“China is only building civilian and some necessary defense facilities on our own islands,” Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi during a press briefing with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 23 in Washington, DC.
Wang Yi made a stop over in US after attending the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in Argentina.
“That is the right to self-defense and preservation of every sovereign state. It is a normal deployment and has nothing to do with militarization, just like the U.S. has military presence in Hawaii, in Guam,” he added.
He noted that China’s deployment is much smaller scale compared to US’. “It’s just out of necessary defense purposes. We don’t hope to see any exaggeration or hype-up of this matter,” he said.
He also commented against the disinvitation of China from participating in the US-led Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2018. “We find that a very unconstructive move, nonconstructive move,” he said.
“Both China, the U.S. are big countries, and we are well positioned to have greater cooperation at sea. Mil-to-mil exchanges will help to increase mutual trust. It will also help us to make greater efforts towards world peace and stability,” he added.
For his part, US Secretary of State Pompeo said he raised US concern regarding China’s militarization of West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.
“We have other important priorities in our relationship with China as well, such as stopping the flow of opioids coming from China into the United States, protecting American intellectual property, and upholding human rights and religious freedom,” he added.