23 October 2016
John Kerry (left) and Wang Yi meet during the Asean  gathering in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: AFP
John Kerry (left) and Wang Yi meet during the Asean gathering in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: AFP

China says South China Sea reclamation stopped

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing has halted land reclamation in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.

Wang called on countries in the region to speed up talks on how claimant states should conduct themselves in the disputed waters.

In June, China said it would soon complete some of its reclamation in the Spratly archipelago but said it would continue to build facilities on the man-made islands.

Wang’s remarks at a regional meeting Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur appeared designed to defuse tensions with other countries that lay claim to parts of the sea, through which US$5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

US Secretary of State John Kerry raised the issue of China’s expansion with Wang on the sidelines of meetings involving the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, where tensions over the South China Sea have dominated talks this week.

“China is always committed to working with the countries concerned to resolve disputes through peaceful negotiation,” Wang told Kerry, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry said.

Philippine foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose said China had stopped reclamation because it had already formed its new islands.

“At the same time, China announced they are moving on to Phase 2, which is construction of facilities on the reclaimed features. The Philippines views these activities as destabilizing,” Jose said.

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