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China’s Artificial Islands No Cause for Concern in Philippines – Duterte

© AFP 2021 / Sam YEHA view of Taiping island in the South Chia Sea on November 29, 2016
A view of Taiping island in the South Chia Sea on November 29, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Rodrigo Duterte, the president of Philippines stated that China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea waters were not a cause of concern for Philippines.

Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, photographed by a USN surveillance aircraft in 2015. - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The president of Philippines said Thursday he did not regard China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea waters as a cause for serious concern and suggested Washington could take the issue in its own hands.

Asked if China’s manmade islands were a cause for concern, Rodrigo Duterte told CNN Philippines, "No, because if it really were a serious concern, the US should lead the way and stop it right in the beginning."

In July, an international tribunal in The Hague rejected China’s claims on disputed islands and rebuked its activity in the South China Sea, including the construction of artificial land.

Duterte said the only way to settle the territorial row with Beijing would be by enforcing the Hague court ruling legally or going to war with China.

he moon sets above a Chinese flag flying over Tiananmen Square after a flag raising ceremony on National Day, the 66th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 - Sputnik International
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The president added he might bring up the court's ruling on the islands "during my time," saying "I cannot let it pass." But he said the United States was the only government that could do something about China’s island construction.

The Philippines and China are both laying claims to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which are also contested by Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia. The US Navy has maintained its presence in the region on allegations it wanted to uphold freedom of navigation.

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