A Chinese vessel, top center, is used to expand structures and land on the Johnson Reef, called Mabini by the Philippines and Chigua by China, at the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Pic: AP.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government says it has released military surveillance photos of Chinese land reclamation on a reef claimed by Manila in the South China Sea to show that Beijing violated a regional agreement not to escalate territorial disputes.

Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Charles Jose said Thursday that the pictures show aggressiveness by China in asserting its claims. Beijing claims virtually the entire South China Sea.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman has said the area is part of China’s territory and any Chinese activities at the reef should be of no concern to Manila.

Jose said a 2002 agreement between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations calls for restraint in conducting activities in the region that would “complicate or escalate disputes” and to not inhabit uninhabited areas.

Subscribe to Asian Correspondent

Receive our weekly round-up of the most important stories in Asia

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.