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China responds to Pentagon chief's speech regarding S. China Sea

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday refuted a recent speech made by the U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, stressing that China is a maintainer, builder and contributor to the current international order.

China unswervingly defends peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region as well as international justice, spokesman Hong Lei said at a press briefing when commenting on the speech by the Pentagon chief on Saturday.

Carter reportedly said that China presents a challenge to the "international order," noting that he went aboard an American aircraft carrier in the South China Sea earlier the week to demonstrate U.S. commitment to freedom of navigation.

The current international order is based on the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and jointly established by the international community, Hong said, stressing that the most fundamental principles are respect to each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, equality and non-interference in others' internal affairs.

"International order" can not be defined by any individual in the United States at his own will, the spokesman said.

As for the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, Hong said China's position is consistent and clear and remains unchanged.

China has the right to carry out construction on its own territory, because the Nansha Islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times, Hong said.

"It won't cause any damage to any other country, nor affect the region's navigation freedom," Hong said.

China has always been committed to the peaceful settlement of disputes through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. The country is willing to work together with ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, said the spokesman.

China's position is reasonable and lawful and the U.S. side has no right to make irresponsible comments, Hong said.

Referring to a U.S. warship's entry into waters off a Chinese reef in the South China Sea without permission from China, Hong said the move posed serious damage to China's sovereignty and security while exacerbating tensions in the region.

"It is very clear who is breaking the international order and making trouble,"said Hong.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 10Nov15]

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East China Sea Conflict
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