News

    Philippines Warship, Chinese Vessels in Standoff

    Philippine Navy flag officer-in-command vice admiral Alexander Pama presents to the media an undated file photo of a Chinese surveillance ship which blocked a Philippine Navy ship from arresting Chinese fishermen, April 11, 2012.
    Philippine Navy flag officer-in-command vice admiral Alexander Pama presents to the media an undated file photo of a Chinese surveillance ship which blocked a Philippine Navy ship from arresting Chinese fishermen, April 11, 2012.
    Simone Orendain

    A Philippine naval ship, two Chinese vessels and at least eight fishing boats are in a standoff near a shoal in the South China Sea that the Philippines says is well within its territory.   However, China says the fishermen are in its sovereign waters. Both sides say they are trying to come to a diplomatic solution.

    Illegal poaching discovered

    The Philippine Navy says in recent days its patrol ship discovered illegal poaching by Chinese fishermen in waters off of Scarborough shoal,  230 kilometers west Zambales, Philippines. The country argues that is well within the 370 kilometer exclusive economic zone designated by international law.

    The head of the navy says officers went on board eight boats and found coral, large clams and live sharks which are listed as endangered by the Philippines. He says they were not able to arrest the fishermen because two Chinese government boats arrived and positioned themselves between the fishing boats and the Philippine patrol ship.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario summoned China’s ambassador and says he reiterated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states a country has sovereignty over waters that are 370 kilometers from its coastline. He says their first round of talks hit an impasse. “I mentioned that, if the Philippines is challenged, we are prepared to secure our sovereignty,” he said.

    China claims sovereignty over practically the entire South China Sea, based on a centuries old map. Apart from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have partial or entire claims in the sea, which has abundant waters, potential vast reserves of oil and natural gas and some of the most highly traveled sea lanes.

    In the past year, the Philippines has complained of numerous run-ins with China on the South China Sea. China maintains its historical claim.

    China says law enforcement activities a violation

    A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Liu Weimin, told a briefing Wednesday that China has “launched solemn representations” with the Philippines about the incident on the shoal locally named Huangyan.

    He says the attempt by the Philippines to carry out the so-called law enforcement activities in waters off of Huangyan Island is in violation of Chinese sovereignty as well as the consensus between the two countries to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea.

    In a statement, the Chinese ambassador’s office urged the Philippines to stop what it called illegal activities by the Navy and demanded its ship to leave the area.

    Vessels stalled

    The U.S.-built Gregorio Del Pilar, positioned at the mouth of the lagoon, continues to pen-in the two Chinese government ships and the fishing boats. The navy says nothing has been taken off the boats. Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard says it will deploy a patrol boat to keep watch over the Naval ship, which is the Philippines one and only warship.

    Del Rosario says he is confident the situation will not escalate into armed conflict. He pointed out the solid economic partnership the Philippines has with China and both countries’ commitment to building friendly relations.

    Three weeks ago the Philippines launched a two-year cultural exchange with China that is intended to help solidify friendly relations between the two countries. Beijing’s own launch was Wednesday.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
        Next 
    by: @Ji
    April 12, 2012 11:17 PM
    Will China return Southern China & all nearby waters to Vietnam then? Colonisation was things of the past,China can't go on doing what their ancestors did by seizing lands from their neighbours & call them your own.Thanks to America you still have the land called China.So show gratitude & respect your neighbours' sovereignty & stop making stupid,irrational claims

    by: Jj
    April 12, 2012 5:25 PM
    @Passer-by The Falklands Island before the Argentinian Junta invaded it, was already set to be returned to Argentina in 50 years time, like Hong Kong being returned to China from the British. Whether Britain will return the Falklands back to Argentina for the time being is uncertain but if the decolonization of the islands off Brazil's coast and Chile's coast & elsewhere in S.A. by the British is any indication, the British will one day return the Falklands to the Argies.

    by: China's historical claim is a joke
    April 12, 2012 11:34 AM
    Taiwan is just off the east coast of China & did not become part of the Qing Dynasty until 1683.In principle Taiwan was transferred over to China at the collapse of Qing Dynasty in 1911.Simply speaking,Chinese had not been a sea-faring nation & their navy (if they had one) had never conquered any offshore territories,like Scarborough Shoal.By rights,Taiwan should be a Japanese territory because it was ceded to the Japanese in 1895

    by: China on the war path like the Third Reich
    April 12, 2012 11:13 AM
    In historical times all these lands & seas never belonged to China anyway.Huang:What a load of rubbish about China claiming its ancestral property.China is realising its imperial ambitions like Imperial Japan & Nazi Germany,and it is going to lose this war.Russia,America,India & Japan wouldn't let China have its way like the Third Reich in WW2

    by: Mr. USA
    April 12, 2012 8:43 AM
    The late afternoon sun? LOL tell that to the chinese who's building up their navy for war. 200 miles not proof? you must be really under propaganda, because those are UN accepted sovereignty rules which the rest of the world abides to, oh wait i forgot, communist china do not follow international rules. Look how far those islands are from China. Ancient ownership? LOL they sound like Japan prior to world war II. absolute power corrupts absolutely = China's revenge = short lived.

    by: Mr Malaysia
    April 12, 2012 6:56 AM
    To Mr USA. The USA is like the late afternoon sun. The aircraft carriers will soon be obsolete. Bring them in and see what happens.

    by: pinoy
    April 12, 2012 4:47 AM
    the philippines has a warship?1? lol nice...

    by: passer-by
    April 12, 2012 4:24 AM
    200 miles is not necessarily a proof that the area belong to the Philipines.

    Falkland islands are near Argentina, yet it is still occupied by UK.

    by: Mr. USA
    April 12, 2012 4:18 AM
    To all of you with pro-china comments, why don't you look at the map. The Spratly's and the Panatag isalnds belong to the Philippines. The Chinese navy is bullying its way in international waters and claiming ownership of islands belonging to countries with weak navy. I hope the US Navy goes in to show the chinese who the real boss is.

    by: Pinoy ako
    April 12, 2012 3:51 AM
    We should respect each country's sovereignity. These waters are within the Philippines 200 mile radius exclusive economic zone designated by int'l law . What's up w/ the poaching activities.
    Comments page of 3
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora