China’s reclamation activities in disputed waters of the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) damage the environment and violate international laws, international researchers said.
“Large-scale reclamation work in the South China Sea using living coral reefs as building material is causing severe environmental damage. It is also against international law,” said Youna Lyons and Wong Hiu Fung.
In their commentary titled “South China Sea: Turning Reefs into Artificial Islands?” published Thursday by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, they pointed out that China’s reclamation activities have the “potential to destroy the little-explored pristine coral reefs of the Spratlys.”
Lyons is a senior research fellow while Wong is a research assistant in the Ocean and Policy Programme of the Centre for International Law (CIL), National University of Singapore (NUS).
“This (reclamation) development comes as a surprise coming at a time of loss of biological diversity on land and in the sea, and an acute concern for the degradation of the natural environment,” they said, also noting that the marine features lie in disputed waters.