In the face of growing international condemnation for its building artificial islands in the South China Sea from which to project its military power in the region, China appears to have reduced itself into an island.
From world leaders and international organizations to opinion writers around the world, China has drawn criticism for its massive land reclamation in the disputed South China Sea.
Criticism of China’s behavior has intensified in recent months, as it refused to take part in arbitration proceedings that the Philippines has initiated in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Oral arguments on the Philippine case opened on Tuesday.
Officials of the United States, the Philippines’ defense treaty ally, are the most strident among those concerned about Chinese incursions in the disputed waters, saying it threatens freedom of navigation.
In a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in May, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “We are concerned about the pace and scope of China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea.”
It was the same concern that US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David Shear expressed before the US Senate committee on foreign relations, discussing the extent of China’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea.
He said China had so far reclaimed 800 hectares “more land than all other claimants combined over the history of their claims.”