The Philippines rejected on Tuesday China's accusation that its grounded warship on the contested Second Thomas Shoal in the South China had damaged the coral reef ecosystem in the area, laying the blame for damaging the marine environment on Beijing.

In a statement the Philippine task force on the South China Sea called for an independent, third party marine scientific assessment of the causes of coral reef damage in the South China Sea.

"It is China who has been found to have caused irreparable damage to corals. It is China that has caused untold damage to the maritime environment, and jeopardized the natural habitat and the livelihood of thousands of Filipino fisherfolk," the task force said.