‘Reclamation to continue’

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SINGAPORE: China on Sunday rejected US demands to stop reclamation works in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), saying it was exercising its sovereignty and using the controversial outposts to fulfill international responsibilities.

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Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the general staff department in the People’s Liberation Army, told a security summit in Singapore that “the situation in the South China Sea is on the whole peaceful and stable, and there has never been an issue with the freedom of navigation.”

“China has carried out construction on some islands and reefs mainly for the purpose of improving the functions of the relevant islands and reefs, and the working and living conditions of personnel stationed there.

“Apart from meeting the necessary defense needs, it is more geared to better perform China’s international responsibilities and obligations regarding maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and relief, maritime scientific research, meteorological observation, environmental protection, safety of navigation, fishery production, services,” Sun said.

China insists it has sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, a major global shipping route believed to be home to oil and gas reserves, but rival claimants accuse it of expansionism.

“When dealing with maritime disputes with relevant neighboring countries, China has always kept in mind the larger interest of maritime security,” Sun told the annual meeting known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.

“In spite of the sufficient historical and legal evidence and its indisputable claims, rights and interests, China has exercised enormous restraint, making positive contributions to peace and stability of the region and the world at large.”

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter earlier demanded an immediate end to all reclamation works by claimants and said Beijing was “out of step” with international norms with its behavior in disputed waters.

Carter said “there should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation[s]by all claimants,” adding that “we also oppose any further militarization of disputed features.”

He acknowledged that other claimants have developed outposts of differing scope and degree, including Vietnam with 48, the Philippines with eight, Malaysia with five and Taiwan with one.

“Yet, one country has gone much farther and much faster than any other.

“China has reclaimed over 2,000 acres, more than all other claimants combined and more than in the entire history of the region. And China did so in only the last 18 months,” Carter said.

Representatives from claimant countries as well others from Southeast Asia and Europe urged restraint on all parties in handling the dispute.

Other delegates, including Singapore’s defense chief Ng Eng Hen, his British counterpart Michael Fallon and the European Union’s foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini repeated calls by Carter for China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to adopt a “code of conduct” in the disputed waters as soon as possible.

The Philippines also on Sunday said it will continue to adopt a three-pronged action in dealing with China.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government will follow legitimate and diplomatic rules in resolving its dispute with Beijing.

The triple action plan will tackle immediate, intermediate and final approaches to addressing “destabilizing activities” or conflict in the region.

The action plan involves the cessation of activities in the area, implementation of a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties and arbitration of maritime claims.

Coloma said the Philippines has stopped all construction or maintenance work in areas it occupies.

Beijing is undertaking land reclamations in seven disputed areas.

A surveillance photo of Burgos Reef (Gaven Reef) showed that China has constructed a building as large as the Mall of Asia in Pasay City (Metro Manila), according to Defense officials.

China’s territorial claims overlap those of Taiwan as well as Asean members the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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7 Comments

  1. Roldan Guerrero on

    Pignoy ignored what is happening, he is busy all day playing video games and left the job to a mutineer what do you think is the result?

  2. A wake up call to the Philippine governement and other Asian countries who have claims on the Scarborough islands… Nip it in the bud is what should have been done but it was allowed to blossom and soon it will be full bloom and do not think that it will stop there… this reclamation is just their way of testing the waters and once a military base is established, expect more claims to come and more projects on the other islands and soon we are all spectators from the outside looking into a new region of China.

  3. I cannot understand why the US barking only now, its almost 3 years since Chinese started their reclamation in Ph territory and it’s almost finish? Is it because the Chinese warn them not to flyover their reclaimation and their ego were touch or they just want to please the Filipino people? Are the Americans really gonna help us drive away the Chinese? Why did the US allowed that reclamation to happen in the first place? It’s no secret that the Chinese are building a garrison and an airstrip there. Why only now they are barking? Was it because the reclamation is finish and because it’s there already and UN cannot do anything about it even if they come up w/ a resolution that china is wrong in every way? So it’s there already and there’s nothing the Filipinos nor the US can do to removed it.

  4. Right now china thinks of USA with all talk but no action only. US must set an example so that the communist chinks will think otherwise. It is high time now for US to act decisively otherwise in the future it will be very difficult to contain china anymore.

  5. sonny dela cruz on

    That’s another SLAPPED ON THE FACE of US Defense Sec. Asthon Carter like what China did to Sec. Kerry when he was in China. RECLAMATION TO CONTINUE, who are you telling us what to do. Sec. Carter it’s all yours, to show them the POWER of the United States that relies on your hands.THEY MUST BE STOP NOW!

  6. apolonio reyes on

    During the initial reclamation by China in Spratly, a PNP or AFP retired official with their men who believed in the official cause to depend our land were prepared to plant our flag near the China reclamation but was ordered by Malacanang not interfere or they will be arrested. They were stopped by our Coast Guard and PNP before they could sail. If the officer and men were allowed to plant the Philippine flag, China’s reclamation might have stop. Who was the retired PNP or AFP officer?

  7. If china has sovereign rights then the Philippines has all the rights within 200 miles of her lands. With the Philippines entering accord with the United States the Philippines can develop naval ports in Kalayaan Island or Puerto Princesa Subic Naval Base then bring in the Seventh Fleet. Let us see what those commie bastards can do.