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Durham University

IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Philippines troops ordered to occupy islands in South China Sea

(10 April 2017)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered troops to occupy uninhabited islands in the disputed South China Sea.

The move is expected to anger China, which claims most of the islands in the South China Sea.

President Duterte commented that everyone was making a grab for the islands so “we better live on those that are still unoccupied”. “We have to maintain our jurisdiction now, at least the areas under our control”. This is a change of tactic by the Philippines who had initially said it was pointless trying to challenge China and that it did not want to antagonise Beijing.

China and the Philippines are scheduled to hold talks in May 2017 to address tensions over the disputed waters.