Posts Tagged ‘arbitration’

NFL players’ union sues over Elliott’s 6-game domestic ban

September 1, 2017

By SCHUYLER DIXON

The Associated Press

Ezekiel Elliott

The NFL players’ union sued the league on behalf of Ezekiel Elliott late Thursday night, seeking to vacate the upcoming ruling of an arbitrator on the appeal of the Dallas running back’s six-game suspension in a domestic violence case.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Texas, accuses the NFL’s appeal process of being “fundamentally unfair” because arbitrator Harold Henderson denied a request to have his ex-girlfriend testify at a hearing that wrapped up earlier Thursday.

The suit also claims that NFL executives hid information that was favorable to Elliott before Commissioner Roger Goodell imposed the punishment Aug. 11.

The lawsuit accuses NFL special counsel Lisa Friel of withholding from Goodell the word of co-lead investigator Kia Roberts, who the suit says concluded that the accuser wasn’t credible and that discipline wasn’t warranted.

“The withholding of this critical information from the disciplinary process was a momentous denial of the fundamental fairness required in every arbitration and, of course, does not satisfy federal labor law’s minimal due process requirements,” the lawsuit said.

Henderson is supposed to rule on the NFL’s decision to suspend Elliott “as soon as practicable,” according to the labor agreement.

Elliott, the NFL’s 2016 rushing leader as a rookie, was suspended after the league concluded he used physical force last summer in Ohio against Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors didn’t pursue the case, citing conflicting evidence.

Elliott denied the allegations under oath in the appeal hearing, according to the lawsuit. The NFL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit says the union and Elliott’s representatives plan to file for a temporary restraining order in hopes of making Elliott eligible for the season opener Sept. 10 against the New York Giants.

The NFL’s personal conduct policy was amended three years ago to stiffen penalties in domestic cases. Friel was hired as a result of the changes, which came after NFL was sharply criticized for its handling of a case involving former Baltimore running back Ray Rice.

The lawsuit also cited Henderson’s refusal to require Goodell to testify. According to the labor agreement, Goodell can choose from a list of arbitrators for appeals.

Henderson has heard dozens of appeals, including New Orleans running back Adrian Peterson’s in a child abuse case out of Texas when Peterson was with Minnesota. Henderson denied Peterson’s appeal of a suspension, but a federal judge overturned Henderson’s ruling.

The lawsuit claims that Roberts’ conclusions weren’t shared with four outside experts who advised Goodell before the ruling, and the suit makes broad claims of a “league-orchestrated conspiracy by senior NFL executives.”

According to the letter Elliott received informing him of the suspension three weeks ago, the NFL believed he used “physical force” three times in a span of five days in a Columbus, Ohio, apartment last July resulting in injuries to Thompson’s face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, hips and knees.

Prosecutors in Columbus decided about a year ago not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, but the NFL kept the investigation open. The league said its conclusions were based on photographs, text messages and other electronic evidence.

The lawsuit says Roberts prepared a document detailing inconsistencies in the accounts of Thompson, who the suit said was interviewed six times by Roberts.

“Presumably, the commissioner would have reached a very different disciplinary conclusion — one of exoneration and no discipline — had he known about the evidence which Friel and other unidentified, high-ranking NFL executives chose to conceal from the disciplinary process,” the lawsuit said.

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More AP NFL: www.pro32.ap.org andhttp://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Analysis: US, allies slow Beijing’s South China Sea momentum

August 8, 2017
 August 8 at 8:14 AM
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MANILA, Philippines — With the rise of a friendly leader in the Philippines, China has been spared a vocal adversary in the disputed South China Sea. In the process, it has gained momentum despite last year’s ruling by an arbitration tribunal that invalidated its expansive claims in the disputed waters.The rapprochement between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, defused a tense standoff between the Asian neighbors last year at the disputed Scarborough Shoal, where China allowed Filipinos back to fish in October as years of thorny relations began to brighten.As President Donald Trump succeeded Barack Obama, who had challenged China’s assertive advances in the disputed sea, U.S. allies wondered if Trump would press America’s role as a regional counterbalance to the Asian powerhouse.

An annual summit of Asia-Pacific nations hosted by the Philippines over the weekend, however, delivered a reality check to Beijing.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met his Australian and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of the meetings in Manila of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. After their meeting, they issued a joint statement that blasted aggressive actions in the contested offshore territories — without, of course, naming Beijing directly, in line with diplomatic practice.

Nevertheless, China quickly voiced its irritation.

Its top diplomat said that while his country and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc “all fully recognized that the situation in the South China Sea is showing signs of changes and things are moving toward a positive direction,” some countries outside the region “are not seeing the positive changes” and are holding onto a mindset that “still stays in the past.”

After the Philippines, ASEAN’s leader this year, hosted the first of three major summits of the bloc in April, Duterte issued a traditional chairman’s statement that dropped mention of contentious issues, including Beijing’s island constructions in disputed reefs that China has lobbied to be struck out of such high-profile communiques. For China, it was seen as a diplomatic coup.

