militarization of the dispute.
Carter said US military aircraft and warships will continue to operate in the region wherever permitted under international law.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the United States has made a number of comments about China’s construction work on the Nansha Islands while it “chooses selective silence” toward those who illegally occupy Chinese islands.
“(The US) is either accustomed to taking double standards or has other intentions,” Hua said, urging Washington to avoid any “alienating or provocative words and actions”.