APEC watch: China told to stop militarization, construction activities as APEC leaders meet in Manila

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United States President Barack Obama has called on China to halt construction and reclamation activities in order not to increase tensions in the disputed island.

Obama said China’s reclamation and construction activities have affected regional stability, and thus should be resolved without the use of military force.

“We agreed on the need for bold steps to lower tensions including pledging to halt further reclamation, new construction and militarization of disputed areas in the South China Sea,” Obama told reporters after a bilateral meeting with Pres. Aquino.

“As President Aquino indicated, disputes need to be resolved peacefully, that’s why the United States support the Philippines’s decision to use arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to peacefully and lawfully address differences,” he added.

But Obama said the US’ maritime security assistance shall remain in the Philippines “to record levels,” including two new naval vessels.

He also renewed his country’s commitment to defend the Philippines when there is a need for it.

“We are especially committed to ensuring maritime security in the region, including freedom of navigation,” Obama said.

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