Closeted in their annual gathering in Manila over the weekend, however, ASEAN foreign ministers wrangled over the tone and wordings to depict the territorial rifts involving China and five other governments in their joint statement, which unlike the chairman’s statement is a negotiated document.

A draft of the ASEAN ministerial statement seen by The Associated Press before it was finalized and made public provided a glimpse of the closed-door intramurals, with Vietnam insisting on stronger language against China’s increasingly assertive actions in the busy waters.

Vietnamese diplomats, for example, insisted on mentioning concern over “extended construction” in the contested waters. Cambodia, a Chinese ally, deferred a vote on the inclusion of worries over militarization.

The Philippines was one of the countries that opposed mention of land reclamation and militarization in the communique, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano acknowledged in a news conference late Tuesday. China, he said, threatened to end future talks aimed at resolving conflicts if the arbitration ruling was mentioned in the statement.

“We won’t make any progress,” Cayetano said. “China already said if you talk about the arbitration award there is no talks.”

The protracted quibblings delayed the statement’s release, two Southeast Asian diplomats told the AP. When it was issued a day later, the joint ministerial statement — surprisingly — mentioned land reclamation and militarization and, to Beijing’s certain dismay, carried a vague reference to the arbitration ruling: “full respect for diplomatic and legal process.”

Wang played down mention of the issues, including land reclamation, that critics have used to refer to China’s massive island constructions in the South China Sea.

The next battle is over a proposed “code of conduct,” which aims to stymie aggressive behavior in the disputed sea, including new construction and military fortifications. China concluded talks with ASEAN for a negotiating framework for the nonaggression code, a baby step both sides hailed as a milestone.

Most ASEAN states, including the Philippines, back a legally binding code. China wants otherwise and opposes mention of the contentious issues, including arbitration and a conflict-resolution arrangement, given its preference to solve the conflicts through one-on-one negotiation with its smaller rival claimants. With ASEAN unable to do anything unless it acquiesces to China’s wishes, it relented to reach a consensus. Proponents of the rule of law were dismayed.

The agreed framework “is a lowest-common-denominator effort. It lacks teeth because China has opposed making it legally binding and refused to include a dispute settlement mechanism,” said Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“With ASEAN itself divided and China’s sway over individual ASEAN members growing,” Glaser said, “this is an unsurprising even if disappointing development.”

Wang announced at the Manila meetings that China would be ready to start negotiations for the maritime code when its leader travels to the Philippines and joins ASEAN heads of state in November.

But first, he said, in a shot at the United States, the situation has to be stable and free of “major disruption from outside parties.”

The United States, Australia and Japan immediately weighed in, urging China and ASEAN “to ensure that the code of conduct be finalized in a timely manner, and that it be legally binding, meaningful, effective, and consistent with international law.”

“Outside parties like the U.S. will do what they think is needed to promote peace and stability in the region,” Glaser said. “If China opposes those actions, so be it.”

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Drama at ASEAN: Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (at left in blue) is the only one brave enough to challenge China at the ASEAN conference in the Philippines, August 5, 2017. At right, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano tries to write language that Vietnam can agree to. POOL photo

Image result for Wang Yi, Philippines, asean, photos

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, poses with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for a photo prior to their bilateral meeting in the sideline of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and its Dialogue Partners. Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines. Bolstered by new U.N. sanctions, the United States and North Korea’s neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global campaign cheered on by U.S. President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

All 10 member-states of ASEAN agreed to push for a legally binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea

August 7, 2017
Foreign Ministers, from left, South Korea’s Kang Kyung-wha, Japan’s Taro Kono, Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, China’s Wang Yi and Singapore’s Vivian Balakrishnan walk after a family photo before the 18th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting, part of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Manila, Philippines, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Mohd Rasfan/Pool Photo via AP

MANILA, Philippines — The foreign ministers of the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to push for a legally binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The statement comes in response to the call of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono to halt land reclamations and military actions in the South China Sea.

The top diplomats of the US, Australia and Japan also called on their Southeast Asian counterparts to negotiate a legally binding COC in the disputed waters.

READ: US, Australia, Japan want coercive acts at sea to be stopped

“I believe the secretary general, in an interview a couple of days ago, mentioned that there was, in fact, an agreement among the ASEAN foreign ministers that the preference is for a legally binding code of conduct,” DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said in a media briefing.

He was referring to Lê Lương Minh, secretary-general of the ASEAN.

Bolivar also stressed the position of the Philippines that it prefers a legally binding code of conduct, on the condition that it has to be effective.

“Meaning adhered to and observed by all parties,” he said.

The three countries also urged ASEAN to comply with an arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s claim over the so-called nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

On the other hand, Beijing said that the negotiations on the code of conduct among ASEAN heads of state and China may start if “outside parties” will not interfere.

