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June 29, 2012

Ministry: China will react to provocation

The Chinese military is ready to protect its rights over land and sea. (UPI/Stephen Shaver)

BEIJING (UPI) -- The Chinese military would defend the country's territorial sovereignty, sea rights and interests if challenged, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said China opposes any provocation by Vietnam resulting from air patrols over the Nansha Islands, which China has claimed, government-sponsored news agency Xinhua reported.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters, and opposes any military provocation," Geng said during a routine news conference. "The armed forces have the steady resolution and will to safeguard our territorial sovereignty, sea rights and interests."

Asked how China might respond if Vietnamese aircraft pass over the Chinese city of Sansha in the South China Sea, Geng said the military would react in accordance with relevant regulations if it faced a situation that could impact the country's security.

Several countries have conflicting claims of oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea. China and Taiwan claim nearly all of the sea while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have claims on parts near their shores.

China's Cabinet approved establishing the prefectural-level city of Sansha to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha island groups and surrounding waters.

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