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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

China Warns Philippines to Leave Ayungin Shoal

 China warned Philippines yesterday to abandon a disputed shoal in the South China Sea after Manila said it planned to challenge a Chinese Naval blockade of the area by sending supplies to it's troops stationed there. Last week a Senior Philippine military official said his country would send civilian supply ships to it's soldiers deployed on a vessel that ran aground on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in 1999. The shoal is known in China as the Ren' ai reef and in the Philippines as Ayungin. Second Thomas Shoal a strategic gateway to an area believed to be rich in oil and natural gas is one of several possible maritime flashpoints that could prompt the United States to intervene in the defense of Asian allies troubled by increasingly assertive Chinese maritime claims. China claims the Philippines is trying to start construction on the reef which it claims as part of it's own territory. The Philippines claims the shoal is part of it's continental shelf. Beijing's claim over islands, reefs and atolls that form the Spratlys a group of 250 uninhabitable islets spread over 165,000 Sq. Miles has set it directly against US allies Vietnam and Philippines while Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also lay claim to parts of the South China Sea.
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