China defends building of lighthouses in South China Sea
The construction of two lighthouses in disputed waters in the South China Sea is part of Beijing’s “international responsibilities and obligations,” a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
Speaking in Beijing, Hua Chunying said construction on the Spratly Islands was aimed at facilitating maritime search and rescue, disaster relief, environmental protection, and navigational security.
China held a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday for two lighthouses on Cuarteron (Calderon) and South Johnson (Mabini) Reefs in the disputed waterway.
READ: China to build lighthouses in Spratlys — report
The US has expressed concerns over China’s reclamation activities in disputed parts of the South China Sea.
The Philippines is one of the southeast Asia nations in a dispute with China over the Spratly Islands – an archipelago located in sea lanes crucial to world trade.
Philippines President Benigno Aquino III on Monday pointed to the disparity in the military strength of China and the Philippines, saying China should not bully a smaller country because it would hurt its image as it tries to create goodwill with its trading partners.
READ: Aquino: PH to defy China
Hua responded to those comments on Tuesday, saying that “China won’t bully smaller countries, and at the same time, smaller countries should not endlessly make unreasonable quarrels.”
“We are in an ever-changing world, and we hope the Philippines stop sowing discord and (refrain from) any other provocative actions, and move back to the track of solving problems through negotiations,” she said.
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