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China upset at Mattis remarks on Spratlys

China has expressed its strong dissatisfaction with what it labeled “irresponsible remarks” on the South China Sea by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis during a security forum at the weekend.

Mattis accused China of having contempt for other nations’ interests and disregarding international law.

He told the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that the construction and militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea undermined regional stability.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China’s construction of facilities in the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea was aimed at improving working conditions for people stationed there, maintaining sovereignty and fulfilling China’s international responsibilities.

The sovereign activities undertaken by China had nothing to do with militarization, Hua said in remarks posted on the ministry’s website late on Sunday. Hua said countries around the South China Sea had tried to lower tensions, but others outside the region “have been bent on going against the trend, making repeated erroneous remarks, ignoring the facts and confusing black from white with entirely ulterior motives”. (Reuters)

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