Philippines stops boat convoy to disputed shoal
Reported by: AP/UNBconnect
Reported on: May 18, 2012 03:50 pm
Reported in: International
MANILA, Philippines, MAY 18 (AP/UNB) - President Benigno Aquino III has intervened to stop a convoy of fishing boats that was heading to a South China Sea shoal as the Philippines and China discuss easing a two-month standoff there.
Aquino's spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the president on Friday telephoned a former naval captain leading the convoy and he agreed to abandon the trip.
Philippine and Chinese vessels have been standing off at Scarborough Shoal where both countries claim sovereignty. Talks have gained momentum after both sides declared a two-month fishing ban this week.
The tension has spoiled bilateral relations. A major Chinese airline recently reduced flights to Manila to reflect a drop in Chinese tourists.