Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has signed into law a bill defining the country's territorial boundaries and laying claim to disputed areas in the South China Sea, a top aide said Wednesday.The Philippines is probably the United States' strongest political, military, and cultural ally among the ASEAN countries. It cannot be an accident that this law was signed right after the U.S. made public its naval dispute with China.
Presidential Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Arroyo signed the Baselines Law on Tuesday despite a strong protest by China over the measure.
"We are sending the message to the whole world that we are affirming our national sovereignty" Ermita said. "We are affirming our national interest."
The aim is to isolate China diplomatically in this contested region. And China, with its viturperative reaction, is playing right into American hands.
More on the area, and its resources :
These areas include the Scarborough Shoal - a group of islets, atolls and reefs claimed by China - and the Kalayaan Islands, a part of the Spratlys, which are claimed in whole or in part by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The Spratlys straddle key shipping lanes in the South China Sea and are believed to be rich in oil, marine and mineral resources.