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Military dismisses islands war fear

[ 2012-08-01 10:29] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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The military dismissed conjecture that Beijing is preparing for war to defend national territory in the South China Sea, saying the PLA opposes any armed intervention in the region.

Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng was speaking on Tuesday at a news conference on the eve of the 85th anniversary of the PLA.

All nine members of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, in a rare appearance on Tuesday, attended a reception to mark the anniversary.

Geng's comments further clarified that Beijing wanted to solve territorial disputes through negotiation even though it has the capability to resort to armed force, experts said.

"China has indisputable sovereign rights over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, and the military opposes any outside military intervention in this area," Geng said when asked about the possibility of conflict.

China's territorial disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea escalated sharply earlier this year after a Philippine warship harassed fishing boats in waters near China's Huangyan Island. The Philippines disputes China's sovereignty.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino announced on July 23 plans for a 75 billion peso ($1.8 billion) fund to upgrade the military and asked his nation to "speak with one voice" on the issue of Huangyan Island.

One day later, China officially established the city of Sansha on Yongxing Island in Hainan province, and also established a military garrison.

A regular combat-readiness patrol has been established in waters under China's jurisdiction, Geng said.

The patrol is not targeting any specific country but will protect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, he said, adding that the PLA is "confident that it is capable" of performing the task.

A legitimate move by the navy, to protect national interests, should not be interpreted as adopting a hard line against other countries, Geng said.

"At least we can tell from Geng's remarks that, at present, China is not willing to resort to armed force to solve disputes in the South China Sea," said Niu Jun, a professor of international politics at Peking University.

The stance is consistent with the government trying to solve the issue in a peaceful way, Niu said.

"There are hawkish voices at home, but in my view they are just acting in an irresponsible way which does not help the situation."

Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, believed Geng's comments are a message to Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan not to use intrigue or deceit to increase the risk of military conflict in the South China Sea or the East China Sea.

No one will benefit from war, he said.

The news conference also heard senior PLA officers address other issues.

Colonel Lin Bai, with the General Armament Department of the PLA, dismissed reports that China's aircraft carrier is ready for service, saying it will continue to undergo tests.

The military announced the aircraft carrier, the first in the navy, exactly one year ago.

"The Great Wall was not built in a day. I hope the question can be treated in a rational and objective way," Lin said.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Military dismisses islands war fear

About the broadcaster:

Military dismisses islands war fear

Rosie Tuck is a copy editor at the China Daily website. She was born in New Zealand and graduated from Auckland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Communications studies majoring in journalism and television. In New Zealand she was working as a junior reporter for the New Zealand state broadcaster TVNZ. She is in Beijing on an Asia New Zealand Foundation grant, working as a journalist in the English news department at the China Daily website.