Philippines sends troops, supplies to disputed island | SunStar

Philippines sends troops, supplies to disputed island

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Philippines sends troops, supplies to disputed island

Thursday, May 11, 2017

PAGASA ISLAND. This April 21, 2017 photo taken from a C-130 transport plane with Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano shows Thitu Island off the South China Sea. (AP File)

MANILA -- The Philippines has started transporting troops and supplies to a disputed island in the South China Sea in preparation for construction work that includes reinforcing and lengthening an airstrip and building a dock, an official said Thursday.

China has protested the visit last month by the Philippine defense and military chiefs to Pag-asa Island, home to Filipino soldiers and fishermen for decades, but which is also claimed by Beijing.

Lieutenant General Raul del Rosario, head of the Philippine military's Western Command, said troops and initial supplies arrived on Pag-asa island last week. About P1.6 billion ($32 million) has been earmarked for the construction that will also include a fish port, solar power, water desalination plant, refurbishment of housing for soldiers and facilities for marine research and tourists.

China's construction of seven islands nearby in the Spratly archipelago has dwarfed similar activities by rival claimants, including the Philippines, whose frosty relations with Beijing have improved significantly under President Rodrigo Duterte. (AP)

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