The Philippines and Vietnam Oppose China’s Airfield Test

Jan. 4, 2016
The recently constructed runway was built in the disputed area in the South China Sea.

As originally reported on AP News and BBC News, China has received opposition from both Vietnam and the Philippine governments following recent air tests on a newly completed runway. The runway sits on one of seven man made islands constructed by Beijing in the Fiery Cross Reef. The Vietnamese foreign ministry stated that the airfield was built illegally in the disputed area of the South China Sea and accused China of violating its sovereignty with the recent air tests.

On Monday the Philippine government followed suite. The Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the government was considering protesting China's action, as Vietnam did, adding that the test at Fiery Cross Reef "adds to tension and uncertainties in the region."

China claims the entire South China Sea, though the region has been long disputed due to overlapping areas with 7 other Asian nations.

Some of the alarm comes from concern that China will use the airfield for military action, a concern echoed by the United States. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated that China had deployed a “civil aircraft” to determine if the island would meet civil aviation standards.

Vietnam presented a note of protest to the Chinese embassy requesting that it does not land any further aircrafts or construct additional facilities. China has so far rejected Vietnam’s protests.