“If there is no major disruption from outside parties, with that as the precondition, then we will consider during the November leaders’ meeting, we will jointly announce the official start of the code of conduct consultation,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

RELATED: Analyst: China conditions for sea code talks vague, unfair

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/08/1726300/dfa-asean-ministers-agreed-legally-binding-sea-code

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Drama at ASEAN: Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (at left in blue) is the only one brave enough to challenge China at the ASEAN conference in the Philippines, August 5, 2017. At right, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano tries to write language that Vietnam can agree to. POOL photo

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North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, poses with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for a photo prior to their bilateral meeting in the sideline of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and its Dialogue Partners. Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines. Bolstered by new U.N. sanctions, the United States and North Korea’s neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global campaign cheered on by U.S. President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

Recent Developments Surrounding the South China Sea

August 7, 2017

BEIJING — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region.

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CHINESE FM SAYS TALKS MAY START THIS YEAR ON CODE OF CONDUCT

China’s foreign minister said talks on a long-sought code of conduct in the South China Sea that were first mooted in 2002 may finally start this year if “outside parties” don’t cause a major disruption.

Chinese and ASEAN foreign ministers approved a negotiating framework for a code of conduct during a meeting at the weekend in the Philippines. The idea is to draw up an outline of the rules and responsibilities for the countries to prevent clashes from erupting in the contested waters. However, the initial roadmap doesn’t say whether the code of conduct will be legally binding or enforceable.

China had long been perceived as delaying negotiations with ASEAN so it can undertake and complete construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea without being restricted by any maritime code.

Wang said the start of talks may be announced by the heads of state of China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations at their annual summit in the Philippines in November if Beijing’s conditions are met. He said those conditions include a “stable situation” in the South China Sea and non-interference by “outside parties,” an apparent reference to the United States. Beijing frequently accuses the U.S. of meddling in what it says is an Asian dispute that should be resolved only by the countries involved.

Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton said countries locked in the sea disputes should “stop improving or expanding or militarizing any of their outposts.”

Wang’s mention of the vague conditions can allow China to delay or halt the planned talks for any reason. Differing expectations between Beijing and ASEAN of what the code of conduct should look like also likely mean the negotiations will be anything but straightforward.

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ASEAN NATIONS CRITICIZE CHINA’S LAND RECLAMATIONS

ASEAN foreign ministers defied China’s steadfast stance and overcame their own disagreements to issue a joint statement criticizing Beijing’s land reclamation and military fortifications in the South China Sea.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has tried to fortify its foothold in recent years by transforming reefs into island outposts, some with runways and radars and — more recently — weapons systems.

The U.S. and ASEAN claimants to the waters and islands oppose the work. They are wary of restrictions on ship movements in a key waterway for world trade which boasts rich fishing grounds and a potential wealth of undersea oil, gas and mineral deposits.

These tensions divide ASEAN. Some ASEAN nations want to stand firmly together against Beijing, while others who depend heavily on China for trade and investment are wary about possible retaliation.

ASEAN foreign ministers failed to promptly issue a joint communique after their annual gathering Saturday due to a disagreement over whether to include criticism, even indirectly, of China’s activities in the contested territories.

Then, in a surprise move late Sunday, they indirectly criticized Beijing’s land reclamation and military fortifications in the disputed waters.

They also in their 46-page statement referred vaguely to an international arbitration ruling last year that invalidated China’s historical claims to virtually all the strategic waterway.

The regional grouping decides by consensus, and last year Cambodia and Laos, who receive massive aid from China, blocked any mention of the arbitration ruling in the final text.

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US, CHINESE, JAPANESE NAVIES END SEARCH FOR MISSING US SAILOR

The U.S., Chinese and Japanese navies ended a three-day search for a missing sailor who was believed to have gone overboard in the South China Sea.

Vessels and aircraft, including two Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy frigates and aircraft from two Japan Maritime Self-Defense ships, had combed roughly 10,000 square miles (30,000 square kilometers) of the sea west of the Philippines by Friday. The U.S. Navy said the joint search had demonstrated “the common bond shared by all mariners to render assistance at sea.”

The sailor was from the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem, based in Yokosuka, Japan. He was reported missing on Aug. 1.

China accused the U.S. in July of trespassing in its waters when the Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles (32 kilometers) of Triton Island in the Paracel Group.

The operation was aimed at affirming the right to passage and challenging what the U.S. considers China’s excessive territorial claims in the area. China sent ships to intercept the destroyer.

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XI SAYS CHINA WON’T ALLOW THE LOSS OF “ANY PIECE” OF ITS TERRITORY

Chinese President Xi Jinping says China will have the “confidence to conquer all forms of invasion” and won’t allow the loss of “any piece” of its land to outsiders.

His words were contained in a speech in Beijing marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

It strikes a similar note to other tough talk by Xi about China’s territorial disputes with its neighbors, including in the South China Sea.

