Philippine soldiers stationed at Thitu island. Photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe

On Friday a Philippines military C-130 transport aircraft landed on the island of Thitu, to reinforce the country’s claims over the disputed territory.

The New York Times reports that the Chinese challenged the flight via radio at least four times while the aircraft was on route to the island, though the Philippine defense secretary played down those claims, saying it was standard protocol.

The visit comes after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recently canceled a planned trip to the island under pressure from China, which also lays claim to the territory.

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