Philippines 'invaded' Spratlys in 1970s, China tells UN

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - China has countered a Philippine diplomatic protest at the United Nations by saying it has indisputable sovereignty over the Spratly islands that the Southeast Asian country "started to invade" in the 1970s.

China's diplomatic note to the UN, a copy of which was seen by The Associated Press, said the Philippine occupation of some islands and reefs in the Nansha islands infringes on China's sovereignty. The Spratlys are known to the Chinese as Nansha islands.

A Philippine protest filed to the UN earlier this month said China's claim to islands, adjacent waters, seabed and subsoil in the South China Sea had no basis in international law. The territorial claims were detailed in a map submitted to the UN in 2009.

The Philippines, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Viet Nam claim in whole or in part the Spratlys - a group of islands, reefs and atolls in the South China Sea believed to be sitting atop vast oil and gas reserves.

Viet Nam and Malaysia filed protests in 2009 against China's map, and Indonesia, a nonclaimant to the disputed territory, also protested last year.

The protests are registered with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which will help mediate conflicting claims on territories.

'Totally unacceptable'

China said the contents of the Philippine diplomatic note "are totally unacceptable to the Chinese government".

The Philippines has said the Kalayaan Island Group in the Spratlys was an integral part of the country, which has sovereignty and jurisdiction over nearby waters and geological features under the international law principle that land dominates the sea.

China said the Kalayaan Island Group was part of its Nansha islands and its sovereign and related rights were supported by abundant historical and legal evidence.

It said before the 1970s, the Philippines never made any claims to the islands in a series of treaties defining its territory.

"Since the 1970s, the Republic of the Philippines started to invade and occupy some islands and reefs of China's Nansha islands and made relevant territorial claims, to which China objects strongly," said China's April 14 note to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

China said the doctrine that a legal right cannot arise from an unlawful act applied, thus the Philippines could not rightfully claim the islands.

Asked for comment, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines said the note verbale sent by the Philippine Permanent Mission to the UN "speaks for itself".

"We should leave it at that," DFA spokesperson J. Eduardo Malaya told Philippine Daily Inquirer.

  • 2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America 8 hours ago
    2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America

    For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.

  • Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van 11 hours ago
    Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van

    “Once you do stand-up, you don’t want to go back.” No, we’re not talking about comedy, but rather an emerging trend in luxury transport that’s bringing us ever taller, more capacious, more pimpdillyicious limousines. The quote came from a Ford designer, Tim Stoehr, predicting an increase in interest in limos based on big vans like the new Transit. Of course, these are nothing new; up-fitters have taken quite kindly to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and apparently Ford is chomping at the bit to get in on the action, too. So Ford enlisted the help of the largest Ford dealer in the world, Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif., to help design and build its first super-lux Transit concept, dubbed the Skyliner.

  • Driving the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive, the plugged-in SUV 15 hours ago
    Driving the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive, the plugged-in SUV

    Automakers worldwide have gradually (some would say grudgingly) attempted to make their high-profit and highly popular SUVs as efficient and clean-running as their lower weight passenger cars — namely through the grafting of a plug-in hybrid system.

  • Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report
    Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report

    Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company aims to announce its new product by the end of June and ship to customers by the end of September in time for the holidays, the Journal said in a Friday report, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. Amazon, it said, hopes to differentiate its phone from other models with a screen that displays hologram-like three-dimensional images, which can be viewed without special glasses. Earlier this month the retailer unveiled a new media streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, which it touted as simplifying the experience of watching video online.

  • One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks
    One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks

    South Korea's coastguard said Wednesday one person had been killed as it struggled to rescue 476 people -- mostly high school students -- aboard a ferry that ran aground and sank off the southern coast. "The ferry is almost completely submerged," Lee said, adding that a detachment of South Korean Navy SEALS were taking part in the rescue. Of the 450 passengers on board the ferry bound for the southern resort island of Jeju, 325 were students from a high school in Ansan, south of Seoul. The 6,825-tonne ferry, which had sailed out of the western port of Incheon on Tuesday evening, ran into trouble some 20 kilometres (13 miles) off the island of Byungpoong.