Expert: China will decide how to construct islands and reefs by itself

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Yao Jianing
2016-07-22 18:02

A Hainan Airlines passenger plane takes off at the new airport on Zhubi Reef on July 13 for Haikou. (Xinhua News Agency)

BEIJING, July 22 (ChinaMil) -- In a recent exchange of views with the visiting U.S. Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson on the South China Sea issue, Admiral Wu Shengli, member of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and commander of the PLA Navy, said China "will never give up halfway" over its Nansha Islands construction and "will advance and complete islands and reefs construction as planned" no matter which country or individual pressures it.

In an interview with CCTV program Asia Today, a military expert Yin Zhuo said China's unequivocal expression of its position helps China and the U.S. to avoid strategic misjudgment. China will never swallow the bitter pill of others damaging its sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Navy chief said firmly that China would never swallow the bitter pill.

Admiral Wu Shengli met with the visiting U.S. Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson in Beijing on July 18. Wu said the current maritime security situation around China is complicated and sensitive, especially as the South China Sea tension has escalated.

General Richardson's visit to China under such circumstances reflected that both countries are highly concerned with managing and controlling maritime crisis and could help both sides to deepen communication, build trust and dispel doubt, and avoid misjudgment, Wu said.

When speaking of South China Sea issue, Admiral We Shengli stressed that China will never sacrifice its sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea because they are China's core interests and concern the foundation of CPC's leadership, security and stability of the country and the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation.

Wu stressed that nobody should expect us to give in on territorial sovereignty. We are not afraid of any military provocation. The Chinese military is a powerful force that safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests, and the PLA Navy has made sufficient preparations to deal with any sovereignty infringement or provocation.

He added that China will never give up halfway over its islands construction as Nansha Islands are China's inherent territory and China's necessary construction activities there are completely reasonable and legitimate. China will advance and complete islands and reefs construction as planned no matter which country or individual pressures it.

Meanwhile, we will stay on high alert and keep up the defense efforts. "The level of our defense on these islands and reefs depends on the threats facing us" and any attempt to intimidate China by flexing military muscle "will only backfire", Wu said.

China won't give up efforts to solve the South China Sea issue peacefully. Despite negative factors, Beijing is still willing to peacefully resolve disputes via negotiations and consultation and manage and control crisis through rules and mechanisms, Wu said.

According to Yin Zhuo, as a member of China’s CMC and commander of the PLA Navy, Wu Shengli directly expressed the principles and position of Chinese military to John Richardson, an important member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, which was a good way of delivering China's views to the top level of U.S. military and their president.

China should tell the U.S. our position and intention explicitly, namely China will never give in on its sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in Nansha Islands. It will never accept the U.S. military and government trying to force it to swallow the bitter pill with military forces, and will take strong countermeasures to deal with pressure from the U.S. Besides, clearly stating China's position will keep both countries from making strategic misjudgment.

China will decide how to carry out islands and reefs construction by itself

CCTV reported that on the principle of mainly serving civilian purposes and serving military purposes as needed, China has made considerable progress on its Nansha islands and reefs construction.

Two civil passenger planes requisitioned by the Chinese government took off at Haikou successively on the morning of July 13 and headed for the new airports on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef. They both landed steadily and returned to Haikou on the afternoon, marking a successful test flight.

A Cessna CE-680 from the Flight Inspection Center of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) requisitioned by Chinese government carried out an inspection flight to the new airports on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef of Nansha Islands on July 12.

Being able to guarantee the safe operation of civil passenger planes, the two new airports will facilitate personnel commute, emergency aid and medical care for Nansha Islands, and provide a new option of alternate airport for flights via the South China Sea region.

According to someone responsible in Chinese Ministry of Transport, China has begun construction of five large lighthouses on relevant islands and reefs of Nansha Islands. So far four lighthouses, namely those on Huayang Reef, Chigua Reef, Zhubi Reef and Yongshu Reef, have been completed and put into use.

Wang Mingzhi, a PLA Air Force expert, said in an interview with CCTV's Focus Today that airport construction is a critical project in the vast island and reef construction. The successful inspection flight indicated that the airports were ready for use, their navigation systems could work normally, and the periodic goal of the construction has been achieved.

Yin Zhuo pointed out that construction on Nansha Islands is still ongoing. Although the groundwork is completed, not all facilities on the islands and reefs are, such as port, airport, and military self-defense facilities.

Even after they are completed, coast guard and other stationing troops there will have to carry out coordination training, and the commanding and communication among different islands and reefs have to be coordinated in order to create a comprehensive and systemic layout in the South China Sea.

Islands and reefs construction won't necessarily be limited to what's under construction now, added Yin Zhuo.

Islands and reefs that certain country may dare to control by force will all likely be the future target of China's construction, including Huangyan Island, Wufang Reef and Ren'ai Reef. Military pressuring will be useless for China.

"How to carry out construction on South China Sea islands and reefs depends on the threats facing China, and China will independently decide how many facilities to build and how to build them," said military expert Li Li in an interview.

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