Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang’s Regular Press Conference on May 24, 2018
Q: In response to China’s continuous “militarization” in the South China Sea, the Pentagon has withdrawn its invitation to China to participate in the 2018 RIMPAC. What is your comment?
A: I have seen relevant reports. The US side linked China’s participation in the military exercise with what it perceived to be China’s actions in the South China Sea. I must seriously point out that China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands and reefs in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters. It is our inherent right as a sovereign state to carry out normal construction activities on our own territory and conduct normal military training. It is a necessary measure to safeguard our sovereign security and maintain regional peace and stability, bearing not the slightest resemblance to the so-called “militarization” that the US side has been irresponsibly accusing us of. The US has no right and no ground to accuse China on this issue.
I also want to stress that it is the US who proposed to enhance mil-to-mil exchanges between the two countries in the first place. If it thinks that it can blackmail China into giving up its inherent rights by manipulating one or two exchange programs, it is indulging in unrealistic thinking to no avail. No matter it is invitation or disinvitation, or whether there is this military drill or not, nothing will change China’s resolve to play a positive role in upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea region or sway its firm determination to safeguard its security and sovereign rights and interests.