Wednesday, August 05, 2015

China Official Says Island-Building Has Stopped in Disputed Seas

A handout picture from the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ public affairs office shows China’s island construction in February 2015 at the Kagitingan Reef in the disputed Spratley Islands in the South China Sea. Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

U.S. Officials Are Skeptical Whether Controversial Activities Have Stopped

By Trefor Moss, WSJ
Updated Aug. 5, 2015 4:41 p.m. ET

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—China’s foreign minister announced at a Southeast Asian summit that it had halted land-reclamation efforts in the disputed South China Sea, in an attempt to smooth tensions with its territorial rivals but one that was greeted with skepticism by U.S. officials.

While Beijing already had said it would halt its island-building projects, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters Wednesday that the controversial activities had stopped. But U.S. officials questioned whether China had really halted its land-reclamation drive.

Mr. Wang was apparently trying to reassure neighboring countries about China’s intentions during meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this week in Malaysia, involving the 10 Asean members and other Asia-Pacific countries, including China and the U.S.

Billing China as the region’s indispensable partner, Mr. Wang told Asean that China has the money, technology and know-how to help the countries develop their infrastructure and grow their economies.

(More here.)

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