MANILA – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed that China has already halted its land reclamation works in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea, and urged for diplomatic talks with other claimant states in the contested region.
China earlier announced that it was in the final stages of its reclamation activities and would begin with its infrastructure building in the artificial islands.
While the country insisted that its reclaimed islands were intended for scientific research, other neighboring and concerned countries feared that China may be using its man-made islands for military purposes instead.
Wang, however, clarified that the country was open to settling issues regarding the territorial disputes.
“China is always committed to working with the countries concerned to resolve disputes through peaceful negotiation,” he said at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
“Countries that are not in the region should respect the efforts made by China and ASEAN countries,” he added, referring to Japan and the United States which expressed concerns over China’s massive and rapid reclamation activities