The Philippines has protested China's land reclamation in a disputed reef in the South China Sea as a violation of Manila's exclusive right to authorize construction within its exclusive economic zone.

Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Charles Jose said Tuesday a diplomatic protest was handed to the Chinese Embassy representative on Feb. 4 urging Beijing to stop its land reclamation in Panganiban Reef, also called Mischief Reef.

China occupied the reef in 1995, and later expanded stilt structures into a concrete building several stories high. The Philippines had earlier protested both moves.

The Philippines has also protested China's dredging activities in other disputed reefs, but last week's protest was the first for reclamation in Mischief Reef.

Jose says it appears China is constructing an artificial island on the reef.