China’s Sansha defence poses no threats to neighboring countries
A ceremony is held to mark the establishment of Sansha City on the Yongxing Island in China’s southernmost province of Hainan, July 24, 2012. The Yongxing Island is part of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. Photo: Xinhua
National defense officials Tuesday rejected attempts by foreign countries to characterize China’s protection of its sovereignty as "aggressive," stressing that the country’s newly-established sea patrol system does not target any specific country.
A regular combat-readiness patrol system has been established in Chinese waters to maintain the country’s territorial sovereignty and safeguard its maritime rights, and it is not targeting any other country or have any specific goals, Geng Yansheng, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said at a press conference a day before the 85-year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
"The Chinese navy is justified in protecting the country’s interests and it is groundless to equate this justified action with tough foreign policy," he said.
Last week, China established the city of Sansha to administer the nearby islands and surrounding waters of the South China Sea. A garrison was also established in the area. Countries around the South China Sea, such as Vietnam, voiced protests against the move.
Geng said that the Sansha garrison is to be responsible for defense mobilization, militia reserves and administering the relationship between the garrison and the local government, as well as protecting the area and coordinating any disaster relief that may take place in the area.
He did not directly answer whether more troops or military equipment will be sent to the garrison, noting that it will depend on military needs.
"The development of the Chinese armed forces poses no threat to any nation, in that it aims to safeguard State sovereignty, security and development interests," Senior Colonel Wu Xihua with the General Staff Department of the PLA said at the conference.
Some countries have overreacted to Chinese military development and the moves it’s been making," Colonel Li Jie, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute, told the Global Times.
Li said that China has developed its armed forces to protect its sovereignty and sea routes, as can be seen in the Gulf of Aden, and it is preparing for the reunion of the country.
China’s aircraft carrier platform returned to its dock in Dalian, Liaoning Province on Monday, after finishing its ninth sea trial in 25 days.
Colonel Lin Bai with the General Armament Department of the PLA said that the platform’s early exercises have progressed smoothly and further plans would be based on how its future exercises and training sessions proceed.
Lin said that China will not engage in an arms race, but will instead develop armaments appropriately in accordance with the needs of safeguarding state sovereignty and territorial integrity. He added that China still lags far behind world powers in military technology.
The conference coincided with Japan’s release of its annual defense white paper on Tuesday, which expressed concerns over the Chinese navy’s increasing capability and activities, as well as the "threat" to neighboring countries.
Li Daguang, a military expert at the PLA National Defense University, told the Global Times that China’s defensive policy does not allow aggressive activities and what it has been doing has been aimed at protecting the country’s sovereignty, security and development.
"Weapons may have an offensive nature, but they are used for different functions under the guiding policies," Li Daguang said.
Also at the press conference, Wang Yongsheng from the General Political Department of the PLA said that the country will resolutely oppose any erroneous ideas suggesting the depoliticization of the country’s army, or any attempts to instigate the army’s breakaway from the Party leadership, adding that those ideas have "ulterior motives."
"The PLA was founded by, and operates under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the CPC’s absolute leadership over the army is part of the army’s fundamental system and principle," said Wang. "Our army belongs to the Party, but it also belongs to the state and to the people."
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