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June 23, 2017

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Manila gets past China 'blockade' to aid troops

MANILA -- The Philippine military said Thursday it had evaded a Chinese sea blockade by using an airplane to drop food to soldiers on a tiny and remote South China Sea shoal claimed by both countries.

The incident was the latest to escalate tensions between the Asian nations over their conflicting claims to parts of the South China Sea, a major sealane and rich fishing ground that is believed to hold vast mineral resources.

"We confirmed there was an airdrop of food to our troops," Defense Department spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said.

The incident took place at Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly island group, which is around 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan and which Manila insists is part of its continental shelf.

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