Beijing defended its construction of what it called defensive
facilities in the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday, saying the
moves were not directed at any specific country, according to a
Defense Ministry spokesman.
Chinas garrison on the islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands
and the deployment of necessary national defense facilities are the
natural rights of sovereign states, spokesman Ren Guoqiang said in
a statement posted to the ministrys website.
China refers to the South China Seas Spratly chain as the Nansha
Islands. The Spratlys are home to seven Chinese-held man-made
islands that it has fortified with deep-water piers, military-grade
airfields, defensive weapons and barracks.
Ren said the facilities help protect navigation safety, serve to
ensure regional peace and stability and are not directed at any
He was answering a question about whether Chinas military
deployments were a response to missions by the U.S. Navy to
challenge Beijings claim to virtually the entire South China Sea.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei all have
overlapping claims in the strategic waterway.
Tuesdays remarks came on the heels of a report in the Wall
Street Journal on Monday citing a Pentagon official who said that
China has deployed military jamming equipment to its Spratly Island
That report said that the new jamming equipment was deployed
within the past 90 days on Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef,
according to U.S. intelligence assessments.
China is currently in the midst of a military modernization
program heavily promoted by President Xi Jinping, who has overseen
a shift in focus toward creating a more potent fighting force,
including projects such as building a second aircraft carrier,
integrating stealth fighters into its air force and fielding an
array of advanced missiles that can strike air and sea targets from
The Chinese military has also seen its forces drill to punch
further into the Western Pacific with what it calls regular
Late last month, the Chinese Air Force conducted a series of
exercises in the South China Sea and Western Pacific, where it sent
advanced fighter jets and heavy bomb...