New photos of China's reclamation activities at Fiery Cross beach 0New photos of China's reclamation activities at Fiery Cross beach 0

This photo taken in December 2014 shows China’s reclamation activities at Fiery Cross beach.

These photos, taken on December 12, 2014, show that China’s reclamation activities have increased compared to photos published by security analysis group IHS Jane’s in November. World military experts

Images collected by Rappler show the presence of dredgers, cargo ships and fishing boats at Fiery Cross Reef.

`China’s massive reclamation activities in the East Sea clearly violate our agreements in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). This is not helpful in finding a solution.`

Philippine Deputy Defense Secretary Pio Lorenzo Batino on January 21, citing intelligence reports on China’s activities at Fiery Cross Reef, said `China has increased its activities since the last time we hosted BSD.`

`We are very concerned about this issue. It is very serious,` he said.

New photos of China's reclamation activities at Fiery Cross beach

China may be building an airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef.

Chief of Staff of the Philippine Armed Forces, Gregorio Catapang Jr, earlier this month estimated that China’s reclamation work was `50% complete`.

`It is true that China is conducting many land reclamation projects on sandbanks and reefs in sensitive areas where there are sovereignty disputes` in the East Sea, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific

He added `this is an existential concern, not only for the disputing parties, ASEAN countries and the Southeast Asian region, but also for all Pacific countries, including the United States.

Russell called on countries with overlapping claims to use diplomatic measures and `maximum restraint`, complying with  the DOC signed by ASEAN and China.

Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam Pham Thu Hang also stated on January 21 that `Vietnam resolutely opposes and demands that China immediately stop renovating and building projects and disrupting the status quo in the archipelago.`

Runway

Sources from Rappler, which is responsible for monitoring the East Sea, previously said China was clearly building an airstrip at Fiery Cross Reef.

China is said to be building up to turn 6 or 7 reefs in Truong Sa, an archipelago under Vietnam’s sovereignty, into artificial islands and building permanent structures.

If China has an airstrip at Fiery Cross Reef, it will significantly change the security situation in the East Sea.

Chinese ships have stopped harassing Philippine ships in the area since Beijing began land reclamation activities.

New photos of China's reclamation activities at Fiery Cross beach

Satellite images on November 14 showed China’s reclamation activities on Fiery Cross Reef.

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