China's 'Two Sessions' 2016

US to blame for escalating tension in South China Sea, China claims

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 March, 2016, 12:24pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 March, 2016, 12:02am

The United States – not China – is militarising the South China Sea, according to the spokeswoman for China’s legislature.

Fu Ying said the US was massively escalating its military level in the region and American patrols near Chinese-held islands in the South China Sea were raising tensions.

She made her comments on Friday ahead of the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. US officials have accused China of militarising the region through massive land reclamation work on islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

READ MORE: Three in four people on Woody island in disputed South China Sea are Chinese military

Fu said the claim that China was militarising the region could lead to a “miscalculation of the situation”.

“If you take a look at the matter closely, it’s the US sending the most advanced aircraft and military vessels to the South China Sea,” she said. “The US has made it clear that it will deploy 70 per cent of its navy to the Asia-Pacific region under its strategy of pivoting to Asia. The US has stepped up military moves with its alliances and its military presence in the Asia -Pacific region. Isn’t this militarisation?”

The US has stepped up military moves with its alliances and its military presence in the Asia -Pacific region. Isn’t this militarisation?
Fu Ying, spokeswoman for National People’s Congress

Her comments came as American media reported that the US Navy had dispatched an aircraft carrier and several ships accompanying it to the South China Sea in recent days. The carrier USS John C. Stennis, arrived in the South China Sea on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. It was accompanied by the cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the destroyers USS Stockdale and USS Chung-Hoon, Navy Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for US Pacific Fleet, was quoted as saying.

Aside from the carrier group, the Japan-based USS Antietam, a cruiser, was also patrolling the South China Sea, Doss said. The USS McCampbell, a destroyer, and the USS Ashland, an amphibious dock landing ship, completed similar patrols last week, the report said.

Shi Yinhong, an international relations expert at Renmin University, said: “It’s clear the US’ deployment is targeting China ... From now, there will only be more military actions in the region as the US responds to China’s ongoing island construction. It’s a constant exchange as tension continues to escalate.”

Additional reporting by Mimi Lau