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Spratlys > News > English News > April 2004 

Category: @News  @China

Arroyo reiterates policy on Spratly Islands

04 April 2004

President Arroyo said Monday the government expects all country-claimants to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea "to observe and respect the principle of non-occupation until such time that the matter is settled in the proper international forum."

"The Philippine government adheres to the peaceful, civilized and collective settlement of disputes among country-claimants on the Spratly Islands. All our policies and actions have consistently been oriented toward this direction," she said.

Arroyo's statement came after tension among the six claimants to the islands mounted when Vietnam warned Taiwan that it would have to face the consequences of carrying out construction work on an island in the Spratly archipelago.

According to Vietnam's ruling Communist Party's Nhan Dan newspaper, on March 23 a Taiwanese speed boat carrying eight people landed on the Ban Than Reef and erected a house on stilts.

The boat returned to the Taiwanese-controlled Ba Dinh Island but left the eight workers behind to continue further construction, it said.

The Philippines said last week it would investigate Hanoi's moves to commence the boat trips.

Five of the claimants, including Vietnam, which does not formally recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, have military garrisons on islands and reefs in the chain.

The precise number of Vietnamese personnel stationed there is a state secret.
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source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/FlashNewsStory.aspx?FlashOID=16186