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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Philippines is urging the 10-member Southeast Asian Nations 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.
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, then Beijing will impose its claim over more than 85 percent of the sea.
Rosario urged the grouping on Sunday to "stand up" to China by urging it to halt its reclamation work.
China, Taiwan and ASEAN members Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.