MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has asked China to explain its deployment of a patrol ship to guard potentially oil-rich islands and waters it claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), saying the move has sparked new tensions over the disputed waters.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Chinese diplomats have told their Philippine counterparts that Beijing will only assert its claims, including by possibly intercepting foreign ships, in territorial waters off China’s southernmost province of Hainan.
Del Rosario said in a news conference Wednesday that the Philippines has asked China to specify the limits of the territory it will guard.
He said the territorial rifts are one of the issues he will discuss with his Japanese counterpart when they meet Thursday in Manila.
Japan’s own territorial feud with China has flared recently.