China complains about undue foreign navigation in maritime space
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China complains about undue foreign navigation in maritime space

“Freedom of navigation is a concept widely recognized by the international community. However, it should not be used as an excuse to infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of littoral states,” China’s Navy chief Shen Jinlong said on Wednesday. Shen was speaking at a forum in the eastern city of Qingdao, following a major naval parade that marked 70 years since the founding of the Chinese Navy. While he did not name any country, his remark was clearly addressed to the United States, which routinely sails warships and flies warplanes close to territory claimed by China but disputed by other regional countries. “We adhere to non-conflict and non-confrontation and strive to be a stabilizer for maritime peace,” Shen said. “[But] respect for the rules is the cornerstone of maritime good order.” China regards the US military patrols near its territories as a provocation. Those patrols often take place in the South China Sea. China claims almost all of the South China Sea as its territory. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and others, however, dispute that territorial claim. The two-million-strong Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army, is the world’s largest fighting force, and the Chinese Navy is the world’s biggest maritime force.

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