US should stay out of S.China Sea land reclamation issue: PLA general

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-24 0:08:12

"Stay out of it." That appears to be the message of a general of China's People's Liberation Army, following reports the US urged China to halt land reclamation activities in the South China Sea. 

PLA Major General Luo Yuan told the Global Times that as China is constructing infrastructure on the reef, mainly to improve the living standards of the reef-stationed soldiers. "The US is obviously biased considering that the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam have already set up military facilities," he said.

China is building an island in the South China Sea that could host an airfield in the South China Sea, an area where China is having territorial disputes with neighboring states, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool, a US military spokesman, told AFP on Friday. "We urge China to stop its land reclamation program, and engage in diplomatic initiatives to encourage all sides to restrain themselves in these sorts of activities," Pool said.

In the past three months, China has used dredgers to construct an island about 3,000 yards (meters) long and 200-300 meters wide on the Yongshu Reef, which was previously under water, according to a report by IHS Jane's Defence.

The Philippines has Zhongye Island, Malaysia has Danwan Reef, and Vietnam has Nanzi Island, the magazine said. Yang Yujun, a spokesman with China's Ministry of National Defense, said last month that "China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters."

"The construction and maintenance of facilities, and other activities we conducted on these islands are within our sovereign rights and they are legitimate," he added.

"China is likely to withstand the international pressure and continue the construction, since it is completely legitimate and justifiable," Luo said.

Liu Feng, a maritime expert with China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said that the magazine report has exaggerated the scale of Yongshu Reef, which is much smaller than those of other countries.

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