China has alarmed and angered its neighbors by claiming most of the South China Sea and building a string of artificial islands and military airbases, but Duterte - keen to court trade and investment from Beijing - has mostly avoided criticizing China.
The US military aircraft pilots have been told that China has "sovereignty of the Nashan Islands, Spratlys including inaudible reef and its adjacent waters".
He said that it was "wrong" that China claims these disputed waters as its territories since they are "considered a part of worldwide sea" and "the right of innocent passage is guaranteed", according to the official transcript of a speech provided on Wednesday. "It's man-made and you say that the air above this artificial island is yours", Duterte said in his speech during the launching of the Go Negosyo's "Pilipinas Angat Lahat" program on Tuesday in Malacañang Palace.
"They have to rethink that because that would be a flashpoint someday", Duterte said in a speech late yesterday. "It's man-made and you say that the air above this artificial island is yours".
"All parties have to set aside for the meantime their claims on territory and sovereign rights to have joint exploration", Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in an ambush interview Wednesday.
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Having stolen the advantage in the first half, the youngsters found themselves down 3-1 just ten minutes into the second period.
He made the remarks in front of business leaders and diplomats, including U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, in reaction to recent reports of China warning Philippine military aircraft patrolling near artificial islands in the South China Sea.
He added that he did not want to "quarrel" with China.
China's Foreign Ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Despite this, it has denied militarising the area, through which roughly a third of all global maritime trade passes. Southeast Asian nations Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims on the waters.
"Our ships and aircraft have observed an increase in radio queries that appear to originate from new land-based facilities in the South China Sea", Commander Clay Doss, public affairs officer of the US 7th Fleet, told the AP by email in response to questions about the Chinese messages.