China’s Foreign Minister said on Wednesday (August 5) that China has halted reclamation work in the South China Sea. The announcement was made of the 48th Southeast Asian Ministers Meeting held in Malaysia this week. The ASEAN Association expressed concern regarding Chinese reef restoration and construction of military posts in disputed sea regions.
At the meeting on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministers and the ASEAN representative of Thailand said that China and the ASEAN association have agreed to speed up consultations on a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.
When asked if China would temporarily halt reclamation work in the South China Sea, the Foreign Minister, Yang Yi said:
"China has already stopped. Just take an aeroplane to take a look."
Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and the Philippines, each claim sovereignty over the disputed areas.
During a joint press conference Foreign Ministers of China and Thaiwan stated that countries, which are not part of the South China Sea region should refrain from actions that may escalate the tensions regarding the disputed areas.
Recently, China has expressed dissatisfaction with the presence of US Military forces, pointing that the US was “militarizing the region.”
According to Foreign Minister Wang, China and ASEAN countries make efforts to resolve issues through dialogue.
However, the Philippine’s anxiety regarding China’s military presence in the disputed region has not been suppressed, despite the official statement of China.
As stated by Charles Jose, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Beijing has only halted its reclamation projects because it had already constructed its new islands.
Charles Jose commented:
“At the same time, China announced they are moving on to Phase 2, which is the construction of facilities on the reclaimed features. The Philippines views these activities as destabilizing.”
The statement was referring the Chinese nearly finished 10.000-foot airstrip in the Spratlys, which is long enough to accommodate most of the Chinese military aircrafts.