The Philippine government on Thursday filed a formal protest before the United Nations over China's so-called "nine-dash line" territorial claim over the entire South China Sea, which includes the disputed Spratly's island chain which is being claimed in whole and in part by six Asian countries.

The Philippines, China, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim the Spratlys chain of islands as part of their territory. The islands are believed to sit on vast mineral resources. Brunei and Taiwan claim some of the islands.

According to the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese government has been using the map with nine dashes to assets its territorial claim over the entire South China Sea, including the Spratly Group of islands.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary J. Eduardo Malaya said the Philippine government had "filed a note (verbale) with the UN expressing its position on the nine-dotted line" issue.

Manila lays claim to the whole Spratly Group which it calls Kalayaan island group.

In its formal protest before the UN, the Philippine government asserted, "The claim (by China)... outside of the aforementioned geological features of the (Kalayaan island group) and their 'adjacent waters' would have no basis under international law, specifically UNCLOS."

But Manila's protest is two year late before Malaysia and Vietnam raised their protests over the same issue.