China’s ‘problematic actions’ in West Philippine Sea main topic in ASEAN meetings

China’s reclamation and building activities in West Philippine Sea is one of the topics discussed by ministers and high ranking officials from different ASEAN countries and ASEAN partner nations during the ASEAN Ministerial and Related Meetings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On Wednesday, during the Japan-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Japan State Minister Minoru Kiuchi voiced deep concern over unilateral actions that change the status quo and heighten tensions in the South China Sea, including large-scale land reclamation, the construction of outposts and their use for military purposes.

Kiuchi “expressed hope for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC),” Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Meanwhile, United States Secratry of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a closed-door meeting at the sidelines of ASEAN Ministerial and Related Meetings.

“Secretary Kerry reiterated his concern about rising tensions over disputed claims in the South China Sea and China’s large-scale reclamation, construction and militarisation of features there,” a senior US State Department official said as quoted by international media. “He encouraged China, along with the other claimants, to halt problematic actions in order to create space for diplomacy.”

Also yesterday, US-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held. Secretary Kerry told his ASEAN counterparts that he had a good meeting with the foreign minister of China. “And I hope very much that at this meeting over the course of today and tomorrow we will find a way to move forward effectively together, all of us,” he added.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi reportedly said China already stopped reclamation activities.

Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said “China has publicly announced some weeks back that they are stopping their reclamation work but that’s only because China has completed what they intend to accomplish.” However, construction of facilities in artificial islands will continue.