June 12, 2011 / 11:47 AM / 8 years ago

Timeline: Tensions increase over South China claims

MANILA (Reuters) - China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts or all of the South China Sea, a territory believed to be sitting on rich deposits of oil, gas and minerals, as well as being a major shipping lane.

In 2002, China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a non-binding code of conduct to restrain claimant-states from conducting military activities and other provocative actions that could raise tension in the area.

Here is a list of recent incidents in the territorial disputes.

March 4 — The Philippines files a protest with China over an incident near the Reed Bank in which Manila said two Chinese patrol boats threatened to ram a survey ship.

March 28 — The Philippines says it has increased air and naval patrols and plans to upgrade an airstrip on an island it occupies in the South China Sea to strengthen its claim on the disputed area.

April 13 — The Philippines protests to the United Nations over China’s claim’s to disputed areas in the South China Sea, saying Beijing’s stance has no basis under international law.

May 27 — Vietnam says three Chinese patrol boats challenged a Vietnamese ship exploring for oil in the South China Sea, damaging equipment and warning the ship that it was violating Chinese territory.

May 28 — China criticizes Vietnam for its offshore exploration of oil and gas in the South China Sea.

June 1 — Manila says Chinese navy boats erected pillars, set a buoy and unloaded materials near Amy Douglas Bank, inside the Philippines exclusive economic zone, and says any construction would be a clear violation of the code of conduct.

June 5 — China’s defense minister tells an Asian defense forum that his country’s growing economic and military power was not a threat, saying Beijing is not seeking hegemony and will not threaten any country.

June 8 — China steps up criticism of the Philippines in a fresh exchange of invective over disputed waters, calling on Manila to stop infringing its sovereignty with irresponsible claims over the South China Sea.

June 9 — Vietnam accuses China of harassing a ship conducting seismic surveys in the South China Sea. Vietnam says the ship was operating over its continental shelf and within its exclusive economic zone off the southern coast.

June 11 — Vietnam confirms its navy will hold live-fire exercises off the central coast.

June 12 — Vietnamese authorities tolerate a second day of anti-China protests in the capital, as more than 100 people demonstrate against what they see as bullying behavior by Beijing.

Compiled by John Mair; Editing by Alex Richardson

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