Philippines Bolsters China Sea Claim With Change of Name

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 6:25 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

While Vietnam stages artillery exercises in the midst of a territorial dispute with China, the Philippines is adopting a different approach to its own spat with Beijing.

A spokesman for President Benigno Aquino said Monday that henceforth, his government will refer to the area of the South China Sea surrounding the disputed Spratly Islands as the West Philippine Sea.

The spokesman said the country's foreign and defense ministries have already been using the new terminology. The Philippine weather service quickly announced it will follow the new coinage to avoid public confusion.

The Philippines and Vietnam have both protested recent Chinese naval actions within their exclusive economic zones. Vietnam on Monday launched several hours of live-fire military drills off its eastern coast.

The presidential spokesman said it is not unusual for different countries to use different names for the same body of water. He noted that Vietnam refers to the portion of the South China Sea lying off its coast as the East Sea.