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Philippines shows photos of Chinese ships in disputed sea

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, left, shakes hands with Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte, right, as Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, watches during the 19th ASEAN-China summit, in Vientiane, Laos, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. The Philippine government has released what it says are surveillance pictures of Chinese coast guard ships and barges at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea just hours before the Chinese premier attended a regional summit with Southeast Asian leaders. Officials say Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans to ask Chinese premier Li Keqiang at the summit in the Laotian capital on Wednesday whether the vessels were on another island-making mission on the Scarborough Shoal. AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe

VIENTIANE, Laos — The Philippine government has released what it says are surveillance pictures of Chinese coast guard ships and barges at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea just hours before the Chinese premier attended a regional summit with Southeast Asian leaders.

Officials say Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans to ask Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the summit in the Laotian capital on Wednesday whether the vessels were on another island-making mission on the Scarborough Shoal. China has built many such islands in the disputed, resource-rich sea, much to the alarm of governments in the region.

If the Chinese government confirms the suspicion, the Philippines would lodge an official protest, according to Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. China has not commented on the presence of the ships.

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