No truth to Chinese building halt in West Philippine Sea

Despite earlier Chinese claims that it has stopped its reclamation works in disputed portions of the West Philippine Sea, Western Command head Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez on Tuesday announced that China is still conducting construction activities in the area.

He also said that Chinese announcement of a reclamation halt last August is not true.

“They told the world that they have completed four reclamation projects (in the West Philippine Sea) but they never did announce that they have stopped their construction works. It’s just technicalities. It’s true that they have stopped all reclamation activities but now they are conducting vertical construction activities in Mischief, Subi and Fiery Cross Reefs. Construction activity there is going full blast,” Lopez said in Filipino.

The Western Command chief expects these facilities to be completed before the end of the year.

He said that the facilities in the above-mentioned reefs can be used for humanitarian and military use, adding that only time can tell.

“We will see, we have to be very vigilant in monitoring,” Lopez stressed.

Earlier satellite images show China taking new steps to lay down what appears to be a 1.4-mile military runway on Subi Reef and putting the finishing touches on a two-mile airfield in Mischief Reef in the Spratly islands chain.

Subi was a once-submerged shoal that China built up into an area suitable for a military base.