BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China will not tolerate the Philippines' occupation of the Ren'ai Reef in the South China Sea and will closely watch the next move in the area, a spokesman said on Monday.
"The Chinese government is as resolved to safeguard our sovereignty as ever," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing.
"We will never tolerate the Philippines' occupation of the Ren'ai Reef which violates the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)," Hong said in response to a question after the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the reef.
In the statement on Friday, the Philippine side claimed that a Philippine warship stranded near the reef has served as a permanent installation since 1999 in response to China's "occupation" of Meiji Reef in 1995.
"In 1999, the Philippines clearly promised China many times that it would tow the stranded ship away but has failed to do so," said the Chinese spokesman.
Hong said the Philippine side had promised in 2003 that it would not be the first country to violate the DOC regarding the Ren'ai Reef.
"Now, the Philippines not only refused to remove this ship, but attempted to deliver construction materials, including steel and cement, to build on the reef, against its own promise as well as the DOC," said the spokesman.
"What is even more astonishing is that the Philippines has recently admitted intentionally occupying the reef by grounding the warship 15 years ago," He said.
Hong said the Philippines, as a country, should be accountable for its actions and promises despite changes of administration.
"By blatantly denying the commitment, the Philippines will lose credibility with the international community," he said.
"China will watch closely and keep high alert on other provocation in the South China Sea," Hong said, warning that the Philippines must bear all "ensuing consequences" caused by the provocation.