Philippines' Duterte plans to visit disputed South China Sea island

Philippines' Duterte plans to visit disputed South China Sea island

In March 2016, Malaysia summoned the Chinese ambassador to explain why a large number of China-flagged boats were in Malaysian waters. China, last October pledged to invest $24 billion in the Philippines where poverty is widespread.

"I have ordered the Armed Forces to occupy all structures", he said, ABS-CBN reported. Last month, Duterte said it was pointless trying to challenge China's fortification of its man-made islands and ridiculed the media for referring to his comment that he would jet ski to one Beijing's reclaimed reefs.

It is unclear how Mr Duterte's order could be executed.

Vietnam, China, and Taiwan over waters west of the Spratly Islands.

However, the president appeared to alter his tone with his announcement yesterday, saying it was time to "erect structures there and raise the Philippine flag".

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Duterte also said he "may" visit the Philippine-claimed areas on June 12 to mark the 119th year of Philippine independence from more than three centuries of Spanish rule.

An impeachment complaint has been filed against Duterte that cites, among other things, his alleged failure to protest China's territorial expansion in the South China Sea. "There will be waiters, food, swimming pool so that the soldiers stationed there would get fat", he said.

The man who likes to be called "The Punisher" also told the troops never to surrender to the enemy.

Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry said yesterday that it hoped the Philippines could continue to properly manage maritime disputes with China.

A combination of ground-based radar facilities, air defenses, anti-ship missiles and forward-based fighter jets would facilitate the development of "mini-denial zones" extending southward from China's Hainan Island that it could use to effectively chase the US Navy out of the waterway.

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Hua said the China coast guard has invited their Philippine counterpart to send a delegation to visit China at an early date.

But military officials today said they did not think order required the army to occupy new outcrops.

"He definitely felt the heat, so is now scrambling to build his patriotic credentials", he said. China claimed that vessels were there for "innocent passage", but Chinese activities have turned out to have two objectives: First, to determine possible submarine hiding areas for future submarine warfare, and second, to determine through sound reflection and refraction possible oil and gas.

Duterte's plan is likely to anger Chinese officials.

The US-based groups said the two months were not unusual and were consistent with regular rotations of up to 11 Chinese patrol ships it had traced in the area since late 2015.

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