UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Spratly islands standoff continues
Gunboat faces off against two Chinese vessels near disputed archipelagoA Philippine navy shot of a Chinese ship loaded with corals
- ucanews.com reporters, Manila
- April 11, 2012
â€śIf the Philippines is challenged, we are prepared to secure our sovereignty [over the Spratly Islands]," Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters in a press briefing today after a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to Manila.
He said the meeting with Chinese ambassador Ma Keqing ended without an agreement. "We have reached an impasse in our positions," he said.
After the meeting, the Chinese embassy in Manila issued a statement urging â€śthe Philippine side to stop immediately their illegal activities and leave this area.â€ť
â€śThe Chinese embassy hereby reiterates that Huangyan Island [Scarborough Shoal] is an integral part of the Chinese territory and the waters around it is the traditional fishing area for the Chinese fishermen, for which China has abundant historical and jurisprudence backings,â€ť said the statement.
China also accused the Philippine navy of harassing Chinese fishing vessels that had taken shelter in the islandâ€™s lagoon from harsh weather. It said two Chinese surveillance ships deployed to the area were just â€śfulfilling the duties of safeguarding Chinese Maritime rights and interests.â€ť
Del Rosario, on the other hand, insisted that the disputed area, which is just 124 nautical miles from Zambales province, belongs to the Philippines.
"It is clear that the Scarborough Shoal is an integral part of the Philippines. We have sovereignty and sovereign rights over Scarborough Shoal," he said.
He said a diplomatic protest has been filed regarding the incident.
Also in the press briefing, navy chief, Vice-Admiral Alexander Pama, said the standoff began on Tuesday after the navalÂ ship BRP Gregorio del Pilar was sent to verify a report that eight Chinese fishing vessels were anchored in the lagoon inside the shoal on Sunday.
A team boarded the ships â€śand found large amounts of coral, a sizeable quantity of giant clams and live sharks in the compartments.â€ť
They were about to arrest the fishermen for poaching and illegal fishing when two Chinese surveillance ships appeared and positioned themselves between the navy ship and the fishing vessels, Pama said. The two sides established communication and told each other to leave the area but both sides refused to budge.
â€śThis resulted in a standoff which is still ongoing even as we speak,â€ť he said.