MANILA — The Philippines on Tuesday claimed that China was stoking tensions in the South China Sea for undertaking reclamation work on a Manila-claimed reef.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has called on Beijing to immediately stop its activities in Panganiban Reef and to respect international laws.
China insists it has historical ownership of nearly all of the South China Sea, dismissing the claims of other smaller claimants like the Philippines and Vietnam.
DFA spokesman Charles Jose said Panganiban Reef, located 130 miles west of Palawan and known internationally as Mischief Reef, is within Philippine territory. It was seized by China in 1995.
“Panganiban Reef is a low tide elevation in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines and on its continental shelf,” said Jose in a statement.
Manila protested China’s land reclamation of Panginaban Reef on Feb. 4.
Jose said the Philippines has the sole right “to authorize construction of artificial islands, installations or other structures in the vicinity of Panganiban Reef” since it falls under its sovereign territory.
“China’s reclamation activities constitute a flagrant violation of these rights and increase tensions in the region,” Jose said. “We strongly urge China to desist from its reclamation activities in the Panganiban Reef and to respect international law.”