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Philippines pledges restraint in China sea row MANILA: The Philippines pledged to act with restraint on Friday a week after China tried to block a boat ferrying supplies to Filipino troops on a disputed reef in the South China Sea."(The) Philippines makes clear that it will continue to exercise self-restraint and will not raise tension in the South China Sea," Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said.He issued the statement after a week of diplomatic wrangling following a Philippine boat's delivery of food, water and fresh troops to Second Thomas Shoal, also claimed by Beijing, by slipping through a blockade by two Chinese coastguard vessels.A small number of Filipino soldiers are stationed on a Navy vessel that was grounded on the shoal in 1999 to assert the Philippines' sovereignty.A day after the incident, the Philippines further infuriated China by asking a United Nations tribunal to declare Beijing's claims to undisputed sovereignty over most of the strategically important sea ...

Australia eyes Cambodia as asylum-seeker host SYDNEY: Australia's Immigration Minister Scott Morrison made an unannounced visit to Cambodia on Friday, raising speculation that Phnom Penh will join Papua New Guinea and Nauru in helping resettle asylum-seekers.Prime Minister Tony Abbott said talks between Morrison and Cambodian officials represented the countries "staying in touch" as partners against people-smuggling."Whether Cambodia were to accept people is really a matter for Cambodia, but the point is people-smuggling is a regional problem," he told reporters."It needs to ...
South Korea tests missile bringing entire North in range SEOUL: South Korea said Friday it had successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile capable of carrying a one-tonne payload to any part of North Korea.The launch was carried out March 23, just two days before North Korea test fired two medium-range ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan.The announcement of the test is likely to fuel the current tensions on the Korean peninsula which saw the two rivals fire hundreds of live shells into each other's ...
Singapore proposes regional crisis center HONOLULU: Singapore has proposed hosting a regional crisis command center that would help coordinate governments' efforts after major natural disasters, the city-state's defence minister said Thursday."We were obviously struck over the last decade by how many disasters there were" in the region, said Ng Eng Hen, citing earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons that have cut a swathe of destruction from the Philippines to Japan. "We recognized in the first critical 24, 48 hours, it is actually ...
China toddler started fire which killed 12: Xinhua BEIJING: Investigators in China have accused a three-year-old girl of playing with a cigarette lighter and starting a workshop fire which killed 12 people, state media reported."Many others" were injured in the blaze at a clothing workshop in Junbu in the southern province of Guangdong last week, the official Xinhua news agency said late Wednesday.The workshop owner's toddler ignited a stack of sponges while playing with a lighter, the report said, citing local investigators.The owner ...
Hong Kong democracy activists urge West to speak out WASHINGTON: Two prominent Hong Kong democracy campaigners on Wednesday urged Western powers to speak out against what they described as Beijing's growing interference in the semi-autonomous financial hub.On a visit to Washington, Martin Lee, a founder of the opposition Democratic Party, recalled that the United States and other nations had tried to reassure Hong Kong residents by throwing their support behind the deal in which Britain returned the city to China in 1997."Every government that ...
Japan PM Abe says will abide by whaling ban TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he will abide by the court ruling that banned the nation's controversial Antarctic whale hunt.The conservative leader told Japan's chief whaling negotiator that he would respect the judgement issued this week by the International Court of Justice."It is a pity and I am deeply disappointed," Abe was quoted as saying by Japan's chief negotiator Koji Tsuruoka during a meeting at his office."But I will follow the ruling," ...

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Foreign Debt $60.9bn
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