News / Asia

Canceled Aquino Visit Ratchets Up Tensions Between Philippines, China

Philippine President Benigno Aquino (C) is seen delivering a speech at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Manila, in this July 22, 2013, file photo.Philippine President Benigno Aquino (C) is seen delivering a speech at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Manila, in this July 22, 2013, file photo.
x
Philippine President Benigno Aquino (C) is seen delivering a speech at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Manila, in this July 22, 2013, file photo.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino (C) is seen delivering a speech at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Manila, in this July 22, 2013, file photo.
Simone Orendain
Tensions between the Philippines and China continue to escalate this week.  The Philippines says a visit by President Benigno Aquino to the China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, China, had stipulations.  China had said it never invited President Aquino.
 
The Philippines is the country of honor at this year’s China-ASEAN expo.  And according to Philippine officials, the tradition is to send the head of state of the country of honor to the event. 
 
Philippine Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez said President Aquino was invited to the event, but with certain conditions set forth by China.  He read a statement during a news briefing in Manila Monday.
 
“And such conditions were absolutely inimical to our national interest.  To avoid embarrassment on the Chinese side, we will not state these conditions,” said Hernandez.
 
The spokesman added that Chinese Foreign Ministry officials told Philippine officials not to talk about the conditions and not to have any discussion about them at the ministerial level.
 
Aquino had announced he would be attending, but less than a day after his announcement, word came that China had asked him to cancel his trip.  Philippine officials say China said he should come at “a more conducive time.” China’s Foreign Ministry said it never invited the president and gave no further details.
 
Chill in relations

The two countries have been locked in a diplomatic dispute over territories in the resource-rich South China Sea.  Relations chilled in April last year when ships from both countries faced off at a shoal near the northwestern coast of the Philippines. Manila says the shoal is well within its exclusive economic zone -- as designated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
 
China blocked off a lagoon area of the shoal, which it claims is part of its fishing grounds.  The Philippines has complained of other instances of Chinese surveillance and military ships in the vicinity of its claimed waters.
 
Manila has filed dozens of protests and is taking its case before a U.N. arbitration tribunal.  Beijing rejected the case and has not responded to any procedural requirements.  It again reiterated its preference for one-on-one dialogue.
 
China asserts “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea.  The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have competing claims in the sea.
 
Zhang Hua, a Chinese embassy spokesman in Manila, did not comment on the so-called conditions.  But Zhang said in a statement that China values the “long-standing friendship” between the two countries.
 
“Under the current circumstances, China hopes the Philippine side could work together with the Chinese side to overcome difficulties and disturbances and make real efforts to get the China-Philippines relationship back to the track of sound and stable development,” said Zhang.
 
China is hosting a low-level consultation this month with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  They are set to discuss a legally binding code of conduct on managing the disputes in the South China Sea.  The Philippines and Vietnam are pushing for full negotiations on the proposed code, which has languished for more than 10 years.

You May Like

Key Al-Shabab Commander Captured

Zakariye Ismail Hersi was captured in a raid Saturday morning in the town of El Wak near the border with Kenya More

Relations Between Pakistan, Afghanistan Key to Fighting Taliban

A Pakistani official tells VOA that anti-terrorism campaign has resulted in improved counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan More

160,000 Displaced by Flooding in Malaysia

Prime Minister Najib Razak visits hard-hit Kelantan state, announces nearly $145M in additional relief for victims More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid