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Philippines rejects China’s demand to remove grounded navy ship

The Philippines will not remove a dilapidated navy ship grounded on an atoll in the South China Sea, its defence chief said on Thursday, rejecting a demand by China after it blocked a mission to resupply the vessel’s crew. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana dismissed China’s assertion on Wednesday that the Philippines had committed to remove the BRP Sierra Madre, which was intentionally grounded at the Second Thomas shoal in 1999 to reinforce Manila’s sovereignty claims in the Spratly archipelago. The Second Thomas Shoal, 105 nautical miles (195 km) off Palawan, is the temporary home of a small contingent of military aboard the rusty ship, which is stuck on a reef.

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