News / Asia

Manila Backtracks on South China Sea Accusation Against China

Filipino fishermen bring their fish to shore in the coastal town of Infanta, Pangasinan province, northwestern Philippines, May, 7, 2013.
Filipino fishermen bring their fish to shore in the coastal town of Infanta, Pangasinan province, northwestern Philippines, May, 7, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on Wednesday the concrete blocks found on a disputed shoal in the South China Sea are “very old”, backtracking on Manila's earlier accusation that China was building new structures in the area.
 
In an embarrassing twist after foreign affairs and defense officials had accused China of preparing to build new structures on Scarborough Shoal, a group of rocks about 120 nautical miles off the coast of the main island of Luzon, Aquino said the blocks found within the shoal “are not a new phenomenon” and “some of them have barnacles attached to them.”
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Friction over the South China Sea, one of the world's most important sea lanes, has surged as China uses its growing naval might to assert a vast claim over the oil-and-gas rich area more forcefully, raising fears of a military clash between it and other countries that border the area.
 
The Philippines is also fighting an unprecedented arbitration case under the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Sea against China's claims and has ignored growing pressure from Beijing to scrap the action. Any result will be unenforceable, legal experts say, but will carry considerable moral and political weight.
 
Aquino also said he does not share some analysts' views the Philippines has lost control over the shoal, saying local fishermen can still freely go there.
 
“We are not allowed to go to Scarborough Shoal seems to be an oxymoron...there's no rule that says we can't go there,” the president told foreign correspondents in Manila, insisting the disputed area is within the country's exclusive economic zone.
 
Last month, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told a congressional hearing that China had violated a non-binding code by preparing to build new structures on Scarborough, showing lawmakers surveillance photos of the rocks.
 
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told Reuters in an earlier interview the government will file a diplomatic protest against China, saying Beijing was moving to occupy the shoal.
 
China denied the accusation and accused the Philippines of deliberately stirring up trouble over disputed waters in South China Sea, insisting Scarborough is Beijing's “intrinsic territory”.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SEATO
October 24, 2013 5:09 AM
Never trust the Chinese. Any form of concession to China including joint exploration for gas,oil and fishing,would be subtle admission of China having a legitimate claim in these waters.By siding with America, Japan,India and Vietnam,strengthening your navy and air force, is the only way to assert and defend your sovereignty.You don't think China has grown to its present size by embracing Peace,do you? The problem is, ASEAN countries are too scared to condemn China's aggression and coersive behaviours,and America is too reluctant to get involved.Japan is the most reliable partner out of the lots

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid