Philippines and China call truce

The Philippines and China resolved an on-going naval stand-off diplomatically yesterday, but neither side was prepared to back down in the most heated confrontation in the disputed South China Sea in years.

At their meeting, both sides insisted the Scarborough Shoal belonged to them. The Filipino Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario said he warned the Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing that the Philippines would defend itself if provoked. Despite the impasse, "we resolved to seek a diplomatic solution to the issue", Mr Del Rosario told a news conference.

The Filipino government said its navy tried to detain Chinese boats fishing in its waters, but was stopped by two surveillance craft. The Chinese Embassy said the fishermen were harassed by a warship.