A Philippino Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that the Philippines has filed a protest against Chinese test flights on artificial island in the disputed South China Sea and described the China’s actions as “provocative” and violation of an existing code.
“We formally protested on Jan 8 the recent test flights by China to Kagitigan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef)” Charles Jose said and added that Chinese embassy has been summoned by the foreign ministry to hand over the protest.
China angered Vietnam and criticized by the United States after landing three flights on Fiery Cross in the Spatly archipelago.
South China Sea, which is believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas, is almost entirely claimed by China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claims some parts of the disputed sea.
Jose told reporters that China’s actions would restrict the freedom of navigation and overflights in the South China Sea and added, "These actions by China have elevated tensions and anxiety in the region and are in violation of the spirit and letter of the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of parties in the South China Sea."
Legally binding informal rules contained in a political declaration made in Phnom Pehn in 2002 have been negotiated by China and the 10-member Southeast Asian countries since 2010.
The Philippines’ protest came a day after Philippine Supreme Court ruled a security accord with the United States was legal. The court’s decision would open the way of more US forces to enter Philippines as it seeks to counter Chinese expansion in disputed parts of the South China Sea.
The United States also will be allowed to build naval air bases as well as facilities to store equipments and supplies for humanitarian and maritime security operations.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ash Carter welcomed the court’s decision and began discussions with its former colony, Philippines on a dozen possible locations in the country.