'Philippines, province of China' banners spark fury in Manila | DW | 12.07.2018

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Red tarpaulin banners with the words, in English: "Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China" mysteriously appeared on footbridges across the capital, Manila, on Thursday. It was not immediately clear who put them up or why, but the banners' appearance coincides with the anniversary of an international court ruling against Beijing in a dispute over waters in the South China Sea. Dealing a major blow to China, the intergovernmental, dispute-resolution Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA-CPA) in The Hague ruled two years ago that Beijing had no historic title to waters in the South China Sea. It found that China had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights by blocking its fishing boats and building artificial islands in its Exclusive Economic Zone. The banners, with the words: "Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China," stirred anger among Filipinos who vented their fury on social media. Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who was the chief lawyer for the Philippine PCA-CPA case, said the banners were "NOT FUNNY." Duterte's 'inaction' President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office just two weeks before the PCA-CPA ruling, has since adopted a conciliatory approach towards China and has not pressed Beijing to implement the verdict. On the contrary, he frequently praises Chinese President Xi Jinping. In February, he controversially joked about offering the Philippines to Beijing as a province of China. But opposition party Akbayan said Duterte scored an "own goal" by failing to insist that Beijing leave the ocean areas claimed by the Philippines. Some social media users accused the opposition of being behind the banners to discredit the government's increasingly warm ties with China. Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, called the banners "absurd" and blamed them on the government's political enemies. City authorities were seen removing some of the banners, which were spotted in at least five locations. ap/jm (Reuters, dpa) Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here. South China Sea countries are building larger navies Pride of the Chinese armada The first Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was originally a Soviet model built in 1986. In 1998, the stripped hulk was sold to China by Ukraine and rebuilt by the Dailian Shipbuilding Industry Company in northeastern China. It was completed in 2012 and has been ready for service since 2016. South China Sea countries are building larger navies 'Black holes' for Vietnam In recent years, Vietnam has acquired six Russian Kilo-class submarines. Two were delivered in 2017. The subs are nicknamed "black holes" by the US Navy, because they run very quietly and are difficult to locate. They are specialized for missions in shallow waters and for defense against enemy ships and submarines. South China Sea countries are building larger navies Flagship of the Philippines The
Philippines, China, Rodrigo Duterte, South China Sea,
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