Philippines says Beijing has agreed no new expansion in S. China Sea

China has assured the Philippines it will not occupy new features or territory in the South China Sea, under a new status quo brokered by Manila as both sides try to strengthen their relations, the Philippine defense minister said.

Delfin Lorenzana told a congressional hearing that the Philippines and China had reached a “modus vivendi,” or a way to get along, in the South China Sea that prohibits new occupation of islands.

“There is status quo now that is happening in the South China Sea brokered by the secretary of Foreign Affairs,” he said late on Monday.

“The Chinese will not occupy new features in the South China Sea nor they are going to build structures in Scarborough Shoal,” he said, referring to a prime fishing ground close to the Philippines that China blockaded from 2012 to 2016.