Philippines, China seek to ease tense ship standoff

The Philippines said Friday it had made progress in efforts to end a tense standoff with China in the South China Sea but each side was still refusing to remove its ships from the disputed area.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters the two countries had agreed to maintain the "status quo" and not take any further provocative actions at the tiny islets as they sought to negotiate a resolution.

"We have been able to arrive on some agreements. There are areas where we moved forward and there are areas which still remain a challenge," del Rosario said after meeting with China's ambassador to Manila, Ma Keqing.

"Both sides have agreed not to do anything that would escalate the situation there any further."

Del Rosario expressed hope that further progress would be made in another round of talks on Friday night.

The dispute began on Sunday when Philippine authorities found eight Chinese fishing boats at Scarborough Shoal, (230 kilometres, 140 miles) west of the country's main island of Luzon.

The Philippines accused the fishermen of being there illegally, asserting the area was Philippine territory because it was within the country's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, as recognised by international law.

However China, insisting that the shoal was Chinese territory, sent three civilian maritime surveillance ships to prevent the Philippine Navy's largest vessel from arresting the Chinese fishermen.

The Philippines withdrew its warship on Thursday, replacing it with a coast guard search-and-rescue vessel in what was widely seen as an effort to lower tensions by taking away the immediate threat of military force.

Foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez said Friday the Chinese embassy had informed the Philippines that one of the three Chinese vessels had also been withdrawn.

The Philippine coast guard has dispatched a second vessel to back up the 56-metre-long (184-foot) rescue ship in Scarborough Shoal but it had not reached the site, a coast guard spokesman said.

China claims all of the South China Sea as its own, even waters up to the coasts of other countries.

Aside from the Philippines and China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei also claim all or parts of the waters as their own.

The rival claims have made the sea one of Asia's potential flashpoints for military conflict.

The Philippines and Vietnam complained last year of increasingly aggressive acts by China in staking its claim to the South China Sea.

However this week's standoff is the highest-profile in recent years.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano
    Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano

    Government troops captured Sunday a bomb and weapons factory of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday. Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the captured bomb and weapons factory is located inside an area controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako at Barangay Dasikil in Mamasapano. …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Solar plane passes new test ahead of planned world tour
    Solar plane passes new test ahead of planned world tour

    A solar-powered plane made a third successful test flight in the United Arab Emirates on Monday ahead of a planned round-the-world tour to promote alternative energy. Organisers hope that Solar Impulse 2 may head off around the globe as early as Saturday but caution that the launch is dependent on the weather, even in the relatively cloudless Gulf. The hour-long test flight was the plane's third from the UAE capital Abu Dhabi's small Al-Bateen airport, but the first for Solar Impulse chairman …

  • Recruitment firm accused of worldwide scam
    Recruitment firm accused of worldwide scam

    Filipinos aspiring to work overseas should avoid dealing with a recruitment agency that has duped jobseekers worldwide, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. The National Bureau of Investigation has padlocked Global Visas Inc., which is based in Cebu. Baldoz said the agency’s parent company, ICS Global Visas Inc. based in the United Kingdom, has reportedly collapsed and left thousands of applicants without jobs.  “Global Visas was in the limelight this week, following its reported …

  • Jordan, 2 other NBA owners join Forbes' billionaire list
    Jordan, 2 other NBA owners join Forbes' billionaire list

    Michael Jordan and two other NBA owners have reached new heights, making Forbes world list of billionaires. Forbes released its list on Monday and noted that Jordan's net worth is estimated at $1 billion, ... …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options