News / Asia

Philippines Removes Foreign Markers From Disputed South China Sea Reefs

Demonstrators  protest against what Manila claims to be Chinese intrusions into Spratly Islands territories claimed by the Philippines front of the Chinese consulate in Makati's financial district of Manila June 8, 2011.
Demonstrators protest against what Manila claims to be Chinese intrusions into Spratly Islands territories claimed by the Philippines front of the Chinese consulate in Makati's financial district of Manila June 8, 2011.
Simone Orendain

The Philippines navy says it has removed foreign marker posts that were placed on reefs and banks it says are part of its territory in the South China Sea.

Military officials say the unidentified wooden posts were last week removed from Boxall Reef, which is part of the much-disputed Spratly group of islands.

At the end of May, the navy says it recovered some other posts from the Amy Douglas Bank area, which is within waters the Philippines considers to be in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Military spokesman Major Neil Estrella says an investigation continues into where the posts came from.  He says the navy recently added more patrol boats and is spending more time keeping watch on the waters of the westernmost part of the country.

“And because of these maritime patrols we were able to locate markers.  So we removed these markers.”

Estrella says the navy has stepped up patrols to verify fishermen’s reports of seeing foreign vessels around territory claimed by both the Philippines and China.

Rising tensions

In the South China Sea, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan claim all or part of the Spratlys, which are believed to hold vast oil and gas reserves.  In recent months, exchanges over the claims have grown more heated, particularly between China and Vietnam, and China and the Philippines.

The Philippines says in recent weeks it had run-ins with China over several incidents on the South China Sea.  One of the strongest allegations was that in March two Chinese patrol boats intimidated an exploration ship in waters within the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone.

Philippines officials have demanded that China follow the U.N. Convention on Laws of the Sea regarding territorial claims.  China, however, says that it has held sovereignty over the South China Sea for centuries.

Philippines authorities have indicated they plan to formally protest the issue to the United Nations.

US reassurance

While China has said it prefers to directly deal with individual countries over the territorial dispute, President Benigno Aquino has asked the United States for help.

During a speech at a renewable energy forum in Manila this week, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas indicated Washington's support on the issue.

“The Philippines and the United States are strategic treaty allies.  We are partners.  We will continue to consult and work with each other on all issues including the South China Sea and Spratly Islands.”

Angry response

China responded furiously last year after the United States joined several countries at a regional security summit in calling for a multi-lateral approach to resolving South China Sea disputes. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also declared that the U.S. has a national interest in maintaining free navigation through the waterway.

Philippines media is reporting China’s Foreign Ministry has reassured the Philippines it would not use force to settle the dispute. 

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid