China blames US for ‘militarising’ sea

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Beijing, Feb 20 (IANS) China says it does not intend to militarise the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, dismissing US accusations of raising tension in the region, the media reported on Saturday.

Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s foreign affairs ministry, said on Friday that demilitarisation in the region is not a matter for just a single country, the Global Times reported.

“There should not be double standards or multi-standards for demilitarisation in the South China Sea, and the process requires joint efforts from countries in the region and beyond,” he said.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby on Thursday said that commercial satellite imagery suggested “very recent” placement of missiles on Yongxing Island that went against China’s pledge not to militarize the South China Sea, Reuters reported.

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In response to the accusation, Hong said the US is strengthening military deployment in the South China Sea and frequently sends military vessels or planes to conduct close-in reconnaissance against China.

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