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Wang Yi Fights Back to Groundless Accusation: China Should Not Be Labeled with "Militarization" of the South China Sea

On August 2, 2019 local time, on the sidelines of the Foreign Ministers' Meeting on East Asia Cooperation in Bangkok, Thailand, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi fought back to the groundless accusation against China made by some individual country on the South China Sea.

Wang Yi said, with joint efforts of China and the Association Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, the situation in the South China Sea has remained stable in general and has been showing a positive momentum. Following the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, we have actively advanced the consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea and completed the first reading of the COC single draft negotiating text ahead of the schedule. This signifies that the framework of the COC has been formed and shows the firm determination and capability of China and the ASEAN countries to promote the COC consultations. It is quite a regret that, contrary to the willingness of the regional countries to seek peace and promote cooperation, a major country outside the region has been flexing military muscles in the South China Sea and deliberately creating tension to seek excuses for increasing its forward-deployed military forces in the region. It is not an act of good-will, let alone a responsible act of concern for peaceful development in the region.

Wang Yi noted, as a firm defender of regional peace and stability, China has always pursued a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. According to international law, it is the legitimate right of a sovereign state to deploy defense facilities on its own territory. A major country outside the region has constantly accused China of "militarizing" the South China Sea, but it is just this major country that has hundreds of military bases around the world and deploys hundreds of thousands of troops outside its territory. How can a country pursuing "militarization" around the world have the justification and qualification to accuse others of pursuing "militarization"? China should not be labeled with this.

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