Philippines pushes arbitration in China sea row


MANILA, Philippines (AP) The Philippine president said Wednesday that the international arbitration Manila has initiated to challenge China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and a legally binding “Code of Conduct” are the only ways to settle the long-raging disputes peacefully.

The Philippines says that China has been intruding into its exclusive economic zone, including deploying two hydrographic ships in June near an offshore oil well inside Philippine waters. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has said Manila is uncertain of the purpose of the ships’ presence at the Reed Bank.

Aquino said Wednesday that Chinese reclaimed land in the disputed waters, if used militarily, could be a “game changer” in the future settlement of the dispute.

Countries in the region and those that use the busy sea lanes that straddle the South China Sea and the disputed Spratly island chain are concerned that the conflict could erupt into violent clashes.


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