Philippine warship ‘in stand-off’ with Chinese vessels
The Philippines says its main naval vessel is engaged in a stand-off with Chinese surveillance ships at a disputed South China Sea shoal.
The Philippines said its warship tried to arrest Chinese fishermen anchored at the Scarborough Shoal, but was blocked by the two surveillance boats.
Both countries dispute the ownership of the shoal, which lies off the Philippines’ northwestern coast.
The Philippine government said it would “assert sovereignty” over the area.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario said after meeting Chinese ambassador Ma Keqing on Wednesday that both countries were committed to finding ”a diplomatic solution” but negotiations were at an ”impasse”.
The Philippines had summoned Mr Ma on Wednesday to lodge a protest over the incident. However, China maintained it had sovereign rights over the area and asked that the Philippine ship leave the waters.
A statement from the Philippines’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the naval vessel, the Gregorio Del Pilar, found eight Chinese fishing vessels at the shoal when it was patrolling the area on Sunday.
The BBC’s Kate McGeown in Manila says the Philippine navy boarded the ship and found a large amount of illegally-caught fish and coral.
Two Chinese surveillance ships then apparently arrived in the area on Tuesday, placing themselves between the warship and the fishing vessels, preventing the navy from making arrests.
Source: BBC News Read more
One can see by the map that the Scarborough Shoal is clearly in Philippine territorial waters and therefore the Philippines are thorughly within their rights.
China’s claim over the territorial waters of the neighbours is totally wrong.
And before anyone raises the issue of the Argentine claim over the Falklands, the situation there is totally different. The Falkland Islands are NOT within the territorial waters of mainland Argentina.