Washington Times reported on January 22, 2013, that the Philippines that it is taking its feud with China over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea to an international tribunal. Excerpts below:
Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario’s office summoned Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing in Manila and challenged the assertion that China’s sovereignty extends over “virtually the entire South China Sea.”
Manila says China seized control of the Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop, last year and then illegally barred the Philippines from the area. China calls the shoal Huangyan Island.
Manila wants a tribunal operating under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea to declare as “unlawful” Beijing’s actions in the disputed waters.
“The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of its maritime disputes with China,” Mr. del Rosario said at a news conference in Manila, according to a report by The Associated Press. “To this day, a solution is still elusive.”
Meanwhile, a Japanese envoy visited Beijing on Tuesday for talks aimed at calming tensions over another island dispute. Beijing and Tokyo claim sovereignty over a group of five East China Sea islands, known as Diaoyu in China and as Senkaku in Japan.
Natsuo Yamaguchi, the Japanese official, reiterated Tokyo’s position that the islands are Japanese territory and rejected Chinese demands that Japan acknowledge a dispute over their sovereignty.