Duterte wants foreign research ships out of offshore region

A Philippine official says the president has ordered a stop to all foreign scientific research missions in waters northeast of the country after doubts were raised over the country's sovereignty there.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered navy ships and air force aircraft to check on the presence of foreign ships in Benham Rise, which the government has named Philippine Rise.

Pinol quoted Duterte as saying during a Cabinet meeting Monday night that "the Philippine Rise is ours and any insinuation that it is open to everybody should end with this declaration."

Duterte's spokesman says all foreign scientific groups, including from China and the United States, have concluded their research work in the waters.