Duterte cast public protests on Chinese artificial islands

Tinuku - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday about China claiming airspace over their artificial islands. The artificial islands were built by China on coral reefs in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

"You can't make an island, man-made, then say that the airspace above it is yours. That is wrong, that is what we call international territory," said Duterte.

Tinuku Duterte cast public protests on Chinese artificial islands

Duterte had previously rarely made public protests to China. The Philippines has also protested over China's increasing call for warnings by radio asking Philippine ships and planes to stay away from Chinese-made islands in disputed waters.

"I hope China holds back because one day a grumpy commander could push a button," said Duterte.

China is known to have turned seven coral islands in the South China Sea into artificial islands using dredged sand. The artificial islands are close to the islands occupied by Vietnam, Philippines and Taiwan. Malaysia and Brunei also claim the series of small and barren islands.

The Philippine government has shown their military planes patrolling near artificial islands in the Spratly Islands receiving at least 46 warnings from Chinese radio during the second half of last year. In January, Philippine air force aircraft while patrolling near Chinese-controlled islands also received very offensive radio messages.