News / Asia

Philippines Summons Chinese Ambassador

An aerial view of Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines, July 20, 2011
An aerial view of Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines, July 20, 2011
Simone Orendain
MANILA — The Philippines has filed two more diplomatic protests with Beijing about territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The action marks the 12th time the Philippines has lodged a formal protest since this spring’s tense standoff at a shoal claimed by both countries.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs says it has formally protested China’s creation of an official district charged with governing three island groups including the Spratlys in the South China Sea. Some of the islands, which Beijing says fall under the authority of Sansha City, are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.

In its latest protests, filed Tuesday, the Philippines expressed opposition to a planned military outpost in Sansha and objected to the presence of at least 30 vessels on a fishing expedition among reefs it claims in the Spratlys.

Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez says the department is recording and documenting every reported intrusion by China into its waters. “We believe that these are provocative actions at this time, when we have already the DOC and people have been talking about implementing the DOC,” he said.

The Declaration on the Code of Conduct of the parties in the South China Sea is a non-binding document signed by China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It emphasizes exercising self-restraint and seeking resolution through peaceful means - particularly in dealing with disputes in a region with busy shipping lanes, potentially huge oil and gas reserves and abundant fishing. Although the DOC is not enforceable, Hernandez says the ASEAN members have agreed to follow its guidelines.

Earlier this month, at the ASEAN regional forum, many countries including the United States hoped for agreement on a more binding set of rules. U.S. State Department officials said China indicated it was amenable to start talks on the matter in September.

China has maintained it prefers to deal with claimant countries one on one, not through a multinational venue like ASEAN. But some countries like the Philippines are airing their grievances via international means, calling for adherence to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Hernandez says Manila’s practice of filing multiple protests will help the Philippines be heard.

“The protests are very important, even if they don’t immediately reap benefits for us, because that way we are able to tell the world that we don’t accept such activities done by the other side on our territory and on the maritime domain that we should be enjoying,” said Hernandez.

Calls to the Chinese Embassy in Manila were not immediately answered Tuesday.

The recent flurry of protests from Manila started in April, when Manila says Chinese fishing vessels poached endangered species near a shoal that is well within its territory. It says Scarborough Shoal just west of Zambales province, falls within the 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone designated by international law to be part of a country’s territory. China claims practically the entire sea, based on ancient maps.

During his annual national address Monday, Philippine President Benigno Aquino emphasized the country will continue to push its claim for the shoal. He also highlighted increased military spending on more hardware and an additional Hamilton-class cutter, expected to arrive from the United States early next year.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
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 Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
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.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid