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Philippines sends fresh troops to disputed shoal


03:19 PM June 19th, 2013

June 19th, 2013 03:19 PM

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines— Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Manila sent fresh troops and supplies to a Philippine-occupied shoal in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) where Chinese ships recently established a presence.

Gazmin said Wednesday that a small contingent of Philippine Marines was sent to replace troops at the Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal early this week.

The Filipino troops are stationed in a rusty Philippine hospital ship that ran aground in 1999 on the shallow coral outcrop and has since become an awkward symbol of Philippine sovereignty.

The Philippines protested last month the entry of a Chinese warship and maritime surveillance vessels to the area in a new territorial standoff between the Asian nations.

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