PLA Navy ‘ready’ to counter aggression in South China Sea

Spratly Islands are Chinese territory and construction in disputed waters will continue, Admiral Wu Shengli tells visiting US naval chief

Beijing is ready to counter aggression in the South China Sea, the PLA Navy commander warned on Monday as a new round of military drills were announced in the disputed waters.

Admiral Wu Shengli made the remarks as he met US Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson in Beijing yesterday, in the first high-level meeting between the two militaries since the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China’s “nine-dash” line was invalid.

China would not compromise its sovereignty and would press ahead with construction of facilities in the area “regardless of pressure from any country or anybody”, Wu was quoted by CCTV as saying.

“The Chinese navy is prepared to react to any infringement of rights or aggression … Efforts to force us to succumb to pressure will only be counterproductive.”

The Spratly Islands were Chinese territory and it was “legitimate and reasonable” to carry out necessary construction, Wu said. Any decision to build up “defensive facilities” would depend on the threat level. But amid the tough rhetoric, the senior PLA leader said the two militaries had to step up communication to avoid miscalculation. Richardson’s visit showed that both sides were deeply concerned with the need to contain the risk of a maritime crisis, he said.

The PLA held large-scale live-fire drills off the Paracel Islands to the southeast of Hainan in the run-up to the ruling delivered last Tuesday.

“While China’s military drills have become a regular routine … they will also serve as a warning and active defence against US aggression,” Li said.

Full article: PLA Navy ‘ready’ to counter aggression in South China Sea (South China Morning Post)

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