Philippine Foreign Secretary Del Rosario to visit China amid South China Sea territorial dispute
Sunday, July 3, 2011
A six-nation dispute has escalated in the sea concerningto several islands including the . The area is thought to be rich in natural gas and oil. Both the Philippines and China wish to have a peaceful resolution to this conflict. "I’ve been invited to Beijing and we’re looking for peaceful means to settle the challenges facing us," said Del Rosario.
The news comes after the United States and the Philippines began a series of naval exercises last week in the , scheduled to last for 11 days. A Philippine military commander stated that the drills are part of an annual series of activities taking place under a defense agreement between the two countries and have nothing to do with the territorial dispute.
The Philippines maintains a close relation with the U.S. as a former territory of the nation.
The drills come at a time when several competing disputes in the South China Sea have begun to intensify. "Since February 25th, we actually have noted as many as nine intrusions of different varieties, but clearly becoming more aggressive and more frequent," said Del Rosario. Several countries in Asia, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan, have territorial claims in the area spanning the Spratly and . The region may be rich in oil and gas reserves. The US and Philippines have urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to address the conflict.
Hillary Clinton has argued that the United States would remain neutral regarding the disputes. She has also said that the United States has a "national interest" in , respect for international law, and unimpeded, lawful commerce in the South China Sea." Both countries are bound by a 1951 .
On June 27, the US Senate unanimously passed a motion condemning "the use of force by naval and maritime security vessels from China in the South China Sea." China, on the other hand, has stated that it will not use force to resolve disputes in the South China Sea.
- Cecil Morella, Philippines urges China responsibility" — , July 2, 2011 . "
- "DFA chief's visit to China may ease Spratlys dispute — Palace" — , July 2, 2011
- "US, PHL push for Spratlys issue in ASEAN forum agenda" — , June 30, 2011
- Kate McGeown. "Philippine-US joint naval drill amid tension with China" — , June 28, 2011
- "US joins Philippines for navy exercises amid Spratly tensions" — , June 28, 2011
- Kate McGeown. "US 'stands by Philippines' amid South China Sea tension" — , June 24, 2011
- David Gollust. "Clinton Reaffirms US Commitment to Philippines Amid Islands Dispute" — , June 23, 2011
- Press Release: "Remarks With Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario After Their Meeting" — US State Department, June 23, 2011