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China defends military buildup in South China Sea

China defends military buildup in South China Sea

China is entitled to strengthen its defenses on islands in the disputed South China Sea but those measures aren't directed at any specific countries, a defense ministry spokesman said Tuesday, amid the latest surge in tensions in the crucial waterway. It is meant to help in "maintaining peace and stability in the region".

Ren gave no details, although his statement was a reply to a question about whether China's deployments were a response to missions by the U.S. Navy to challenge Beijing's claim to virtually the entire South China Sea.

China asserts its exclusive territorial claims and sovereignty to the South China Sea.

"Nansha Islands are part of Chinese territory, and setting up troops and defense equipment on their islands and reefs helps protect China's sovereignty and safety, and helps maintain an unimpeded and secure navigation channel in the South China Sea", he said.

More news: Attacco missilistico contro l'aeroporto militare siriano: Stati Uniti sotto accusa

It shows a suspected jammer system with its antenna extended on Mischief Reef, one of seven Spratly outcrops where China has built fortified artificial islands since 2014, moving sand onto rocks and reefs and paving them over with concrete.

The alleged military developments come as both the United States and China have been conducting military exercises in the region, though China played down the movements of its Liaoning aircraft carrier strike group in the region.

China's claims in the South China Sea overlap in whole or in part those of Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and USA treaty partner the Philippines. The U.S. takes no position on competing sovereignty claims to naturally formed islands in the South China Sea, but we do strongly call on all countries to ensure their claims and activities are consistent with global law.

The nuclear-powered warship, leading a carrier strike group, was conducting what the US military called routine training in the disputed South China Sea on April 10, headed for a port call in the Philippines, a defense treaty ally.


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