MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines urged China on Wednesday, June 17, to “desist” from its reclamation activities in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) after Beijing said it is set to finish its island building.
“We reiterate our serious concern over China’s massive reclamation activities and planned construction of facilities in those features,” Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose said in a media briefing.
Jose said these activities “are purely intended to change the character and the status of features in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea,” and to prejudice the Philippines’ arbitration case against China.
“Regardless of the objectives of China’s reclamation and construction activities, the fact remains that these contravene the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea,” Jose added.
Signed in 2002, the DOC says claimant countries should avoid disrupting the status quo and raising tensions in the South China Sea.
Paragraph 5 of the DOC says parties, including the Philippines and China, “undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”