A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Philippine warship in standoff with China vessels | World news | guardian.co.uk

In Nonsense on April 11, 2012 at 07:49

Alexander Pama

Philippine warship in standoff with China vessels 

My money is on China

The Philippines said its largest warship was engaged in a tense standoff with Chinese surveillance vessels at a disputed South China Sea shoal, after the ship attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen but was blocked by the surveillance craft.

The Philippines foreign secretary, Albert Del Rosario, summoned the Chinese ambassador, Ma Keqing, to resolve the dangerous impasse diplomatically. Del Rosario’s office said in a statement that the Scarborough Shoal “is an integral part of Philippine territory” and Filipino authorities would assert sovereignty over the offshore area.

The shoal lies off the north-west Philippine province of Zambales. China and the Philippines have been disputing ownership of the shoal, in addition to the Spratly Islands and other areas in the South China Sea.

Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the situation at the shoal “has not changed as of this morning. There’s a standoff.”

The department of foreign affairs said on Sunday, a Philippine navy surveillance plane sighted eight Chinese fishing vessels anchored in a lagoon at Scarborough, prompting the military to deploy its largest warship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which was recently acquired from the US.

On Tuesday, Filipino sailors from the warship boarded the Chinese vessels for an inspection, discovering large amounts of illegally collected corals, giant clams and live sharks inside the first boat, the department said in a statement.

 

 

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