Manila air drops supplies to troops on disputed shoal
Published on Mar 12, 2014 4:08 PM
MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippines air dropped food and water to soldiers stationed on a grounded transport ship on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, after China blocked two Filipino supply ships from reaching the troops, a senior navy official said on Wednesday.
Chinese ships patrolling waters around Second Thomas Shoal, known in China as the Ren'ai reef, on Sunday ordered the Philippine ships carrying construction materials to leave the area.
Beijing claims Manila is trying to start construction on the disputed reef after it ran aground an old transport ship in 1999 to mark its territory and stationed marines on the ship. Manila claims the Shoal is part of the Philippine's continental shelf.
"We only intend to improve the conditions there, we have no plans to expand or build permanent structures on the shoal," said a Philippines navy official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the press.
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