Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the country’s navy to build structures to assert claims of sovereignty over a portion of the seas east of Manila.
According to reports from the nation’s capital, a Chinese survey ship was observed casing an area known as the Benham Rise last year.
The rise is a vast area of ocean east of the country that the United Nations declared as part of the Philippines’ continental shelf in 2012.
The Philippines lodged a diplomatic complaint with Beijing after the vessel was tracked moving back and forth over the rise.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana added the president’s instructions included to increase naval patrols in the area as well.
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