Daily Mountain Eagle
 LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
  Severe Weather
  Bird Flu
 World
  Castro
  Mideast Crisis
  Iraq
 Business
 Personal Finance
 Technology
 Sports
  Sports Columns
  NASCAR
  Baseball
  College Hoops
  NBA
  NHL
  Tennis
  Golf
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Washington
 Offbeat
 Podcasts
 Blogs
 Weather
 Raw News
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 SPECIAL SECTIONS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today
 in History
 Corrections
Apr 26, 6:13 AM EDT

Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea


AP Photo
AP Photo/Joshua Paul

Multimedia
Video photo gallery on trash in China
China celebrates 60th year
Panorama of Tiananmen Square
Remembering Tiananmen
A year after China quake
Migrant laborers struggle to find work
Checking Beijing's Air
China's morning exercises in parks
Exploring Chinese Cuisine
Beijing Architecture Changes For Games
Woman Rescues Homeless Quake Dogs
China Holds Funeral for Panda
China's 1-child Policy Causes Extra Pain
Map of Earthquake Zone in Central China
Entrepreneurs Move Into, Out of China
Olypmics in Beijing Highlight China's Water Woes
Foreign Buyers Head to China Despite Problems
Coal Use Produces Pollution, Illness
Coal Means Profit, Woes for China
China Extending Its Reach Around the World
In China, the Desert Closes In
Latest News
GM of China's largest oil refiner under investigation

Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

Chinese feminist: Long hours of interrogations after release

Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

China denies exodus of bureaucrats amid anti-graft drive

Buy AP Photo Reprints
Audio Slideshow
Panorama of Tiananmen Square
Remembering Tiananmen

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- The Philippines on Sunday urged its fellow Southeast Asian countries to take immediate steps to halt land reclamation by China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, warning that failure to do so will see Beijing take "de facto control" of the area.

Malaysia's foreign minister, however, said that the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations will avoid confrontation with China and continue negotiations with Beijing on a binding code of conduct that would govern behavior in the area.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers that if China's construction of artificial islands on reefs claimed by other countries is allowed to be completed, Beijing will impose its claim over more than 85 percent of the sea.

Rosario urged the grouping to "stand up" to China by urging it to halt its reclamation work, which threatened to militarize the region, infringe on rights of other states and damage the marine environment.

He warned that China, which has been dragging its foot on ASEAN's push for a code of conduct, will aim to complete its reclamation activities before it agrees to conclude the code. If this happens, he said the code will legitimize China's reclamation.

"The threats posed by these massive reclamations are real and cannot be ignored or denied," he said. "ASEAN should assert its leadership, centrality and solidarity. ASEAN must show the world that it has the resolve to act in the common interest."

China, Taiwan and ASEAN members Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, which includes busy sea lanes and rich fishing grounds, and is believed to have large undersea deposits of oil and natural gas.

ASEAN has maintained a cautious stand in the dispute to avoid angering China, a key trading partner.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman told reporters that ASEAN is "very much concerned" about the reclamation, but that sending an ultimatum to China to stop work could backfire and hurt peace and stability in the region.

"It will be much appreciated if China can stop work and sit down with ASEAN countries to find a solution," he said. "ASEAN must send the right signal and make the right move. We must avoid any measures that are counterproductive either to ourselves or to China."

Officials from ASEAN nations and China are scheduled to meet in May and June to discuss the issue, he said.

The Philippines filed a case with an international arbitration tribunal in 2013 challenging China's claim.

Beijing has defended the reclamation, saying it is Chinese territory and the structures are for public service use and to support Chinese fishermen.

Anifah has said that ASEAN leaders are expected to raise concerns over Chinese land reclamation at their two-day summit starting Monday and will seek to speed up plans for the code of conduct with China.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.