'PROV­INCE OF CHINA' BANNERS RILE MANILA

Southeast Asia Globe - - Panorama -

At least five red banners read­ing Wel­come to the Philip­pines, prov­ince of China in English and Chi­nese ap­peared on bridges over busy thor­ough­fares in Manila be­fore be­ing taken down by au­thor­i­ties. Their ap­pear­ance marked the sec­ond an­niver­sary of an ar­bi­tra­tion court de­ci­sion in The Hague pro­claim­ing that China had no his­toric ti­tle over the South China Sea, and that it had run afoul of Philip­pines sovereignty by keep­ing its fish­er­men out of their wa­ters and con­struct­ing ar­ti­fi­cial is­lands in an ex­clu­sive eco­nomic area. No one has taken re­spon­si­bil­ity, but some sus­pect it was an at­tempt to bring at­ten­tion to the na­tion's warm­ing re­la­tions with China. Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte drew ire in Fe­bru­ary when he jok­ingly of­fered to make the Philip­pines a prov­ince of China.

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