Philippines, Vietnam play tug-of-war on dispute island

MANILA - Philippine and Vietnamese naval forces on Sunday played football, volleyball and tug-of-war on a disputed island amid rising tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

  • Published: 8/06/2014 at 04:28 PM
  • Newspaper section: news

The games were being held on the Vietnamese-occupied Southwest Cay Island. Food, beverages and cultural shows were also prepared to allow the troops to socialise, according to Philippine navy spokesman Commander Gregory Fabic.

"This kind of activities will ease the tension," he said. "It's not important who wins the games, this is about building camaraderie and a good working relation between the two forces."

Fabic said the Philippines would host the next friendship games next year, but there were no details available yet on when and where.

"We hope this will be an example that will also be initiated by other countries," he said.

Manila and Hanoi are both facing increasingly aggressive acts from Beijing, which claims nearly the entire South China Sea.

The Philippines has filed an arbitration case against China with a UN tribunal in The Hague, which has given Beijing until Dec 15 to reply. China has refused to participate in the arbitration.

Vietnam is also preparing to file a similar case against China after Beijing deployed a mobile oil rig near the Paracel Islands, which triggered anti-Chinese protests and riots that killed one and injured more than 100.

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