Duterte calls on Beijing to 'temper' island building

Duterte calls on Beijing to 'temper' island building

"I hope that China would temper. its behavior", Duterte said, warning that in the disputed sea, "one of these days a hothead commander there will just press a trigger".

Speaking Tuesday at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Duterte said the heavily-contested region could become a "flashpoint".

He said that it was "wrong" that China claims these disputed waters as its territories since they are "considered a part of global sea" and "the right of innocent passage is guaranteed", according to the official transcript of a speech provided on Wednesday. "It's man-made and you say that the air above these artificial islands is yours", Duterte was cited as saying by Efe news. "And if it's nearby a territorial water, you guarantee what you would call the right of innocent passage", Duterte told his audience, which included United States ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim.

During the rambling speech, Duterte nevertheless praised Beijing for its readiness to provide help.

The Philippines is a military ally of the United States, which says it is not taking sides in the various South China Sea territorial disputes.

China transformed seven disputed reefs into islands using dredged sand.

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The Chinese military also reportedly issued warning to the United States military aircraft which also conducted over flights over the South China Sea. Southeast Asian nations Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims on the waters.

"These communications do not affect our operations", Doss said.

The comments follow allegations in May of Chinese harassment of Filipino troops at another South China Sea garrison.

Philippine officials have claimed military pilots are repeatedly warned off by Beijing as their planes approach Philippine-held Thitu island, which lies beside a Chinese air base built on top of Subi Reef. "Leave immediately and keep off to avoid misunderstanding", according to the Philippine government report.

Reports circulated last week of Chinese military outposts warning US and Philippine military planes but with a more aggressive approach towards Filipinos.

"Philippine military aircraft! I'm warning you again".

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