China dismisses concerns over freedom of navigation in SCS

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Beijing:┬áChina today dismissed as “pseudo- proposition” concerns over the safety and freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea and asserted that it values free movement more than any other country.

Certain countries outside the region have alleged that China threatens freedom of navigation, an entirely “pseudo-proposition”, said Wang Guoqing, spokesperson for Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body.

China is a major trading nation and the largest littoral country of the South China Sea.

Since China recovered the South China Sea islands at the end of World War II, there has never been a problem with navigational freedom in the region, Wang claimed.

His comments assume significance as the has US deployed an aircraft carrier group to assert the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

The US, India, along with several other countries, have been calling for safety and freedom of navigation amid China’s claims over almost the entire South China Sea.

Its claim is contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Over USD one trillion worth of goods pass through the shipping routes of the area.

Asserting that the South China Sea islands are an integral part of the Chinese territory, Wang said it is “perfectly normal” for China to build facilities, including those for necessary defence purposes, on its own territory.

International law entitles sovereign states to do so, he said.

China, Wang reiterated, resolutely defends the freedom of navigation that every country enjoys in the South China Sea according to international law.

“We have set up cooperation mechanisms with many other countries to ensure safe navigation,” he said.

The civilian facilities China has built on the South China Sea islands, such as lighthouses, have played a positive role in guaranteeing navigation safety and humanitarian rescue, Wang said.

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