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EU supports peaceful resolution of West Philippine Sea row

/ 07:34 PM April 17, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The European Union has reiterated its support for peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso met with Vice-President Jejomar BINAY in Seoul, South Korea, in the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit on March 27.

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“The European Union reiterated its support for a peaceful resolution of the dispute on the basis of international law in particular the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” said EU in a statement.

The Philippines and China have been locked in standoff in Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippines. Several rounds of talks have failed to end the impasse, which began April 10 when two Chinese ships prevented a Philippine warship from arresting several Chinese fishermen who were accused of illegal entry and poaching. The fishermen slipped away from the shoal over the weekend, angering Filipino officials.

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The Philippines lodged another protest with China on Monday, accusing one of the Chinese ships and an aircraft of harassing a Philippine-registered yacht to force it to leave the Scarborough area. Several French and Filipinos were on the yacht, which has been conducting archaeological research in the shoal, Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said.

The Philippines says the uninhabited shoal, which it calls Panatag, lies 230 kilometers (143 miles) from its Zambales province and is well within the country’s 230-mile exclusive economic zone that is recognized under the  UNCLOS. China’s nearest territory to the shoal, Hainan province, is 872 kilometers (542 miles) away, Filipino officials say. With a report from Associated Press

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TAGS: China, Diplomacy, European Union, Foreign affairs, Philippines, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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