BEIJING -- China opposes interference in the South China Sea situation from countries outside the region, China"s Ministry of National Defense said Thursday.
At a regular press conference, Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson for the ministry, made the remarks in response to questions on the presence of British naval ships in the South China Sea.
"Those countries outside the region, including United Kingdom and France, deliberately ignored the fact that the situation in the South China Sea is developing towards peace and stability, and came to seek their own interests by abusing the freedom of navigation," Ren said.
"China has always respected and safeguarded the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law. Meanwhile, China firmly opposes certain countries" provocations in the region under the excuse of that freedom.
"The South China Sea is not a stage for certain countries to present their show. The Chinese military will perform its defense duty, enhance marine and air patrol to resolutely defend its national sovereignty and security, and to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea."