News / Asia

Philippines Rebukes China for 'Militarization' in S.China Sea

Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario (R) and his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman at the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, June 30, 2013.
Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario (R) and his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman at the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, June 30, 2013.
Reuters
The Philippines hit out at China on Sunday over the "increasing militarization" of the South China Sea as tensions between the neighbors flared amid slow-moving regional efforts to forge a compromise over one of Asia's naval flashpoints.
    
The rebuke by Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario at a regional summit in Brunei came a day after China's state media warned of an inevitable "counterstrike" against the Philippines if it continued to provoke Beijing.
    
Friction between China and the Philippines over disputed territories in the oil and gas rich sea has surged since last year due to several naval stand-offs and fraying diplomatic efforts to forge a regional agreement on maritime conduct.
    
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) hopes to persuade Beijing to join talks on a proposed Code of Conduct (CoC) this year, but China's naval action has alarmed some nations, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.
    
x
Most recently, the Philippines accused China of encroaching on its territory after three Chinese ships converged just 5 nautical miles (9 km) from a small reef where the Philippines maintains a small military force.
    
This month the Philippines moved more troops and supplies to the reef, which is within its 200-nautical mile (370 km) economic exclusion zone. China, which does not recognize the zone, condemned it as an "illegal occupation".
    
Del Rosario said the "massive" presence of Chinese military and paramilitary ships at the Second Thomas shoal and at another reef called the Scarborough Shoal - the site of a tense standoff last year - was a threat to regional peace.
    
"The statement on counterstrike is an irresponsible one. We condemn any threats of use of force," Del Rosario told reporters in Brunei following a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers.
    
He said the ministers had discussed China's ongoing "illegal" occupation of the Scarborough Shoal, which is just 124 nautical miles (230 km) of the Philippine coast.
    
Expensive claims
    
China and the Philippines have accused each other of flouting a confidence-building 2002 "declaration of conduct" agreed by ASEAN and Beijing. China has appeared in little hurry to begin negotiations on a more comprehensive deal.
    
"A declaration of conduct is the foundation we need to lay before we can start working on a CoC," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Brunei.
    
"Both sides have to create that basis before we can move forward. It is a process, a step-by-step process."
    
The worsening dispute comes as Philippine-ally the United States, which says it has a national interest in freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, shifts its military attention back to Asia. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to arrive in Brunei on Monday to join the regional summit.
    
Critics say China is intent on cementing its vast claims over the sea through its superior and growing naval might, and has little interest in rushing to agree a code of conduct with ASEAN nations, four of which have competing claims.
    
Divisions among ASEAN over the maritime dispute burst into the open a year ago when a summit chaired by Chinese ally Cambodia failed to issue a closing communique for the first time in the group's 45-year history.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid