[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Filipinos protest China territorial claims

Hundreds of people march on Chinese consulate in Manila demanding Beijing leave disputed waters in the South China Seas.

Last Modified: 24 Jul 2013 10:31
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The Philippines is supporting an ASEAN-led binding agreement that will cover behaviour in disputed waters [Reuters]

Filipino protesters demonstrated in front of the Chinese consulate demanding that China stop its claims and get out of disputed territories in the South China Sea.

Hundreds of protesters marched down on Wednesday a busy avenue in Manila's financial district, with placards that read "China, stop bullying" and chanting "Get out, get out”. One protester burnt a Chinese flag.

The protest kicked off mass demonstrations held by West Philippine Sea coalition, named after the term used by the Philippine government to refer to international waters on its western coast falling within its exclusive economic zone.

The coalition, comprised of rights groups, civil society leaders, student organizations, and religious groups, aims to raise awareness about the territorial claims among Filipinos worldwide.

Protests by Filipino communities in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and across Europe are also set to be held on Wednesday.

One of the protest leaders, former Interior Minister Rafael Alunan, said they want the countrymen to be spurred into action.

"We want to raise awareness amongst Filipinos not only here but worldwide about the problems that we face with China, and for them to rise up and be counted, and tell China to back off, choose the path of peace" Alunan said.

The coalition leaders stressed that they were not against the Chinese people, but against what they called Beijing's "lawless policy of intrusion, occupation, theft of natural resources and intimidation."

The Chinese consulate closed down on Wednesday in anticipation of the protest, which ended peacefully.

Overlapping claims

Friction over the South China Sea, one of the world's most important waterways, has surged as China uses its growing naval might to more forcefully assert its vast claims over the oil and gas rich sea, raising fears of a military clash.

Four of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Vietnam and the Philippines, have overlapping claims with China. Rhetoric has risen in the past month, with Manila condemning Beijing for increasing militarisation by sending ships to protect its fishing fleets, while Chinese state media warned that a ‘counterstrike’ against the Philippines was inevitable if it continued to provoke China.

The Philippines is supporting an ASEAN-led binding agreement that will govern behaviour in disputed waters. Chinese government has agreed to hold consultations in September in Beijing when diplomats from China and 10 Southeast Asian states meet to discuss the implementation of the informal code signed in 2002.

399

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.