MANILA - China on Thursday denied its involvement in the destruction of coral reefs in parts of the West Philippine Sea, saying the accusations have no factual basis.
"We urge relevant party of the Philippines to stop creating a political drama from fiction," a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry claimed.
China also said that if the Philippines is really concerned about the environment, then its should remove BRP Sierra Madre, which it said is an "illegally grounded warship".
"If the Philippines truly cares about the ecological environment of the South China Sea, it should tow away the illegally “grounded” warship at Ren’ai Jiao as soon as possible, stop it from discharging polluted water into the ocean and not let the rusting warship bring irrevocable harm to the ocean," they added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has suspected China of harvesting corals in Rozul Reef, before dumping the "processed" coral reefs in some parts of the West Philippine Sea.
Last month, China demanded the Philippines to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal, claiming that the latter "promised" to tow it away.
The Philippines denied making such a promise to China.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea -- through which trillions of dollars in trade pass annually -- despite an international court ruling that Beijing's entitlement has no legal basis.
Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei also have overlapping claims in parts of the sea, while the United States sends naval vessels through it to assert freedom of navigation in international waters.