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Manila urged not to escalate tension (2)

(China Daily)

08:19, May 15, 2012

"We hope the Philippines respects China's sovereignty and avoids adopting any actions to make the issue bigger and more complicated," Hong Lei said, stressing that the dispute should be settled through diplomatic means.

Huang Shanchun, commissar of Guangzhou Military Area Command, said on Monday that the Chinese army has the ability and determination to defend Huangyan Island.

"Whatever the Philippines does or if it draws other countries into the dispute, it will not change the fact that the Huangyan Island is an inherent part of Chinese territory," he said.

Abdullah Badawi, former prime minister of Malaysia, said during a speech on Monday at Beijing Foreign Studies University that China has the confidence to solve the problem through diplomatic efforts, and ASEAN countries will be happy to see the problem solved.

"I believe that if any problem happens, it will be solved through engagement and open dialogue," he said.

A group of Chinese gathered on Sunday at the Philippine embassy in Washington to protest Manila's groundless claim over the sovereignty of Huangyan Island, Chinese media reported.

The protesters turned up in the morning in front of the Philippine embassy, carrying banners and chanting slogans that Huangyan Island is an inherent territory of China and demanding that Philippine ships leave the area, people.com.cn reported.

Organizers of the protest handed out official Philippine maps published in 1990 and 2008 and said the maps show that Huangyan Island has never been a part of the Philippines, the report said.

In London, dozens of Chinese protesters defied rain on Monday morning to gather outside the Philippine embassy to protest against Manila's claim.

Many protesters are Chinese students, who waved national flags, chanted slogans, and carried signs calling for the Philippines to keep its "hands off our Huangyan Island". Some students even took a train to arrive in London from Nottingham.

China and the Philippines have been embroiled in a dispute over Huangyan Island in the South China Sea for a month, stemming from Philippine harassment of Chinese fishermen who sought harbor at the island from bad weather.


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