Philippines asks China: Stop all incursions in West Philippine Sea now


MANILA, Philippines—Expressing grave concern over repeated Chinese fishing incursions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the Department of Foreign Affairs asked China to “stop all intrusions and respect our territorial sovereignty and sovereign rights.”

DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said Sunday “we want them to stop all intrusions,” and stressed that amid efforts to cool tensions, Manila was still considering Beijing its “close neighbor and friend, as well as a solid partner.”

“We will continue our strategic and comprehensive engagement with China for the benefit of our peoples,” Hernandez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.


At the same time, the DFA acknowledged that the Philippines remained locked in a stalemate with China over a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.

“The stalemate remains. Both sides are in touch with each other,” Hernandez said in a brief statement.

He said Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario left Sunday for a week-long trip to the United States, and negotiations would be taken over by one of his top aides.

On Monday, the Philippines and the United States are due to begin joint annual war games to boost its military alliance amid fears of China’s growing power in the region.

Local military officials said some of the maneuvers would take place off the southwestern island of Palawan close to the disputed West Philippine Sea waters, but sought to downplay fears they could further add to the Scarborough tension.

“The Balikatan (shoulder to shoulder) exercises are in no way related to an event like that of the Scarborough Shoal,” said Major Emmanuel Garcia, spokesman for the Philippine contingent.

“We had long planned for this and the focus would be on improving security, counter terrorism and humanitarian and disaster response.”

Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement the government hoped China would not be alarmed by the exercises.

“We are hoping that this will not result in provocation,” Ms. Valte said.

Diplomatic resolution

She said that while Manila maintained jurisdiction over the shoal, it remained committed to resolving the issue in a diplomatic manner.

Earlier, the DFA official brushed aside media reports about Manila’s worsening relations with Beijing, stressing that the West Philippine Sea dispute was “not the sum total of Philippines-China relations.”

The foreign office has repeatedly said the Philippine government is “committed to resolving the Spratlys conflict through a peaceful, diplomatic and rules-based approach, and to keeping the communication lines with China open.”

On Sunday, Hernandez disclosed “talks with China will continue” to ease tensions between the two countries.

But he has yet to comment on Senator Gregorio Honasan’s call for the Philippines to enlist the help of the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to stop Chinese incursions on Philippine territory.

Aside from the Philippines, the 10-member Asean includes Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei Darussalam.

Honasan said the Philippines should not consider as a victory the withdrawal of the Chinese fishing vessels from the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, because they got to keep their illegal catch.

Honasan commended the DFA for trying to resolve the standoff through diplomatic means. But he warned that the incident “will not be the last.”

He said a better course of action next time would be for the government to immediately report incursions to the US, Asean or the United Nations.

On Friday, eight Chinese fishing boats and a surveillance ship involved in a standoff with the Philippines reportedly left the disputed Scarborough Shoal, easing tensions between Manila and Beijing.

But the tensions spiked again the following day after China sent back a surveillance vessel to the shoal and a Chinese aircraft flew over a Philippine Coast Guard vessel facing off a Chinese ship in the area.

It was not clear why Beijing sent back the civilian vessel to Scarborough.

Hours after reporting that all but one Chinese ship had left the waters off the shoal, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said one of the larger vessels later returned.

A Chinese ship also harassed a Philippine-registered vessel conducting a scientific survey, Del Rosario said without elaborating.

The local ship reportedly had nine French nationals aboard doing archaeological surveys of the waters in the area.

The DFA head said the latest developments came despite his agreement with Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing not to take any action that would escalate tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Element lacking

Del Rosario observed “there is an element that is lacking in our negotiations.”

He noted he and the Chinese envoy had been trying reach an understanding in the spirit of the “Years of Friendly Exchanges” launched in Manila on March 20 and in Beijing on April 11.

On Friday, Del Rosario said he and Ma agreed to set aside diplomatic protests in order to ease tensions over the standoff. But that did not mean the two neighbors were withdrawing their protests.

The Scarborough Shoal dispute started on April 8 when the Philippines found the eight Chinese fishing boats in the area, which is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. Beijing, however, insists Scarborough is part of its territory.

A Philippine navy warship was deployed there to arrest the Chinese fishermen for illegal poaching, but China sent three civilian surveillance vessels and took turns blocking the ship.

Manila pulled back the naval warship from the area on Thursday and the tension further eased Saturday after the Chinese fishing vessels laden with their catch and escorted by two surveillance ships had already left the area.

Crossed by major shipping lanes, the area is believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves, as well as fish stocks and other commercially attractive marine life.

China claims all of the South China Sea—even waters up to the coasts of other countries in the region—is Chinese territory.

Aside from the Philippines and China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also claim parts of the waters as their own.

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  • avmphil

    There is a lot of hocus-pocus over every claim, the Chinese foray into. First they were exposed for building a structure with a helipad and mounted communication apparatus; which was argued being a rest shelter for “fishermen’ during adverse weather conditions. Than a quick succession of “manufactured historical” rubbish that Chinese sailors occupied the Spratlys way back from the 13th century. Later still, Beijing went all out to proof that the islands were domiciled, after a few skeletal remains and implements were unearthed. And finally, settled in what they hold at this point of time.

