China’s efforts to stake its claim to most of the South China Sea should spark fear around the world, Philippine President Benigno Aquino said today.
“Does it engender fear? Yes, I think it should engender fear for the rest of the world,” Aquino told AFP in an exclusive interview at the presidential palace in Manila.
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Aquino said China’s reclamation activities on reefs and islets in contested parts of the South China Sea, and other
actions to assert sovereignty, threatened access to international shipping lanes and fishing grounds there.
He also warned that, while he did not believe China intended to engage in a military conflict over the territorial
disputes with the Philippines and other Asian nations, that was a possibility.
“The question of it escalating to something beyond everybody’s control should be at the top of the minds of all world leaders,” he said.
China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, including areas near the coasts of other Asian nations,
using a line that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.