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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

China and Philippines Temporarily Diffuse Tensions

A territorial squabble between China and the Philippines over a small group of islands in the South China Sea has not evolved into a going green agreement. But a decision by both countries to implement a ban on fishing in the region has helped to temporarily defuse tensions between them.

From May 16 – August 1, China said it will stop fishing in an area that encompasses the Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island to the Chinese), a small group of islands it claims as part of its territory.

The Philippines responded by announcing plans for its own fishing ban in the area. While Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario said called it an opportunity to replenish the rich fishing grounds, his statement was preface by a comment that was more direct to the issue.
If only it were this simple. However, the dispute is less over fish than over oil and control of sea lanes, something that is not going away because of a fishing ban.

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