Philippines says China appears to be building airstrip on disputed reef

MANILA (REUTERS) – The Philippine foreign ministry on Wednesday accused China of reclaiming land on a disputed reef in the South China Sea and said it appeared to be building an airstrip.

Foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose said China had been moving earth and materials to Johnson Reef in the Spratlys Islands over recent weeks and was reclaiming land in violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, an informal code of conduct for the region.

The ministry had already lodged a protest with the Chinese and raised the issue behind closed doors at last weekend’s summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations in Myanmar, Mr Jose said.