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Related:

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and suit

Drama at ASEAN: Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (at left in blue) is the only one brave enough to challenge China at the ASEAN conference in the Philippines, August 5, 2017. At right, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano tries to write language that Vietnam can agree to. POOL photo

Image result for Wang Yi, Philippines, asean, photos

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, poses with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for a photo prior to their bilateral meeting in the sideline of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and its Dialogue Partners. Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines. Bolstered by new U.N. sanctions, the United States and North Korea’s neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global campaign cheered on by U.S. President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

Philippines prefers legally binding South China Sea code

August 5, 2017
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano walks to deliver his speech at the opening ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. AP/Mohd Rasfan, Pool

MANILA, Philippines — A day before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China are set to adopt a framework of the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China, the Philippines expressed its position that they want a legally binding instrument.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said that Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano mentioned to his ASEAN counterparts that the Philippines prefers a legally binding code.

Cayetano chaired the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Manila which opened on Saturday.

 

“Secretary Cayetano mentioned that the Philippines, as a country, prefers to have a legally binding code of conduct but of course the caveat there is we have to have an effective code of conduct,” Bolivar told reporters.

The framework that will be adopted on Sunday during the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting would serve as an outline of the COC that will be negotiated by concerned parties in the future.

Bolivar stressed the importance of having a COC that all parties would observe and adhere to.

“When the negotiations start then that is where you see countries putting the more substantive aspects of the code so it’s entirely possible that the issue will be discussed, will be negotiated upon as the code is being negotiated,” Bolivar said.

A draft of the framework of the COC, however, stressed that it would not serve as an instrument to settle territorial disputes or maritime delimitation issues in the South China Sea.

READ: South China Sea code framework skips dispute settlement

The framework seeks to establish a rules-based outline to guide the concerned parties and to promote maritime cooperation in the disputed waters.

As of press time, the ASEAN foreign ministers are yet to release a joint communique where they are expected to issue a statement on the disputed South China Sea.

A draft joint communique obtained by Philstar.com showed that the ASEAN foreign ministers welcomed the conclusion of the negotiations on a framework of the COC.

The draft statement did not mention militarization Beijing’s man-made islands in the disputed islands, as well as the ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal on the Philippines’ arbitration case against China’s nine-dash line claim.

RELATED: ‘South China Sea claimants will suffer if harsh to China’

“Taking note of concerns expressed by some Ministers over recent developments in the area, we reaffirmed the importance of enhancing mutual trust and confidence, exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities, pursuing mutually agreed practical maritime areas of cooperation, and avoiding unilateral actions in disputed features that may further complicate the situation in keeping with the principle of peaceful resolution of disputes without resorting to the threat or use of force,” the draft joint communique read. — Video report by Efigenio Toledo IV

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/06/1725514/philippines-prefers-legally-binding-south-china-sea-code

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

Peace and Freedom Comment: How can you trust a party to a Code of Conduct when they have already proven their unwillingness to follow international law? For China, legally binding means nothing…

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Philippines and Vietnam Have Legal Claims in the South China Sea; China Does Not — Philippine Supreme Court Senior Justice Has a Way To Follow The Law

August 4, 2017
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War never is an option. Diplomacy can fortify the UN ruling on Manila’s row with Beijing. Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio enumerates some diplomatic initiatives, in a presentation to the Stratbase-Albert del Rosario Institute. Third of four parts:

There is no world policeman or sheriff to enforce the arbitral ruling. However, states that ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea expressly bound themselves to comply in good faith with decisions of arbitral tribunals created under UNCLOS. China is reneging on this treaty obligation.

The option for the Philippines is not “talk or go to war with China.” This is a false option, and shows a dismal lack of understanding of international law and relations.

First, the Philippine Constitution prohibits war as instrument of national policy. Second, the UN Charter has outlawed war as a means of settling disputes between states. In resolving the SCS dispute, war is not and has never been an option. That is precisely why the Philippines filed the arbitration case against China.

If the Philippines starts a war against China, it would surely lose, and lose badly. If the Philippines is the aggressor, that will violate the Constitution and the UN Charter. The Philippines cannot invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty because the treaty is only for defense, not for aggression. President Duterte’s oft-repeated question – whether the US will support and join the Philippines if we go to war against China – is a misguided question because the US is not bound by the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty to support any act of aggression by the Philippines. If the US joins the Philippines in a war of aggression, the US will also be in breach of the UN Charter.

China itself does not want to start a war because war will give the US an excuse to intervene in the SCS dispute, since to defend itself the Philippines will certainly invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty. China’s strategy is to control the SCS without firing a shot. Those who raise the issue of war with China either do not understand the Three Warfares Strategy of China, or are scaring the Filipino people to submit to China’s designs in the SCS.

The real and practical option for the Philippines is to “talk with China while taking measures to fortify the arbitral ruling.” We should talk with China on the COC, on the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) for naval and coast guard vessels, on conservation of fish stocks, on preservation of maritime environment, and on how our fishermen can fish in Scarborough Shoal. There are many other things to talk with China on the SCS dispute even if China refuses to discuss the arbitral ruling.

