By Patricia Lourdes Viray
MANILA, Philippines — In response to the joint communique of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued last Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing has completed its land-filling two years ago.
The statement noted "concerns expressed by some Ministers on the land reclamations and activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence."
Wang insisted that China is definitely not carrying out reclamation and accused Vietnam of being the only country reclaiming land in the South China Sea.
"Thus, if such phenomenon of sea-filling for land-reclamation still exists, it will never happen in China," Wang said on Monday.
Vietnam led the push for a stronger statement on the South China Sea despite objections from Cambodia and the Philippines.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano himself admitted that he did not want to mention "land reclamation" and "militarizations" in the joint communique.
"I didn’t want to include it. It’s not reflective of the present position. They (China) are not reclaiming land anymore," Cayetano said earlier this week.
On the other hand, satellite imagery obtained by Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) showed that China's reclamation activities did not stop in mid-2015, contrary to Wang's claims.
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