Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said the Philippines won't go to war with China over the ongoing territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
Local media quoted Aquino as saying that he is bound to follow the country's constitution, which prohibits war as a national policy. He also said the country's 95 million people have no match against China's 1.3 billion population.
Aquino said Manila will continue to resort to diplomacy in resolving the standoff in Scarborough Shoal and in asserting its sovereignty.
The statement was made as the Chinese embassy in Manila called on the Philippine government to withdraw a coast guard vessel and an archeological vessel off Huangyan island. Both countries are claiming ownership of the island, which the Philippines calls Scarborough Shoal, and its surrounding waters.
The coast guard vessel arrived Monday near the island located 120 nautical miles from the Philippines to relieve a similar ship sent earlier to guard the area after two Chinese surveillance ships prevented a Philippine Navy ship from arresting Chinese fishing vessels in the same area on April 8.
The Chinese embassy said Tuesday that China first discovered the island and incorporated it in its territory. It said the Philippine territory was defined by several international treaties but all did not mention and include Huangyan Island.
The embassy also disputed arguments by the Philippine government that the island's proximity to the Philippines make it part of the latter. It said that international law does not recognize geographical proximity as a basis for territorial ownership.
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