MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has urged fellow Southeast Asian nations to jointly demand that China stop its land reclamation in contested South China Sea reefs.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the credibility of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations could be undermined if it does not respond to the Chinese reclamation, which he said appeared "to be near completion as portrayed by available photos."
Del Rosario expressed the Philippines' alarm over the reclamation in a statement to fellow ASEAN ministers on Wednesday in Malaysia's Kota Kinabalu city. A copy of the statement was obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday.
Del Rosario said: "ASEAN cannot remain silent on these serious developments. To do so would be a grave mistake with fundamental strategic consequences."