A Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday reaffirmed that China's construction in the South China Sea is within China's sovereign rights and its activities are lawful, reasonable and justified.
Spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks after U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday called for an immediate end to island-building by China and other countries near the South China Sea, urging participants to stop militarizing the dispute and find a peaceful solution.
Carter said China's island-building efforts were "out of step" with the regional consensus. "We will remain the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come," said Carter.
Hua said some countries have carried out illegal construction activities within China's territory in the South China Sea, but the United States has selectively failed to speak about it.
China's construction in the South China Sea is within China's sovereign rights, said Hua, but the United States makes irresponsible remarks on the issue.
Hua reiterated that China is a big country that shoulders more international responsibilities and obligations, and its construction activities are being conducted at a pace and scale befitting those responsibilities and obligations.
"We have our own judgment and nobody has the right to tell China what to do," Hua said.
At present, the overall situation in the South China Sea is stable, but several countries have been stirring up trouble and provoking China over its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, Hua said.
She said the United States should think seriously about what kind of Asia-Pacific region it wishes to see and the kind of role it should play in the region.
Hua also asked whether it is in line with U.S. interests for the Asia-Pacific region, as an important economic growth engine, to be disturbed.
She urged the United States to have a responsible attitude and play a constructive role in regional peace and stability.