Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday, February 17 sought to downplay reports that China had positioned anti-aircraft missiles on a disputed South China Sea island, the Associated Press reports
He accused the media of hyping the issue and saying more attention should be paid to what he called “public goods and services” provided by China’s development of its maritime claims.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement it had “grasped that Communist China had deployed” an unspecified number of missiles on Woody Island in the Paracel group. The Philippines said the development increased regional tensions.
Following talks with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop, Wang said he had become aware of the missile reports just minutes before.
“We believe this is an attempt by certain Western media to create news stories,” Wang said.
Echoing claims that the development was largely civilian oriented and benefited the region, Wang pointed to the construction of light houses, weather stations, and rescue and shelter facilities for fishermen.
“All of those are actions that China, as the biggest littoral state in the South China Sea, has undertaken to provide more public goods and services to the international community and play its positive role there,” Wang said.