China finally speaks on West PHL Sea reclamation plan

The Chinese government finally disclosed what it plans to build in reefs where it is currently doing massive reclamation works. In a daily press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying reiterates indisputable sovereignty over Spratly Islands in West Philippine Sea. The spokesperson described the reclamation as “maintenance and construction work.” Hua claims that massive reclamation works in West Philippine Sea undergone “scientific assessments and rigorous tests” and consider the full “protection of ecological environment and fishing resources.”

“The Chinese government has been carrying out maintenance and construction work on some of the garrisoned Nansha islands and reefs with the main purposes of optimizing their functions, improving the living and working conditions of personnel stationed there, better safeguarding territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests,” she said.

She added that works in West Philippine Sea will enable China to better perform “international responsibility and obligation in maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation, marine science and research, meteorological observation, environmental protection, navigation safety, fishery production service and other areas.”

China’s massive reclamation disregards the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in South China Sea signed by ASEAN states and China. Article five of the said declaration says parties should exercise “self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”

However, China still believes it “sticks to the path of peaceful development and upholds a defense policy that is defensive in nature.” Saying China is “committed to resolving disputes with countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation and safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea together with ASEAN countries.”

China’s muscle flexing already gathered criticisms from different private and government sectors from different states. President Obama today said China is “using its sheer size and muscle to force countries into subordinate positions.”