Duterte Orders to Occupy All Philippine-Claimed Islands in South China Sea

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The Philippine President has ordered to deploy country’s troops on all Philippine-claimed islands in the South China Sea and start to build structures there.

Duterte Orders to Occupy All Philippine-Claimed Islands in South China Sea

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: Reuters / Edgar Su)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered to deploy troops on all islands in the South China Sea, claimed by the Philippines, as well as to build structures and raise the country’s flag on the Manila-claimed islands. In this way, Philippine structures are going to be built near seven artificial Chinese islands in the area.

“We tried to be friends with everybody but we have to maintain our jurisdiction now, at least the areas under our control. And I have ordered the armed forces to occupy all these,” Duterte said at a military camp on Palawan island on Thursday.

The President of the Philippines also added that he had plans to visit Thitu island, the largest of the Philippine-controlled Spratly Islands, where barracks for Philippine servicemen, operating in the area, would be built.

“In the coming Independence Day, I may go to Pagasa island [the local name for Thitu] to raise the flag there,” the Reuters news agency quoted his words.

On June 12, the Philippines will celebrate the 119th anniversary of its independence.

“It looks like everybody is making a grab for the islands there, so we better live on those that are still vacant. At least, let us get what is ours now and make a strong point there that it is ours,” Duterte pointed out.

China and several other regional countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan, have disputes over the maritime borders and areas of responsibility in the South and East China Seas. China claims that Vietnam and the Philippines try to deliberately escalate tensions in the region, using Washington’s support.

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