China reiterated its sovereignty over the South China Sea area in response to Western reports of China's anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems in the Nansha Islands, with an analyst saying that the US' appearances in the region are the reason for China's defensive constructions.
"China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its nearby waters. It is needed to protect the sovereignty and security of China, and justified for China as a sovereign nation to carry out peaceful development activities and necessary defense constructions. The related deployment is not directed at any country," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Thursday.
The US-based CNBC reported on Thursday that China has "quietly" installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on Yongshu Reef, Zhubi Reef and Meiji Reef in the South China Sea in the past 30 days.
"These Western reports are only speculating about China's militarization in the South China Sea. Deploying defensive facilities in the region is based on our country's rightful safety needs as well as the security situation in the area," Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The US' frequent appearances in the South China Sea, claiming the so-called freedom of navigation, are another reason behind the necessity to deploy defensive facilities in the region, Chen said, questioning how the US defines militarization as it misinterprets China's intentions.
Zhang Junshe, a Beijing-based military expert, said that the US has not only increased its navigations in the South China Sea recently but also conducted drills, which could be regarded as flexing its muscles to China and other countries in the region.
"There is no need to be concerned or afraid if you do not plan to invade... China is a major trading nation as well as a firm keeper of regional peace and stability," Hua said.
Newspaper headline: China has right to peaceful activities in Nansha: FM