After accusing China of intrusion into the Philippine maritime jurisdiction in May 2011, the Philippine government is again accusing China of trespassing into their jurisdiction in the South China Sea. This area is believed to be rich in deposits of oil and gas. Reuters reports:
Citing reports from the defence and military establishments, the foreign ministry said two Chinese vessels and a Chinese navy warship were seen around Sabina shoal in the Spratlys on December 11 and 12, respectively.
“These intrusions of the Chinese are clear violations of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea as well as the provision of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” the foreign ministry said.
Sabina shoal is around 124 nautical miles from the western island of Palawan and is within “Philippine sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction”.
The disputed ownership of oil-rich reefs and islands in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in trade sails annually, is one of the biggest security threats in Asia.
The South China Sea is known as the West Philippine Sea in the Philippines. This part of the sea is also being claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Amid disputes for the sea, China has claimed sovereignty over a majority of the area. The Philippine Star adds:
In Beijing, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told the official Xinhua News Agency that the situation in the South China Sea “is peaceful and stable.”
China will always opt for negotiations to peacefully resolve disputes on “some islands and the demarcation of parts of the sea,” Liu said.
The Philippines and Vietnam separately accused Chinese vessels of repeatedly intruding into Spratlys areas under their control and sabotaging oil explorations in their regular territorial waters in the first six months of last year.
China denied the claims and reiterated its sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.
Read more about recent disputes over the South China Sea via CDT.