Philippines told: Get used to China's island-construction
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - November 25, 2014 - 2:30pm

MANILA, Philippines - In what could be a hint of more construction activities, a Chinese state-run paper is urging the Philippines to become accustomed to the Asian giant's land reclamation efforts in the disputed South China Sea.

In an editorial published on Monday, the Global Times said China occupies an "advantageous military position" in the contested waters but it will not take the initiative to compete with Vietnam and the Philippines to get maritime features by force.

"Vietnam and the Philippines should get used to China's island-construction in the South China Sea. We hope that the US can also get used to China's more frequent presence in the seas," the paper said.

The article came amid reports that China is turning the Fiery Cross Reef or Yongshu Reef into an artificial island capable of accommodating the country's first military airstrip in the Spratly Islands.

The London-based security group IHS Jane said satellite images taken in August and November showed that Chinese dredgers had created a land mass almost the entire length of the reef, which was previously under water.

IHS Jane said the new island — at least 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) long — is China's largest construction project in the Spratlys and might be aimed at helping Beijing impose its sovereignty claims over neighboring countries that also claim the territory.

"This facility appears purpose-built to coerce other claimants into relinquishing their claims and possessions, or at least provide China with a much stronger negotiating position if talks over the dispute were ever held," the report said.

The Global Times said the Fiery Cross Reef is becoming a big island, which shows China's "prominent construction capabilities."

"More importantly, it is worth noting that China's projects have avoided direct conflicts with Vietnam and the Philippines. It shows that China cherishes peace in the South China Sea," the paper claimed.

It also pointed out that Vietnam and the Philippines have also constructed facilities and allowed people to dwell on contested maritime features.

The paper said the Philippines is expected "to make a mountain out of a molehill" on China's new construction activities.

According to a Philippine News Agency report, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said they will validate the reported reclamation efforts on Fiery Cross Reef, which is called Kagitingan Reef in Filipino.

He noted that the reef, which is 257 nautical miles off the nearest point in Palawan, is part of the Philippines' Kalayaan Island Group, a cluster of islands, shoals, islets and reefs facing the South China Sea.

The Philippines had protested China's ongoing reclamation activities at the Burgos (Gaven) Reef, Kennan (Chigua) Reef and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reef.

Manila is questioning China's "indisputable" claim to virtually the entire South China Sea before a United Nations tribunal. -with AP

AUGUST AND NOVEMBER CHINA FIERY CROSS REEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT GLOBAL TIMES KAGITINGAN REEF PHILIPPINES REEF SOUTH CHINA SEA VIETNAM AND THE PHILIPPINES
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with