Sep 052013
The Department of Foreign Affairs instructed Philippine Ambassador to China Erlinda Basilio to return to the country for a consultation.

Basilio will be taking part in a consultation with top DFA officials regarding the Philippines’ maritime dispute with China, according to a report on “24-Oras” Thursday night.

Basillio will return to China in a few days, the report said, adding that the order for her to be in Manila came a day after the Philippine government discovered concrete blocks scattered within the of Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

Manila and Beijing figured in a standoff in Scarborough last year, which ended temporarily when President Benigno Aquino III ordered Philippine vessels to withdraw due to bad weather.

China never left the area and even roped off the entrance to the shoal to prevent Filipino fishermen from gaining access and shelter in the vast lagoon.

The South China Sea – a strategic waterway where a bulk of the world’s trade passes and believed to be rich in oil and natural gas – had been a source of conflict among competing claimants the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, China and Taiwan. Analysts fear the competing claims could spark a military conflict in the region.

China claims the waters nearly in its entirety, citing historical entitlements as the basis for its huge claim, which Manila branded as “excessive and a violation of international law.” — with a report from Andrei Medina /LBG, GMA News

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