A team of navy personnel and three Philippine congressmen standing on a tiny rock in the Scarborough Shoal with a Filipino flag in protest at Chinese land grabbing AFP/Getty Images
China is to begin construction work on tiny islands in the South China Sea which are claimed by several other countries in the region.
Beijing seized the strategically important islands on the Scarborough Shoal in 2012.
The US has warned China against carrying out land reclamation work in the area, which it has already carried out in other parts of the region.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration unanimously ruled in favour of the Philippines and said there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or its petroleum reserves.
Despite this Xiao Jie, the mayor of what Beijing calls Sansha City – an administrative base for the disputed South China Sea islands and reef it controls – said China was planning preparatory work this year to build environmental monitoring stations on a number of islands, including in the Scarborough Shoal area.