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8:37:00 AM
MANILA, — China's land reclamation in contested reefs in the South China Sea has become "massive," and is continuing despite protests from other countries, a Philippine official said Wednesday, citing surveillance photographs.

Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Evan Garcia and the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Russel, said after annual security talks that their governments have separately urged Beijing to stop activities that could worsen tensions and violate a 2002 accord designed to prevent armed conflicts over disputed islands and reefs.

"It is massive, just look at the photographs. These are not small adjustments. These are huge activities that are obviously designed to change the status quo," Garcia said in a joint news conference with Russel.

"Let me add also that the massive reclamation of China in the South China Sea is a clear violation of what we have agreed upon" in the 2002 accord, Garcia said. "It is not helpful in terms of finding a way forward and it is not an example of what anybody would understand as self-restraint."

Chinese coastguard ships in the South China Sea, the subject of maritime disputes between China and various Asean member states, the Philippines and Vietnam.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, right, shakes hands with Philippine Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Evan P. Garcia, second from right, after their press conference on the fifth Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Manila.


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