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China refutes Philippines' accusations of militarizing South China Sea


08:15, July 02, 2013

BEIJING, July 1(Xinhua) -- Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Monday refuted the Philippines' accusations that China's military build-up threatens peace and security in the South China Sea.

Hua made the remarks when asked to comment on the remarks Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario made during the foreign ministers' meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Sunday.

Del Rosario said in a prepared press release that the Philippines "views with serious concern the militarisation of the South China Sea."

He said there is a "massive presence of Chinese military and paramilitary ships" at the Huangyan Islands and the Ren'ai Reef, which has posed "threats to efforts to maintain maritime peace and stability in the region."

Hua said China has indisputable rights over, and interests in, the Nansha Islands and their surrounding waters, and it will unswervingly safeguard its sovereignty, rights and interests.

She reaffirmed that China's position on safeguarding the peace and stability of the South China Sea is also steadfast.

The recent tensions in the South China Sea were not caused by China, said Hua, citing facts of harassment of Chinese fishermen by the Philippine military vessels last year as well as the Philippines' illegal occupation of the Ren'ai Reef.

She recalled how a Philippine warship illegally landed on a beach of the Ren'ai Reef of China's Nansha Islands in 1999, claiming it was stranded.

Since then, China has repeatedly demanded the Philippines to tow away the warship, but the Philippine side has cited a lack of "component parts" for its failure to drag away the ship, said the spokeswoman.

She stressed that the Philippine ship's illegal landing on the Ren'ai Reef does not justify the Philippines' illegal occupation of the reef.

"If any country can use faulty vessels to make illegal occupation an accomplished fact, then where are the rules and credibility in the South China Sea? Where is the foundation for maintaining peace and stability in the region?" she said.

It is reasonable and legitimate for the Chinese side to respond to a series of provocations from the Philippine side on China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, said Hua.

China has sufficient sincerity and patience to resolve relevant disputes with parties concerned through dialogues and negotiation, she said, adding that if any claimant insists on confrontation, there is no way out of it.

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