Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spratly Islands row: Philippine trip riles China

China says the Philippines infringed its sovereignty on Wednesday by sending a delegation of politicians to a disputed island in the South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China had "indisputable sovereignty" over the island, in the Spratlys chain.

A group of Philippine congressmen had flown to Pagasa island on Wednesday and declared it Philippine territory.

The Spratly Islands are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

The Spratly dispute is part of a larger territorial row, which also involves Brunei and Malaysia.

The regional grouping Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) is currently meeting in Bali, where talks have focused on framing guidelines for resolving the dispute.

Tension has been growing this year, with China making a series of tough statements warning off Vietnam and the Philippines.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their surrounding waters," said Mr Ma.

"The move of the Philippine side seriously infringed China's territorial sovereignty." (more)