Philippines 'to take territorial row with China in South China Sea to UN court'

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 10:20 hrs

The Philippines has said it will challenge China's territorial claims in the South China Sea at a UN tribunal.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the decision came after Manila had exhausted 'almost all political and diplomatic avenues' to resolve the maritime dispute with Beijing.

Rosario said that he hoped negotiation would help bring a 'durable solution' to the territorial row, the BBC reports.

Tensions between the two have been high since a stand-off at the Scarborough Shoal - which both claim - last year.

According to the report, China claims a U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea. Its claims overlap those of several South East Asian nations.

In a statement, the Chinese ambassador to Manila reiterated Beijing's position and 'stressed that China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in [the] South China Sea and its adjacent waters', according to an international news agency.

In recent months Beijing has taken a more assertive stand on the issue, leaving ties with both the Philippines and Vietnam severely strained.

In a statement, del Rosario said his office had summoned the Chinese ambassador in Manila to inform her of the move, the report said.

Manila and Beijing has been involved in the territorial row since April 2012, when government vessels from both nations faced off for several weeks at the Scarborough Shoal.

Since then both the Philippines and Vietnam - which is in dispute with China over the Paracel islands - have sought to raise the issue through the Asean regional bloc, but claim Chinese pressure has forced the topic off the agenda, the report added. (ANI)

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