USA TODAY US Edition

Dispute rages in South China Sea

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The Philippine­s and China agreed to resolve an ongoing naval standoff diplomatic­ally, but neither side was ready to back down in the most dangerous confrontat­ion in the disputed South China Sea in years.

Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario said he warned Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing that the Philippine­s would defend itself if provoked. Both insisted the Scarboroug­h Shoal location was part of their own country’s territory.

The Philippine government said its navy tried to detain Chinese boats fishing in its waters but was stopped by two Chinese surveillan­ce craft.

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