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Beijing sends 6 more patrol ships to Spratlys 2009-04-17  

2009-04-22 22:59:13|  分类: 南沙评论 Spratly |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Beijing sends 6 more patrol ships to Spratlys
Manila Standard
17 April 2009 | 11:00 PM

BEIJINGChina has dispatched more civilian patrol boats to the South China Sea, where tensions have risen recently over a long-standing territorial dispute, state press said Thursday.

At least six patrol vessels belonging to provincial units of the Maritime Safety Bureau of China have been sent to the South China Sea in recent weeks, with several others being prepared for departure, China Daily reported.

Some of the busiest international shipping lanes cut through the South China Sea, which is home to the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands that are valued for potentially vast mineral and oil deposits.

China announced last month it had sent one civilian patrol vessel to waters around the Spratlys, drawing concern from the Philippines, one of the nations claiming sovereignty over the area.

Recently renewed claims by nations over parts of the Spratlys were one reason for China stepping up its presence in the area, China Daily reported.

The increased patrols also come after a near collision last month between Chinese boats and a US naval surveillance ship in international waters within Chinas exclusive economic zone off Hainan island.

This year could be the starting point of many more disputes, the paper quoted Zhou Zhonghai, a maritime law expert at China University of Politics and Law, as saying.

Strategies with a firm stance to protect marine territories are of vital importance.

Zhou said a United Nations effort this year to chart maritime territory had led to a rise in tensions, as nations hurry to submit claims and other legal documentation to the international body.

Apart from China and the Philippines, the Spratlys are claimed in whole or in part by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Authorities in Vietnam recently shut down a newspaper for three months for articles that criticized China for asserting its sovereignty over territories claimed by both nations, state-controlled media reported Thursday.

The Ministry of Information and Communication shut down the semiweekly Du Lich (Tourism) for its serious violation of Vietnams press law, the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said.

Although Vietnams government opposes Chinese policy toward the disputed territories, it wants to maintain friendly relations with its powerful northern neighbor.

Authorities accused the newspaper of publishing untruthful information, inciting violence and sowing hatred between nations, Thanh Nien said.

The report did not specify the untruthful information.

Ministry officials and newspaper executives were not immediately available for comment Thursday.

Communist Vietnam maintains strict control over all local media. The closure of the newspaper took effect Tuesday, and the ministry also ordered it to install new leadership, Thanh Nien reported.

In its Lunar New Year edition earlier this year, the newspaper ran several articles supporting anti-China protesters, praising them for their pure patriotism.

Thousands of demonstrators, mostly university students, gathered in late 2007 near Chinas diplomatic missions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to protest Chinese policy toward three disputed archipelagos in the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands.

China had announced a plan to create an administrative region called Sansha to manage the territory. The issue struck a nationalist chord in Vietnam, which has fought several wars against China, and the protesters took to the streets even though the government generally prohibits public protests of any kind.

The largely uninhabited islands and surrounding waters are believed to have large oil and natural gas reserves. They straddle busy sea lanes and are rich fishing grounds.

Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei also claim sovereignty over all or some of the Spratlys. AFP and AP Back to top
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