‘Freedom of navigation in South China Sea not a problem’

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Woody Island is in the Paracels chain, which is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

China is “clearly militarizing the South China (Sea)”, said Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, adding: “You’d have to believe in a flat Earth to think otherwise”.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Washington that China and the U.S. had made “significant progress” after talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday.
The report said the images showed that China appeared to have constructed a buried bunker and lighthouse on the northern portion of the feature, a helipad, communications equipment and a quay with a loading crane.
China has sent fighter jets to Woody Island before.
Satellite imagery earlier this month showed that China deployed advanced anti-aircraft batteries on Woody Island.
Beijing is installing radar facilities on its artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, an American think tank has said, in a move analysts warned would “exponentially improve” the country’s monitoring capacities.
China said more than 80 percent of the South China Sea belongs to Beijing, according to Bloomberg, and the United States is concerned such claims are a preliminary move to exclude US vessels from global waters. The state-run media outlet also said China has the right to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty through the deployment of defensive measures, including the Chinese fighter jets.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State John Kerry have agreed to punish Pyongyang through the UN-backed sanctions that may include economic penalties as the two officials are wrapping up talks that started on Tuesday in Washington. “This would be very important in a Chinese anti-access area denial strategy that sought to reduce the ability of the U.S.to operate freely in the South China Sea, including bringing forces up through the South China Sea in case of any future crisis in Northeast Asia”, he told the newspaper via email.
“China deploying necessary national defence facilities on its own territory is no different from the USA deploying defence facilities on Hawaii”, Ms Hua said.
Asked whether the South China Sea and the missiles would come up when Wang meets Kerry, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Washington should not use the issue of military facilities on the islands as a “pretext to make a fuss”.
As Kerry and Wang met on Tuesday, North Korea promised a “strategic” response if it felt threatened by an upcoming joint US-South Korean military exercise.
“And the fact is that there have been steps by China, by Vietnam, by others that have unfortunately created an escalatory cycle”.
China would like to have dialogue with the United States on the South China Sea to avoid misjudgement, he said.
“We don’t hope to see any more close-up military reconnaissance, or the despatch of missile destroyers or strategic bombers in the South China Sea“, he said. He said the administration’s “risk aversion” has failed to prevent China’s coercive behavior.