China on Friday slammed the remarks of a top US admiral on the South China Sea and urged US officials to stop playing up the situation.

“We have noticed that this official is busy making comments on the South China Sea — sometimes in the US Congress, and sometimes in the Defense Department — which has given us the general impression that he intends to smear China’s legitimate and reasonable actions in the South China Sea and sowing discord. He is finding an excuse for US maritime hegemony and muscle-flexing on the sea,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

“We hope the official will stop playing up the situation and stop seeking publicity in the region,” Hong said.

Hong’s remarks at the routine press briefing came in response to comments by US Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry Harris on Thursday. Harris said he was concerned about the possibility that China might declare an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea, but the US side would ignore such a designation.

Harris also accused China of showing determination to achieve military primacy in the region.

“A fallacy remains a fallacy no matter how many times it is repeated, and the truth will ultimately be the truth,” Hong said.

What China has been doing in South China Sea, he noted, is to deploy defense facilities on its territorial land in a reasonable and proper way, not “militarization.”

Whether China will announce an ADIZ depends on the situation. The general situation of the South China Sea currently is stable, he said.

Feb. 29, 2016 on China Daily

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