16:01 GMT +323 September 2017
Live
    A Filipino soldier patrols at the shore of Pagasa island (Thitu Island) in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015

    Duterte Orders Philippine Troops, Military Construction on S China Sea Islands

    © REUTERS/ Ritchie B. Tongo
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    417001112

    On Thursday, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte ordered the country’s military to occupy all Philippine-claimed islands in the South China Sea.

    Duterte added that he ordered building structures and raising the Philippine flag on the islands claimed by Manila.

    "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," the president said at a military camp on Palawan island.

    Thus, Philippine structures will be built not far from seven artificial Chinese islets in the area.

    He also said that he would visit the island of Thitu, the largest of the Philippine-controlled Spratly Islands, and barracks will be built for Philippine servicemen operating in the area.

    The Spratly archipelago consists of over a hundred small islets, with the largest, Taiping Island, having an area of about 46 hectares. The archipelago sprawls over a total area of over 400,000 square kilometers.

    "In the coming Independence Day, I may go to Pagasa island [the local name for Thitu] to raise the flag there," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
    The Philippines marks the 119th anniversary of independence on June 12.

    "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," he added.

    China and some other regional players, including Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, have differences over the maritime borders and areas of responsibility in the South and East China Seas.

    Beijing says that the Philippines and Vietnam deliberately use Washington’s support to escalate tensions in the region. In July 2016, the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China has no rights for territorial claims in the South China Sea. According to the ruling, the disputed Spratly Islets are not an exceptional economic zone. China has not recognized the ruling.

     

    Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!

    Related:

    ‘No Such Thing’: Beijing Balks at Island Construction in South China Sea
    Malaysia Looks to Revamp Its Navy Amid South China Sea, Daesh Crises
    China Nears Completion of Military Bases on S China Sea Reefs - Think Tank
    China Building Potential Military Asset on Paracel Islands in South China Sea
    Tags:
    military, territorial claims, Rodrigo Duterte, Spartly Islands, South China Sea, Philippines
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
    • Сomment