China pulls out 1 of 3 ships, no end yet to sea standoff

MANILA - China withdrew one of three ships engaged in a standoff with Philippines vessels in a disputed area of the South China Sea on Friday as both sides pursued talks to defuse the dispute.
The row underscores broader tension extending back decades over jurisdiction in areas in the South China believed to be rich in oil and gas and crossed by important shipping lanes.
"China's embassy in Manila informed us they have a different mission for one of the three ships," Raul Hernandez, Philippine foreign affairs spokesman, told a local radio on Friday.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario said both sides put forward proposals to resolve the dispute, but no agreement had yet been reached.