China’s island construction facilitates navigation freedom

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-17 0:33:01

Western media has once again hyped up the issue of China's construction activities in the South China Sea. According to media reports, satellite images suggest that China is building a third airstrip in the area. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday responded that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. Construction activities made by the Chinese side on some islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands are completely lawful, reasonable and justified.

As usual, the focal point of the Western media is still deliberately being guided toward military use.

According to reports, Greg Poling, an expert from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, has claimed that "if it does turn out to be a runway, China will have three airstrips that can carry any plane the PLA has to offer."

Washington has continued to parrot their line that China could threaten the freedom of navigation, while speculating that Beijing is trying to put the islands in the South China Sea into military use. However, there has not been a single case of maritime traffic being affected in the area. 

When it comes to island reclamation, Washington should stop applying double standards by overstating China's every single action, while downplaying others' provocations.

Countries including Vietnam and the Philippines have built airstrips in the islands in the South China Sea. More importantly, relevant construction in the water by the Chinese side falls entirely within China's sovereignty, which does not affect or target any other country.

Military confrontation in the South China Sea is not an immediate possibility. The airstrip can totally be a civil facility. So why focus on its military purpose only? Since a round trip by sea from the island to the Chinese mainland requires at least a week, building a runway can largely upgrade the convenience of providing not only China itself, but also the international community with more public goods and services, such as responding to emergencies and enhancing the efficiency of marine search and rescue operations.

China cares about freedom of navigation in the South China Sea more than any other country. Disputes should be resolved by exercising restraint, not by speculation.

Posted in: Observer

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