• REUTERS

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Aides of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday criticized China for what they called territorial incursions by hundreds of its vessels, which his legal counsel warned could damage ties and lead to “unwanted hostilities”.

In some of the strongest words yet from Duterte’s camp about China’s conduct in the South China Sea, his lawyer Salvador Panelo called the prolonged presence of boats an unwelcome stain on relations that risked “unwanted hostilities that both countries would rather not pursue.”

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