(Reuters) China rebuffed U.S. pressure to curb its activity in the South China Sea on Sunday, restating its sovereignty over most of the disputed territory and saying it “has no fear of trouble.”
On the last day of Asia’s biggest security summit, Admiral Sun Jianguo said China will not be bullied, including over a pending international court ruling over its claims in the vital trade route.
“We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” Sun told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where more than 600 security, military and government delegates had gathered over three days.
“China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interest, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea.”
The waterway has become a flashpoint between the United States, which increased its focus on the Asia-Pacific under President Barack Obama’s “pivot”, and China, which is projecting ever greater economic, political and military power in the region.
The two have traded accusations of militarizing the waterway as Beijing undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction on disputed features while Washington has increased its patrols and exercises.