MANILA: The Philippines said yesterday that China’s “expansion agenda” in the disputed South China Sea threatened security and stability in the region, calling on all claimant states to halt construction activities that may raise tensions.
Albert del Rosario, foreign affairs secretary, said he supported US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Russel’s proposal for China and Southeast Asian states to get together for dialogue.
“Let’s call for a moratorium in terms of activities that escalate tension,” Del Rosario told ANC Television yesterday.
“Now, let’s do that while we work on an expeditious conclusion of the code of conduct and effective implementation.”
Del Rosario said China and other claimant states have been rushing construction activities in their respective claimed territories to expand, citing works in Fiery Cross Reef, Johnson South Reef, Gaven Reef, and Cuarteron Reef.
“They’re accelerating their expansion agenda for the following reasons ... one is they want to do this before the conclusion of the code of conduct. They’re also trying to do this very quickly in anticipation of the handing down of the tribunal award.”
Southeast Asian states have been pressing China to conclude a Code of Conduct - a set of rules governing naval actions – for the South China Sea. Reuters