During US Navy visit, China vows 'never to stop' island buildup
Stars and Stripes | .
published: July 21, 2016
WASHINGTON — China’s top naval officer told U.S. Adm. John Richardson this week that his country will never stop its construction of man-made islands in the South China Sea, according to news reports.
Wu Shengli, commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, met with Richardson, the U.S. chief of naval operations, during a planned five-day visit to China.
China has rejected the ruling and vowed to continue to develop the islands. On Wednesday, China’s third largest telecommunications carrier announced it was expanding its wireless capabilities to the man-made islands, which China calls the Nansha Islands, “in an effort to safeguard the country’s legal claim in the South China Sea and to improve communication services for local people,” according to the China Daily newspaper.
During the visit, Wu told Richardson that China was committed to peaceful operations in the South China Sea. But he also said “flexing military muscles will only have the negative opposite effect,” referring to U.S. vessels cruising within 12 nautical miles of some of the contested islands, according to Xinhua, a Chinese state-run news service.