“We strongly urge China to desist from its reclamation activities in the Panganiban Reef, to respect international law, specifically the UNCLOS and its disputes settlement mechanisms,” Department of Foreign Affairs Jose spokesman Charles Jose. “Under the UNCLOS, the Philippines has exclusive right to authorize construction of artificial islands, installations or other structures in the vicinity of Panganiban Reef.”
“China’s reclamation activities constitute a flagrant violation of these rights and increase tensions in the region.
“Panganiban Reef is a low tide elevation in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines and on its continental shelf,” the spokesman said in a statement. China seized the reef in 1995.
Western Command chief Rear Admiral Alexander Lopez told reporters last week that a Chinese dredging ship was spotted at Panganiban (Mischief) Reef. “They have long been doing that, only that it was Fiery Cross that got a lot of attention because that was on a bigger scale.”
It was reported last year that China made an artificial island over Fiery Cross Reef measuring three kilometers long and 200-300 meters wide that could accommodate an airstrip.