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Philippines to propose no action to raise tension in sea disputes

Published on Jul 29, 2014 6:25 PM
 
A member of the Philippine military stands on the beach at Thitu island (Pag-asa) which hosts a small Filipino town as well as an airstrip used for civilian and military flights in the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea. The Philippines will propose a freeze on all activity that raises tension in disputed waters in the South China Sea as part of a three-part plan at a regional security meeting next month, Manila's foreign minister said on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MANILA (REUTERS) - The Philippines will propose a freeze on all activity that raises tension in disputed waters in the South China Sea as part of a three-part plan at a regional security meeting next month, Manila's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Southeast Asian foreign ministers will hold security talks with various counterparts including those from the United States, China and the European Union in Myanmar next month, with escalating sea disputes in Asia likely to be a main issue.

China claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, which is believed to contain oil and gas deposits and has rich fishery resources. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also lay claim to parts of the sea, where about US$5 trillion (S$ 6.3 trillion) of ship-borne trade passes every year.

Relations between China and the Philippines have been tested recently by their dispute over part of the sea. "We have this plan to submit a suggestion on a moratorium and that would be the immediate approach to the exacerbating problems in the South China Sea," Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said after meeting Catherine Ashton, European Union foreign policy chief. "It's constructive, it's positive and it's comprehensive. No one will quarrel with you on that right to get a moratorium on exacerbating situation there and ultimately to manage tension."

 
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