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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid