Having spied on RIMPAC for a week or two, it appears the Chinese imperialist rhetoric is rising once again. China can build whatever it wants on its islands in the South China Sea, Reuters reports a senior Chinese official said on Monday, rejecting proposals ahead of a key regional meeting to freeze any activity that may raise tensions in disputed waters there: "what China does or doesn't do is up to the Chinese government. Nobody can change the government's position." Of course, after showing what is at stake here, it should hardly be surprising that China is pushing back again. But don't worry, China's Ocean Affairs minister added "trust in us Asian people to use Asian means and wisdom to resolve our own problems."
Southeast Asian foreign ministers this week hold security talks with counterparts, including those from the United States and China, in Myanmar, with escalating tensions over maritime disputes in Asia likely to be a major issue.
Yi Xianliang, deputy head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Boundary and Ocean Affairs Departments, told reporters that China had every right to build on its islands as a way of improving basic living conditions there.
"The Spratly Islands are China's intrinsic territory, and what China does or doesn't do is up to the Chinese government. Nobody can change the government's position," Yi said.
It was a double standard to bring this issue up now when other countries had been doing similar things for years, he added.
"Why is it that when other countries wantonly build airports, nobody says a word? But China has only this year started small and necessary construction, to raise living conditions on the islands - and so many people raise doubts."
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"Trust in us Asian people to use Asian means and wisdom to resolve our own problems," Yi said.