As we talk with China, we can fortify the ruling in many ways:

(1) The Philippines can enter into a sea boundary agreement with Vietnam on our overlapping Extended Continental Shelves in the Spratlys, based on the ruling of the tribunal that no geologic feature in the Spratlys generates an EEZ. Such an agreement implements part of the arbitral ruling by state practice.

(2) The Philippines can enter into a sea boundary agreement with Malaysia on our overlapping EEZ and ECS in the Spratlys, again based on the ruling that no geologic feature in the Spratlys generates an EEZ. Such agreement also implements part of the ruling by state practice.

(3) The Philippines can file an ECS claim beyond our 200 NM EEZ in the West Philippine Sea off the coast of Luzon. If China does not oppose, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) will award the ECS to the Philippines, similar to our ECS claim in Benham Rise where there was no opposition. If China opposes our ECS claim, it will have a dilemma on what ground to invoke. If China invokes the nine-dashed lines again, the UNCLCS will reject the opposition because the UNCLCS is bound by the ruling of the arbitral tribunal which, like the UNCLCS, was created under UNCLOS. If China claims an overlapping ECS, then China will be admitting that the Philippines has a 200 NM EEZ from Luzon that negates the nine-dashed lines.

(4) The arbitral tribunal has ruled that no geologic feature in the Spratlys generates an EEZ. The Philippines can initiate an agreement among all ASEAN disputant states – Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines – declaring that no geologic feature in the Spratlys generate an EEZ that could overlap with their respective EEZs. Even if only the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia will agree to this declaration, it will clearly remove any maritime delimitation dispute among them, leaving only the territorial disputes. This will isolate China as the only state claiming an EEZ from geologic features in the Spratlys.

(5) The Philippines can claim damages before an UNCLOS tribunal for the “severe, permanent harm” to the marine environment, as ruled by the arbitral tribunal, that China caused within Philippine EEZ in the Spratlys because of China’s dredging and its failure to stop Chinese fishermen from harvesting endangered species.

(6) In case China shows signs of reclaiming Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines can file a new case before an UNCLOS arbitral tribunal to stop the reclamation because any reclamation in Scarborough Shoal will destroy the traditional fishing ground common to fishermen from the Philippines, Vietnam and China as ruled by the tribunal.

The ruling involves only maritime, not territorial issues. Enforcing it does not mean forcibly evicting China from the islands and high-tide elevations it occupies in the SCS, as occupation of these geologic features is a territorial issue. There are still many commentators in media who fail to distinguish between territorial and maritime disputes, and thus wrongly conclude that enforcing the ruling means going to war with China on the territorial dispute. (More on Monday)

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http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2017/08/04/1724629/enforce-un-ruling-carpio-lists-ways

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

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South China Sea: A Year Later, China Shows No Regard for Arbitration Ruling, International Law

July 18, 2017
 Image result for H-6K bombers, china, photos
A Chinese H-6K bomber keeps watch over Scarborough Shoal (China calls Huangyan) in the Philippines. PLA photo from Xinhua

About one year ago a five-judge tribunal based at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague announced its decision in a case filed by the Philippines in 2013 against China over their disputed claims in the South China Sea.

It came after a stand-off between the two countries over the Scarborough Shoal the previous year; China ultimately seized the shoal from Manila’s control and maintains a presence there to this day.

The case brought before the tribunal concerned maritime entitlements and the status of features in the South China Sea, among other issues. It did not seek to adjudicate the territorial sovereignty of features, given that this was outside the purview of the tribunal.

The ruling should have become a major reaffirmation of the principle that, in the South China Sea, might could not make right. Instead, one year on, little has changed and the tribunal’s award sits as a mere piece of paper.The court unanimously ruled in favour of the Philippines on nearly all points. China had refused to participate in the proceedings and treated them as invalid.

The reasons for this are complex. Partly, this outcome involves a tragedy of timing. Just days before the award was released, the pro-American and internationalist government of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III was replaced by the government of current leader President Rodrigo Duterte.

Instead of enthusiastically pursuing justice backed by the full weight of international law, he effectively began a 180 degree turn in Manila’s relations with Beijing.

The Philippines also took over the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, exercising considerable sway over its agenda and making it less useful than usual on the South China Sea. (Not that ASEAN ever was a trailblazer on the issue before Duterte.)

China, in the meantime, reciprocated the overture. While many Western analysts, including yours truly, had anticipated Beijing would react with rage initially and eventually balk at the reputational costs of explicitly flouting an international verdict, this never came to pass.

Beijing, perhaps acting as many great powers have in the past, kept calm and carried on its activities in the South China Sea, continuing to press its claims to “traditional fishing grounds” and its nine-dash line as far south as Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone.

In the end, what was supposed to be the most significant international legal verdict on maritime entitlements in the South China Sea largely fizzled away.

The ruling, however, has not been forgotten. The United States continues to throw its support behind it, albeit sparingly. Most recently, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told attendees of the Shangri-La Dialogue that the United States called on “all claimants to use this as a starting point to peacefully manage their disputes in the South China Sea.”

But, as an extra-regional power, the United States’ ability to goad the South China Sea claimant states (and ASEAN) into full-throated support for the decision remains distant.

