20:35 GMT28 October 2020
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    China is concerned about the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's order to deploy troops on islands that are claimed by the Philippines in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — On Thursday, Duterte reportedly said he ordered the deployment of military forces onto nine Philippines-claimed islands and reefs in the South China Sea and announced his intention to raise the Philippines' flag on Pagasa Island in the Spratly island chain.

    "We express our concern in this regard. We hope that the Philippines will continue to handle maritime disputes with China properly," Hua told the regular press conference.

    She added that China was firmly committed to the protection of its sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea as well as to maintaining peace and stability there. According to the spokeswoman, in general, the situation in the South China Sea is stabilizing and improving.

    The region of the South China Sea has been the site of several territorial disputes between a number of countries. In particular, China, the Philippines and Vietnam. The Spratly Islands, also known as the Nansha Islands, are contested by Beijing, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi and Taipei.

    In July 2016, an international tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of Manila after it challenged Beijing's claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea. However, China refused to recognize the tribunal's ruling.


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