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Neighbors Complain of Islands in South China Sea

China continues to receive criticism for its efforts to control the South China Sea.

In Vietnam, some well-known former government officials complained about China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.

The letter to a Vietnamese Communist Party board said the island building is part of what the officials called Chinese “expansionism.”

The letter was signed by 100 people, including members of a former advisory board to the Vietnamese prime minister.

Meanwhile, Admiral Scott Swift, head of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, gave a speech in Hawaii that also criticized Chinese actions in the South China Sea.

Swift did not name China. But it was clear which country he was talking about.

Fishermen who “trawled the seas freely for generations," he said, now face a big loss of earnings.

China has not responded to the latest criticism. But it has said its actions in the South China Sea reflect China’s sovereign rights.

In Masinloc, a Philippines coastal town on the South China Sea, fisherman Junick Josol spent a recent night catching only small fish to sell to local markets.

The tiny fish are a far cry from the large grouper and tuna Josol used to catch. Josol said he caught the larger fish at a fertile fishing spot off the Scarborough Shoal, just west of Masinloc.

But since 2012, Chinese military ships have stopped him and other fishermen from fishing off the Shoal, he said.

“We would still like to fish there if only the Chinese would not shoo us away,” Josol told the Voice of America. “Of course it was a big help to our families, what we earned there. Now, it’s gone.”

Josol’s struggles to make a living are mentioned in a legal case over China’s control of the South China Sea. The Philippine government brought a case complaining about Chinese control over the South China Sea to the international court at The Hague.

It is not clear when the court will rule.

I'm Mario Ritter.

Trung Nguyen, Libu Lu and Simone Orendain wrote this story for Bruce Alpert adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in this Story

complain – n. to say or write that you are unhappy

artificialadj. not natural or real

trawl v. pulling fish from the bottom of the ocean

sovereign adj. having unlimited power or authority

shoov. to chase away

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