MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines and Vietnam plan to hold a sports festival, including basketball, volleyball and tug-of-war games in the disputed Spratly Islands in the first such display of goodwill by two rival claimant countries to ease tensions and alarm in the South China Sea.
Three Philippine military officials say that weather-permitting, the countries plan to hold the daylong games on Sunday in Vietnamese-occupied Southwest Cay, which lies near a small, Filipino-guarded islet in the disputed territory. The countries signed an agreement to hold the games and have been planning the event since last year.
The three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the event with reporters.
The two countries separately are locked in dangerous stand-offs with China in the disputed waters.