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Obama: Artificial islands construction in South China Sea must stop

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The President of the US urged to halt the construction of such structures in the disputed area.

Obama: Artificial islands construction in South China Sea must stop

US President Barack Obama giving a speech at the Asean Business and Investment Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Nov 21, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

On Saturday, during a meeting held between the United States and the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Barack Obama stated that the construction of artificial islands in the Spratly Islands needs to be halted as well as the reclamation and militarization of the disputed territories to ensure stability in the region.

On this subject, Obama made reference to China’s building of artificial infrastructure like airfields and other facilities on the reefs in the cited archipelago. China has claimed full and undisputed sovereignty over the islands.

The region has a significant commercial importance due to the $5 trillion in ship-borne trade that passes annually through its waterway.

For that reason, Obama expressed his concerns over China’s intentions and the safety of freedom of navigation. Alarms have also been rippled due to this subject for the members of the ASEAN.

Earlier this month, American B-52 bombers flew over the disputed territories alleging the operation was being made in accordance to their right of freedom of overflight and navigation (USS Lassen was also deployed in the region), when it was clearly a defiance from Washington to Beijing’s actions in the area.

Written by Lisbeth Mechter

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