Beijing insisted it is within its rights to develop defense installations on its own territory
Chinese structures and buildings are seen on a man-made islet on Johnson reef in the South China Sea, March 20, 2022. © AP / Aaron Favila
China has rejected claims that it is engaged in a major military buildup after a senior US commander accused the country of deploying an arsenal of weapons to several islands in the South China Sea and “destabilizing” the region.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded to allegations from US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral John Aquilino that China is conducting “the largest military buildup since World War II,” including on islets off its southern coast.
“A sovereign country is naturally entitled to deploy necessary defense facilities on its own territory. It is consistent with international law and beyond reproach for China to do so,” Wang argued.
While the American admiral said Chinese forces had equipped at least three artificial islands with “anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment,” as well as “fighter jets,” claiming it now poses a threat to its neighbors, Wang said it is Washington that is “sowing discord and flexing [its] muscles in the South China Sea,” not Beijing.