Photo taken on May 9, 2012 shows deep-water drilling rig CNOOC 981 in the South China Sea, south China, May 9, 2012. China’s first deep-water drilling rig CNOOC 981 started operations in the South China Sea at 9: 38 am on Wednesday, marking “a substantial step” made by the country’s deep-sea oil industry. The sixth-generation semi-submersible CNOOC 981 began drilling in a sea area 320 km southeast of Hong Kong at a water depth of 1,500 meters, according to China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), the country’s largest offshore oil producer. Photo: Xinhua
China Wednesday accused the Philippines of instigating demonstrations against Beijing, urging Manila not to further damage bilateral relations by provoking public sentiment over the two sides’ spat in the South China Sea.
“We have noted that the Philippine side has repeatedly made strongly worded remarks about the Huangyan Island standoff, which have provoked public feelings and severely undermined the atmosphere of bilateral relations,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
“The Philippine side also instigated demonstrations, both inside and outside the country, against China, which have aroused strong responses and concern among Chinese people living around the world,” Hong added.
The spokesman said there is no change in China’s position on resolving the current tensions through diplomatic efforts, urging Manila to seriously respond to Beijing’s concerns and return to the right track.
Loida Nicolas-Lewis, a Filipino-American businesswoman, has called on all Filipinos around the world to mount demonstrations in front of Chinese embassies and consulates at 12 pm on Friday.
According to Reuters, civil society and political groups with links to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s political allies plan to take to the streets on Friday to “protest the Chinese presence” in waters near Huangyan Island.
The Chinese embassy in Manila has issued a safety alert, advising Chinese nationals to enhance safety awareness, avoid going out and stay away from protesters.
Ctrip.com International Ltd, a leading online travel service provider in China, decided to suspend trips to the Philippines Wednesday, citing safety risks of tours as tensions over Huangyan Island escalate.
A Global Times correspondent in Manila said the Chinese communities there are calm despite Friday’s looming protest.
“Issues concerning sovereignty are non-negotiable for China. The Philippines took China’s restraint for granted and kept staging provocations,” a researcher surnamed Ma with the Southeast Asian Institute of the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, said.
“The planned global protest against Chinese embassies has shown Manila’s intention to internationalize and complicate the issue. Beijing will lose its patience if Manila doesn’t back off,” Ma said.
Shen Shishun, a director of the Department for Asia-Pacific Security and Cooperation under the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that stirring public emotions over Huangyan Island is a scheme by Aquino to shift domestic anger away from a gloomy economy.
“The standoff is caused by the Aquino administration. Further development of the matter depends on moves taken by the Philippine government,” Shen said.
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine military reported that the number of Chinese vessels in the waters off Huangyan Island has increased to 33 from 14 last week, while the Philippines has two vessels in the area.
The paper said the Chinese vessels include three big ships, namely fishery law enforcement ship Yuzheng-310 and maritime surveillance ships Haijian-75 and Haijian-81. It said these ships are denying Filipino fishermen access to waters off Huangyan Island.
Also Wednesday, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said he had received assurances during talks in Washington last week that the US would protect Manila from attacks in the South China Sea.
Gazmin said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stressed they were not taking sides in the dispute, but assured him the US would honor a 1951 mutual defense treaty.
“The Philippines has always wanted Washington to help it in a conflict with China, but the US won’t do so due to its own national interests,” Shen said, adding that Manila’s attempts to bring Washington on board shows its anxiety and fears over the tensions.
Meanwhile, China’s quality watchdog Wednesday ordered intensified quarantines on fruit imports from the Philippines.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said harmful insects or bacteria have been found in pineapples, bananas and other fruit imported from Southeast Asia since last year, and Chinese authorities have asked the Philippine side to make improvements.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Stephen Antig, president of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, as saying that the tighter rules imposed by the biggest buyer of Philippine Cavendish bananas have sent jitters through the local industry.
“The Philippine economy will worsen if China, a major trade partner, reduces the import of agricultural products,” Shen said. “Such an import ban will not hurt China because the Philippine products are not irreplaceable.”
Xu Tianran and agencies contributed to this story
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Philippine Newspaper: “Huangyan Island belongs to China”
The Philippine Newspaper “Manila Standard Today” has released an article titled ” It belongs to China” written by author Victor N. Arches II.
The Filipino author looks at evidence and international documents, saying that Huangyan Island has been an integral part of China’s territory since ancient times. Recounting his motive in writing the article, Arches says he aims to educate the Philippines on the reality of the situation, versus what the Philippines media is promoting. Let’s take a look.
In the article, the author says that Huangyan Island has been a part of China’s territory since ancient times. Chinese fishermen, from both the Mainland and Taiwan, have used the island for many years.
“The Scarborough Shoal, ( Huangyan Island) does belong to China which discovered it and drew it in a map as early as 1279 during the Yuan Dynasty.”
The old maps relied upon by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs were drawn up only in 1820, 541 years after China’s.
‘being relied upon by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs in its spurious claim on the same territory were drawn up only in 1820, or 541 years after China’s.”
Arches said China organized many scientific expeditions around the island in the late 1970s. In 1980, a stone marker marks China’s scientific expedition was installed by China on the South Rock. However, the Philippines removed it without authority in 1997.
” In the late 1970s, China organized many scientific expeditions in the Shoal and around that area. In fact, in 1980, a stone marker reading “South China Sea Scientific Expedition” was installed by China on the South Rock.”
“This Chinese marker was removed, without authority, by the Philippines in 1997. “
He adds that all official maps published by the Philippines until the 1990 excluded Huangyan Island from its territorial boundaries. But an act approved by the Philippine government in 1961 stopped the Philippines from the claim.
“All official maps published by the Philippines until the 1990s excluded both the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island) from its territorial boundaries.”
“Republic Act No. 3046, passed by our Congress and approved in 1961, stopped us from our claim.”
China holds three international treaties in support of its claim over the territories in question… all limiting Philippine territorial limits to the 118th degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich.
“1898 Treaty of Paris between the US and Spain, the 1900 Treaty of Washington between Spain and the US, and the 1930 Treaty between Great Britain and the US, all limiting Philippine territorial limits to the 118th degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich. “
Arches say the basis of the Philippine claim is restricted to proximity, relying solely on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He said that even if it were considered a “law”, it cannot be made to take effect retroactively.
“On the other hand, the basis of the Philippine claim is restricted to proximity, relying solely on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
Arches believed there is no need to internationalize the Huangyan Island issue.
He said ASEAN is remaining neutral on the dispute and the US has also declared it will not take sides.