Land reclamation photos show areas contested by China, Vietnam — Palace

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(L to R) Comparison of land reclamation progress in Tree Island, part of the Paracel Islands, in 2016 and 2017.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 11) — The photos released showing land reclamation in the South China Sea only refer to areas contested by China and Vietnam, the Palace said.

"According to the [Department of Foreign Affairs] they have already addressed this matter-- that the area referred to is contested by both Vietnam and China, and not the Philippines," Abella said in a text message to CNN Philippines Thursday.

This, after the Asian Maritime Transparency Institute (AMTI) in Washington D.C. published photos Wednesday showing continuing land reclamation in the South China Sea.

Parcel-Islands_11_CNNPH.jpg Tree Island, part of the Paracel Islands, as of August 5, 2017.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano claimed Tuesday the Philippines did not want to mention land reclamation in the Joint Communiqué of the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as China is no longer reclaiming land.

"I didn't want to include it... They (China) are not reclaiming land anymore, so why will you put it again here?" Cayetano said.

Chinese Foreign Minister also claimed in an interview Monday that China has finished land reclamation over two years ago, and that those bringing up the issue on reclamation are the ones doing it.

AMTI said in its report, "But this is false."

Parcel-Islands_13_CNNPH.jpg North Island of the Paracel Islands, November 11, 2016.

"China's own reclamation work did not end in mid-2015 with the completion of its artificial islands in the Spratlys," the report explained.

The report added that Beijing "continues to reclaim land farther north", referring to the Paracel Islands disputed by both China and Vietnam.

The photos, with August 5, 2017 being the most recent release, showed infrastructure and land reclamation in the Tree Island and the North Island.

Parcel-Islands_14_CNNPH.jpg North Island of the Paracel Islands, August 5, 2017.

AMTI also monitored Vietnam's activities in the Spratlys Islands, "including dredging and reclamation work at several islets". The Department of Foreign Affairs did not comment further on the issue.

"Secretary Cayetano already addressed this issue in his press conference at the end of the 50th (ASEAN Ministers' Meeting) on Tuesday evening. We do not have anything to add to that the Secretary had already stated," Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said Thursday.

The Joint Communiqué reflects the consensus of the ministers on issues concerning ASEAN, wherein Vietnam and the Philippines are member states. The document "expressed concerns" over reclamation activities in the area.