Over the South China Sea, dispute simmers via radios and rhetoric

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By Eloisa Lopez ABOARD PHILIPPINES COAST GUARD PLANE, South China Sea (Reuters) – As a Philippine coast guard aircraft flew over the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea on Thursday, a message came in over the radio telling it to immediately leave “Chinese territory”. Such warnings, from a Chinese coast guard ship, have become an almost daily ritual around one of the world’s most contested archipelagos, where China is one of five countries claiming the strategic islands – or at least some of them – as their own. “Calling China coast guard vessel. You are transiting inside Philippine…

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