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Report: US Senate adopts reso slamming China over West Phl Sea dispute

One of the disputed isles in the West Philippine Sea.

MANILA, Philippines - The U.S. Senate has reportedly adopted a proposed resolution condemning the use of force in the disputed West Philippine Sea amidst China's growing militarization in the area.

A report from Kyodo News said the U.S. Senate "unanimously adopted" the Resolution No. 167 on Monday, July 29 (U.S. time).

"The Senate condemns the use of coercion, threats, or force by naval, maritime security, or fishing vessels and military or civilian aircraft in the South China Sea and the East China Sea to assert disputed maritime or territorial claims or alter the status quo," the report quoted the resolution.

"Whereas, in recent years, there have been numerous dangerous and destabilizing incidents in this region, including... Chinese vessels barricading the entrance to the Scarborough Reef lagoon in April 2012; ...and, since May 8, 2013, Chinese naval and marine surveillance ships maintaining a regular presence in waters around the Second Thomas Shoal, located approximately 105 nautical miles northwest of the Philippine island of Palawan," the resolution also said.

The Philippines, China, and several Southeast Asian nations are claiming territories in the West Philippine Sea, with the Asian giant pressing its territorial claim over nearly all the disputed waters.

The country is seeking to stop Chinese incursions into its exclusive economic zone in the area. It has taken the issue before an international arbitral tribunal after exhausting all other means to peacefully settle the territorial row.

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An earlier report said China is enhancing its presence in the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef to pressure the Philippines to remove its grounded ship in nearby Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.

Rommel Banlaoi of the Philippine Association of Chinese Studies said China has transformed the Panganiban Reef off Palawan into an active naval detachment and military garrison.

Related story: China boosts presence near reef

On the other hand, the Philippine government has recently expressed its plan to move its Air Force and Navy to Subic, Zambales to closely monitor the country's maritime domain.

A newspaper report in China criticized the recent move of the Philippines, saying it aims to target the Asian giant.

Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the plan "increases the risks of conflicts in the region."

"If all related parties resort to military means as Manila has for a resolution, the region will surely become a powder keg," Li was quoted as saying in the report.

Related story: 'China is target of Manila's transfer of forces to Subic'

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