07/07/2011, 00.00
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Sino-Filipino meeting over South China Sea fails

China’s foreign minister fails to find common ground with the Philippines’ secretary of state who is visiting China. Their discussions centred on the Spratly and Paracel Islands. A huge anti-Chinese demonstration is planned for tomorrow in Manila and the main cities of the United States, Canada and Australia.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Beijing has not given up claims to the South China Sea and has denied allegations made by Manila that its Navy attacked Filipino fishing trawlers and ships, this according to some reports about talks held today in the Chinese capital between Filipino Secretary of State Albert Del Rosario and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

In Manila, President Aquino said he was deeply worried by the diplomatic crisis between the two nations. In the coming days, Secretary Del Rosario will meet Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. However, few believe that the talks will do much good.

The various groups of islands that dot the South China Sea are claimed by the Philippines, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Among Asia-Pacific nations, China has the most extensive maritime claims, including the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which are rich in oil and gas.

Tensions flared up when China tried to take over the Spratlys by sending naval vessels disguised as merchant ships.

According to the Filipino government, the Chinese Navy fired on Filipino fishing trawlers at least ten times since February.

Tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos will protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Manila. Additional protests are scheduled in five US cities, including New York and Washington, as well as in Australia and Canada.

On 26 June, the United States Senate passed a resolution, inviting the parties to settle relevant disputes through “multilateral and peaceful means” and reach agreements that would keep the peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Chinese government’s policy is to pursue only bilateral talks with the region’s nations. For this reason, it has told the United States to stay out of what is none of their concern.

Chinese claims to much of the seabed do not respect international treaties.
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