China militarization of sea raises ‘great concern’ in US


China’s militarization of the South China Sea has caused “great concern” in the United States, according to a visiting US official, who on Wednesday urged claimants in the strategic waterway to pursue dialogue instead of activities that “increase tensions and raise the possibility of conflict.”

“Some of the recent reports of militarization would suggest that past commitments are being violated, commitments not to militarize, commitments that have been made publicly and privately to the United States and other parties,” W. Patrick Murphy, acting principal deputy assistant secretary for East Asia and Pacific affairs at the US state department, told reporters.

Murphy did not mention any country by name, but was clearly referring to China, which has seized seven reefs within Philippine territory in the South China Sea and transformed them into artificial islands that it is now developing into military bases.

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