Protests, warnings between China, Manila

May 11, 2012 at 1:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines, May 11 (UPI) -- China Friday blamed the Philippines for ratcheting up tensions amid a simmering dispute over territorial waters.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the government of the Philippines had been riling up the public and warned Manila to make certain Chinese nationals in the islands were kept safe, Voice of America said.

The statements came as a large crowd marched on the Chinese Embassy in Manila to protest China's claims to the Spratly islands in the South China Sea. The islands along with the Scarborough shoals are considered to be rich in energy and fisheries resources and are claimed by both nations.

"The main objective of the protest action is to call the attention of the international community with regards to the Chinese government's continuing and escalating intrusions in the Scarborough shoal area, which we strongly believe is an integral part of the Philippine territory," Emma Hizon, one of the organizers of the rally, told VOA.

VOA said the standoff escalated last month when China sent two patrol vessels into the area to prevent the Philippines from detaining Chinese fishing boats in the disputed waters.

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