The presence of more than 200 Chinese fishing boats near an island occupied by Manila in the disputed South China Sea is illegal and a clear violation of Philippine sovereignty, the country’s foreign ministry said on Thursday. “Such actions when not repudiated by the Chinese government are deemed to have been adopted by it,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a rare rebuke of Beijing.
President Rodrigo Duterte has pursued warmer ties with China since taking office in 2016 in exchange for billions of dollars of pledged loans and investment. He said this week China just wants to be friends with the Philippines. “I was given arms and ammunition and until now they have not asked anything, they have not asked for any territory,” Duterte said on Tuesday. (RTRS)