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Top diplomat says Philippines must stand ground in territorial dispute with China

The Philippines' top diplomat has told the country's future military leaders that they must stand their ground in any territorial disputes with China.

The comments from Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, which were released Saturday, come as disputes over the South China Sea have escalated recently. China has enraged several neighbors with a map printed in its newly revised passports that show it staking its claim on the entire South China Sea.

A statement published Saturday on the ministry's website quoted del Rosario as telling Philippine Military Academy cadets: "What is ours is ours and we should stand up to protect what is ours."

It said del Rosario spoke to the cadets on the challenges the country faces in defending its claims to areas in the South China Sea.