China Has Every Right to Deploy Equipment on South China Sea Islands, Defenсe Ministry Says
© AP Photo / Rolex Dela PenaFILE - This July 20, 2011, file photo shows an aerial view of Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines
© AP Photo / Rolex Dela Pena
BEIJING (Sputnik) - China's deployment of the necessary equipment for national defence on islands in the South China Sea is its legitimate right as a sovereign country, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Thursday.
"China has indispensable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters. China's deployment of the necessary equipment for national defence is not only a legitimate right of a sovereign country but also a necessary measure to counter US provocations," Wu told a briefing.
He added that facts prove that the United States was the biggest militarization force in the South China Sea and the biggest destroyer and violator of peace and stability in the region.
Earlier this month, the head of US Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. John Aquilino, said in an interview with the Associated Press that China fully militarized at least three of several islands it had built in the South China Sea.
Beijing has been disputing for decades the status of a number of territories in the South China Sea to which it lays claim, primarily the Paracel and Spratly islands, and the Scarborough Shoal. China considers the Spratly archipelago to be its territory, despite the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in 2016, which said there was no legal basis for China's maritime claims as the Spratly archipelago were not islands and did not constitute an exclusive economic zone. Beijing refused to recognize the decision. The arbitration proceeding was initiated by the Philippines in January of 2013.