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Philippines to build marine base on island near Taiwan for defense, to deter poaching

The Philippines will begin building a marine base next month on its northernmost uninhabited island, near Taiwan, to boost defense arrangements and discourage poachers from its fishing grounds. “We need to have a presence there,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Isagani Nato, spokesman of the Northern Luzon Command of the Philippines, adding that building work on Mavulis Island would start next month. “We are going to put up a facility to guard our maritime domain, and against poaching during the fishing period.” The two nations’ coastguard ships have confronted each other in the rich fishing waters, where their exclusive economic zones overlap. The neighbors nearly cut ties in 2013, after a Philippines vessel fired on a Taiwanese fishing boat, killing a fisherman, Reuters said.