SINGAPORE, June 2 (Xinhua) -- China's deployment of defensive facilities on its islands in the South China Sea is legitimate and necessary, a senior Chinese military official said here on Saturday.
The remarks were made by He Lei, vice president of the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, in response to remarks on the South China Sea made by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the on-going 17th Asia Security Summit, also known as the Shangri-la Dialogue, which opened here on Friday.
The South China Sea issue has always been a "hot topic" at the annual Shangri-la Dialogue in recent years, so much so that some have described it as a "golden routine subject," said He, who is head of the Chinese delegation to the Dialogue.
China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters, a fact verified by historical evidence and supported by international law, he said.
China has always wanted to deal with the South China Sea issue through dialogue and consultation between China and the parties concerned, on the basis of respect for historical facts and in accordance with international law, said the head of the Chinese delegation.
The current situation in the South China Sea has calmed down visibly as a result of the joint efforts of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, he said.
China's deployment of defensive facilities on its islands in the South China Sea is a legitimate right granted to sovereign states by international law, which has nothing to do with militarization and does not pose a threat to regional security, he said.
Irresponsible remarks on the issue are interferences in China's internal affairs, He noted.
Those who cry out against militarization are actually those who are actually undertaking militarization in the South China Sea, the senior Chinese military official said.
In the name of "freedom of navigation," they sent military vessels and aircraft to the adjacent waters and airs of Chinese islands and reefs to carry out military activities and some even demonstrated muscles within 12 nautical miles of Chinese islands, he said.
The moves have not only undermined China's security and stability but made provocation against China's sovereignty, he said, adding they also constitute the source of militarization in the South China Sea.
The Chinese government and the people strongly oppose such moves and will take necessary measures to restrain them, he noted.