First Chinese visitors arrive at Kagitingan Reef
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - January 20, 2016 - 6:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — The first visitors of China's newly-built airport in the Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef in the West Philippine Sea arrived last week.

A report from Chinese online news agency Sina said the visitors were wives and children of garrison soldiers and officers on the island.

The visitors landed at the airport of the island on January 15.

The Fiery Cross Reef or Yongshu island is part of the Spratly Group of Islands where China has been conducting massive land reclamation activities.

READ: China releases photos of projects on Fiery Cross Reef

The reef is also being claimed by the Philippines. China has also been building structures on other Manila-claimed areas such as the Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi), Kennan (Chigua), Mabini (Johnson South), Burgos (Gaven) and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reefs.

A few weeks ago, China held test flights over the South China Sea and landed two civilian planes over the Fiery Cross Reef.

The Philippines has filed a protest against China's test flights on the Manila-claimed reef. Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said that China's actions were “provocative” and “restricting the freedom of navigation and overflight in the West Philippine Sea.”

China, however, claimed that the Philippines' accusations were made with ulterior motives and are not worth refuting.

RELATED: China denies militarization in South China Sea

CHARLES JOSE CHINA FIERY CROSS FIERY CROSS REEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS JOHNSON SOUTH KAGITINGAN REEF QUOT REEF SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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