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Philippine ship evades China blockade

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SECOND THOMAS SHOAL — A Philippine government ship slipped past a Chinese coast guard blockade Saturday and brought food and fresh troops to a marooned navy ship used as a base by Filipino troops to bolster the country's territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea. 

 The incident was witnessed by journalists who were invited by the Philippines military to accompany the resupply mission.

It was a rare close-up look at the tensions in the waters and the determination of both sides to press their claims. China's growing assertiveness is alarming smaller countries that have competing territorial claims and worrying the United States, which is neutral in the disputes but jockeying for influence with Beijing in the region.

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