Ahead of the approaching ASEAN meeting, Chinese officials are trying to negate accusations regarding aggression in the South China Sea.
In the last couple of months, the Chinese government has received severe criticism for construction projects in the South China Sea. Japan and Philippines, which are some of the regional powers in the region are worried these construction projects reflect a regenerated imperialist outlook in the communist nation.
Leaders from other regional powers fear that the Chinese defense forces may use the newly constructed facilities to project power, which would make the gigantic Chinese military more agile and flexible.
On the other hand, Chinese officials have the fear that the U.S and other nations may bring up the issue of construction of artificial islands and elevated military presence in the South China Sea at the meet.
As stated by the Chinese foreign minister, the ASEAN is not the right forum to discuss the issue. He further stated that the forum is meant to promote cooperation. If the issue is raised by the U.S., China will object, he added.
The Chinese foreign minister put the blame on other countries in the region for increased hostility and growing tensions.
He further stated that the outside countries are trying to militarize the region.
ASEAN comprises of ten Southeast Asian states, Japan, Australia, the European Union, India, China, South Korea, the U.S., and Russia.
China is claiming the complete South China Sea, which sees US$5 trillion of trade pass every year. Rival countries such as India, Japan, and Vietnam are all disputing China’s legitimacy on control of the region.
It is almost sure that the U.S will address the tension at the forthcoming conference.
A Washington based think tank firm, the Center for Strategic and International Studies is claiming that the Chinese have plans to construct more airstrips.