China Accuses U.S. of ‘Militarizing’ South China Sea

FILE - Philippine and U.S. troops prepare for a combined assault exercise at a beach facing one of the contested islands in the South China Sea known as the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, April 21, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)
FILE – Philippine and U.S. troops prepare for a combined assault exercise at a beach facing one of the contested islands in the South China Sea known as the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, April 21, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)

China’s Defense Ministry Thursday accused the United States of “militarizing” the South China Sea by staging patrols and joint military drills there, leading to raised tensions in the disputed region.

China Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said Beijing has been angered by U.S. Navy and Air Force forays through waters it claims as its own, strengthened military alliances with the Philippines and others, and frequent military exercises in the region.

Yang said the actions are creating risks of incidents in the air and at sea.

​”The Chinese side expresses its serious concern over U.S. activities to militarize the South China Sea region,” he said. “Such actions taken by the U.S. side would inevitably arouse suspicion from others that, does the U.S. want nothing better than chaos in the region?”

Yang’s remarks were prompted by comments made last week by Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, who criticized Chinese island-building in the disputed waters.

In the past year, China has stepped up its creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea, alarming neighbors and provoking U.S. criticism.

Security leaders
Harris, speaking at a Colorado gathering of U.S. national security leaders hosted by the Aspen Instititue, warned China that its aggressive build-up could undermine international norms that have long supported the global economy and political order.

More than $5.3 trillion in global sea-based trade relies on unimpeded sea lanes through the South China Sea, Harris said. That is made possible through regional partners’ recognition of international law and protection of freedom of navigation, he said.

Harris also argued the newly created islands are clearly intended for China’s military use, possibly as forward operating bases.

Speaking at a monthly news conference, Yang said China rejected the claims and accused the U.S. of ulterior motives.

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SOURCE: VOA News

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