    When you put into perspective: Long haul fishing trawlers don’t require helipad and satellite dishes when in distress, do they? VHF radio signals are used for SOS messages, it’s not practical to land an aircraft on stormy days to save fishermen. In pre Mao’s era, Chinese historians are known to prescript and rewrite works that are detrimental to Chinese civilization, especially after the Communists came to power.
    Besides, the Cultural Revolution saw millions of literal works destroyed by sheer madness, did someone salvage a paper about the Spratlys history? Now where did this 13th century claim of Chinese living indefinitely, when most of these islets are submerged every 12 hours? However, Fishermen (Chinese, Malays and others) could have used several of these elevated islets for shelter and burial grounds for their dead when on transit.
    Further perspective over claims. If Beijing claims all the islets straddling the West Philippine Sea is Chinese domain, than India would have laid claims to a swath of islets fringing the Indian Ocean rim nations. Visayas or Bisaya along the Philippine archipelago (during the Sri Vijaya era of 800ad-1300ad) could also be added, where some Hindu relics have been discovered. The world community will ridicule India, if such claims are fought for. It’s not cogent to claim everything that is named after a country. It should be a fact that many littoral islands and islets along the West Philippines Sea, cannot historically belong to the Chinese. It rightfully belongs to the Filipinos of the Philippines.

    • focusrightly

      Wow..long argument. Could you oblige us about Philippines’ claim to Sabah ?  Sabah has a landmass of 73,631 km2 rich in natural resources but is a state within Malaysia.

      Why did Philippines gave up or ( if not ) is helpless on recovering BIG rich Sabah, yet gets so emotional against China over some SCS islets ?  I am baffled by Filipinos sense of focus and priority. Please enlighten us.

      • marcos marcos


      • Luis

        Do you know that northern Borneo was under the rule of the sultan of Sulu? The British East India Company merely leashed that area from the Sultan in Jan. 22, 1878. However, the British eventually unilaterally claimed it as part of their colony.
        That act by the British was another instance where a powerful nation used their might to grab something that does not rightfully belong to them.

        Today, the Chinese are doing exactly the same bullying tactics against a weaker nation and unfortunately, the Philippines is once again the target. In the case of the British land grab, Spain was the party that did not contest the annexation and the Filipinos, being under the Spanish rule, had no say regarding the matter. This time the Philippines, being an independent nation and pursuant of UNCLOS, will no longer allow itself to become a victim of imperialism by any power who will try to usurp something that does not rightfully belong to any country but the Philippines.

        This time the Philippines will not kowtow to anyone and allow any territory within it’s jurisdiction to be illegally grabbed by any unscrupulous country no matter how powerful that country might be. And the Chinese better accept that basic reality.

      • marcos marcos

        you get the jurisdiction right, but they have sovereignty. I don’t think China is bullying her neighbors. dispute is not as scary as you think in international affairs. there will always be disputes, even million years later. we need better ways to handle situations like this.

      • Luis

        Sovereignty? What sovereignty? Just because they claim that some Chinese accidentally came across those islands centuries ago they can claim it as their own? For all we know the pre-Spanish Filipinos have been fishing in those waters way before any Chinese even knew those islands existed.

        If it is acceptable to assert ownership by claiming to be the ‘first’ to reach a rock, an island, or a continent, then does the moon rightfully belong to the U.S.? Sounds stupid to make such a claim, doesn’t it?

      • marcos marcos

        first, you may have a different view of this but that not disqualify the other side argument. second, you have to be prepared in case to go to court. but your arguments need to be valid because other side may have a better card.

      • marcos marcos

        you may study Territorial claims in Antarctica to help moon and shoal cases here.


      • Luis

        To marcos marcos: Regarding sovereignty claims of some nations in Antarctica, this claims are not universally recognized and are not taken seriously by the international community in general.

      • focusrightly

        Thank you for your historical presentation.  Do I understand it that Philippines have given up her claims to Sabah ?

      • ikabod_bubwit

         Look up The Manila Accords of 1963 Articles 10 thru 13.

      • ikabod_bubwit

         The answer to your question is, no. The Philippines has not.

      • Luis

        Whether or not the Philippines has given up its claim on Sabah, I am not aware of it. Subsequent events could have weaken the Philippines’ claim to that territory and history has a way of establishing and maintaining the status quo.

        However, the current conflict with China is in a different context. No country has a solid claim to the areas that lie within the 200 mile EEZ of the Philippines. These areas were never occupied nor governed by any country. In fact, it was only recently that it became a source of contention when it was found to have rich resources that can be exploited. With the ratification of UNCLOS, the Philippines established a legal right to these ares. Bear in mind that unlike some claimants, the Philippines is not laying claim to any island it does not occupy outside the 200 mile limit.

      • marcos marcos

        probably not true if you would know that diplomatic protects are going on all through the years. if you have a nice brother and he would not mind if you would have used some of his things, would you make a conclusion that he would let you keep them forever?

