PH helpless in stopping China’s reclamation work in disputed seas

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MANILA, Philippines—Several months after China was first found to be conducting reclamation activities in a reef in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines has been helpless in stopping the Asian giant from doing nearly all it wants in the disputed region.

The latest of China’s reclamation projects is on Fiery Cross Reef, which China calls Yongshu and the Philippines calls Kagitingan. The normally submerged reef has been turned into a 3,000 meter long and 200 to 300 meter wide artificial island.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario previously said that a diplomatic protest has been filed last October 10 for this latest reclamation activity.

China is known to be conducting reclamation activities in at least five reefs, Johnson South reef, Cuarteron reef, McKennan-Hughes reef, Gaven Reef, and the latest is Fiery Cross reef.

The reclamation work on Johnson South Reef, also known as Mabini Reef to the Philippines, was made public by the DFA last May 15, 2014 through a series of photographs showing the progress of the reclamation.

More reclamation activities were discovered the following months, and the Philippines has filed diplomatic protests for each but these were consistently ignored by China.

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