Philippines seeks regional backing for sea dispute

AP News
Posted: Jul 29, 2011 5:24 AM
Philippines seeks regional backing for sea dispute

The Philippines is seeking the backing of Southeast Asian governments for its proposal to separate disputed areas in the South China Sea from non-disputed waters.

The move is part of a plan by Manila to ease the tensions with China and other claimants.

The Philippines and Vietnam have accused China this year of disrupting their oil exploration activities in the Spratlys and Paracel Islands. Bejing claims the entire South China Sea as its own.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said Friday that legal experts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations will meet in September to tackle the initiative.

Beijing says it favors bilateral negotiations with individual claimants.