Thursday, March 16, 2017

Philippine President Duterte wants "structures" on Benham Rise

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the navy to put up "structures" to assert sovereignty over a stretch of water east of the country, where Manila has reported a Chinese survey ship was casing the area last year.

The Philippines has lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing after the vessel was tracked moving back and forth over Benham Rise, a vast area east of the country declared by the United Nations in 2012 as part of the Philippines' continental shelf. China's foreign ministry on Friday said the ship was engaged in "normal freedom of navigation and right of innocent passage". The issue risks disturbing ties with China at a time of rare cordiality between the two countries under Duterte, who has chosen to tap Beijing for business rather than confront it over its intentions in disputed waters.