(Reuters) – China on Monday hit back at “irresponsible remarks” from the United States which has called on Beijing to stop a land reclamation project in the disputed South China Sea that could be large enough to accommodate an airstrip.
China lays claim to almost all of the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich with minerals and oil-and-gas deposits and one of Asia’s biggest possible flashpoints. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims.
The comments by China’s foreign ministry signal that Beijing would firmly reject proposals by any country to freeze any activity that may raise tension.
Media reports over the weekend cited U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool as urging China “to stop its land reclamation program and engage in diplomatic initiatives to encourage all sides to restrain themselves in these sorts of activities”.
China reiterated that Beijing had “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly Islands, where most of the overlapping claims lie, especially between China and the Philippines.