Beijing is already in control of the vast majority of the islands and shoals in the South China Sea, which are also claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. US Vice President Mike Pence insists that the disputed South China Sea area is not the domain of any one country.
Chinese Navy academy researcher Senior Captain Zhang Junshe has reiterated Beijing’s position on the matter, insisting that the Asian superpower has the legal right to take any steps to expand its clout in the South China Sea.
Zhang also warned that “if our on-island personnel and installations come under threat in future, then we necessarily will take measures to boost our defensive capabilities”.
‘We Will Not Seek Hegemony’: Beijing Expects South China Sea Rulebook in 3 Years
Separately, he claimed that the US Navy jeopardises regional security by conducting its “freedom of navigation” missions in areas adjacent to the South China Sea islands.
The comments came after US Vice President Mike Pence claimed in mid-November that the disputed South China Sea “doesn’t belong to any one nation”.
“[…] You can be sure: the United States will continue to sail and fly wherever international law allows and our national interests demand,” Pence said.
Washington has repeatedly accused Beijing of building artificial islands in the South China Sea region and constructing facilities on the contested…