South China Sea: Philippines says maritime dispute its ‘most pressing security concern’


The Philippines says tension with China over disputed islands in the South China Sea is the country’s most pressing security concern.

China claims most of the islands in the South China Sea, putting it at odds with other claimants like the Philippines and Vietnam, which are backed by the US.

The dispute has come to a head this week amid threat and counter-threat between the US and China as Beijing pledged to strengthen its naval defences.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

At a Philippines military forum on the dispute last week, Philippines undersecretary for foreign affairs policy Evan Garcia told a group of visiting international journalists that the South China Sea dispute needed to be dealt with.

“The Philippines is playing the longest catch up game,” he said.

“We are focusing immediately on acquiring and building up our capabilities that we should have done before … so we can protect what’s ours.”

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