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China, Philippines spar over atoll

April 13, 2012 at 2:30 PM

BEIJING, April 13 (UPI) -- An island in the South China Sea where a Philippines naval vessel confronted Chinese fishermen is China's territory, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.

Liu Weimin, speaking at a regular news briefing, said the Philippines government should discuss Huangyan Island's status with the Chinese government, Xinhua, China's official government news agency, reported. He said the Philippines' action has threatened stability in the South China Sea.

Huangyan, also known as Scarborough Reef or Scarborough Shoal, is an uninhabited atoll with low islands on a reef surrounding a lagoon. Both China and the Philippines claim the island.

Liu said China has sent its own ships to the atoll to protect fishermen. He described that as a "routine move" following the confrontation earlier this week.

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