Top Chinese military official, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission General Fan Changlong, urged the United States to reduce its military activities in West Philippine Sea and stick to its stand that US government does not take sides on territorial disputes. Fan had a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in the Pentagon Thursday, June 11.
The Chinese general pointed out that the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters have been China’s territories since ancient times. Fan also told Carter that China has the right to establish military facilities on its own territories.
However, Secretary Carter reiterated his government’s concerns in West Philippine Sea and called on China and all claimants to implement a lasting halt on land reclamation, cease further militarization, and pursue a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in accordance with international law.
The Pentagon said Secretary Carter reaffirmed his commitment to reach consensus on the air-to-air annex to the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters Memorandum of Understanding by September of this year. This annex will reduce the risk of miscalculation or accidents when the two countries’ aircraft operate in close proximity.