US opposes China's recent runway test on newly built South China Sea island

WASHINGTON – The U.S. says China’s recent test of a newly completed runway on one of seven islands Beijing has constructed in the disputed South China Sea raises tensions and threatens regional stability.

State Department spokesman John Kirby reiterated Monday a U.S. call for a halt to land reclamation and militarization of outposts in those waters, where China and five other Asian governments have competing territorial claims.

Vietnam last week protested China’s decision to land an aircraft at Fiery Cross Reef, saying it violated Hanoi’s sovereignty, and demanded that China stop such actions. China rejected Hanoi’s protest.

On Monday, the Philippines joined Vietnam in criticizing China’s move, and said it was also considering a formal protest.