Spratly Islands: Philippines to pursue dialogue with China

The Philippine government appealed to other countries involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea to refrain from issuing statements that may heighten tension in an already troubling situation, the PCOO official website last Friday reported.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a statement reportedly said: “The Republic of the Philippines has stated its position on the various territorial issues in the West Philippine Sea. We are committed to dialogue with other claimants. We call on all parties to refrain from inflammatory statements that would make it more difficult to reach a mutually agreeable solution.”

Lacierda was specifically referring to the Reed Bank, a territory near Palawan declared by the Philippines as part of its territory, the PCOO report said. “Our goal here is really a peaceful resolution, so it’s better for the parties to talk away from the cameras to have a better discussion,” Lacierda reportedly said, adding that MalacaƱang is enthusiastic on pursuing dialogue on the Spratly Islands.

Meanwhile, it was on same day that Vietnam announced its plan to conduct maritime drills after China demanded that oil exploration in the area be stopped.

According to reports, Vietnam said that its naval forces would carry out the live ammunition exercises tomorrow (Monday) inside Vietnamese territory off Hon Ong island, which is more or less 150 kilometers from the coast of Quang Nam province.

An announcement posted on the government-owned Northern Maritime Safety Corp.'s website reportedly warned vessels to keep-off the area.