China negates PH claim over Scarborough
BEIJING - China on Wednesday brushed aside the Philippines' claim that the Chinese military has begun fortifying a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.
"What has been said by the Philippine side is not true," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news conference.
On Tuesday, the Philippines said that the Chinese military has begun fortifying Scarborough Shoal, which China occupied last year.
Department of National Defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said a navy plane of the country last Saturday sighted at least 30 concrete blocks in the northern part of the shoal. The shoal is known in China as Huangyan Island.
Hong also said that Huangyan is "China's inherent territory," while noting that Chinese government ships' routine patrols in waters around the area are aimed at safeguarding the sovereignty over the island and maintaining order in the vicinity.
"That (activity) concerns China's legitimate rights and interests," he said. "It is beyond dispute."
The shoal, which lies 124 nautical miles west of the Philippine main island of Luzon and about 472 nautical miles from China's Hainan island-province, is also claimed by Taiwan.