Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan has warned of maritime security threats and called for increased preparations for what he termed a "people's war at sea" as Beijing seeks to "safeguard sovereignty" after last month's international tribunal ruling rejected its historic claims to much of the South China Sea.

Chang, who was speaking during an inspection in coastal Zhejiang province, "called for recognition of the seriousness of the national security situation, especially the threat from the sea," the official Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

The military, police and public should prepare for mobilization to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he was also quoted as saying.