Philippines pull ships from disputed shoal due to weather

Updated 17 June 2012

Philippines pull ships from disputed shoal due to weather

MANILA: The Philippines has pulled back two vessels from a group of rocks disputed with China because of bad weather, a foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday, ending a two-month standoff between the two sides, at least for now.
Lightly armed Philippine coast guard ships had since April taken turns to escort a civilian fisheries boat guarding the mouth of Scarborough Shoal, a group of rock formations about 124 nautical miles west of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon.
At one time, China had nearly 100 civilian surveillance ships, fishing vessels and smaller utility boats in the area, raising tension in the South China Sea, threatening trade, tourism and political relations between the two sides.
On Friday, the Philippines said China still had 26 ships and fishing boats in Scarborough against the two from the Philippines - one a coast guard vessel and the other a fishing boat.
“Last night, President (Benigno) Aquino ordered both of our ships to return to port due to increasing bad weather,” spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters, quoting Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.
“When weather improves, a re-evaluation will be made.” China has territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan across the South China Sea, each searching for gas and oil while building up their navies and military alliances.


Pakistan eliminated terrorism with monumental cost — Defense Minister

Updated 26 April 2018

Pakistan eliminated terrorism with monumental cost — Defense Minister

  • Beijing hosted the first SCO Defense Ministers meeting after the organization was expanded in 2017 and added India and Pakistan as full members
  • He said that presence of Daesh in Afghanistan is a source of insecurity for its neighbors

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Defense Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Pakistan has eliminated terrorism from its soil at a monumental cost — in the in blood of soldiers and citizens.
The minister made his remarks at the 15th Defense Ministers Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing.
He added that Pakistan had adopted a comprehensive national action plan to combat terrorism: “We have suffered economic losses in excess of US $120 billion (Rs 13,920 billion) in our war against terror,” he added.
It was the first assembly of SCO Defense Ministers since the organization expanded in 2017, adding India and Pakistan as full members.

Khan said the continuing turmoil in Afghanistan, including presence of ISIS (Daesh), was a source of insecurity for its neighbors and the entire region.

“Serious challenges facing the region include violent extremism, poverty, lack of trans-boundary water management, drug trafficking, refugees, human trafficking and border controls,” the minister said.

Khan acknowledged the existence of bilateral issues between SCO members, but asserted that these should “never be allowed to impede our collective work.” He encouraged his counterparts to face collective challenges with “courage, harmony and cooperation.”

The minister signed a communiqué with other participants offering support for the “Shanghai Spirit” of building a shared community with peace and stability, development and prosperity.

Defense ministers from the SCO member states including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India attended the meeting. The defense minister of Belarus attended as an observer.