What are Chinese military and defense capabilities
South China Sea: China claims sovereignty in disputed marine areas
The Chinese leadership has reaffirmed its claim to the South China Sea. A representative of the Naval Academy announced that one has the right to take all measures to protect its artificial islands, which are far from mainland China. "If our personnel on the islands and in the facilities should be threatened in the future, we will necessarily take steps to increase our defense capabilities." With this, China continues to lay claim to practically the entire South China Sea.
In the Spratly Islands area, China has expanded seven reefs with concrete and sand to create artificial islands, some with airfields. The islands are also claimed by five other neighboring countries. Zhang accused the US of ignoring Chinese sovereignty in the region by repeatedly bringing US warships close to the artificial islands.
So far, the USA has left no doubt that it would also enforce the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea militarily if necessary. The US Department of Defense has also stated that China is not keeping the promise made by President Xi Jinping in 2015 not to expand the artificial islands any further.
Chinese Lieutenant General He Sei said the Chinese military was considering setting up additional military bases overseas, primarily to support Chinese participation in UN peacekeeping missions. In 2017, China set up its first foreign military base in the Horn of Africa, in Djibouti. The USA, Japan and several European countries have already been present there to protect international shipping in the Gulf of Aden from pirates.
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