New York Times: Duterte Orders Military to Parts of South China Sea Claimed by Philippines
MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines ordered his country’s military on Thursday to deploy in areas of the South China Sea that are claimed by the Philippines. The step was a significant departure from Mr. Duterte’s previous policy of not antagonizing China, which claims most of the sea.
Mr. Duterte said during a visit to a military headquarters on Palawan Island that he would personally raise the Philippine flag on Pag-asa Island on June 12, the country’s Independence Day.
Pag-asa, also known as Thitu, is one of the Spratly Islands, an archipelago of about 14 islets and dozens of reefs and shoals scattered near the middle of the South China Sea. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines have overlapping claims in the archipelago, which has no native population. They are west of Palawan Island.
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