Philippines Gives Hefty Jail Terms to 12 Chinese Fishermen
A court in the Philippines has given long jail sentences to 12 Chinese fishermen for fishing illegally in the South China Sea.
It is the latest incident likely to raise tensions between Manila and Beijing, which have competing claims in the resource-rich region.
The Chinese fishermen were arrested in April 2013 after their boat ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef in the western Philippines.
The coral reef is well within Philippine territory and is not claimed by China. The fishermen say they were taking refuge there during a storm.
The captain of the boat was given 12 years in prison. The 11 others received jail sentences ranging from six to 10 years.
The men face possible additional jail time because they were found in possession of a protected species of mammal called a pangolin.
The men, who also received a $100,000 fine each, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Japan Slams China's 'Profoundly Dangerous' Air Defense Zone
Japan used an annual defense paper on Tuesday to issue a fresh warning about what it sees as China's destabilizing actions in the region.
The so-called white paper expressed particular concern about China's "profoundly dangerous" declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in a part of the East China Sea that includes islands also claimed by Japan.
The paper, which was adopted Tuesday by the Cabinet, said the ADIZ is an attempt by China to "unilaterally change the status quo, escalate the situation, and may cause unintended consequences."
The dispute over the Japan-controlled island chain has led to a serious deterioration in Sino-Japanese relations. China and Japan regularly send aircraft and vessels to the area, raising fears of an accidental military clash.