Philippines Rodrigo Duterte asks military to tell China vast sea area 'is ours'
- President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he has told the military to assert Philippine ownership of a large ocean region off the country's northeastern coast where Chinese survey ships were spotted last year, in a discovery that alarmed Philippine defense officials.
Duterte said he ordered the military to assert ownership of Benham Rise in a friendly way, repeating that his country has no option but to be diplomatic because "I cannot match the might of China."
Beijing and Manila have a separate long-running territorial feud in the South China Sea west of the Philippines, but tensions have eased considerably since Duterte took office in June and began reaching out to China. He has placed the dispute on the backburner while seeking Chinese trade and economic aid.
The Philippine military spotted the Chinese survey ships crisscrossing the Benham Rise waters suspiciously from July to December last year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said last week. He said the government is considering an increase in patrols and the building of territorial markers in the offshore region.(Excerpt) Read more at: bigstory.ap.org ...
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