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US accuses China of provoking Philippines

A China Coast Guard ship (top) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a stand off as the Philippine boat attempts to reach the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea a reef claimed by both countries, on March 29, 2014The United States criticized China as provocative Monday after its coast guard tried to block a Philippine vessel that was rotating troops in the tense South China Sea. Harf said that the Philippines had permission to resupply troops to the remote reef, the Second Thomas Shoal, because it has kept a naval presence there since before a 2002 declaration of conduct in the South China Sea. “As a treaty ally of the Republic of the Philippines, the United States urges China to refrain from further provocative behavior by allowing the Philippines to continue to maintain its presence at Second Thomas Shoal,” she said. The incident was the latest in the South China Sea, where China claims a vast area that overlaps with several neighbors’ claims.

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