The President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that he has ordered the military to occupy all the Islands in the disputed South China sea.
"We tried to be friends with everyone, but now we must support our jurisdiction, at least in those areas which are under our control. I had ordered the armed forces to occupy these Islands," he said during a visit to a military camp in the Philippines.
Duterte said he may raise the flag of the Philippines on the island of Pagasa, also known as the island to Thit, the day of independence on June 12. The Thit is in the chain of the Spratly Islands, some of which are claimed by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. The Philippines has traditionally been a strong contender for the territorial disputes in the South China sea.
The administration of Duterte since his election last year, along with Beijing, and territorial disputes have been sidelined. During a visit to China's capital in October Duterte said Chinese President XI Jinping that "America lost, I have reconstructed in its ideological flow." After his visit, Beijing agreed to grant access to fishing vessels from the Philippines to Chinese-held territory.
Duterte said that the Philippines needs to "strengthen" their territory: "We have to build there bunkers or houses and to provide the conditions for housing".
While relations between Manila and Beijing may have improved, still high tension in the South China sea, which is both rich in resources and vital shipping route. China continues the militarization and building of the territories controlled by them, returning the land to turn a sandbank into the island and equip them with airports, ports and weapons systems.
sections: Politics, World News, Accidents