China says US military presence in South China Sea larger than Chinese PLA

Amid United States’ criticism of militarization in West Philippine Sea/South China Sea, China says that US military presence in the highly disputed sea exceeds China’s total military strength which is the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

“The US military presence in the South China Sea far exceeds the total military strength of China and other littoral countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said during May 30 press briefing.

“Straying away from the wide sea lanes in the South China Sea, the US warships deliberately trespassed into the neighboring waters of China’s relevant islands or reefs from time to time. They prettify it as “freedom of navigation operation”,” she added.

She also claimed that China is not the first to deploy weapons in the South China Sea neither is it the one that deploys the largest number of weapons, still less the one that conducts military activities most frequently there.

“It is self-evident to a keener eye that who is militarizing the South China Sea,” she said.

“I would like to reiterate that China follows a defense policy that is defensive in nature. We will never attack others unless we are attacked. By deploying only necessary and limited homeland defense facilities on its own islands and reefs in the South China Sea, China is exercising its right to self-preservation and self-defense entitled under the international law in an upright way. This is legitimate and legal,” she explained.