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China defends South China Sea reef landings after Vietnam complaint

Posted on Jan 12,2016
BEIJING - China on Monday rejected a complaint from Vietnam that China had failed to notify it about flights to an island it has built in disputed waters in the South China Sea saying it was China's territory and it did not need to notify anyone.
Chinese civilian aircraft have conducted several test landings on Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan Reef), one of three runways China has been building for more than a year by dredging sand up onto reefs and atolls in the Spratly Islands.
Vietnam and the Philippines have both objected to the flights and the United States, which has criticized China's construction of islands in the South China Sea, has expressed concern about an increase in tension in the region.
Vietnam says China's landings were on what it calls an "illegally" built reef, and has vowed to defend its sovereignty through peaceful measures.
Vietnam's civil aviation authorities also said China's aircraft flew into its "flight information region" without prior notification and "flight operations of Chinese aircraft have threatened safe exploitation of international air routes."
China's foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said that complaint was "groundless" and reiterated that China had sovereignty over the area.
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