ASEAN and China have kept up the appearance of progress on their disputes by coming to an agreement on a toothless non-binding draft “framework” for a long-awaited code of conduct in the disputed waters.

The document, which was not released publicly, is likely to serve as China’s way of showing it is doing just fine managing its disputes without either the United States’ intervention or that of any international court.

The good news is that while the salience of the ruling over the past year has been disappointing, it will remain a fact of history that in 2016, China was found to have been in violation of several of its commitments as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The bad news is that even if regional states and the Philippines experience a change of heart and decide to pursue what is legally theirs according to the court, Beijing will have already extended its presence across the South China Sea, with its seven artificial islands in the Spratly group and growing coastguard and naval presence.

In the end Beijing was fortunate to largely avoid the fallout of the ruling, but even if the 500-page document transitions into obscurity, it will remain a fact of life in the South China Sea.

Future governments – both in the region and outside it – will be able to reference it without end as a reminder of Beijing’s status as a rule-breaker.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post and is republished here with kind permission.

http://thediplomat.com/2017/07/a-year-later-the-south-china-sea-award-stands-as-evidence-of-chinas-rule-breaking-behavior/

 (Contains links to several more related articles)

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Dominance of the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean would solidify China’s One Belt One Road project
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The international arbitration court in the Hague said on July 12, 2016, that China’s “nine dash line” (what Bill Hayton calls the U-shaped line) was not recognized under international law — making the Vietnamese and Philippine claims on South China Sea islands valid and lawful.
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China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at Hong Kong
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 (Contains links to information about Vietnam’s renewed efforts to extract oil and gas from the sea bed)

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South China Sea, Update — China Air Forces Exercises, Indonesia Makes its Claim

July 17, 2017

BEIJING — Jul 17, 2017, 2:55 AM ET

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez

A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region.

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INDONESIA RENAMES PART OF SOUTH CHINA SEA TO SECURE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE

Indonesia has named waters in its exclusive economic zone that overlap with China’s expansive claim to the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea, an assertion of sovereignty that has angered Beijing.

The decision announced Friday by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs has been in the works since mid-2016 and was vital to law enforcement at sea and securing Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone, said Arif Havas Oegroseno, the deputy minister for maritime sovereignty.

He said the name would reduce confusion and is already used by the oil and gas industry for the waters.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said at a regular news briefing that the “so-called change of name makes no sense at all.”

“We hope the relevant countries can work with China for the shared goal and jointly uphold the current hard-won sound situation in the South China Sea,” he said.

China claims most of the South China Sea, putting it in dispute with many Southeast Asian nations, and has carried out extensive land reclamation and construction on reefs and atolls to bolster its claims.

Indonesia doesn’t have a territorial dispute with China, but Beijing’s nine-dash line, which signifies its claims, overlaps with Indonesia’s internationally recognized exclusive economic zone extending from the Natuna islands.

“The map of Indonesia has clear coordinates, dates and data, and the government would not negotiate with other nations that make unconventional claims … including those who insist on a map of nine broken lines,” Oegroseno said.

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A YEAR AFTER HAGUE ARBITRATION RULING, CHINA REMAINS DEFIANT

Filipino officials behind an arbitration case in which the Philippines won a resounding victory over China last year are expressing alarm that Beijing continues to defy the decision, in what they are calling a setback to the rule of law.

Last week, they urged President Rodrigo Duterte, who has indefinitely set aside the decision that invalidated China’s sweeping historic claims in the South China Sea, to explore diplomatic and legal means by which to pressure China into complying.

Duterte has promised to take up the arbitration ruling with China before his six-year term ends in 2022, but is also courting China as an economic partner and possible security ally. His administration says his pragmatic outreach has calmed tensions, revived dialogue and reaped pledges of huge Chinese investments and other benefits.

“Despite its friendlier face, we do not see restraint in China’s militarization and unlawful activity in the West Philippine Sea,” said former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who spearheaded moves to bring the Philippines’ disputes with China to international arbitration in 2013. He cited China’s moves to fortify its seven man-made islands in the Spratly group with missile defense systems.

Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio said China is reneging on its treaty obligation because it ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea under which the arbitration decision was based.

China last week marked the anniversary of the ruling with the relatively mild language it has adopted toward the Philippines in recent months. “With the joint efforts by China and the Philippines over the past year, the dispute has been brought back to the peaceful settlement through dialogue and consolation, and bilateral ties have improved overall,” spokesman Geng Shuang said.

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PHILIPPINES SEES TRADE BENEFITS IN LOW-KEY APPROACH TO DISPUTES WITH CHINA

Philippine Trade Minister Ramon Lopez has predicted faster growth of economic ties with China following Manila’s decision to effectively shelve their territorial disputes.

Lopez said in an interview with Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post last week that the Philippines’ “realistic and practical” approach to those controversies would encourage Chinese trade and investment and help the country meet its ambitious economic growth target of 7-8 percent over the coming five years.

“I credit it to the wisdom of (Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte) to really be more realistic and practical, to consider the positive points of having a relationship with China renewed,” Lopez told the newspaper.

“He has mentioned in many of his statements that, ‘Why fight China when we can set aside the differences and focus on areas of cooperation, focus on how China and the Philippines can help in mutual growth?'” Lopez said.

Exports of Philippine bananas and mangos to China and Hong Kong grew by 34 percent in the first five months of this year following the lifting of Chinese restrictions, he said, much higher than the 14 percent rate for the rest of the world.

Lopez said he also backed allowing Chinese to visit for a week visa-free as a further boost to business ties.

“If you want to explore business opportunities and therefore you want to visit the Philippines and meet the people, that is something we can look at,” he said.

The Philippines has become “much safer” to do business in since Duterte launched his bloody war on drug dealers and addicts, with the crime rate dropping 53 percent over the past year, Lopez said. Some 5,000 suspects have died so far in the campaign, and human rights group have called for an independent investigation into Duterte’s possible role in the violence.

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Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.

Related:

 (Contains links to several more related articles)

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Dominance of the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean would solidify China’s One Belt One Road project
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The international arbitration court in the Hague said on July 12, 2016, that China’s “nine dash line” (what Bill Hayton calls the U-shaped line) was not recognized under international law — making the Vietnamese and Philippine claims on South China Sea islands valid and lawful.
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Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature
China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at Hong Kong
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Related:
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 (Contains links to information about Vietnam’s renewed efforts to extract oil and gas from the sea bed)

Image may contain: sky, ocean, cloud, twilight, outdoor, water and nature

Philippines: A year of walking with China

July 5, 2017
As soon as President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office last year, he announced that his administration would pursue an “independent foreign policy.”

This piece is a part of a news analysis series on the first 12 months of the Duterte administration.

President Rodrigo Duterte took an abrupt turn from his predecessor regarding his foreign policy. As soon as he assumed office last year, he announced that his administration would pursue an “independent foreign policy.”

Article II, Section VII of the 1987 Constitution provides that, “The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.”

It appears, however, that pursuing a so-called independent policy would mean appeasing China following the ruling of an international arbitral tribunal on the Manila’s complaint against Beijing’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

On July 12, 2016, the United Nations-backed tribunal based in the Hague, Netherlands issued a ruling invalidating China’s historic claims over the disputed waters. Beijing refused to honor the ruling and reiterated its position that it has a historic and legal claim over the South China Sea.

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Duterte has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping thrice since the issuance of the arbitral ruling. The first was during his visit to Beijing in October 2016 where the two leaders signed several agreements between their governments. They met for the second time in November 2016 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit in Lima, Peru. During their bilateral meeting, Duterte assured Xi that he would adopt a foreign policy that veers toward a China-led regional development.

A few days after the conclusion of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila, Duterte received a phone call from Xi to discuss regional issues and how to strengthen ties with the 10-member regional bloc’s regional partners. This follows a watered-down ASEAN chairman statement which failed to mention the international tribunal’s ruling or militarization in the South China Sea. The ASEAN, under Philippine chairmanship, is set to push through with the enactment of a code of conduct on the South China Sea before the year ends.

Last May, Duterte went again to Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. The president, however, skipped the opening ceremony of the two-day forum. The Chinese president had pledged $124 billion for his Silk Road plan which could help developing countries like the Philippines.

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Duterte was able to raise with his Chinese counterpart the arbitral ruling during his second visit to Beijing in May but the president said Xi threatened that China would go to war if the Philippines will drill oil in the South China Sea. The Philippine delegation did not raise the arbitral ruling during the start of the discussions on a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea. China and Southeast Asian nations only settled for a “gentleman’s agreement” to prevent war or to keep the situation in the region stable.

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De La Salle University Professor Renato De Castro said that the notion of shifting to an independent foreign policy is rhetorical and without substance as it would mean independence from the United States.

“For Mr. Duterte, independence means separation from US but in exchange for becoming like Cambodia or Laos—countries that are deemed tributary kingdoms of China,” De Castro said in an exclusive interview with Philstar.com.

On October 2016, Duterte announced that he is cutting ties with the US, the Philippines’ longtime ally and trading partner. Days after the announcement, he clarified that the separation from the US is “not severance of ties.”

Duterte had expressed his intention to end the Philippines’ war games with the US during his first months in office. The first Balikatan military exercises under the Duterte administration was shortened, scaled down and focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster response instead.

Dindo Manhit, president of the private think tank Stratbase ADR Institute, shared the same sentiment, noting that seeking new friendships and disregarding traditional partners does not improve the country’s ability to preserve national interest.

“Above all, the Philippines’ interest as a smaller country is to ensure that international law prevails. International law is what evens the playing field between countries,” Manhit told Philstar.com, adding that the best proof of this is how the Philippines succeeded in its arbitration case against China.

The Philippines must be willing to use the arbitration ruling to strengthen its position if the bilateral consultation mechanism with China will work, Manhit said.

