Did Beijing concede to US by calling off S China Sea land reclamation?


China’s foreign ministry suddenly announced this week that it is suspending land reclamation efforts on islands and reefs in the disputed South China Sea.

The official media line on the suspension is that it is because the projects are “complete,” however other media outlets have framed the decision as a compromise reached between Beijing and Washington, according to Duowei News, a media outlet run by overseas Chinese.

China and the United States have insisted on their respective positions in the disputes over the South China Sea, from the Chinese military asking US jets conducting patrol duties in the area to leave, to China’s issuing of a defense white paper to show its concerns over its maritime interests and the 2015 Shangri-La Dialogue, where representatives from the two countries defended their respective positions.

President Xi Jinping of China plans to visit the US in September and China and the US are set to engage in more economic cooperation. This has fueled rumors about Beijing’s compromise on the dispute.

China is unlikely to have suspended its land reclamation efforts in the region simply because of protests from other countries, so one possibility is that the country has achieved its projected goal and the timing is a handy way to suggest Beijing is making a major concession.


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