The United States not China is the nation militarising the South China Sea, according to the spokeswoman for China’s legislature.
Fu Ying said the US was massively increasing the levels of
its military in the region and American patrols near Chinese-held islands in the South China Sea were raising tensions.
She made her comments at a press briefing ahead of the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. US officials have accused China of militarising the region through massive land reclamation work on islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
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“The accusation [that China is militarising the region] can lead to a miscalculation of the situation,” she said. “If you take a look at the matter closely, it’s the US sending the most advanced aircraft and military vessels to the South China Sea.
“The US has made it clear that it will deploy 70 per cent of its navy to the Asia-Pacific region under its strategy of pivoting to Asia. The US has stepped up military moves with its alliances and its military presence in the Asia -Pacific region. Isn’t this militarisation?”
Her comment came as American media reported that the US Navy has dispatched an aircraft carrier and several ships accompanying it to the South China Sea in recent days.
The carrier USS John C. Stennis, arrived in the South China Sea on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.
It was accompanied by the cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the destroyers USS Stockdale and USS Chung-Hoon, Navy Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for US Pacific Fleet, was quoted as saying.
Fu said on Thursday that China had the right to build islands in the Spratly chain of the South China Sea to properly defend its territory.
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The United States says its patrols near Chinese-held islands in the region are to exercise its right to freedom of navigation in international waters.
Several countries claim territory in the South China Sea, including Vietnam and the Philippines.