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BEIJING (AFP) - China has dispatched its most modern patrol ship to the South China Sea, state press said Sunday, after an incident with a US naval vessel and a fresh claim by the Philippines to the disputed territory.
The Beijing News said the vessel would conduct patrols of what it called China's exclusive maritime zone in the disputed waters surrounding the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
It said the converted naval rescue ship would aid Chinese fishing boats and transport vessels.
The Philippines passed a law last week which lays claim to disputed islands in the Spratlys chain that are also claimed by China. Beijing has called the law "illegal and invalid."