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World / Asia-Pacific

Philippine 'hypocrisy' condemned

By An Baijie and Wang Xu (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-13 02:17

Beijing hits out at Manila for upgrading work on illegally occupied territory

The upgrading of a military airport in the South China Sea by the Philippines reflects the country's "hypocrisy", a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

A case launched by Manila at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is also a "sheer political provocation under the guise of laws", the spokesman said.

The Philippines is attempting to strengthen and enlarge its illegal occupation of Chinese territory by upgrading facilities, including an airport, on Zhongye Island, spokesman Lu Kang said in response to a question from China Daily at a regular news conference.

Zhongye Island belongs to China's Nansha Islands but has been illegally occupied by the Philippines since the 1970s, Lu said.

A source close to the situation said the Philippine Air Force has used several transport planes to carry substantial amounts of construction material and various types of fuel to the strategically placed island.

The source said this indicates that the Philippines is prepared to restart an upgrading process. Manila said in 2014 and last year it had halted upgrading work at the airport on Zhongye Island.

In January 2013, the Philippines unilaterally initiated an arbitration case against China in The Hague regarding its disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea. A ruling by the arbitration court is expected later this year.

Lu said, "This has clearly exposed the hypocrisy of the Philippines, since its words are not matched by its deeds." Lu added that the Philippines is attempting to legalize its illegal occupation through a verdict from the arbitration court.

Lu urged Manila to stop all activities "offending China's territorial sovereignty and interests", and return "to the right track of settling disputes through bilateral negotiations".

Philippine Ambassador to China Erlinda F. Basilio declined to comment.

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