Amb. Jose Cuisia speaks out on China, West Philippine Sea at BEC Briefing

China’s reclamation activities across disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea have cost about $300 million in terms of environmental damage, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said, as the country grows more “aggressive” ahead of an expected ruling in the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines in 2013.

Speaking at the UA&P Business Economics Club (BEC) Mid-Year Economic Briefing, the ambassador to the United States said Asian countries have felt “distrust” over China’s actions, especially after the country caused irreparable damage felt across the coasts of disputed waters, including those covering the Spratly islands and Scarborough Shoal.

Huge oil and gas deposits are also said to be stored beneath the surface which spans 3.5 million square kilometers. Other countries with claims over the area include Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia.

“Reclamation activities have cost irreversible damage estimated at $300 million to the region’s marine ecosystem, and adversely affected millions of people who have depended on the South China Sea as their source of livelihood,” Mr. Cuisia said late Wednesday.

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