MANILA, Philippines – The United States has slammed the “wholesale reclamation” being undertaken by Beijing in the South China Sea, saying it is the “source of clear anxiety and instability” in the contested region.
In a press conference at the New York Foreign Press Center on Sept. 26, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel said the US talked to China about the importance of behavior, whether it has to do with the movement of military ships or with the promulgation of unilateral rules that purport to exercise authority over what is regarded by others as contested area or international space.
“We have spoken and continue to speak directly to each of the claimants, particularly the Chinese, about our concerns over reclamation work. That means digging up the bottom of the sea, creating landfill to build out what are essentially rocks or shoals into a large enough territory to hold facilities of various types,” Russel said.
“Now, China is by no means the only country that has undertaken this. But the scale, scope and pace of China’s reclamation work vastly exceeds that of others and is the source of clear anxiety and instability, neither of which are contributing to the kind of region that we and, I think, China wants,” he added.