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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    27 June 2012

Spratly’s islands: Filipino school opening raise China’s ire


China has warned the Philippines against operating a public kindergarten school on Pag-asa Island off Palawan province, west Philippines.

Hong Lei, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, told a press briefing on Monday in Beijing that China “opposes any illegal activity that may infringe on

China’s sovereignty,” according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Manila should “refrain from taking any measure that will complicate and exacerbate the current situation and affect peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Hong said.

He insisted that China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly chain of islands and its surrounding waters.

Pag-asa Island is part of Kalayaan town in Palawan. Home to about 200 Filipinos, the island has been under the Philippine government’s control since the 1970s. It has a town hall, a health center, an airstrip and a naval station, among other facilities.

Last week, the Kalayaan municipal government inaugurated a public kindergarten, which Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon said aimed to help the town’s civilian population.

The school was inaugurated without fanfare on June 15 with five students, their parents and a teacher. A Philippine flag fluttered in the breeze in the schoolyard.

Hong expressed hope “relevant countries will abide by the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China,” which was earlier entered into by China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

The Philippines and three other Asean member-states—Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei—are among the Spratlys claimants, along with China and Taiwan.

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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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