China is using its militarised outposts in the South China Sea as platforms of coercion to assert control over waters it has no lawful claim over, the United States has said, demanding President Xi Jinping to honour his commitment that these maritime constructions “would not target or impact any country”.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region which, in parts, is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Beijing has impeded commercial activity like fishing and mineral exploration by neighbouring nations in recent years, saying the ownership of the resource-rich maritime territory belongs to China for hundreds of years.
US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on Sunday said five years ago on September 25, 2015 the Chinese President, standing in the White House Rose Garden, promised ‘China does not intend to pursue militarisation’ of the Spratly Islands, and China’s outposts ‘would not target or impact any country’.