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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid