South China Sea: Philippine Armed Forces chief visits island in disputed waters

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Cirilito Sobejana recent visit to Thitu Island in the South China Sea could add fuel to heightened tensions between China and the Philippine.

The visit is discussed as significant, as it comes after recent diplomatic protests made by the Philippine over its demand to withdraw the hundreds of Chinese vessels anchored inside its 200-mile exclusive economic zone at Whitsun Reef and others at Spartly Islands.

At that time, Chinese diplomats had said the boats were sheltering from rough seas, and no militia were aboard.

Armed Forces chief trip to Thitu, known to Filipinos as Pagasa, happened on June 07, but the information was only made public by the AFP on June 09(today), Reuters reported.

“(The troops) are in very high spirit, their level of moral is high especially after our visit,” Armed Forces chief said. He further states that he also wanted to inspect the island to oversee plans to convert it into a logistics hub to make it easier for naval assets conducting patrols to refuel.

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