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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.