Philippines’ Duterte calls for action to reduce the risk of military conflict in the South China Sea

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President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines says efforts are needed to reduce the chance of military conflict in the South China Sea.

The issue will be a continuous “flashpoint for trouble” the longer it is left to fester, Duterte said Friday at the Future of Asia conference in Tokyo.

His remarks came a day after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad expressed similar concern at the same event.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has called for action to reduce the chance of conflict in the South China Sea, where the United States and other countries are challenging Chinese assertions of sovereignty.

Beijing claims most of the disputed sea, parts of which are claimed by countries including the Philippines and Vietnam. China maintains that virtually the entire body of water — where trillions of dollars worth of international trade pass through each year — belongs to it. The Asian giant has fortified, expanded and militarized reefs and islets to back up its stance.

The United States and other countries which claim no territory in the region have taken issue with Beijing’s position.

The U.S. Navy frequently sends ships within close distance of Chinese-held territory in the sea in what it calls displays of support for the right of freedom of navigation in international waters, angering Beijing. Navies from France and Britain have also carried out similar missions.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/01/philippines-duterte-need-to-reduce-risk-of-south-china-sea-conflict.html

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