China says it exercises sovereignty, build infrastructure, deploy defensive capabilities in South China Sea

“The situation of the South China Sea is generally stable and improving as regional countries are properly managing risks and differences,” says in the new defense white paper released by the Chinese government.

“The South China Sea islands and Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands are inalienable parts of the Chinese territory. China exercises its national sovereignty to build infrastructure and deploy necessary defensive capabilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and to conduct patrols in the waters of Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea,” it said.

However, it also said that “China is committed to resolving related disputes through negotiations with those states directly involved on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. China continues to work with regional countries to jointly maintain peace and stability. It firmly upholds freedom of navigation and overflight by all countries in accordance with international law and safeguards the security of sea lines of communication (SLOCs).”

It added that “since the second half of 2016, China and the Philippines have increased dialogue on maritime security, bringing the two sides back on track in addressing the South China Sea issue through friendly consultation.”