“Without a willingness to use the ruling to our advantage, what will our country be able to bring to discussion?” Manhit said.

However, a bilateral approach in resolving the maritime dispute would mean that the stronger power would be able to use its influence and resolve the dispute according to its terms, according to De Castro. Duterte appears to have chosen China’s goodwill and economic largess over the Hague ruling.

“Appeasements means that smaller power unilaterally extends concession to a bigger power. The Philippines has already set aside the Hague Ruling and has degraded its alliance with the US to earn China’s good will and possibly, some economic side-payments,” De Castro said.

Manhit, however, noted that there is still room for policies to change or for events to change the decision-making of the Duterte administration as it concludes its first year. The government is highly urged to reconsider its current approach on the issue.

On the other hand, De Castro warned that the Philippines may follow the footsteps of Cambodia and Laos as a result of being obliged for economic reasons to favor China following its investments in the country.

“He (Duterte) wants the Philippines to be independent from the U.S. but a tributary kingdom of China… We will become like Cambodia and Laos, extremely dependent and subservient to China. Associate Justice (Antonio) Carpio used the term ‘filandization,’” [sic] De Castro said.

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— Graphics by RP Ocampo

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/05/1716362/year-walking-china

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China’s coast guard monitors and regulated fishing in the South China Sea

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China Sees Itself as Owner of the South China Sea — Recent developments

July 4, 2017

The Associated Press

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 July 3 at 4:40 AM
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BEIJING — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:___EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region.___CHINA’S LIAONING AIRCRAFT CARRIER HEADED SOUTH ON TRAINING EXERCISE

China’s sole aircraft carrier is headed south on a training exercise that will take it into Hong Kong for the first time.

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The 60,000-ton Liaoning left its home port June 25 along with the destroyers Jinan and Yinchuan for what was described as a weeks-long, transregional training mission.

A report on the defense ministry website said its complement of J-15 jet fighters and helicopters have been conducting flight training along its voyage. According to the official Xinhua News Agency on Monday, the mission aims to “strengthen coordination among the vessels and improve the skills of crew and pilots in different marine regions.”

A highlight of the mission will be the flotilla’s port call in Hong Kong to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army garrison’s presence in the semi-autonomous Chinese city and former British colony.

Though no official date has been announced, the Liaoning is expected to arrive on Friday.

While U.S. and other visiting sailors tend to gravitate toward the city’s Wanchai nightlife district, the PLA navy says its officers and soldiers will be attending “various exchanges and activities with Hong Kong residents and the PLA garrison.” The ships will also be open for visits by the public.

The Liaoning has exercised in the South China Sea, although Beijing has been vague on what role it intends it to ultimately play.

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CHINA PROTESTS LATEST US FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION OPERATION NEAR TRITON ISLAND

China’s foreign ministry is strongly protesting the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Stethem’s sailing within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) of tiny Triton island, which is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Spokesman Lu Kang said China dispatched naval ships and fighter planes Sunday to “warn off the U.S. vessel.”

Washington’s move “violated the Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon China’s sovereignty, disrupted peace, security and order of the relevant waters … and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation.

“The Chinese side will continue to take all necessary means to defend national sovereignty and security,” Lu said.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet had no comment on China’s statement or any specifics of the Stethem’s operations.

Triton lies in the Paracel island group, north of the Spratlys, where China has conducted massive land reclamation activities on seven reefs and atolls.

A U.S. defense official, who was not authorized to speak by name and requested anonymity, said the Stethem conducted a routine “right of innocent passage” exercise on Sunday. Under international law, warships are allowed to pass through another country’s territorial waters as long as they do not stop or carry out military activities.

Such freedom of navigation operation missions are used to bolster the argument that nations cannot claim that prior notice is required before passing through territorial waters as allowed under international agreement.

Chinese law, however, requires that foreign military vessels receive China’s permission before passing through its territorial waters.

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US, PHILIPPINE SHIPS CONDUCT JOIN ANTI-KIDNAPPING PATROLS IN SULU SEA

U.S. and Philippine navy ships have patrolled waters in the southern Philippines where kidnappings by ransom-seeking Abu Sayyaf militants have sparked a regional security alarm.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson said a Navy combat ship, the USS Coronado, and the Philippine navy frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz completed the four-day patrol at the Sulu Sea on Saturday, adding that the operation was carried out at the request of the Philippine government.

The coordinated patrol, which was aimed at detecting and deterring threats, “was safe and routine,” Abrahamson said.

Abu Sayyaf gunmen have kidnapped crewmen from Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam on board passing tugboats and cargo ships and held them for ransom on southern Sulu and outlying islands in recent years. The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to take steps to deter and stop the threats in the busy waters.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang. (By KIM KYUNG HOON for REUTERS)

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 (A lesson in how China carries out its international commitments and promises)
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 (Includes links to several related articles)

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The international arbitration court in the Hague said on July 12, 2016, that China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law — making the Vietnamese and Philippine claims on South China Sea islands valid and lawful.