MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he plans to visit an island the Philippines claims in the disputed South China Sea and raise the Philippine flag. [restrict}

Duterte told reporters he would also fortify the island of Thitu with barracks.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about $5 trillion worth of seaborne goods pass every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims.

Duterte said he plans to visit Thitu on Independence Day in June.

Thitu is close to Subi Reef, one of seven manmade islands in the Spratlys that China is accused of militarizing with surface-to-air missiles, among other armaments.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Nick Macfie) [/restrict]