Obama blasted over mil­i­tary ‘mus­cle’ in S. China Sea

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Bei­jing hit back Fri­day at U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s crit­i­cism of Chi­nese con­struc­tion in the dis­puted South China Sea, ar­gu­ing that it is Wash­ing­ton that has greater mil­i­tary “mus­cle.”

The Chi­nese for­eign min­istry’s re­tort came a day af­ter Obama warned that Bei­jing was “us­ing its sheer size and mus­cle to force coun­tries into sub­or­di­nate po­si­tions,” amid re­ports of con­tro­ver­sial Chi­nese land recla­ma­tion ef­forts.

“The U.S. leader talked about China’s ‘sheer size and mus­cle,’ but one can also see clearly who has the big­gest size and mus­cle in the world,” for­eign min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said at a regular brief­ing.

She called on Wash­ing­ton to “gen­uinely make ef­forts to safe­guard peace and sta­bil­ity” in the re­gion.

Newly-re­leased satel­lite images on the web­site of the U.S.-based Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies (CSIS) think tank show a flotilla of Chi­nese ves­sels dredg­ing sand onto a fea­ture known as Mis­chief Reef.

Be­fore-and-af­ter images of other out­crops in the Spratly Is­lands show air­craft run­ways ap­pear­ing from jun­gle, smooth-sided solid masses where there once was coral and man-made har­bors re­plac­ing nat­u­ral reefs.

An­a­lysts say the pic­tures show how China is at­tempt­ing to cre­ate “facts in the wa­ter” to bol­ster its ter­ri­to­rial claim.

Manila, among the most vo­cal crit­ics of Bei­jing’s ac­tions in the re­gion, on Fri­day ap­pealed to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to in­ter­vene con­ced­ing it and other coun­tries were pow­er­less to stop China’s con­struc­tion of the ar­ti­fi­cial is­lands.

“We are ask­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to tell China that what it is do­ing is wrong, and to ask China to stop this recla­ma­tion work,” Philip­pine for­eign af­fairs spokesman Charles Jose told AFP.

China’s de­clared de­fense bud­get of 886.9 bil­lion yuan (US$142.9 bil­lion) this year is 55 times the Philip­pines’ 115.5 bil­lion pe­sos (US$2.6 bil­lion).

Manila be­lieves Bei­jing is rush­ing the recla­ma­tion to un­der­mine a United Na­tions rul­ing ex­pected next year on a Philip­pine chal­lenge to its claims, Jose said.

“We think China has a plan and they think they have the means to do it and they can ac­tu­ally do it. So that’s why they’re do­ing it,” he said.

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