Philippines sends troops and material to South China Sea

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The Philippines has begun sending troops and supplies to an island it controls in the disputed South China Sea, setting the stage for a potential dispute with Beijing. reports citing CNN.

Plans are underway to reinforce and upgrade facilities on Pagasa Island, in the Spratly Islands chain, senior Philippine military officials told the official Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The country's president, Rodrigo Duterte, last month said he had ordered military personnel to occupy all Philippines-claimed islands in the South China Sea, parts or all of which is claimed by China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines.

While Manila has traditionally been a strong defender of its claims in the disputed waters -- even winning a landmark international ruling throwing out most of China's claims -- Duterte's government has cozied up to Beijing and pushed territorial disputes to the background.

It's unclear how China will react to the military build-up. While it's far less aggressive than actions China has taken in the region, the country traditionally does not react well to any territorial challenges.

If there is a negative reaction, Duterte will find out quickly, as he is visiting Beijing Saturday alongside other world leaders for a forum about China's hugely ambitious One Belt, One Road trade and infrastructure project.

2017.05.12 / 16:14
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