After Foreign Affairs Secretary Cayetano said that China has stopped reclaiming land in disputed part of South China Sea backing Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s claim, Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) released photos to prove that China continued to reclaim land.
“AMTI has carefully documented Vietnam’s expansion of its facilities in the Spratlys, including dredging and reclamation work at several islets,” AMTI said. “But China’s own reclamation work did not end in mid-2015 with the completion of its artificial islands in the Spratlys.”
AMTI said China continued to reclaim in the Paracel Islands.
AMTI made Tree Island and North Island as examples.
“The South China Sea doesn’t only include the Spratly Islands, and for Vietnam, developments on the disputed Paracels are just as destabilizing,” AMTI said. ” Vietnam and all the Southeast Asian claimants also have an interest in deterring future island-building, for instance at Scarborough Shoal.”
However, it clarified that both China and Vietnam continued dredging and reclaiming land “as recently as early 2017” but none have the scale of what China did from late 2013 to mid-2015 in Spratly Islands.
AMTI said regardless of scale such activities are “environmentally destructive, undermines regional stability, and warrants mention in diplomatic statements.”