Chinese military vows to protect its maritime rights
China vowed to protect its maritime rights and is “fully confident and capable of” addressing security threats and “provocations”, amid escalating tensions over the disputed South China Sea after a UN-backed tribunal struck down Beijing’s claims over the strategic waters.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will “unswervingly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests including territorial integrity and maritime rights and interests”, State Councillor and Defence Minister Chang Wanquan said.
“It will always stand ready to be called upon and be able to fight and win,” state-run China Daily quoted him as saying while addressing an event to mark the 89th anniversary of the PLA. The 2.3 million-strong army, the world’s largest and part of the ruling Communist Party of China’s liberation struggle, turned 89 on Monday.
China will staunchly protect the country’s maritime rights and interests and is “fully confident and capable of addressing various security threats and provocations”, he said.
Chang did not directly refer to the South China Sea situation during his remarks on Sunday, but tension there was heightened this year by increased US patrols and the arbitration case brought by the Philippines against China, according to the official media.