Defence chief on Philippine-occupied island in disputed seas
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PAG-ASA, Philippines — The Philippine
The trip led by
President Rodrigo Duterte has said China dissuaded him from flying to the island, also known internationally as Thitu, to raise his country's flag when the Philippines celebrates its Independence Day on June 12.
"So because of our friendship with China and because we value your friendship, we will not, I will not go there to raise the Philippine flag," he said in a speech last week in Saudi Arabia. He said he may send his son instead.
Lorenzana planned to inspect a dirt runway on the island in the Spratlys chain of islands, reefs and atolls that has been partly eroded and have lunch with Filipino troops and residents in a fishing village on the island.
The government plans to repair the 1.2
With Lorenzana were the military chief of staff, Gen. Eduardo Ano and other military top brass with about 40 journalists on a trip that may highlight the territorial disputes a week before Duterte hosts an annual regional summit in Manila that's expected to spotlight the South China Sea conflicts.