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Philippines, US to hold naval drills near disputed shoal in South China Sea

Published on Jun 19, 2014 6:40 PM
This photo taken on June 7, 2014, shows the Philippine Navy frigate BRP Ramon Alacraz anchored at the mouth of the South China Sea in Ulugan Bay off Puerto Princesa on Palawan island. Manila will send the BRP Ramon Alcaraz and the BRP Emilio Jacinto for naval exercises involving Philippine and American troops. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MANILA (REUTERS) - Philippine and American troops are set to hold naval exercises this month near a disputed shoal, which will almost certainly anger China with tension already high in the South China Sea.

China claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, potentially rich in oil and gas and fisheries.

The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan also claim parts of the waters, and China has viewed with suspicion what it sees as US moves to "provoke" tension by supporting its regional allies, notably Vietnam and the Philippines.

Five warships, including a US guided-missile destroyer, and about 1,000 troops will take part in week-long Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises, which include live-fire drills 64 km off Zambales, on the western shores of the Philippine island of Luzon.

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