Philippines may send ships back to disputed shoal

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III says he will send ships back to a disputed shoal once stormy weather clears, if ships from China have not left the area by then.

Vessels from the two countries squared off for more than two months at the Scarborough Shoal, a territory off the northwestern Philippines claimed by both countries.

However, the Philippines announced over the weekend it would withdraw its remaining two ships because of bad weather, and China later said it would pull out its fishing boats for safety — sparking hopes of an end to the standoff.

Aquino said Wednesday that a Philippine plane would check the shoal once the weather improves.

He said that: "If there's a presence in our territorial waters, then we will redeploy."