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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs