Philippines warns Taiwan for increasing tensions in disputed sea
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - January 27, 2016 - 11:19pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines on Thursday warned Taiwan for supposedly increasing tensions in the disputed South China Sea.

This follows the visit of outgoing Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou to Itu Aba or Taiping Island which is part of the Spratly Islands.

READ: Taiwan president visits island in disputed South China Sea

"We remind all parties concerned of our shared responsibility to refrain from actions that can increase tension in the South China Sea," Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said in a statement.

Ma's visit aims to emphasize the sovereignty claim of Taiwan over the South China Sea. Taiwan shares overlapping claims with China, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines over territories in the disputed sea.

The Taiwanese leader will step down in May after eight years in office due to term limits.

Meanwhile, the United States expressed its disappointment for Ma's plan to travel to the Itu Aba Island as it could exacerbate tensions in the region.

"I stressed the importance of finding common ground among the claimants and avoiding the destabilizing cycle of mistrust or escalation," US Secretary of State John Kerry said following a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The US takes no position on territorial claims over the islands but says that developments in the South China Sea are a matter of national security. -vwith reports from Associated Press

ASSOCIATED PRESS CHARLES JOSE CHINA CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YI DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ITU ABA ITU ABA ISLAND MALAYSIA AND THE PHILIPPINES SEA SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SOUTH CHINA SEA
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