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MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest with China, its foreign minister said on Monday, over Beijing’s installation last year of anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems on its manmade islands in the disputed South China Sea.
The protest note was sent to the Chinese embassy in December, after confirmation of a report from the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies about a weapons buildup on seven artificial islands in the Spratlys.
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One of those islands is located within the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay told CNN Philippines it was important to raise concerns carefully, and not create a big row.
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“I just want to assure the Filipino people that when we take action at engaging China in this dispute, we do not want to take such aggressive, provocative action that will not solve the problem,” he said.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of goods passes every year. An international arbitration ruling last year invalidated those claims.
Speaking up about that has become a tricky...
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