WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — China’s development activities on disputed territory around the Spratly Islands are feeding suspicions that Beijing aims to establish military bases across the South China Sea, according to US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki.
“China’s land reclamation and construction activities are fueling greater anxiety within the region about China’s intensions amid concerns they may militarize outposts in disputed land features in the South China Sea,” Psaki said on Monday.
Psaki noted the United States are aware of recent reports about China intensifying construction around the Spratly Islands, and called on all claimants within the region to avoid provocative actions.
“We [the United States] are watching these developments closely, and will continue to raise our concerns with China and urge all parties to avoid destabilizing activities,” Psaki concluded.
China’s territorial claims around the Spratly Islands contradict those of Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Vietnam. The Spratly Islands hold potentially significant oil and gas reserves.
On Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said construction on reefs that China controls near the disputed islands, are lawful and pose no threat to other countries.