MANILA – Tensions flared up perilously close to armed confrontation three years after China took effective control of the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal in 2012 and later much of South China Sea or West Philippine Sea that the Philippines claims as part of its maritime possessions. But if the year 2014 was recorded for dangerous escalation of tensions, it was also set off as the point at which Manila has had enough and went to the United Nations for formal---and peaceful---arbitration.
In January, Chinese coast guard ships bombarded with water cannons some Filipino fishermen peacefully plying their trade on the sea around Panatag Shoal. Then Armed Forces Chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista accused China of firing water cannons at Filipino fishermen to drive them away from the disputed shoal, a rich fishing ground off Zambales province within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone. The incident was considered one of the more aggressive moves of China against the Philippines since declaring new fishing regulations for enforcement by the Hainan municipal government starting January 1.More >
MANILA – The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard on Thursday of robbing Filipino fishermen at gunpoint in a series of fresh confrontations at West Philippine Sea even as a senior government official declared that Panatag Shoal in Zambales is now under belligerent Chinese occupation.
For the first time, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. used the word “occupation” in such a way that depicts China as grabbing part of Philippine territory and placing it under the authority of its hostile army. It is military occupation, in short.
Panatag Shoal, internationally known as Scarborough Shoal and Bajo de Masinloc to Zambales folks, could be the first case of such Chinese occupation in the West Philippine Sea since the 2002 code of conduct was signed.
WASHINGTON -- Alarmed by China's reclamation and building binge in disputed reefs and rock outcroppings in the South China Sea, ranking U.S. senatorial leaders are urging the Obama administration to strengthen ties with America's Asian allies by providing additional military equipment to their navies.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said late Monday night that President Barack Obama and other leaders should start drawing lines and saying, ‘Look, this is not acceptable.'"
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