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Philippines sends fresh troops to disputed shoal

/ 03:19 PM June 19, 2013

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.

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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.

TAGS: Ayungin Shoal, China, Philippines, South China Sea, territorial dispute, West Philippine Sea
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