SINGAPORE, June 12 (Xinhua) -- China strongly objected to remarks made by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Saturday at the ongoing 19th Shangri-La Dialogue regarding the South China Sea and Taiwan, calling them unfounded declarations and false accusations against China.
Austin's accusation that China's "unprofessional and frequent interceptions" of other countries' airplanes in the air space of the South China Sea does not accord with the fact, said Lieutenant General Zhang Zhenzhong, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission, at a press briefing.
"We have to point out that the place or the air space where this event happened were in the air space near China's Xisha and Nansha Islands, not the air space of American allies. And China has to take necessary counter measures to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests. The counter measures we have taken are conducted in a professional and safe way," Zhang said.
Zhang said that the title of militarization of the South China Sea is more suited for the United States as it frequently sends warships and planes to intrude into the adjacent waters and air space of China's islands and reefs in the South China Sea and frequently carries out closing reconnaissance and targeted military exercises in the area.
Zhang stressed that there was never any trouble in the South China Sea until the United States created troubles.
Calling Austin's remarks on Taiwan interference in China's internal affairs, Zhang urged Washington to stopping playing the "Taiwan card."
"The Taiwan question is the one question that could most easily lead the China-U.S. relations into conflict. Mishandling of the Taiwan question will have a destructive impact on bilateral ties. The People's Liberation Army always stands ready to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity at any cost," he said.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service