By Franz-Stefan Gady
At a recent naval conference a Chinese Vice Admiral did not mince words.
Speaking at this year’s First Sea Lord/RUSI International Sea Power Conference in London, Chinese Vice Admiral Yuan Yubai, commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) North Sea Fleet, did not shy away from controversy. He emphatically stated that the South China Sea belongs to China.
“The South China Sea, as the name indicates, is a sea area that belongs to China. And the sea from the Han dynasty a long time ago where the Chinese people have been working and producing from the sea,” he said through an interpreter, according to Defense News.
Yubai was sitting on a panel with the U.S. Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Rear Adm. Jeff Harley and the President of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Command and Staff College, Vice Admiral Umio Otsuka, discussing the role of naval power in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Yubai’s statement came in response to Otsuka criticizing the land reclamation activities of “certain state actors” in the region. “Land reclamation conducted by some countries has been a problem in the South China Sea (and) we have to admit that the rule of law is at risk in this region. The JMSDF will secure the credibility of a deterrence capability and seek a multilateral framework in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
Read the full story at The Diplomat