China ‘feels’ int’l pressure over maritime row


STRONG world opinion against China’s occupation and reclamation of areas in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) may have softened Beijing’s hardline stance on its maritime and territorial disputes with neighboring countries, including the Philippines.

“The most glaring reality is that we are not alone, and because of that, the options are increasing from countries who believe in the rule of law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos),” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told reporters in Malacañang on Thursday.

Beijing claims almost the whole of the South China Sea, locking it in rows with several neighbors, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.

Its project to build artificial islands and facilities on various reefs and outcrops in the Kalayaan (Spratly) islands only became publicly known in recent months but construction has since been rapid, raising tensions with both its neighbors and the United States.

Washington wants Beijing to halt the construction and militarization, which “the Chinese show no indication of willingness to do,” Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said.


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