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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:13 am

US: China blocking Filipino boats 'provocative'

WASHINGTON (AP) The U.S. is criticizing as "provocative" China's blocking of supplies to a Philippine outpost in the South China Sea.

The Philippines protested to China Tuesday its prevention of two Filipino vessels from taking supplies to troops on a decrepit military hospital ship that ran aground 15 years ago on the shallow coral outcrop of the Second Thomas Shoal. The rusty ship has since become the symbol of Philippine sovereignty over the area.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki (SAH'-kee) said Wednesday the reported action by China's coastguard raises tensions. She said the Philippines has maintained a presence at the shoal since 1999, and other South China Sea claimant nations regularly resupply and repair their outposts without interference.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has rejected the Philippine protest.