China accused by Philippines of Spratlys intrusion

An aerial view of Pagasa (Hope) Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands off the coast of the Philippines (image from July 2011) Pagasa is one of the disputed Spratly islands off the coast of the Philippines

The Philippines has accused China of intruding into its waters around the disputed Spratly islands after three ships were spotted in December.

A Chinese naval vessel and two other Chinese ships were seen near the Sabina shoal on 11 and 12 December, the foreign ministry said in Manila.

China's charge d'affaires was summoned on Thursday to hear a formal protest.

Six countries dispute the area in the South China Sea, which is believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas.

Along with China and the Philippines, they are Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Philippine regional military commander Lt Gen Juancho Sabban said a Philippine navy patrol ship and an air force plane had kept watch from a distance until the Chinese vessels left the country's territorial waters.

BBC map

The three had apparently come from the Chinese-occupied Mischief Reef.

"We were watching them," the commander told the Associated Press news agency.

"They did not drop anchor or unload construction materials and appeared to be just passing through."

There was no immediate, direct response from China, but a deputy foreign minister, Liu Zhenmin, said in Beijing that the situation in the South China Sea was "peaceful and stable".

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Asia stories



  • chocolate cake and strawberriesTrick your tongue

    Would this dessert taste different on a black plate?

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George leaving New Zealand'Great ambassadors'

    How New Zealand reacted to William, Kate - and George

  • Major Power Failure ident on BBC2Going live

    Why BBC Two's launch was not all right on the night

  • Front display of radio Strange echoes

    The mysterious 'numbers stations' left over from the Cold War era

  • A letter from a Somali refugee to a Syrian child'Be a star'

    Children's uplifting letters of hope to homeless Syrians

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.