China says media are ignoring radars and weapons deployed by other claimants in the South China Sea, and unfairly targeting China, following reports of its deployment of fighter jets and radars in the disputed waterway.
Over the past week or so China has been reported to have deployed advanced missiles, fighters and radar equipment on islands in the South China Sea, especially on Woody Island in the Paracels.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated that as far as China is concerned, there is no dispute over ownership of the Paracels, and so China could deploy what it wants on its territory without reproach, Reuters reported.
“I suggest to the media that, in your reports, you not selectively pump up or ignore things,” Hua told a daily news briefing on Wednesday.
“Because when you pay attention to what China is deploying, do you also pay attention to other countries which have over the years, on Chinese islands they have occupied, deployed many radars and advanced weaponry? I hope friends in the media can objectively, justly, rationally and calmly make their reports.”
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than US$5 trillion in global trade passes every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.
The comments follow remarks on Tuesday by Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, that China was “clearly militarizing” the South China Sea.
China’s official Xinhua news agency, in an English language commentary, said the “hype” about China’s “so-called militarization” failed to mention that China had for many years deployed defensive measures on Woody Island.
“For the South China Sea waters to be calm, Washington should first stop its ugly practice of smearing China and avoid any move that stirs up tension in the region,” it said.
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