China rebuffed U.S. pressure to curb its activity in the South China Sea on Sunday, restating its sovereignty over most of the disputed territory and saying it "has no fear of trouble."
On the last day of Asia's biggest security summit in Singapore, Adm. Sun Jianguo said China will not be bullied, including over a pending international court ruling over its claims in the vital trade route.
"We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble," Sun told the Shangri-La Dialogue. "China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interest, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea."
China and the United States have traded accusations of militarizing the waterway as Beijing undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction on disputed features while Washington has increased its patrols and exercises.
Despite repeated notes of concern from countries such as Japan, India, Vietnam and South Korea, Sun rejected the prospect of isolation, saying that many of the Asian countries present at the Shangri-La Dialogue were "warmer" and "friendlier" to China than a year ago.
"We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now and we will not be isolated in the future," Sun said.
"Actually I am worried that some people and countries are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice. They may build a wall in their minds and end up isolating themselves."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Beijing not to establish an air defense identification zone over the South China Sea, as it did over the East China Sea in 2013.
"We would consider an ADIZ ... over portions of the South China Sea as a provocative and destabilizing act which would automatically raise tensions and call into serious question China's commitment to diplomatically manage the territorial disputes of the South China Sea," Kerry said during a visit to Mongolia.