China slams PH plan to raise reclamation issue in Asean
China is against the Philippines’ plan to raise land reclamation issues on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), saying it will damage relations between Asean and China.
“I want to underscore that the South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and Asean,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in a press conference in Beijing on Monday.
“The Chinese side is always against the attempt of few countries to damage the friendly relationship of cooperation between China and Asean by making use of the South China Sea issue,” he said.
Recent satellite images of several reefs in the Spratly Islands show hundreds of Chinese ships conducting land reclamation activities.
Massive buildings, believed to be military structures, were also seen in various stages of construction.
A harbor and an airstrip being made are suspected to be for future use of military ships and planes.
President Benigno Aquino III intends to bring the issue before Asean leaders in the upcoming summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
China has asserted its sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea, through its nine-dash-line claim, including parts of the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
The Philippines has filed an arbitration case before an international court challenging China’s claim.
However, while the case moves slowly, China has been conducting land reclamation activities turning submerged reefs into artificial islands.
China has repeatedly refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings and has continued to shrug off all diplomatic protests by the Philippines. RC
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