Reclamations ‘may undermine peace’


LANGKAWI, Malaysia: Reclamation works in the disputed South China Sea, where China has constructed an airstrip and other structures on coral reefs, threaten to “undermine peace, security and stability” in the region, Southeast Asian leaders warned on Monday.

Beijing’s assertion of sovereignty over almost all the sea–also claimed in parts by several other Asian nations–has set off alarm bells with its neighbors and beyond as China stakes its claim with growing boldness.

A statement to be issued at the close of the one-day summit in Malaysia notes “serious concerns” over land reclamations on reefs whose sovereignty is contested. The works have triggered fears of tightening Chinese control over the seaway.

“We share the serious concerns expressed by some leaders on the land reclamation[s] being undertaken in the South China Sea, which has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability,” said the statement by summit chairman Malaysia, seen by Agence France Presse, which did not mention China by name.


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