By Chris Buckley, Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has sent its biggest civilian patrol ship across the South China Sea, state media said on Thursday, a move likely to raise tensions with neighbouring countries sharing conflicting claims to waters thought to hold vast reserves of oil and gas.

The civilian sea patrol vessel left south China on Wednesday and will head south to Singapore passing near island groups at the heart of disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines.
The Haixun 31 maritime patrol ship weighs 3,000 tonnes, has a helicopter launch pad and can stay at sea for 40 days at a stretch, the official Beijing Daily reported.

"Our country's biggest maritime patrol ship patrols the South China Sea," said the headline of the paper.
China's move comes after weeks of trading accusations with Vietnam and the Philippines over what each government sees as intrusions and illegitimate claims over its territorial waters by the other in a stretch of ocean spanned by key shipping lanes.

Official Chinese media reports about the ship's journey did not mention those disputes specifically, but made plain the patrol is meant to show Beijing's resolve to defend its territorial claims.

"Throughout its journey, it will carry out patrolling of the marine areas being developed by China in the South China Sea," said the Takung Pao, a Chinese-language Hong Kong newspaper that is under mainland control.
"It will protect national maritime rights and sovereignty," said the paper.
The South China Sea tensions have been magnified by region-wide nervousness about China's naval modernisation.

China has accused Vietnam of violating its claim to the Spratly archipelago and nearby seas, which Vietnam also deems its own. China calls the islands the Nansha group.

China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all claim territory in the South China Sea.
China's claim is by far the largest, forming a vast U-shape over most of the sea's 648,000 square miles (1.7 million square km), including the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos.
Beijing said last week it would hold naval drills in late June in the western Pacific Ocean, and the Chinese navy has done little to disguise plans to launch its first aircraft carrier, the first step towards building an operating carrier group.


This is again Mr Phantom..

Fellow Filipino's, China's action is already an indication that they won't hesitate to use force if the 4 other countries will continue to hold on Spratly Islands. Sending the biggest civilian vessel from China was actually countered by The Philippines on sending it's oldest War Ship that derives a question if it could even reach the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). It's all throughout the Internet, from Yahoo Messenger, Live, Blogs, and Tweeter that the Chinese People are supporting their Government and will not hasten to support its own all throughout. If this won't be resolve by the Biggest Mediator(United Nations) we will have the worst War.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Nick Macfie)

5 Countries fighting for the Islands.

China, The Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The Philippines:
Claims approximately 60 of islands in the Spratly region. Joint exploration with Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Alcorn International near the Palawan Island will raise the Philippines annual oil production from the 3,000 b/d produced in 1991 from 7 wells in the South China Sea.(12)

Claims part of islands in the Spratly region. Vietnam's only oil well in production as of 1991 is the White Tiger field, 400 km west of the Crestone block. In 1992, however, Vietnam hastened leasing to foreign exploration.(13)

Claims all islands in the Spratly region. The Spratly Islands are strategically important to Taiwan for two reasons: (1) important shipping lanes pass through waters surrounding the Spratly Islands; and, (2) the South China Sea, in general, is fish abundant. Thus, Taiwan feels compelled to protect its interests.(14)

Is the earliest oil operator in the sea and claims 3 islands and 4 rock groups in the Spratly region. As of 1992, Malaysia was running 90 oil- producing wells, with $210 million planned for further development between 1992 and 1995.(15)

Claims all islands in the Spratly region. According to Marcus Hall's "Trouble Brewing in the South China Sea" assessment, China entered the dispute in three phases.(9) The first phase encompassed China's claim to the Paracel Islands (which are north of the Spratly Islands) in the 1950s. The second phase took place in 1974, when China seized the Paracel Islands from Vietnam. The third phase began on 14 March 1988, with China's military engagement with Vietnamese forces over the removal of China's flag from a newly claimed shoal. The military clash resulted in China gaining possession of 6 islands in the Spratly region.
With the New International Law, China's claim is irrelevant and with no sufficient Basis.

As we all see, China got the Weakest Claim yet the Strongest Military Power, The Philippines got the Strongest claims against 4 Countries but has the Weakest Claims. As of the moment Tension rise between The Philippines, China and Vietnam. In 1979 China dominated Vietnam in a War which resulted on having Vietnam under-recovery.

China Vietnam The Philippines
Tanks 9,200 2,000 126
Submarines 51 0 0
Destroyers and Frigates 55 7 1
Patrol and Coastal Aircraft 870 55 44
Combat Aircraft 5,845 190 43
Armed Forces 2,930,000 572,000 106,500

If you based it on the current numbers we shows the worst. It is a given fact that we Filipino's are Patriotic and will die for our country but numbers don't lie. A new Reformed Government is a Must. The recent Increase of Corrupt Officials Pork Barrels just worsen it all. The Philippines Revenue is enough to start slow but the consistent corruption made it impossible to grow. I would like to hear your voice on this issue.

Mr Phantom