A Washington-based think tank has belied the claims of Philippine and China foreign ministers that Beijing has stopped its reclamation activities in disputed areas in the South China Sea.
“This is false,” the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (AMTI-CSIS) said on Wednesday, referring to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano’s claim that Beijing is “not reclaiming land anymore.”
Cayetano’s statement came after his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, said during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Manila that China is “definitely” not carrying out any reclamation activities.
“China’s own reclamation work did not end in mid-2015 with the completion of its artificial islands in the Spratlys,” the think tank countered.
“Beijing continues to reclaim land farther north, in the Paracel Islands,” it added, referring to the part of the South China Sea being claimed by China and Vietnam.
As proof, the think tank released photos, dated August 5, showing China’s ongoing reclamation activities.
According to AMTI-CIIS, the two most recent examples of continued reclamation activities by China are at Tree Island and North Island in the Amphitrite Group.