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Philippines and China dispute over territorial boundary again
April 12, 2012 in Asian News
Philippines filed diplomatic protest against China after catching eight (8) Chinese vessels illegally fishing in West Philippine Sea.
According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, the Chinese were caught in the act of fishing in Scarborough Shoal, which is part of the Philippine territory. Giant clams, corals, and live sharks were found in the vessels.
Talking with the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Ma Keqing, del Rosario clarified that Scarborough Shoal is still part of the Philippines.
“I made it clear that Scarborough Shoal is an integral part of the Philippines and is well within the country’s 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf.”
However, China did not approve this. It insists that the area of Scarborough where the Chinese vessels were caught is already part of the Chinese territory and therefore, the deployment of Philippine force in that part is an illegal activity.
Del Rosario contradicted this. As an answer, he stated that, “Under international law, we have sovereignty and sovereign rights over Scarborough Shoal. Finally, I mentioned that the Philippines is prepared to secure our sovereignty.”
Meanwhile, Philippine Navy Chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama assured that BRP Gregorio del Pilar will continue to secure the Philippine territory. At the present, it is dealing with the two Chinese maritime surveillance ships at Scarborough which hindered the arrest of the Chinese fishermen. The Philippine Coast Guard has sent another vessel, the BRP Pampanga, which is expected to arrive to the area anytime today.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, knowing about the situation, still believes that the conflict over the territory issues with China can still be resolved in a peaceful diplomatic way.
It can be remembered that China has been involved in territorial conflicts even in the past, such as the Johnson South Reef Skirmish in 1988, when it had a naval battle against Vietnam over Johnson South Reef in the Spartly Islands, and in 1994, against Philippines over the Mischief Reef.
The BRP Pampanga