Aerial photo taken on July 13, 2020 shows an expedition vessel in the South China Sea. (Xinhua/Zhang Liyun)
BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- China firmly opposes any country creating tension and increasing its military presence in the South China Sea under the pretext of "freedom of navigation," said the Ministry of National Defense on Monday.
The ministry made the remarks when asked to comment on the French Navy's recent dispatch of warships on a "freedom of navigation" mission in the South China Sea and the British Navy's upcoming operation in the region.
At present, the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable, and regional countries are working to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, said the ministry.
The ministry said China's will and determination to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea are rock solid, adding that China firmly opposes any country interfering in regional affairs under the pretext of "freedom of navigation" and damaging the common interests of regional countries.
The ministry called on relevant countries to make constructive contributions to peace and stability in the South China Sea, and refrain from making trouble and provoking tensions in the region. ■