Tensions In South Chins Sea Rise As Dispute Resolution Over Scarborough Shoal Between China And Philippines Falter

Two tiny rocks in the South China Sea called the Scarborough shoal have become a point of international dispute as China and the Philippines fail to resolve their dispute and send in naval vessels. China says the Philippines are in violation of international law. "We believe it runs counter to historical facts and violates the law," said Liu Weimin, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

The Philippine government said it wants to take the matter to the international court saying the shoals are within its 230 mile exclusive economic zone that is recognized under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, but China has rejected this and said it would not go to court.

To validate China's claims, Lu said, "China has sufficient legal evidence for its jurisdiction over the Huangyan island. China was the earliest to discover and name the island, and has included it on maps and exercised its sovereignty over it ever since."

The US and Philippine navy engaged in naval exercises which included the shoals in the past without object from China at that time.

Recently, China has made a claim of ownership of the Scarborough shoal, which has been long claimed by the Philippines. The recent tensions are the result of Chinese fisherman operating near the Scarborough shoal provoking the Philippine Coast Guard to send in the Gregorio del Pilar, a cutter originally used by the US Coast Guard.

But after China intervened with its own naval vessels, the standoff has only heightened tensions between the two nations and created uncertainty with commercial shippers as China extends its claim further into the South China Sea following the discovery of possible large deposits of oil and natural gas.

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