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China Daily Website

Sansha military garrison established

Updated: 2012-07-27 08:09
By Zhao Shengnan and Zhang Yunbi ( China Daily)

The Ministry of National Defense on Thursday announced the appointment of major officers to the Sansha military garrison, saying China's military establishments in its own territory are irrelevant to other countries.

Senior Colonel Cai Xihong was appointed as the garrison's commander, and Senior Colonel Liao Chaoyi was appointed as the garrison's political commissar, the ministry's spokesman Yang Yujun said at a regular news conference.

Analysts said China will continue to strengthen control over Sansha to ensure its lawful interests and rights amid maritime disputes.

China on Tuesday officially established the city of Sansha on Yongxing Island in Hainan province, and a military garrison was also established.

The new military garrison is responsible for defense mobilization, militia reserves, the relationship between the garrison and local government as well as guarding the city and disaster relief, Yang said.

"Whether a military establishment has combat forces or not depends on its military tasks," the spokesman said in response to a question about the military deployment of the Sansha military garrison.

There had been speculation that the military garrison originated from the existing Xisha maritime garrison, but Yang said the Sansha military garrison and Xisha maritime garrison are separate military organs executing duties according to their respective responsibilities.

Yang said the Xisha maritime garrison under the Chinese navy's Nanhai Fleet is responsible for maritime defense and military combat.

Zhang Junshe, deputy director of the Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the construction of the Sansha military garrison is a long-term process based on the city's defensive needs.

China's recent steps to beef up lawful maritime rights in the South China Sea have drawn concerns from some US officials. US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland on Tuesday expressed Washington's "concern" over the city's establishment.

China adheres to direct bilateral negotiations between related parties to properly solve the South China Sea issue based on historical facts and international laws, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Office told Xinhua News Agency on Thursday.

Although Washington has expressed neutrality over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, it is still worried about China's growing military strength in the region. Some US politicians have even suggested Washington play a more influential role in multilateral maritime negotiations to solve the disputes, said Zhang Zhexin, a US studies expert with the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

"China will certainly continue reinforcing its political and military control over Sansha as it has drawn lessons from maritime disputes in the past," he said.

Asked whether the Chinese navy will use China's first aircraft carrier to solve the South China Sea issue, Yang said the purpose of developing an aircraft carrier is to strengthen national security and world peace.

The spokesman would not say whether the aircraft carrier would be commissioned on Aug 1, which marks the 85th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army's establishment, but said its current sea trials have gone well and additional trials will continue.

Yang reiterated China's indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands, saying the Japan-US security and cooperation treaty, a product of the Cold War and a bilateral arrangement, should not damage the interests of third parties including China.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba on Tuesday said the Diaoyu Islands would be included in such treaty between Japan and the US, in a decision worked out with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton, the Jiji Press News Agency reported.

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