Philippines Duterte says China’s manmade islands not a problem

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said China’s building of artificial islands in the South China Sea was not a serious concern and if it was, the United States should come in and stop it from happening.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte points to photographers during an awarding ceremony for outstanding government workers, at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ezra Acayan
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte points to photographers during an awarding ceremony for outstanding government workers, at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ezra Acayan

Duterte said he saw no urgency in raising with Beijing a July ruling made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that invalidated most China’s claims to most of the waterway, and said it would take place “during my time”.

“I cannot let it pass and be neglected,” he said of the ruling during an interview with CNN Philippines.

On the manmade islands, he said: “If it was really a serious concern, then the United States should lead the way and stop it.”

(Reporting by Martin Petty and Neil Jerome Morales)


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