Vietnam, Philippines Turn to Sports in Spratlys 2014-06-08

2014-06-12 19:20 #1 zt
zt created the topic: Vietnam, Philippines Turn to Sports in Spratlys 2014-06-08

Vietnam, Philippines Turn to Sports in Spratlys
MANILA, Philippines June 8, 2014 (AP)
By JIM GOMEZ Associated Press
Associated Press

Vietnamese and Philippine naval personnel played football, volleyball and tug of war Sunday in a rare display of camaraderie in the South China Sea, where their territorial rifts with China have flared alarmingly.

The daylong sports festival was held on Vietnamese-occupied Southwest Cay Island and also included cultural presentations, the two countries' navies said in a joint statement. Philippine officials said about 40 Filipino navy personnel sailed by boat to the island, bringing local delicacies such as rice cakes.

China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the Spratlys, a group of mostly barren islands, reefs and atolls that are believed to be sitting atop oil and natural gas deposits and straddle some of the world's most traversed sea lanes.

Although they're technically rivals, Vietnam and the Philippines recently have discussed ways to cooperate to ease tensions in the disputed waters, where both have been engaged in dangerous standoffs with China. Southwest Cay Island, which the Philippines also claims and calls Pugad, used to be occupied by Filipino troops but was seized by Vietnamese forces in the 1970s.

During the games, each team included Vietnamese and Filipinos to underscore the friendly nature of the event, Philippine navy spokesman Gerald Fabic said. "We're trying to set an example," he said. "We want to show that there can be other approaches to the disputes that can in fact ease the tensions."

The rare event aimed "to foster camaraderie and friendly relations between the two nations," the two navies said, adding that it was "proof that disputes do not hinder development of practical and tangible cooperation."

"This also serves as a model of cooperation for the other navies to emulate," they said.

China, which claims it has had sovereign rights over virtually the entire South China Sea since ancient times, has protested any military activity in the area other than its own. Beijing has so far ignored a call by the United States and other governments for it to define the limits of its claims.

Philippine Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, who has done extensive studies on the South China Sea disputes, said in a Manila forum Friday that dozens of official and unofficial Chinese maps produced for nearly a century until the early 1900s showed Hainan Island as China's southernmost territory, not the South China Sea, which lies beyond that point.

"China's nine-dash line claim is on its face a gigantic historical fraud," Carpio said, referring to a rough demarcation on official Chinese maps that envelops virtually the entire South China Sea.

The Chinese Embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In early May, China deployed an oil rig in waters also claimed by Vietnam, setting off violent protests in the Southeast Asian country that killed at least two Chinese and led to the burning of several factories suspected to be owned by Chinese. The violence has since died down, but Chinese and Vietnamese ships remain in a tense standoff near the rig.

Chinese coast guard ships have also faced off against a small contingent of Philippine marines stationed on a grounded navy ship in the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratlys since last year. The Chinese ships have tried to block Philippine civilian vessels delivering fresh batch of marines and food supplies to the disputed shoal.

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2014-06-12 19:21 #2 zt
zt replied the topic: Vietnam, Philippines Turn to Sports in Spratlys 2014-06-08


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2014-06-14 00:38 #3 zt
zt replied the topic: Vietnam, Philippines Turn to Sports in Spratlys 2014-06-08

China says Vietnam-Philippines island games a ‘farce’

Vietnamese and Filipino naval servicemen play volleyball during a friendly match on Vietnam-held Song Tu Tay or Southwest Cay island of the disputed Spratly Islands on South China Sea on June 8, 2014. (Reuters)

Agence France Presse
Published — Tuesday 10 June 2014

Last update 9 June 2014 8:55 pm

BEIJING: China on Monday expressed displeasure after Vietnamese and Filipino troops played sports together on a contested island, with the foreign ministry denouncing the activity as “a farce.”

The retort from Beijing came one day after Vietnam hosted Filipino troops on an island it controls in the disputed Spratlys archipelago in the South China Sea that the Philippines’ navy said was designed to “foster camaraderie.”

Tensions between China and both countries have risen in recent months over contested territory in the region, with a dispute between Hanoi and Beijing triggering violent anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam last month.

Asked about the joint sports activity, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday at a regular briefing: “Don’t you think that these small tricks conducted by the Philippines and Vietnam are nothing but a farce?“

She also urged Hanoi and Manila to “refrain from taking any actions that may complicate or magnify the dispute” and said that China “exercises indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and adjacent waters,” referring to the Spratlys by their Chinese name.
The first-ever joint games between the Philippine and Vietnamese navies saw them play football and volleyball and were designed to “foster camaraderie” among the troops, Philippine Navy spokesman Lt. Commander Gregory Fabic said.

“This also serves as a model of cooperation for the other navies to emulate,” Fabic added, without mentioning China by name.
The Spratlys are a disputed group of reefs, islands and atolls coveted by the Philippines, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

The region is believed to sit atop oil and other mineral deposits and all of the claimants, save for Brunei, have troops in the islands.
Tensions between China and Vietnam have escalated sharply in recent weeks following Beijing’s dispatch of an oil rig to waters surrounding another contested island group, the Paracels.

Last week, Vietnam released dramatic footage showing a large Chinese ship chasing and ramming one of its fishing boats, which then sank near the rig.

Beijing responded Monday by issuing a lengthy defense of its use of the rig on both the foreign ministry website and via the official Xinhua news agency.

“We find it necessary to tell the international community what really happened so as to restore the truth,” Hua said when asked about the document.

China is asking Vietnam to “bring those lawbreakers to account and make full compensations to China,” she added.

The Philippines — which has filed a plea to the United Nations challenging Beijing’s claims to about 70 percent of the South China Sea — said Saturday it was investigating reports that China was reclaiming land in the Spratlys area.

Hua said she was unable to verify or comment on the reports but maintained that “what kinds of activities China is going to conduct in the Nansha Islands is within China’s jurisdiction.”

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2014-12-09 11:21 #4 江要流
江要流 replied the topic: Vietnam, Philippines Turn to Sports in Spratlys 2014-06-08

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