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 China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid