Call for nations to take stand on Huangyan Island dispute slammed

Updated: 2012-04-24 07:50

By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

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Beijing on Monday slammed Manila's call for other countries to take a stand on China in the lingering dispute over China's Huangyan Island in the South China Sea.

Filipino Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on Sunday urged other nations to "take a stand" on China's latest move in the Huangyan Island dispute. Del Rosario even urged related nations to consider "what China is endeavoring to do".

The secretary on Monday claimed that China poses a "larger threat to many nations" in an interview with ABS-CBN, a Filipino television network.

The Manila senior diplomat's remarks came as the Philippines' stand-off against China in the waters off Huangyan Island entered a 14th day on Monday.

Huangyan Island "matters to China's territorial sovereignty", and the Chinese government's stance on guarding sovereignty is clear and firm, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Monday.

"Urging other countries to take sides on the territorial issue will do nothing but complicate the dispute and intensify the situation, and it means nothing to an appropriate solution of the current situation," Liu said at a daily news conference.

Few countries responded to Manila's call on Monday, as Filipino vessels are reportedly still in the waters near Huangyan Island. Manila has also asked other ASEAN members to "take a stand on China", analysts said.

Yang Baoyun, a professor of Southeast Asian studies at Peking University, said it would be a harsh decision for most Southeast Asia countries to respond to Manila.

"The Philippines has been playing with fire, and it has dragged the dispute off the track to a rapid, peaceful resolution," Yang said.

Twelve Chinese fishing boats were harassed by a Philippine Navy gunboat on April 10 while taking refuge from harsh weather in a lagoon near Huangyan Island.

Two Chinese Marine surveillance ships conducting routine patrols in the area later came to the fishermen's rescue. The Filipino warship then left and the Chinese fishermen started to return home on April 13. The Philippines has claimed sovereignty over the island, which is part of Chinese territory.

Meanwhile, the Philippines planned to seek counsel from the United States, Filipino Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Raul Hernandez said on Monday.

Hernandez told reporters that "they (the US) should be apprised of what is happening" in the Huangyan Island dispute, according to AFP.

During the so-called "2+2" talks scheduled to start on April 30, del Rosario and Filipino Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin will talk to their US counterparts Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta.

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