by Staff Writers
Nusa Dua, Indonesia (AFP) July 23, 2011
China's aggressive actions in the South China Sea appear to be motivated by a hunger to exploit the area's rich oil and gas resources, the Philippines' foreign secretary said Saturday.
Speaking on the sidelines of an Asian security forum in Indonesia, Albert del Rosario also said China's behaviour in the disputed waters raised concerns about how it would treat its neighbours as it became more powerful.
"I think the wealth of the area in terms of hydrocarbon assets could stimulate an increased interest in the area," del Rosario told AFP when asked why China had, according to the Philippines, become more aggressive.
He said the Philippines was looking at the South China Sea events through a broader window of how China intended to treat other countries as it became more powerful.
"I think there is that concern that China is becoming more powerful," he said.
"We support their progress and their growth. It is good for the region. But at the same time it is our expectation that their strength and their growth and their influence will be exercised in a responsible way."
China claims all of the South China Sea, even up to the coast of Southeast Asian countries, as part of its historical territory.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims to all or parts of the sea, which is believed to be extremely rich in oil and gas deposits.
In recent months, the Philippines and Vietnam have accused China of increasingly aggressive behaviour in the sea, such as harassing fishermen and oil exploration vessels.
The Philippines has said Chinese forces shot at Filipino fishermen, deployed navy patrol boats to intimidate an oil exploration vessel and placed markers on some of the islets.
Del Rosario said these intrusions occurred within 85 nautical miles of the nearest Philippine island of Palawan, but nearly 600 nautical miles from the nearest coast of China.
He insisted China's claim to all of the sea, based on a Chinese map with nine dashes outlining its territory, would be rejected in an international court.
"We take the position that China's nine-dash claim to sovereignty over the South China Sea is baseless," he said.
earlier related report
It was the eighth consecutive Sunday that protesters have gathered for an unprecedented series of rallies over tensions in the South China Sea.
Authorities tolerated the first five small protests near the Chinese embassy, but then forcibly dispersed two demonstrations and briefly detained people after talks between Hanoi and Beijing in June.
Sunday's protest took place at a different location, around Hoan Kiem lake, which is a popular meeting place for Hanoi residents and foreign tourists.
Overtly political demonstrations are rare in Vietnam, despite fairly frequent protests in the form of land-rights rallies and strikes by factory workers.
Some demonstrators wore T-shirts objecting to China's maritime claim to essentially all of the South China Sea, called the "East Sea" in Vietnam.
"I want to send a message to China that they stop doing bad things with our country," said Nguyen Quang Thach, 36, who has attended all the rallies.
Vietnam and China have a longstanding dispute over sovereignty of the potentially oil-rich Paracel and Spratly island groups, which straddle vital commercial shipping lanes in the South China Sea.
Tensions flared in May when Vietnam said Chinese marine surveillance vessels cut the exploration cables of an oil survey ship inside the country's exclusive economic zone.
Vietnamese bitterly recall 1,000 years of Chinese occupation and, more recently, a 1979 border war. More than 70 Vietnamese sailors were killed in 1988 when the two sides battled off the Spratlys.
Protesters chanted that the Paracels and Spratlys belong to Vietnam, and carried signs naming military personnel who died in previous clashes with Vietnam's giant neighbour.
At least one man held a picture which allegedly showed a policeman stomping on a demonstrator when officers broke up a similar rally a week earlier.
Video of the alleged incident was posted on the Internet, where independent Vietnamese blogs and opinion flourish despite the arrests of some bloggers. All official media are state controlled.
Protesters had vowed to appeal to the communist-controlled National Assembly, asking it to pass legislation governing demonstrations, if police acted against the latest rally.
"Beating patriots whose only crime is expressing their patriotism against foreign invasion must be seriously and publicly punished," Nguyen Ngoc, a writer, said on the Nguyen Xuan Dien blog, which has become a rallying point for the protesters, many of whom are respected senior intellectuals.
Police made no attempt to stop the orderly demonstrators who marched on the sidewalk around Hoan Kiem lake for about two hours before dispersing.
Another claimant to the Spratlys, the Philippines, has complained this year of Chinese aggression in the disputed waters, where Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have claims.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned at a regional forum in Indonesia on Saturday that tensions in the South China Sea threatened peace.
But China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) endorsed new guidelines at the forum designed to reduce tensions in the waters, which Beijing and some ASEAN members hailed as a breakthrough.
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
New graphene discovery boosts oil exploration efforts, could enable self-powered microsensors
Troy NY (SPX) Jul 22, 2011
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to harvest energy from flowing water. This discovery aims to hasten the creation of self-powered microsensors for more accurate and cost-efficient oil exploration. Led by Rensselaer Professor Nikhil Koratkar, the researchers investigated how the flow of water over surfaces coated with the nanomaterial graphene coul ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|