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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid