Philippines’ Duterte cancels visit to disputed South China Sea island: “Because of our friendship with China.”(Makes travel more dangerous) — They said “there will likely be trouble”

Reuters

Thu Apr 13, 2017 | 4:15am EDT

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Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has canceled a planned visit to an island the Philippines claims in the disputed South China Sea, after Beijing warned him against the visit.

The brash Philippine leader last week announced his plan to raise the Philippine flag in the island of Thitu and fortify it with barracks, setting off alarm bells.

“Because of our friendship with China and because we value your friendship I will not go there to raise the Philippine flag,” Duterte said in a speech before the Filipino community in Riyadh late Wednesday.

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FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. Renato Etac

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 China says the Chinese coastguard is supervising fishing for everyone in the South China sea. Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson — more honest and reliable than Malacañang

“They said, do not go there in the meantime, just do not go there please. I will correct myself because we value our friendship with China,” he said, adding that he might just send his son to the island.

China claims most of the South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Duterte said Beijing warned him that “there will likely be trouble” if every head of state of contending parties will go to the disputed islands and plant flags.

The popular president is on a week-long state visit in the Middle East to facilitate trade and investments, and meet with Filipinos overseas. The Middle East is the second largest source of remittances, with more than one million Filipino workers sending home $7.6 billion in last year, government data showed.

Duterte, who led the warming of ties with China, had blamed the United States for the current maritime tensions for not intervening to stop China building and arming artificial islands in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines will reinforce, but not militarize, areas in the South China Sea controlled by Manila to maintain the geopolitical balance, Duterte said on Monday.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Michael Perry)

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

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One Response to “Philippines’ Duterte cancels visit to disputed South China Sea island: “Because of our friendship with China.”(Makes travel more dangerous) — They said “there will likely be trouble””

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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