Philippines backs US plan to sail Navy ship near Chinese-built island in disputed waters

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The Philippines has expressed support for a reported U.S. plan to challenge China's territorial claims by deploying a Navy ship close to a Chinese-built island in the disputed South China Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that the U.S. plan of sending a Navy ship within 22 kilometers (14 miles) of the artificial islands "would be consistent with international law and a rules-based order for the region."

It warned that "failure to challenge false claims of sovereignty would undermine this order and lead China to the false conclusion that its claims are accepted as a fait accompli."

The U.S. newspaper Navy Times reported last week that the Navy may soon receive approval for the mission to sail close to the Chinese-built island, sparking Chinese concern.