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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs         6  July 2011

Sea tensions erupt in diplomatic corps

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Philippine officials have banned a senior Chinese diplomat from meetings for alleged rude behaviour, in the latest fallout from a feud over the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands, officials said.

Department of Foreign Affairs officials said on Tuesday that Chinese Embassy First Secretary Li Yongsheng, who heads its political section, raised his voice at a Filipino officer last month while discussing Philippine allegations of Chinese intrusions in Manila-claimed areas in the Spratlys.

A memorandum from the department's Asian and Pacific Affairs office said Mr Li exhibited 'conduct unbecoming of a diplomat' and that the Chinese embassy had been informed he would not be allowed to attend future meetings at the Philippine office.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has been informed about the incident, according to the memo, which was seen by The Associated Press.

The memorandum did not provide details of what happened at the meeting, but at least three senior Filipino diplomats said Mr Li raised his voice in an offensive manner during a discussion of Manila's claims that Chinese forces intruded into Philippine territorial waters in and near the Spratlys. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they lacked authority to talk to reporters.

The Chinese Embassy said on Wednesday it would not react to anonymous statements.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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