Philippines moves to boost military presence in South China Sea due to China 'threat'

ManilaEdited By: Manas JoshiUpdated: Dec 23, 2022, 12:22 PM IST
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(File photo) Philippine coastguard personnel monitor Chinese vessels at Sabina Shoal in South China Sea Photograph:(AFP)

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China claims the entirety of South China Sea as its own citing ancient claims. A number of countries in the region, including the Philippine,  contest this. 

The Philippines has ordered its military to boost presence in South China Sea, citing what it called a "threat" from Chinese "activities". The order pertained to Spratly Islands. It came two days after media reports of China claiming more land in the major archipelago in South China Sea.

China claims the entirety of South China Sea citing ancient claims. Number of countries in the region contest this. 

"Any encroachment in the West Philippine Sea or reclamation on the features therein is a threat to the security of Pagasa Island," the Philippine defence department said on Thursday.

Philippine government refers to waters immediately west to the country as West Philippine Sea. Is also refers to Pagasa Island as Thitu Island. It is the second biggest island in the archipelago.

The defence department said it had directed the armed forces "to strengthen the country's presence in the West Philippine Sea, following the monitored Chinese activities close to Pagasa Island".

The agency did not specify the nature of the "monitored Chinese activities", but the Philippine military said its air and naval patrols had observed "China militia vessels" in these areas.

In recent years, China has been building artificial islands on reefs. It has also constructed military facilities and airstrips. China has ignored a 2012 ruling from a UN-backed tribunal that its claims in South China Sea is without basis.

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