"The strategic effect of China's dredging and land reclamation makes it the most significant change to the South China Sea dispute since the 1988 Battle of Johnson South Reef. If completed as envisioned in the CGI designs, China will have its first airstrip in the Spratly islands - and a base from which to impose its interpretation of the surrounding features' sovereignty.
This has not gone unnoticed in Manila, where Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters on 13 June that the Chinese were being "very aggressive in pursuing their expansion in the West Philippine Sea, and obviously, these steps are designed to advance the theory of their nine-dash line".
In response, the Philippines has called for a moratorium on construction in the disputed South China Sea islands, including the Paracel islands. China responded on 16 June by dismissing the suggestion and accusing Manila of hypocrisy. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying pointed to Manila's building facilities in the Spratlys "on the one hand, and making irresponsible remarks about what China has legitimately done within her sovereign rights on the other", she said. "That is totally unjustifiable.""