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PLA slams naval drills in South China Sea

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-05-01 07:44
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The Ministry of National Defense spokesman Wu Qian [File photo by Zhu Xingxin/]

The Chinese military opposes foreign powers bolstering their naval presence in the South China Sea, actions that are detrimental to regional peace and stability, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday.

The People's Liberation Army will remain highly vigilant and keep monitoring foreign navies' activities in the region, ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian said in a news release.

Wu made the remarks amid recent "freedom of navigation" operations by the United States Navy. Since mid-April, the US and Australian navies have conducted joint military exercises in the South China Sea.

"Reality has proved once again that the US is the biggest facilitator of the militarization of the South China Sea, and is a troublemaker for the region's peace and stability," Wu said.

"The PLA will remain on high alert, and adamantly safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, as well as the peace and prosperity of the region."

In response to two US Naval Institute articles published early last month that called on the US to encourage the use of privateers to attack Chinese ships by issuing letters of marque-documents authorizing privately owned ships to capture enemy merchant ships-Wu called the idea "an act of piracy".

"These actions are criminal activities explicitly prohibited under international laws, and will absolutely receive joint opposition and a severe backlash from the international community," he said.

Wu said that publicly endorsing piracy had exposed the hegemonic ideas and law of the jungle mentality behind the authors, "and the international community should be on guard against these thoughts".

When asked to comment on accusations by Taiwan defense authorities that the Chinese mainland was engaging in military coercion and threats against the island, Wu said Taiwan is part of China and PLA activities around the island are aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Our activities target a few Taiwan secessionists and their activities, not the majority of Taiwan compatriots," he said. "Any form of military resistance against reunification goes against the nation's righteous principles, and is doomed to fail."

As for the military's efforts in combating the novel coronavirus pneumonia pandemic, Wu said the PLA had sent medical supplies and experts to many countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Lebanon.

PLA medical teams had also held seminars with peers from Pakistan, Singapore and Russia.

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