Close  

PH: China’s reclamation in disputed reefs now ‘massive’

/ 09:50 AM January 22, 2015
US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, right, shakes hands with Philippine Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Evan P. Garcia, second from right, after their press conference on the fifth Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Garcia said surveillance photographs have shown that China's reclamation of contested reefs in the South China China has assumed a "massive" scale, with Beijing continuing its expansion in disputed territories despite past protests. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, right, shakes hands with Philippine Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Evan P. Garcia, second from right, after their press conference on the fifth Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. AP

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — China’s land reclamation in contested reefs in the South China Sea has become “massive,” and is continuing despite protests from other countries, a Philippine official said Wednesday, citing surveillance photographs.

Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Evan Garcia and the top US diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Russel, said after annual security talks that their governments have separately urged Beijing to stop activities that could worsen tensions and violate a 2002 accord designed to prevent armed conflicts over disputed islands and reefs.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It is massive, just look at the photographs. These are not small adjustments. These are huge activities that are obviously designed to change the status quo,” Garcia said in a joint news conference with Russel.

“Let me add also that the massive reclamation of China in the South China Sea is a clear violation of what we have agreed upon” in the 2002 accord, Garcia said. “It is not helpful in terms of finding a way forward and it is not an example of what anybody would understand as self-restraint.”

FEATURED STORIES

The photographs Garcia referred to were not immediately distributed to the media.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila had no immediate comment, but Beijing’s foreign ministry has said that the area where the reclamation is reportedly underway is part of China’s territory, and that any Chinese activities there should be of no concern to Manila.

In May last year, the Philippine government released military surveillance photos of Chinese land reclamation in Johnson South Reef, called Mabini in the Philippines and Chigua in China, in the disputed Spratly chain of islands, reefs and atolls.

Military chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang told reporters two weeks ago that China’s reclamation work in at least three reefs appeared to be “50 percent complete,” including one with an elongated portion that is 1 to 2 kilometers (1/2 mile to 1.2 mile) long and could be turned into an airstrip.

Catapang told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the latest surveillance photos of China’s reclamation work were obtained by the military in October and new photographs would be pursued.

The Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia have protested the reclamation on Johnson South Reef and other reefs. The reclaimed areas could be used by Beijing as a military base and a resupply and refueling hub, according to military officials.

Brunei and Taiwan also claim parts of the sprawling sea that China claims virtually in its entirety.

ADVERTISEMENT

China’s reclamation work and other related activities are “an ongoing concern” for the US and other nations, which rely “on freedom of navigation and sea lanes and the principle of unimpeded, lawful commerce” in the South China Sea, Russel said. The South China Sea has some of the world’s busiest commercial sea lanes.

“But behavior that raises tensions, behavior that raises questions about China’s intention and behavior that would appear to be inconsistent with the principles that I’ve enumerated work counter to those goals,” he said.

Russel and Garcia said their governments support a peaceful resolution of the disputes based on international law.

RELATED STORIES

China’s reclamation in West PH Sea 50 % done, says AFP chief

PH helpless in stopping China’s reclamation work in disputed seas

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: China, Daniel Russel, Evan Garcia, massive reclamation, Philippines, reclamation, South China Sea, territorial dispute, territorial row, United States
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
sports

Raptors, Siakam agree on 4-year max extension

October 20, 2019 03:01 PM

newsinfo

2 dead, 3 hurt as gunman opens fire in Rizal

October 20, 2019 02:53 PM

newsinfo

MILF mourns passing of Nene Pimentel

October 20, 2019 02:29 PM



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.