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China lashes out at Manila over island claims

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    Demonstrators display placards during a rally outside the Chinese Consulate at financial district of Makati city
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BEIJING >> An official Chinese newspaper accused the Philippines Tuesday of lacking a sincere desire to resolve South China Sea territorial disputes and warned of unspecified consequences if China’s concerns are ignored.

Recent construction work by Philippine troops on an island claimed by Manila violates the spirit of a preliminary agreement reached last month to resolve disputes in the South China Sea, the ruling Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily said.

That shows Manila had merely been putting on “a little show,” the paper said in a signed editorial. China won’t sit idly by while its territory is swallowed up by others, it said. China claims the South China Sea and all its islands as its territory.

“Were there to be a serious strategic miscalculation on this matter, the due consequences would have to be paid,” the newspaper said.

The agreement reached between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations last month sought to lower tensions that have spiked in recent months over territorial disputes in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea between the Philippines, China and Vietnam.

Manila and Hanoi complain that increasingly assertive Chinese ships have interfered with their oil-exploration efforts or bullied crews, something Beijing denies. Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have also laid claim to overlapping areas.

China has used force in the past to kick Vietnamese troops out of territory it claims, although recent disputes have largely been peaceful.

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