21:04 GMT +320 September 2019
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    Airstrip construction on the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea is pictured in this April 2, 2015 handout satellite image obtained by Reuters on April 16, 2015

    China Slams Philippines for 'Illegal Construction' in South China Sea

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    China’s territorial claims to the Spratly Islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, run counter to those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Philippines' "illegal" construction activities on the disputed Spratly Islands violate the code of conduct in the South China Sea, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

    The relevant Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed by China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2002. The agreement binds the ASEAN countries to refrain from occupying uninhabited reefs and shoals apart from building new structures in the sea.

    “The Philippine side has carried out massive construction on these islands and reefs for years, building military and civilian facilities such as airports, docks and barracks… [China] opposes the unlawful construction carried out by the Philippines on maritime features of China's Nansha [Spratly] Islands,” the statement reads.

    China’s Foreign Ministry urged the Philippines to stop its “malicious hyping and provocation” over the South China Sea dispute, immediately cease its relevant "illegal" construction activities, and withdraw all personnel and facilities from the islands and reefs.

    China's complaints against the Philippines follow Manila's repeated accusations that the agreement had already been violated by China's construction work.

    China’s territorial claims to the Spratly Islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, run counter to those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. China has recently intensified construction works on the reefs it controls around the disputed Spratly Island archipelago in the South China Sea. Satellite images released in mid-February show that since last March, China has built an artificial island covering some 75,000 square yards on the reefs.

    In early March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said construction on the reefs that China controls near the disputed islands is lawful and poses no threat to other countries.

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    Tags:
    territorial dispute, construction, Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Yi, Spratly Islands, South China Sea, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia
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