News / Asia

Aquino: Chinese Survey Ships Seen in Philippine Waters

FILE - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III addresses the nation in a live broadcast from the Presidential Palace in Manila.
FILE - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III addresses the nation in a live broadcast from the Presidential Palace in Manila.
Reuters

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said two Chinese survey vessels had been sighted in a gas-rich area of its exclusive economic zone, raising concerns of heightened tensions in the disputed South China Sea.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich in deposits of oil and gas resources. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim the sea, where $5 trillion of ship-borne goods pass every year.

“Recently, we got a report from the armed forces that there were two hydrographic ships in Recto Bank, about 80 nautical miles off Palawan, clearly within our exclusive economic zone,” Aquino told a television interview aired on Sunday. Recto Bank is also known as Reed Bank.

“What are they doing there? What kind of studies are they conducting? I hope the presence of these ships will not lead to an increase tension between the two states,” he continued.

Tensions in the South China Sea between the Philippines and China began in 2011 when Chinese patrol boats harassed a survey ship hired by Anglo-Filipino Forum Energy PLC, which won a contract to explore the Reed Bank.

Aquino said two Chinese survey ships were now in the same area where Veritas Voyager, hired by the British-based energy company, was conducting research three years ago.

“The frequent passage of Chinese vessels in Recto Bank is not an innocent exercise of freedom of navigation but is actually done as part of a pattern of illegitimate sovereign patrol in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone,” Charles Jose, foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement on Monday. “This conduct of sovereignty patrols by China is in violation of both UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), specifically paragraph 5.”

In May, Aquino told Southeast Asian leaders that two Chinese ships were also sighted in Galoc, another oil field operating in western Palawan.

Aquino did not say when the military sighted the Chinese survey ships in the Reed Bank and if they were still in the area. The Philippine Navy said three Chinese coast guard vessels have been seen daily around Second Thomas Shoal, not far from Reed Bank.

Another two to three Chinese ships have been seen regularly on patrol around Scarborough Shoal, another part of the disputed South China Sea.

Last month, Forum Energy PLC obtained an approval from the Philippine government to extend by one year its drilling plan for a natural gas project in Reed Bank. The company is now expected to complete by August 2016 drilling for its appraisal wells to assess the size of gas or oil discoveries.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid