The Yongshu reef in the Nansha Islands [File photo: Xinhua](Xinhua) China has claimed sending troops to and setting up territorial defense equipment on the islands and reefs of Nansha Islands is the automatic right as a sovereign state.
Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense, made the remarks on Tuesday when answering a question on China's defense.
"Nansha Islands are part of Chinese territory, and setting up troops and defense equipment on their islands and reefs helps protect China's sovereignty and safety, and helps maintain an unimpeded and secure navigation channel in the South China Sea," he said. "It also helps maintain the regional peace and stability, while it is not directed at any particular country."
"China will resolutely follow the path of peaceful development, and pursue a national defense policy that is in nature defensive, as well as a military strategy of active defense," he said.