News / Asia

Philippines Takes Friendly But Firm Stance in China Standoff

Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario (in foreground) and Foreign Affairs Spokesman Ed Malaya (in background) at a news briefing with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on July 1, 2011
Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario (in foreground) and Foreign Affairs Spokesman Ed Malaya (in background) at a news briefing with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on July 1, 2011
Simone Orendain

Philippines officials say they expect to hold high level talks with China in the coming months to maintain good relations, despite heated debate in recent weeks over disputed territory in the South China Sea. 

Cooperation

Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario says his office plans to take up an invitation to visit Beijing in the coming months as an opportunity to reaffirm good ties with China.  He says, so far, the country has signed 100 agreements with China related to trade and investment, defense, security and education.

“I believe that the relationship is healthy," del Rosario said, "and that if there are challenges in the Spratlys or in the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea, we should abstract that challenge at this time and deal with it separately and not have it adversely affect our relations.”

Defense

But at a news briefing with foreign media in Manila Friday, the secretary reiterated the Philippines’ stance of “what’s ours is ours,” and said that joint cooperation and exploration should prevail in disputed areas in the South China Sea.  He said that since February, China has made more than seven intrusions into territory that officials in Manila now refer to as the West Philippine Sea.

South China Sea map
South China Sea map

The sea contains the Spratly group of islands that are believed to hold vast reserves of oil and natural gas deposits.  The area is also home to major international sea lanes.  China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan claim parts or all of the Spratlys and most of the run-ins have been over these islands.  Beijing insists that nearly the entire South China Sea region has been under Chinese sovereignty for centuries.

American support

Del Rosario met last week with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who renewed America’s commitment to upholding a decades-old mutual defense treaty with the Philippines.  U.S. officials say they have an interest in keeping the sea’s lanes free.

Clinton said Washington remains neutral in territorial squabbles on the South China Sea, but she also said it would help the Philippines obtain “affordable” military equipment.

Looking ahead

The Philippines’ largest warship is a U.S. destroyer used in World War II. Del Rosario says refurbishing old equipment gets expensive and takes a long time to complete.  So, he says his department is looking at the option of leasing U.S. military equipment.

“Which I believe could benefit us in terms of being able to obtain newer assets and earlier delivery and of course with the assistance of the U.S. Congress, something that is more cost effective,” del Rosario said.

Still, del Rosario says he does not believe tension in the South China Sea will reach any stage of aggression that would call for the use of weapons.

The United States has long favored multilateral talks regarding the South China Sea.  But China has repeatedly told the Washington to stay out of the dispute.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
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 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.
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