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China Urges Philippine Vessel to Withdraw

Posted: Apr 16, 2012

BEIJING - China on Monday urged a Philippine archaeological ship to immediately leave the waters of Huangyan Island in the South China Sea, which China claims to be an integral part of its territory.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on a new maritime incident between China and the Philippines.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Saturday that a Chinese ship had harassed a Philippine-registered vessel conducting archaeological surveys in the waters around Huangyan Island.

Liu said, according to relevant international conventions and Chinese laws, no organization or individual may conduct such activities in the area without Chinese government's permission.

Referring to the disputes between Chinese fishing boats and Philippine naval ships last week, Liu said the situation at the Huangyan Island had been alleviated through joint efforts by both sides.

According to media reports, Del Rosario and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing were in talks from last Wednesday to Friday evening to resolve the standoff at the Huangyan Island.

"The two sides will continue to maintain communication on the issue via diplomatic channels," said Liu, noting the main cause of the disputes was the Philippines' infringement on China's sovereignty.

When asked to comment on a Philippine-US joint military exercise in the South China Sea launched on Monday, Liu said China hopes relevant countries could do more things that are conducive for regional peace and stability as well as the improvement of mutual trust.

China believes that the main theme of the region is peaceful development and cooperation, rather than military affairs, he said, adding that other countries in the region share this view.

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