Duterte will go to war over South China Sea: Minister

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Earlier, Satellite images indicated that China seemed to have sent anti-ship cruise missiles or truck-mounted surface-to-air missiles at Woody Island.

Last month, Chinese ships reportedly gave a "robust" challenge to three Australian warships in the South China Sea that were en route to Vietnam. "He will go to war", Cayetano said.

The Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory, Lu said, noting that in accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996.

On May 18, China announced that it had, for the first time, landed its H-6K strategic bomber on an outpost in the Paracels, Woody Island.

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Cayetano further elaborated that among the territorial issues discussed, with China, were construction activities at a disputed shoal and the unilateral extraction of oil and gas in the region.

"We are taking all diplomatic actions at the right time", he said, adding that "China had been told of the red lines".

The spokesman also called the USA move "provocative and arbitrary", which he said "undermined strategic mutual trust between the two militaries".

The U.S. military does not comment on the specifics of what it calls "freedom of navigation" exercises meant to assert the Navy's right to sail and operate in any zone deemed legal under global law.

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Two U.S. Navy warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China on Sunday, two U.S. officials told Reuters, in a move that drew condemnation from Beijing as President Donald Trump seeks its continued cooperation on North Korea.

It was the first time more than one United States vessel had been used in the exercises, according to experts, part of a recent escalation in U.S. opposition to China's action in the region.

To reinforce its claims to the territory, the Chinese government has built a series of artificial islands in the Paracel and Spratly Island chains, with radar facilities and airstrips.

The chief spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defense, Senior Col. Wu Qian, said that the United States "gravely violated Chinese sovereignty". But its position overlaps competing territorial claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and others. While this activity had been arranged a very long time ahead of time, and comparable tasks have turned out to be standard, it comes at an especially delicate time and days after the Pentagon uninvited China from a noteworthy USA facilitated maritime exercise.

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The foreign secretary remains resolute saying both the Philippines and China have set rules, relating to the South China Sea dispute, which must be respected by either party.

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