US: China’s wholesale reclamation is problematic, undesirable, source of anxiety

United States again hits on China’s ‘problematic behavior’ in South China Sea. “The net effect of problematic behavior by China or by others on the stability and the security of the Asia-Pacific region is hugely germane to U.S. national security, as well as our global responsibilities,” US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said.

He added that US has directly spoken to China about concerns on reclamation works in South China Sea. “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 is responsible for US affairs on East Asia and Pacific.

The ASec noted that China is not the only country who did reclamation works. “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.”

Daniel Russel clearly said that reclamation works “has the slightest effect on the legal status of a rock under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

He described China’s activity as unilateral action and ‘wholesale reclamation’ that changes the status quo making it “more difficult to reach a peaceful and diplomatic solution” which is undesirable. It also “runs directly counter to the commitments that China and the 10 ASEAN countries made back in 2002 in paragraph five of their declaration of conduct.”

China conducts reclamation works in Johnson Reef, McKennan and Hughes Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Gaven Reef in the Spratlys.