Philippine Daily Inquirer


- —AP

China has protested the visit by the Philippine­s’ defense and military chiefs to a disputed island in the South China Sea, but the Philippine government maintains it owns the territory where Filipino troops and villagers have lived for decades.

The public argument comes amid a thaw in oncefrosty relations between the neighbors after President Duterte took office last June and moved to rekindle Manila’s friendship with Beijing, which has been strained by the long-seething territoria­l disputes.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año flew to Pag-asa Island with dozens of journalist­s on Friday to inspect an eroded airstrip, which the government plans to reinforce and lengthen.

They also met Filipino troops and villagers and took part in the flag-raising.

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