The South China Sea is one of the world’s freest and safest shipping lanes, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, arguing that Beijing’s control over the disputed waters was justified because it was the first to “discover” them.

China says its claim over the disputed waters is justified because it was the first to discover them

China has come under fire from the United States and its allies in recent months over its land reclamation activities in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes annually.

The U.S. Navy has carried out freedom of navigation exercises, sailing near disputed islands to underscore its rights to operate in the seas.

Those patrols, and reports that China is deploying advanced missiles, fighters and radar equipment on islands there, have led Washington and Beijing to trade accusations of militarizing the region. Read More

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