(Photo: Reuters / Cheryl Ravelo)
A Filipino man takes the torch to a Chinese flag during protests in Manila outside China's consular office on Monday.
Ministry spokesman Hong Lei takes questions from foreign reporters on Tuesday.
The Chinese government has sent a strongly worded warning to the Philippines that it has made "serious mistakes" in dealing with a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. China said it will make "all preparations" to respond to future Filipino actions.
A month has passed since a flare-up of tensions between the two countries led to a naval standoff over an area in the South China Sea known internationally as the Scarborough Shoal, which China calls Huangyan Island and the Philippines labels as Panatag Shoal. The shoal is located 220 kilometers, or 137 miles, west of the Philippines' main island of Luzon.
China's Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying expressed indignation over the incident to the Philippine Embassy's chargé d'affaires, Alex Chua, on Monday.
Fu said that "it's been almost a month since the incident at Huangyan Island occurred and it should have been ended early. ... It is obvious that the Philippine side has not realized that it is making serious mistakes and instead is stepping up efforts to escalate tensions."
Fu said that it "it is hard for us to be optimistic about the situation." The vice minister further added that "the Chinese side has also made all preparations to respond to any escalation of the situation by the Philippine side."
Asked by reporters on Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not respond as to whether "all preparations" was in fact an indication that the country was preparing military measures.
China has accused the Philippines of harassing its fishermen and infringing on its sovereign territory, but the Filipinos have said that Chinese fishermen were in fact poaching in their territory. Following the original deployment of a Filipino warship to intercept Chinese fishermen in the area between April 8 and 10, both nations subsequently deployed further civilian maritime enforcement ships, but military analysts believe that more powerful military platforms are being moved into the area as well.
U.S.-Filipino war games in late April in the South China Sea heightened China's concerns that the U.S. would back its ally against China. Beijing has resisted Manila's overtures to bring the issue before international arbitration, saying it has inviolable claims on Scarborough Shoal.
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