Philippines rejects China’s demand to remove ship from shoal

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines’ defense chief has rejected China’s renewed demand that it remove its outpost on a disputed South China Sea. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday that Chinese coast guard ships should leave the area and stop blocking Manila’s supply boats toward the Second Thomas Shoal. The defense chief added that a 2016 ruling by a U.N.-backed arbitration tribunal also invalidated China’s claims. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly asked the Philippines to evacuate the shoal that it says is its own. The dispute was the latest flareup in one of the world’s busiest waterways, where China has been asserting its claims.