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    In this Thursday, July 27, 2017, file photo, a man and a child look at a picture showing the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly islands, in the disputed South China Sea, on display at the military museum in Beijing

    Manila to Formally Protest Beijing's Militarization of Island in South China Sea

    © AP Photo / Andy Wong
    Asia & Pacific
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    The Philippines will file a formal diplomatic protest with China, which, according to Manila, violates an earlier promise not to militarize artificial islands in the South China Sea, according to media reports.

    "The Chinese government said some time ago that they were not going to militarize those reclaimed islands," Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters, adding that the protest would be made through the foreign ministry.

    "If it turns out to be true and we can prove this by deploying servicemen and even weapons systems, this will be a violation of what they said before," he stressed.

    Fiery Cross reef in the South China Sea was occupied by China in 1988. This caused further clashes with Vietnam, when in January 1988 some Vietnamese ships with building materials tried to approach the reef in an attempt to create structures there. In 2014 Beijing started reclamation activity in the area and later it has been converted into an artificial island.

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    Another round of aggravation of relations was caused by the demonstration on December 30, 2017, of an aerial survey of the Fire Cross reef, on which something similar to a Chinese Air Force base was visible.

    A number of countries in the region including the Philippines and China are participating in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Nevertheless, with the arrival of the new president of the Philippines Rodrigo Dutertra, relations between the two countries have warmed. Manila refused to sharply criticize Beijing in exchange for investment and trading opportunities.

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    Tags:
    militarization, islands, South China Sea, China, Philippines
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