World Bulletin / News Desk
China has expressed opposition to a plan by Japan and the United States to continue to conduct drills in an area of the South China Sea it calls its own.
Japan's defense chief and a top U.S. commander had agreed to demonstrate the two countries' strong ties and "keep in check an increasingly assertive China" during a meeting at Camp Smith, Hawaii on Wednesday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press briefing Thursday that China "advises the relevant countries do more to contribute to peace and stability on the South China Sea, insteading of flexing muscles, creating tension and promoting the militarization of the South China Sea".
Hong's remarks followed Wednesday's meeting, in which Japanese Defense Minister Gen. Nakatani was quoted as saying "U.S. action is at the forefront of international efforts to ensure peace and freedom of movement at sea."
China claims almost all the resource-rich South China Sea, and has overlapping claims with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.
Its reclamation work, which includes the building of airfields on some of the disputed islands, has stirred global controversy and provoked tensions in the region.
The U.S. and Japan have expressed alarm at China's maritime expansion, which they suspect is aimed at extending its military reach, while the Philippines -- which calls the area the West Philippine Sea -- has taken the quarrel to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in The Hague.
On Nov. 6, Japanese and Vietnamese defense ministers agreed that the base in Cam Ranh Bay -- roughly 460 kilometers (285 miles) from the Spratly Islands, which lie at the heart of the dispute -- would welcome Japan's boats.
Japan also sent two boats to Vietnam to be used as patrol vessels amid reported demonstrations of force by China in the sea.Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Kasım 2015, 15:40