      • avmphil

        Hi Bro. Well one guy took umbrage over my comment, but this forum is opinion based and views are democratic and no malice to anyone. Now, over to your question. Why the Philippines “gave up…big rich Sabah? We don’t go back to period history, the Spanish, the Sulu Sultanate and the Americans. After the re-occupation of Sabah and Sarawak by the British, large populations of these areas were dominant by several tribal peoples, the Kadazans of Sabah and the Ibans of Sarawak. The British were still holding the commerce centres (Kuching and Jessellton-Kota Kinabalu), while the Chinese enjoyed as the ‘shop keepers” attaining great wealth. Delve into the Manila Accord between Indonesia and the Philippines for details.
        On the brief, Mr Magapagal and Mr Suharto inked a draft with then Malaya’s Tuanku Abdul Rahman who had, together initially welcomed the formation of Malaysia provided the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak will ascertained by an independent and impartial authority. Mr. U.Thant was the UN boss and by virture of the victors in WW2, Britain and its allies had a clout over the UN and a mission was set to get a “yes” rather than a “no”. Meanwhile, Peninsula Malaya was polarized with ethnic division.

        The British had to safeguard it’s interest in peninsular Malaya especially it plantations, and added with Sabah and Sarawak a good investment indeed For what I understand later, an haphazard go ahead was concluded on 14th September 1963 for the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak to join the union. Manila and Jakarta did see a sell out by a few for the vast resources and they protested. But Jakarta took to violence: the confrontation. There are lots of untold big powerhouse cheats who turn turtle against the Kadazans and Ibans the original sons of the soil with a second class status at this point of time.

      • focusrightly

        Thank you. It’s interesting to read an opinion or understanding from a Filipino on this subject.

        I look forward to hear views from more Filipinos.

    • marcos marcos

      would you use better argument than this? my friend here ask me to ignore silly posting like this but I found your posting is more than silly, it is poisonous.
      there is a difference for claim the whole south china sea and the claim of the Scarborough shoal. the evidences presented using historic maps and records are accepted by international standard. cultural revolution reasoning can only be helpful for the other side because indeed we have to consider the possibility that some evidences may be destroyed. In India case, you can go to India and tell them to follow China’s example to claim all if they have the same evidences as China does and you will get paid a lot money, no kidding, you will be very rich.

      • avmphil

        Well, with that counter reply, I have come to the conclusion that you are prepared to give the littoral islands to the Chinese when you are in Command of the Navy. (Assuming you is in command). If you were a suntan fisherman relying a daily catch to sustain your families’ requirement, you would hold ground when it clearly shows it yours. But alas you may belong to class of “have all”. Now I know why Chinese canned tuna” (from the Philippines Seas) and bought from Filipino-Chinese owned mini-marts taste better even added with melamine.

      • marcos marcos

         your analogy is not valid since China is not invading the motherland. we are in dispute, give a thought to the other side.

  • tvnatinto

    sabi ng china history ha? basahin nyo yung history ng mischief reef na minischief ng china. maliwanag na hindi kanila pero inangkin! so actually sila ang squatter. ganun din itong panatag, maliwanag din atin yon!

  • juan12376

    …“We will continue our strategic and comprehensive engagement with China for the benefit of our peoples,” Hernandez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

    Hangang kailan ba tayo matuto? Hindi natin kaibigan ang China! Wina-walanghiya na nga tayo eh! Humingi na ng tulong sa US, Giyera na kung giyera!

  • marcos marcos

    I feel the title
    Philippines asks China: Stop all incursions in West Philippine Sea now

    isn’t that economical though cheap.

    Philippines asks China: Stop all incursions in West Philippine Sea

    is good enough for me, also sound less provocative.

  • dennis

    Philippines should NOT ASKS CHINA….Philippines SHOULD WARN THEM AND SWEEP THEM AWAY!……….That is the right treatment for INTRUDERS!…Masyado naman atang “Generous” approach yung pakikiusapan mo lang ang isang taong TRESPASSING sa bakuran mo.

  • avmphil

    Hi Bro. Appreciate your response. I am not a Filipino, wish I was. But, have my bloodlines and its my desire and duty to teach and enhance their understanding in a wonderful land that is fraught with uncertainty. Never to brag around, but continue to learn and part that knowledge to the naïve and disadvantaged within my ability. I post comments where I find that it may need to be corrected, while others are an overview on that topic and is my prerogative just like the many you find daily, as this forum is democrat and not a court of law.
    As to the Sabah subject: You may start with Mr.Donald Stevens and Datu Mustapha (a distant relative of the Sulu Sultanate) both from Sabah; Mr. Jugah anak Barieng of Sarawak and UN Malayasia mission advisor to UN Boss Mr.Laurence Michealmore. As all are not available, their involvement in the union can be answered via their offshoots still in Asia. Claiming Sabah is a lost moment in time for the Philippines. The demography and the social structure is in the hands of the “central powers” that’s in Kuala Lumpur .A race and religion togetherness had been perforated during the times of Mr. Joseph Pairin Kitangan but the status quo of the Kadazans here, is maintain.

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