The Philippine foreign secretary says his government is formally challenging China's claims to disputed South China Sea territories at an international tribunal.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters that his office has summoned China's ambassador in the Philippines on Tuesday to inform her that Manila is seeking arbitration, a move that China has opposed.
China claims virtually all of the South China Sea and has confronted Philippine ships in a standoff over the Scarborough Shoal, which both countries claim. The Philippines withdrew ships from the shoal last June and has since protested China's buildup.
Del Rosario says the Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of maritime disputes with China, and hopes that the arbitral proceedings will bring results.