Protesters display placards as they march to the Chinese consulate office in Makati, Metro Manila. Photo by Erik de Castro, Reuters
MANILA - Dozens of Filipino activists demonstrated outside the Chinese Embassy in Manila's business district on Thursday (June 12) to condemn China's actions in disputed waters in the South China Sea.
About 70 Protesters chanted anti-China slogans while waving banners and the Philippine flag outside the embassy steps.
One protester explained why she was taking part.
"China is infringing upon our sovereignty. That's why I am here to rally our citizens against China's abuses to the world, and our country and to Southeast Asia," Marimi Dela Fuente, one of the protesters, said.
In 2002, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, a non-binding code which has not stopped China from taking control of some islands.
The Philippine last month accused China of reclaiming land on a disputed reef in the South China Sea and said it appeared to be building an airstrip. It said China had been moving earth and materials to Johnson Reef, known as Mabini Reef by Manila, in the Spratlys Islands over recent weeks and was reclaiming land in violation of the code.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich in energy resources, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Tension rose in May when China moved a giant oil rig into an area also claimed by Vietnam. The Philippines, United States and Vietnam denounced China's actions.
China says that the South China Sea issue should be resolved via direct talks between the parties concerned, and has bristled at what it sees as unwarranted U.S. interference.