Meanwhile, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario yesterday called on other nations to take a stand on China’s new aggressiveness over the Scarborough Shoal (黃岩島).
Del Rosario warned in a statement that other nations would be affected by China’s claim over the mineral-rich area if they did not speak up now, like the Philippines is doing.
“Since the freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce in the [South China Sea] are of great import to many nations, all should consider what China is endeavoring to do in the Scarborough Shoal,” del Rosario said.
“All, not just the Philippines will be ultimately negatively affected if we do not take a stand,” he said in an SMS message sent to reporters.
He added that China’s efforts to claim the entire South China Sea as its territory was “clearly baseless.”
The nearest Chinese land mass from Scarborough Shoal is Hainan Province, 1,200km to the northwest, according to Philippine naval maps given to the media.
China claims all of the South China Sea as its own on historical grounds, even waters approaching the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.
The Philippines has been actively urging fellow members of ASEAN to take a firmer stance on China’s claims over the South China Sea.