Edition: English Asia Pacific Africa Europe | Español Français العربية Pусский | 中文简体 中文繁体
Homepage > China

Significance of China initiative in disclosing progress of land reclamation efforts

Editor: Zhang Dan 丨CCTV.com

06-19-2015 17:25 BJT

By Wu Shicun, president, National Institute for South China Sea Studies

On June 16, China foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang stated that land reclamation efforts on certain Nansha islands and reefs will be complete in a few days. The Chinese government also released a satellite image of the Yongshu reef showing that land reclamation was complete. Such moves come as a surprise to the international community and carry great significance.  

Satellite image shows the Yongshu reef of the Nansha Islands after a land reclamation project in south China. (Xinhua)

Satellite image shows the Yongshu reef of the Nansha Islands after a land reclamation project in south China. (Xinhua)

The construction activities on the islands and reefs fall within the scope of China's sovereignty and are "fully within China’s sovereign rights and in compliance with international law." They are not targeted at any other country. In past months, the Chinese government has been adamant about pressing forward with land reclamation efforts as scheduled regardless of external pressure, showing China has the capability and willpower to complete the project and is determined to defend its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea.

In addition, China’s initiative in disclosing the progress of land reclamation efforts shows that China is responding to external concerns in a public, transparent, cooperative and earnest manner. Some countries undoubtedly have misgivings and misunderstandings about China’s efforts. A handful of states with ulterior motives have been overreacting to China’s activities. Chinas recent announcement will help ease doubts and bolster confidence by dispelling rumors and misinformation. 

China’s initiative in disclosing the progress of land reclamation efforts reflects the fact that China is determined to perform its international obligations and responsibilities. The main purpose of China's construction activities is to meet various civilian demands and better perform China's international obligations and responsibilities in areas including maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation, marine scientific research, meteorological observation, environmental conservation, navigation safety as well as fishing facilities.

Construction on the Nansha islands and reefs is a long-term, complex project and land reclamation is just the foundational, preliminary work. After land reclamation, the size of the islands will be basically determined. At this point Chinese authorities will start to build airstrips, ports, lighthouses, navigation channel maintenance facilities and fishing facilities. Only after such facilities are in place can we meet relevant functional requirements.

China’s initiative in disclosing the progress of land reclamation efforts reflects the fact that China is expressing its goodwill to alleviate the situation in the South China Sea. Current tensions in the South China Sea can be attributed to both claimants and non-claimants. The Philippines has been obstinate in resorting to international arbitration and even compared China to Nazi Germany. Japan has expressed the intention of carrying out patrols in the South China Sea. US reconnaissance planes have been provoking China by flying near the reefs where reclamation efforts are under way. The US has proposed joint patrols with Japan in the South China Sea. The US has even claimed that it is considering sending aircraft and ships within 12 nautical miles of Chinese reefs. Such actions have aggravated the situation in the South China Sea.

By stark comparison, the Chinese government has made it clear that when conditions are ripe, it welcomes relevant countries including the US, and relevant international organizations to use these facilities to cooperate on humanitarian rescue and disaster relief. Now that China has taken the initiative in disclosing the progress of land reclamation efforts, the reclamation project is becoming more transparent. This helps alleviate the situation in the South China Sea and shows China is sincere in honoring its commitment to let relevant countries and international organizations use the facilities for cooperative activities.

As time will tell, China's reclamation efforts on the Nansha islands and reefs will contribute to peace and stability in the South China Sea, help China provide more public services for the international community, guarantee freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all countries in accordance with international law and eventually promote joint development and maritime cooperation in the South China Sea.

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat

We Recommend

  • World Heritage China Part 29
  • Glamorous Indonesia Part 2
  • Along the Coast Part 41
  • Glamorous Indonesia Part 1
  • Dreams and the business reality
  • Philippines' beauty pageant obsession
  • China's love for basketball
  • Box office online
  • Jixi: Land of luminaries II