Wednesday, April 18, 2012

China to Philippines: Quit Scarborough Shoal

China has asked all Philippine vessels to leave immediately Panatag Shoal and sent a second aircraft buzzing over the area to scare away Filipino fishermen, officials said Tuesday.

On Monday night, the Chinese Embassy in Manila insisted that Panatag, which it calls Huangyan Island and which is internationally known as Scarborough Shoal, belongs to Beijing.

“As of now we still have a standoff because we are told to leave but we won’t leave, and we tell them to leave but they don’t want to leave,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said. He admitted the presence of the Chinese ships was affecting activities of Filipino fishermen.

Gazmin said the Philippines will not give ground. “We will fight for what is ours. We are in the area and we will not leave while we continue the talks between our Department of Foreign Affairs and Chinese authorities,” he said.

“It is China that first discovered this island, gave it the name, incorporated it into its territory, and exercised jurisdiction over it,” the embassy said.

“The Philippine territory is set by a series of international treaties, including the Treaty of Paris (1898), the Treaty of Washington (1900) and the treaty with Great Britain (1930), none of which ever referred to Huangyan Island or included this island into its territory.”

Raul Hernandez, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, insisted that Panatag Shoal is part of the coastal town of Masinloc in Zambales. He also told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the DFA  would “continue to reach a diplomatic solution to the problem.”

Gazmin told reporters on Tuesday that an aircraft flew low over a Filipino fishing vessel in Panatag on Monday afternoon. Read more China vs Philippines here.

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