China’s massive reclamation activities have destroyed 300 hectares of coral reef systems in the South China Sea/ West Philippine Sea, leading to economic losses to coastal states valued at USD 100 million annually, the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines said in a statement.
According to the DFA statement, China has also tolerated environmentally harmful fishing practices by its nationals at Bajo De Masinloc which breaches its international obligations.
DFA expressed particular concern with regards to the statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson on April 09 who said that after completion of their reclamation activities in the South China Sea, the islands and reefs would provide ”comprehensive services to meet civilian demands and satisfy the need of necessary military defense.”
Such statements by China only serve to raise the spectre of increasing militarization and threaten peace and stability in the region, said DFA.
DFA says that the country should not be distracted from real issues in the South China Sea, which are ”China’s illegitimate ‘nine-dash line’ claim, and China’s unilateral and aggressive behavior in asserting that claim, as exemplified by its massive and unrestrained reclamation.”
”We call on China to stop the reclamation activities and to be mindful of its responsibilities as a claimant state and an important member of the international community,” DFA said.
”We call on China to respect the letter and spirit of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and to cooperate in discussing constructive long-term solutions to the peaceful resolution of disputes in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea, in accordance with international law.”