Pinoys, Vietnamese hold anti-China protest-A A +A
Friday, May 16, 2014
MANILA -- Filipinos and Vietnamese residents in the Philippine capital staged a joint protest Friday against China's incursions into West Philippine Sea territories claimed by their countries.
Chanting "China get out," more than 100 Filipinos and Vietnamese picketed the Chinese consulate carrying banners, including one that urged Manila and Hanoi to "join hands" against Beijing.
China claims virtually the entire West Philippine Sea, a busy sea lane and fishing ground atop what is believed to be rich of oil and gas reserves.
Chinese and Vietnamese ships have been locked in a standoff since early this month after Beijing deployed an oil rig near the Paracel Islands claimed by Hanoi. Anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam have been violent.
Manila has also protested Chinese land reclamation on a reef that it says is Philippine territory.
Philippine Congressman Walden Bello said they were denouncing Beijing's moves as provocative. "This protest is all about telling China, 'Please stop your aggressive moves in our territories. Please respect the rule of international law,'" he said.
Bello also accused China of allowing its fishermen to catch and butcher endangered turtles in Philippine waters. Philippine police charged nine Chinese fishermen who were apprehended last week for catching more than 500 turtles near a reef claimed by Manila.
This week, the Philippines said China has reclaimed land on the Johnson South Reef in violation of a 2002 nonbinding agreement to not occupy uninhabited areas in the disputed waters.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said "we are almost sure" China will put a base on the reclaimed land.
China has insisted the area is its territory and work there is covered by Chinese sovereignty.
After a summit last weekend in Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations issued a statement expressing concern over the recent spats involving the South China Sea. (AP)