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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

South China Sea: China and the Philippines Tussle Over Scarborough Shoal

Reported as "China, Philippines dispute raises tensions in South China Sea" at
Two Chinese ships have blocked a Philippine naval ship from arresting Chinese fisherman for fishing in waters that the Philippines considers to be within its "exclusive economic zone." China has ordered the Philippine naval ship to leave, insisting that it has sovereignty of the area, while the Philippines refutes this.

Voice of America reports that the dispute is "the most dangerous confrontation between the two countries in recent years" and comes after both countries said they were seeking rapprochement.

The Philippine foreign ministry says the Chinese fishing boats were first noticed Sunday by Manila's flagship naval vessel, the U.S.-built Gregorio del Pilar.

Manila says the two Chinese surveillance ships on Tuesday positioned themselves between the warship and the Chinese fishing boats, "preventing the arrest of the erring fishermen."
This photo shows two Chinese surveillance ships which sailed between a Philippines warship and eight Chinese fishing boats to prevent the arrest of any fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal, a small group of rocky formations whose sovereignty is contested by the Philippines and China, in the South China Sea, about 124 nautical miles off the main island of Luzon on April 10.

Philippine Army photo
UPDATE: Fox News reports a possible diplomatic "resolution":
The Philippines and China agreed to resolve an ongoing naval standoff diplomatically, but neither side was ready to back down Wednesday in the most dangerous confrontation in the disputed South China Sea in years. Read more:

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