Posted by: Chuck | September 17, 2013

Diplomatic Resolution Sought In South China Sea Standoff

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine and Chinese officials Wednesday called for a diplomatic solution to a naval standoff in the South China Sea, while insisting they would defend their territorial claims in the region. “If the Philippines is challenged, we are prepared to secure our sovereignty,” Albert del Rosario, the Philippine foreign secretary, said as a Philippine frigate and two Chinese ships positioned themselves near disputed islands in the South China Sea. The Chinese Embassy in Manila reaffirmed its claim to sovereignty over the islands and said the Philippine navy was harassing its fishing vessels in the area. The standoff comes at a time of increasing assertiveness by China in its claims to the waters around the Philippines. The dispute intensified after the Philippines announced in February that it would invite foreign energy companies to explore for oil and gas in the waters west of Palawan province, and adjacent to the Spratly Islands. The Philippines, an ally of the United States, has become a particular target of China’s anger in the South China Sea disputes. Some analysts speculate that Beijing’s harsher tone could be a tit-for-tat after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood on the deck of a U.S. warship in Manila Bay in November and reaffirmed the military alliance between the Philippines and the United States. (Source: mySA 9/16/13)




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