News / Asia

    Philippines Denounces China's Test Flights in Spratlys

    FILE - Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., US Navy Commander, U.S. Pacific Command walks past a photograph showing an island that China is building on the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea, as the prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 17, 2015,
    FILE - Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., US Navy Commander, U.S. Pacific Command walks past a photograph showing an island that China is building on the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea, as the prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 17, 2015,
    VOA News

    The Philippines on Thursday denounced China after a pair of Chinese civilian jet airliners landed on a newly created island in a disputed section of the South China Sea.

    On Wednesday, China landed two test flights on Fiery Cross Reef, claiming it was a test to see whether the airstrip on the man-made island could handle large civilian aircraft. The test flights occurred four days after China angered Vietnam with a landing on the same runway.

    Manila said it is concerned China could impose military controls in the South China Sea, an area where six governments maintain overlapping maritime territorial claims.

    "If this is not challenged, we will have a situation where China will take a position that ADIZ [air defense identification zone] could be imposed. Whether this is done in terms of a de facto basis or whether it is official, of course this will be deemed as unacceptable to us," Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said in Manila.

    Provocative actions

    "We are very concerned and we are of course following these developments because these are provocative actions which we need to think about and we need to take positions on," del Rosario added.

    The Fiery Cross Reef runway is 3,000 meters long and is one of three China has been building for more than a year by dredging sand up onto reefs and atolls in the Spratly archipelago.

    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Thursday "freedom of navigation and overflight are non-negotiable," and any attempt to restrict air and sea travel in the disputed South China Sea would be viewed as a "red flag."
     
    Hammond, speaking at a joint news conference with del Rosario, is on a tour of three Asian countries, including China and Japan. He said Britain does not take sides in the regional dispute, but called on all parties to exercise restraint and respect international law.

    Responding to Saturday's test flight, the U.S. State Department reiterated calls for a halt to land reclamation and militarization of outposts in those waters.

    Freedom of navigation

    Washington takes no formal position on the various sovereignty claims, but it insists disputes be settled peacefully and that freedom of navigation be maintained in the region.

    Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Saturday's first test flight was "civilian" in nature.

    The Philippines has asked a United Nations-backed tribunal to void China's claim over almost the entire South China Sea. It expects a decision later this year.

    Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have competing claims in the South China Sea, which hosts vital shipping lanes over vast oil and gas reserves. More than $5 trillion of world trade is shipped through the South China Sea every year.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Edgar (Ph)
    January 09, 2016 2:34 AM
    The Spratlys are within Philippine territory, landing planes by the Philippines is not an issue until the Chinese reclaimed man-made islands and claimed it to be theirs. If the Philippines did the same thing in any of their territory that makes it legitimate but since China is China, that makes China a bully, which is explained in part by China's refusal to follow the rule of law under the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS...

    by: Peter from: USA
    January 07, 2016 11:32 AM
    Both Vietnam and Philippine landed planes on their airstrip in the disputed Sprately islands already. Denouncing China doing the same only makes them look weaker.
    In Response

    by: EDGAR (British)
    January 09, 2016 2:36 AM
    The Spratlys are within Philippine territory, landing planes by the Philippines is not an issue until the Chinese reclaimed man-made islands and claimed it to be theirs. If the Philippines did the same thing in any of their territory that makes it legitimate but since China is China, that makes China a bully, which is explained in part by China's refusal to follow the rule of law under the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS...

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora