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PH is concerned over China’s alleged reclamation of SCS land

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippine government has voiced worry about recent reports that China is reclaiming several uninhabited features in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands.

In a report published Tuesday night, Bloomberg cited warnings from Western officials that China’s recent activities indicate an “attempt to advance a new status quo, even though it’s too early to know whether China would seek to militarize them.” China is building on a number of uninhabited land features in the disputed waters, according to the report.

According to DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza, the relevant Philippine government agencies are being consulted to confirm the report’s accuracy.

“The department notes the Bloomberg item on alleged reclamation efforts by China in uninhabited Spratly Islands features. We have severe concerns because these actions go against the self-control commitment made in the South China Sea Declaration of Conduct (DOC) and the 2016 Arbitral Award, the spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. “We have requested that the contents of this report be verified and validated by pertinent Philippine agencies.”

In the 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC), which China and the 10 ASEAN members signed, it is expressly stated that all parties would refrain from taking actions that would exacerbate or escalate disputes and jeopardize peace and stability, including “refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features” in the South China Sea.

China and the 10-member bloc are negotiating an enhanced code of conduct that would replace the current, non-binding DOC.

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