News / Asia

Philippines Condemns China's Plan to Search, Seize Vessels in South China Sea

Chinese navy vessels take part in a drill in Zhoushan in east China's Zhejiang province, October 19, 2012.
Chinese navy vessels take part in a drill in Zhoushan in east China's Zhejiang province, October 19, 2012.
Simone Orendain
— The Philippines says a plan by China's Hainan province to stop and search foreign ships deemed to be illegally in the South China Sea is a "gross violation" of international law and hampers freedom of navigation.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs is demanding clarification from China over the plans.  The department said in a statement it is "especially concerned" by media reports that starting next year, Hainan police will have authority to board, search and possibly seize foreign ships they determine have illegally entered Chinese-claimed waters .  

The statement says that since China claims practically the entire sea, this sort of action would pose a "direct threat to the entire international community" and violates the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Philippine Congressman Walden Bello, who has been vocal in opposing China's claim, calls it a "flagrant violation of international law."

"Basically this is one more step in terms of the really, very, very dangerous escalation- this is a dangerous escalation- of the illegal claim of the Chinese government," said Bello.

Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon of the Kalayaan Group of Islands, which are the Philippines' claimed parts in the Spratlys, also calls the move dangerous.  While Hainan province is two day's boat ride northeast, he is skittish about such a plan in waters being shared by several countries.

"I'm apprehensive because if they do that then that would be for the first time, I think, very contentious because it would already impinge on our freedom of navigation," said Bito-onon.

Along with the Philippines and China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei all have claims in the sea, which has one of the world's most heavily traversed shipping routes.  It is also a rich fishing ground and is believed to hold vast fossil fuel reserves.

On Friday, the secretary-general of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said the Chinese action raises the level of concern and great anxiety.

Ely Ratner, Asia fellow with the Center for a New American Security, says the plan is worrisome, counter-productive on China's part and may be hard to enforce.

"They end up leading to serious pushback and diplomatic rancor from the rest of the region," said Ratner.

China's official news agency quoted a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Friday as saying the country gives great importance to freedom of navigation.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid