Beijing: China on Tuesday justified its move to establish a military base in a disputed island in the South China Sea in the midst of escalating row with Vietnam and the Philippines, saying it`s aimed at protecting its sovereign rights.
According to relevant rules, a regular combat-readiness patrol system has been established in sea waters under China`s jurisdiction, Chinese Defence spokesman Geng Yansheng said.
Geng said the system was established to maintain the country`s territorial sovereignty and safeguard its maritime rights, and it is not targeting any other country or specific goals.
"The Chinese Navy is justified in protecting the country`s interests, and it is groundless to equate such a justified action with tough foreign policy," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.
Geng also said the establishment of the Sansha garrison at the disputed island in the South China Sea is responsible for defence mobilisation, militia reserves, the relationship between the garrison and local government as well as the city guard, support for the city`s disaster rescue and relief work, and direct militia and reserve troops in the city of Sansha.
"The formation of troops and arms mainly depends on its military tasks," Geng said.
Geng also said the establishment of the city of Sansha is a readjustment by the Chinese government to existing administrative bodies, which is an issue within China`s sovereignty and unrelated to other countries.
The disputes over the South China Sea mainly revolve around the sovereignty over some islands and part of the sea delimitation in the area, Geng said.
"China will continue to seek appropriate solutions through bilateral negotiations and consultations with the parties directly involved in the concerned disputes," Geng said.
He said China has indisputable sovereign rights over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, and the country opposes any military intervention in this area.
Another Chinese defence official Wu Xihua said China`s military development does not target or pose a threat to any nation.
"The development of the Chinese armed forces poses no threat to any nation, in that it aims to safeguard state sovereignty, security and development interests," said Wu, vice director of the Emergency Response Office of the General Staff Department of the People`s Liberation Army.
There are still large gaps between China`s military power and the world`s advanced levels, despite advance in China`s military modernisation in line with China`s economic growth and technological developments, he said.
"China always advocates the peaceful settlement of international disputes and resorts to dialogue and negotiation on the basis of equality to resolve conflicts and problems, while opposing the application of force," he said.