Manila, Hanoi try football diplomacy in Spratlys
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Manila, Hanoi try football diplomacy in Spratlys


MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine and Vietnamese navies have agreed to let their sailors play football and basketball on disputed South China Sea islands to ease tension and build trust.

China is likely to protest such a show of military alliance in the contested region.

Philippine navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said Tuesday that the “fun games” were part of a broader agreement he signed with his Vietnamese counterpart last October. The accord calls for their navies to undertake confidence-building steps and intensify information-sharing to allow them to better respond to maritime accidents in the disputed Spratly Islands.

The Philippines and Vietnam separately accused Chinese vessels of intruding into their territorial waters and disrupting oil explorations last year.

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