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article image5 PH congressmen visiting Spratly Islands amid protest from China

By Leo Reyes     Jul 19, 2011 in Politics
At least five Philippine congressmen are scheduled to visit some of the Philippine-occupied islands in the disputed territories of the Spratly Islands on Wednesday.
Akbayan Party List Congressman Walden Bello clarified that the trip is private funded and will include include DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, and Akbayan party-list Rep. Arlene "Kaka" Bag-ao.
Upon learning of the visit to the islands by the Philippine Congressmen, Chinese Embassy spokesman Ethan Sun said the visit "will go against the 2002 regional pact that discourages provocative actions and will serve to "sabotage" bilateral ties"
"China will relay its concern to the Philippine government." Sun added.
Congressman Bello and his party will travel to the islands on a chartered flight which will land in Thitu Island, the largest of the Philippine-occupied islands with an area of 91 acres and about 280 miles northwest of Palawan Island in southern Philippines.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said the trip of the five congressmen is not authorized by House of Representatives. He said they are going there in their own private capacity.
Bello confirmed the trip is private and does not have President Aquino's consent.
China's closest land mass in Hainan province is about 900 miles away from the Philippine inhabited island of Thitu where 60 Filipinos live.
China, Vietnam and the Philippines are currently embroiled in a diplomatic confrontation on territorial claims in the disputed islands.
The Philippines is bringing its claim on its occupied territories and surrounding areas to the United Nations for resolution but China protested saying the issue must be settled through bilateral talks.
Vietnam on the other hand has protested Chinese incursions in its occupied territories saying that on several occasions, Chinese naval vessels have entered it territory which caused damaged to their oil exploration cables and equipment.
More about spratly islands, disputed territories, South china sea, west philippine sea
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