China to Philippines: Don't make trouble
The Philippine Star http://www.philstar.com
Radical - Australia could Arbitrate ?
MANILA, Philippines - China on Friday advised the Philippines "not to make trouble" in connection with the two country's dispute over Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
"The Philippine side sent a naval vessel to hurt the Chinese fishermen on China's territory.
What they did caused wide concern and strong indignation among the Chinese people," the Chinese embassy in Manila said quoting Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi.
It insisted that the shoal, which is called Panatag Shoal by the Philippines and Huangyan Island by the Chinese, is a Chinese territory and "not a disputed island."
"China urges the Philippine side to face facts squarely and not to make trouble," the Chinese embassy added in the statement.
The statement came after Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario denounced China for "duplicity" and "intimidation" in the West Philippine Sea.
“If Philippine sovereignty and jurisdiction can be denigrated by a powerful country through pressure, duplicity, intimidation and the threat of the use of force, the international community should be concerned about the behavior,” Del Rosario said.
The Philippine foreign affairs secretary made the remark at the annual ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Phnom Penh.
Del Rosario and the Chinese embassy's statement were referring to the standoff between the two countries in the Scarborough Shoal.
The standoff started last April 10 after the Philippine Navy's warship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen caught poaching inside the lagoon of the shoal.
As the Philippine Navy warship approached the Chinese fishermen's boats, two Chinese maritime surveillance vessels intervened and prevented the apprehension.
Del Rosario had said that both countries already had an agreement that its ships, including boats of its fishermen, should leave the lagoon of the shoal.
Filipino fishermen have avoided the area while Chinese fishermen continued their presence in the lagoon.
The Philippines had sent two ships, one from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Services. Both ships have been pulled out of the shoal on orders of President Benigno Aquino III.
Chinese ships, meanwhile, are still in the shoal, which is only 124 nautical miles from the Philippine province of Zambales and within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
‘Open to joint development’
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday urged China during the Asean meeting not to resort to threats and intimidation in resolving the dispute over the disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
“We believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and without use of force,” Clinton said.
“Issues such as freedom of navigation and lawful exploitation of maritime resources often involve a wide region and approaching them strictly bilaterally could be a recipe for confusion and even confrontation,” Clinton added.
She said that China should instead accept a code of conduct for resolving the territorial disputes in the resource-rich sea.
In a statement posted in its Manila embassy's website, China said that it "has always called for shelving disputes and seeking joint development" in the Spratly Island, which it calls Nansha Islands.
China still insisted its sovereignty over the islands and "their adjacent waters." It said that its claim is supported by "ample historical and legal evidence."
"Yet given the complexity of the South China Sea issue, China has always called for shelving disputes and seeking joint development," China said in the statement.
While China recognizes that it is part of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) it reiterated that it cannot be used as basis for arbitration in territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
"The Convention states at the very outset the desirability of 'establishing, with due regard for the sovereignty of all States, a legal order for the seas and oceans'. This means that the Convention has not given itself the authority to change the territory of countries and that it cannot be cited as the basis for arbitration in territorial disputes between countries," it said.
It added: "Countries concerned should first resolve their territorial disputes over the Nansha Islands and, on that basis, proceed to resolve the issue of maritime delimitation in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, the UNCLOS included."