BEIJING, March 27 -- A Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday that China will firmly safeguard its territorial sovereignty as the Philippines ramps up its rhetoric about its rights to the Ren'ai Reef.
Geng Yansheng made the remarks at a regular press conference when asked to comment on the Philippines' plan to repair an old navy ship it grounded near the Ren'ai Reef in the South China Sea in 1999.
In a recent statement, the Philippine side claimed that the stranded warship has served as a permanent installation since 1999 in response to China's "occupation" of the Meiji Reef in 1995.
Geng said the Philippines has insisted on the wrong position and resorted to incessant provocations regarding the Ren'ai Reef issue since 1999.
He said the Philippines has failed to meet its commitment of towing the stranded ship away from the reef.
The Philippines has also repeatedly attempted to deliver construction materials to build on the reef, in order to intensify and expand its military presence, according to the spokesman.
"We will firmly safeguard our territorial sovereignty, while the Philippines' illegal actions are doomed to failure," said Geng.