China committed to upholding peace, stability in South China Sea
Updated: 2015-06-01 09:01
SINGAPORE - China is committed to upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea, Sun Jianguo, a senior Chinese military official, said Sunday in his keynote speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue, while calling on relevant countries to work together in the same direction.
China firmly upholds her sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]
Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), said China has always kept in mind the large picture of maritime security in the South China Sea, and at present the situation there is on the whole peaceful and stable.
Sun said, "In spite of the sufficient historical and legal evidence and its indisputable claims of rights and interests, China has exercised enormous restraint, making positive contributions to peace and stability of the region and the world at large."
His comments came a day after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at the ongoing dialogue that the United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate in the region wherever international law allows, and called for "an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants" in the South China Sea.
The senior Chinese military official said China's construction on some islands and reefs is aimed at improving their functions and the working and living conditions of personnel stationed there as well as better performing its international responsibilities and obligations in fields such as maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and relief, and maritime scientific research.
Sun also noted that China is a major country in the world, and the construction's scale and pace are in line with the international responsibilities and obligations it assumes in the South China Sea.
Pointing out that the construction projects fall well within the scope of China's sovereignty and are legitimate, justified and reasonable, the senior Chinese military official said they do not target any other countries or affect the freedom of navigation.
Sun also stressed that there are "no changes in China's claims in the South China Sea, no changes in China's position on peaceful resolution of the relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation, no changes in China's will to safeguard the freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea, and no changes in China's goal to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea."