China travel agencies suspend Philippine tours

The standoff between China and the Philippines over disputed islands reached a new high.

Beijing: The standoff between China and the Philippines over disputed islands reached a new high on Thursday with Beijing warning about anti-China demonstrations leading to hundreds of Chinese cancelling their plans to visit the country.

The tour operators all over China have cancelled bookings after an adversary put out by the Chinese embassy in Philippines warned about massive anti-China demonstration and asked its nationals to take care of their personal security as well as their assets, official news agency Xinhua reported.

The agency quoted two travel agencies as saying 500 of their customers put off their plans.

Chinese tourism industry insiders said that since tourism is a pillar industry for the Philippine economy, they expect that the country will create a better, more stable environment for visitors, it said.

The Chinese advisory was expected to hit Philippines as Chinese constitute nine percent of its overall tourists.

However, the two sides resumed diplomatic consultations.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here that diplomatic contacts between Philippine Foreign Ministry and the Chinese embassy in Manila have been resumed.

In Manila, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said that Philippine diplomats "are endeavouring to undertake a new diplomatic initiative, which we hope will help diffuse the situation".

Hong said China took note of the remarks as well as the action taken by the Philippine Foreign Ministry.

The standoff began last month over Philippines objecting to the presence Chinese fishermen at Scarborough Shoal asserting that it is part of its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

China which calls it Huangyan Island claims it as its inherent part sent its maritime vessels stating that their presence was aimed protecting the fishermen.

Philippines said it is approaching international court of arbitration to assert its claim for EEZ under the international laws of seas.

Chinese analysts dismissed it as a trick by Philippines to internationalise the dispute.


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