Francisco Acedillo, a lawmaker and a former air force pilot, shows a slide of China’s reclamation work in the Spratly as he called for a creative strategy to deal with the maritime territorial dispute during a Foreign Correspondent of the Philippines (FOCAP) meeting. REUTERS/ROMEO RANOCO
(Reuters) – China’s Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern on Friday after the Philippines said it would resume repair and reconstruction works on disputed islands in the South China Sea, saying Manila was infringing on Chinese sovereignty.
The Philippines had halted activities last year over concerns about the effect on an international arbitration complaint filed against China.
Manila called on all countries last October to stop construction work on small islands and reefs in the South China Sea, most of which is claimed by China.
China itself is undertaking massive reclamation works in the area, while Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam have also been improving their facilities.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said it was “seriously concerned” by the remarks by Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario.
“On the one hand the Philippines makes unreasonable criticism about China’s normal building activities on its own isles, and on the other announces it will resume repairs on an airport, runway and other illegal constructions on China’s Spratly Islands, which it illegally occupies,” Hua said.
“This is not only a series infringement of China’s sovereignty, but it also exposes the Philippines’ hypocrisy,” she told a daily news briefing, calling on the Philippines to withdraw from the islands…