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Philippines navy to "chase out" foreign research ships

PHILIPPINES President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the navy to "chase out" US and other foreign research vessels from a claimed area of ocean off the country’s north-east, despite earlier allowing Chinese oceanographers to operate there .

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said today Mr Duterte had given the order to secure the Benham Rise, which the government has renamed Philippine Rise.

"Let me be very clear about this: the Philippine Rise is ours and any insinuation that it is open to everybody should end with this declaration," Mr Pinol quoted Mr Duterte as saying.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said US, Japanese, South Korean and Chinese scientific ships had ended their missions and all further research would be conducted by the Philippines.

The 93,000 square mile expanse of continental shelf lies within the Philippines's claimed exclusive economic zone for fishing and hydrocarbon exploitation.

It is on the opposite side of the Philippines from waters disputed with China and other regional nations in the South China Sea.


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