China on Tuesday reacted to the Philippines’ criticism of lighthouses constructed by it in the South China Sea, saying “these actions don’t change the established order there”.
“We are strongly opposed to China’s construction and operation of lighthouses on Cuateron Reef (Chinese name: Huayang Jiao and Philippine name: Calderon Reef) and Johnson Reef (Chinese name: Chigua Jiao and Philippine name: Mabini Reef)”, said Charles Jose, a spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The conversation took place on the sidelines of the Xiangshan Forum, during which he outlined China’s overall position and new policy proposals regarding relations with Association for Southeast Asian Nations members. Yet if Washington continues to challenge China’s claims in the South China Sea by using air bases in the Philippines and Malaysia, the reefs built up by China in the sea areas could be turned into military bases.
General Fan Changlong called the islands “projects” that will not affect freedom of navigation – adding that they “will enable us to provide better public services to aid navigation and production in the South China Sea“.
China, meanwhile, has said it has uncontested sovereignty over islands and adjacent waters within the so-called nine-dash line by which Beijing delineates its claim to almost all of the South China Sea.
Over the past several years, the United States has held frequent large-scale drills with its allies in the South China Sea, showing off their military muscle, the news website noted.
Manila has also filed a case with a worldwide tribunal challenging Beijing’s maritime claims.