Posts Tagged ‘Brunei’

Pence says South China Sea doesn’t belong to any one nation

November 16, 2018

The South China Sea does not belong to any one nation and the United States will continue to sail and fly wherever international law allows, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday, in a challenge to China which claims the waterway.

 

Li Keqiang, from left, Vladimir Putin, Lee Hsien Loong, Prayuth Chan-Ocha and Mike Pence.  Photographer: Alexei Druzhinin/TASS via Getty Images

 

The United States has conducted a series of “freedom of navigation” exercises in the contested South China Sea, angering China, which says the patrols threaten its sovereignty.

“The South China Sea doesn’t belong to any one nation, and you can be sure: The United States will continue to sail and fly wherever international law allows and our national interests demand,” Pence said.

China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, all have claims in the South China Sea, through which some $3 trillion of shipborne trade passes each year.

Pence on Thursday told leaders of Southeast Asian nations there was no place for “empire and aggression” in the Indo-Pacific region, a comment that could be interpreted as a reference to China’s rise.

Speaking to a regional summit, Pence directly criticized China’s action in the South China Sea, according to a transcript of his remarks.

“Let me be clear: China’s militarization and territorial expansion in the South China Sea is illegal and dangerous. It threatens the sovereignty of many nations and endangers the prosperity of the world,” he said.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said no country, including the United States, had ever provided any evidence of problems with freedom of navigation or overflight in the South China Sea.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

“May I trouble you to remind Mr Pence, that the United States has yet to ratify the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS),” Hua told a daily news briefing.

“If the United States can at an early date ratify and abide by UNCLOS, then I think this will benefit even more the protection of peace and stability in the South China Sea area.”

The 1982 convention defines how coastal states are allowed to establish sovereignty over territorial seas and exclusive economic zones. China has signed and ratified it.

Pence’s comments follow a major speech in October in which he flagged a tougher U.S. approach toward China, accusing it of “malign” efforts to undermine U.S. President Donald Trump and reckless military actions in the South China Sea.

Reporting by John Geddie; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Writing by Jack Kim; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel

Reuters

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Without Trump, U.S. Gives Way to Putin in Asian Summit Line-Up

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-15/without-trump-u-s-gives-way-to-putin-in-asian-summit-line-up

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Calls for open trade to greet Pence as Trump skips Asia summit

November 11, 2018

Asia-Pacific leaders will join the heads of Southeast Asian states this week in Singapore to renew calls for multilateralism and fresh pledges to resolve regional conflicts ranging from the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar to tensions in the South China Sea.

Notably absent when regional powers such as China, Japan and India seek to enlist support for a multilateral trading system will be U.S. President Donald Trump, whose decision to skip the Asia summit has raised questions about his commitment to a regional strategy aimed at checking China’s rise.

Vice President Mike Pence will attend instead of Trump, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are among those expected to join leaders from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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Mike Pence

Li is expected to rally support for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact now being negotiated, showcased to be the free trade deal that will encompass more than a third of the world’s GDP.

The pact includes 16 countries, including China, India, Japan and South Korea, but not the United States.

Trump has demanded trade agreements that are fair and enforceable and based on the principle of reciprocity. He has re-negotiated an existing pact with South Korea and the three-way deal with Mexico and Canada, and pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which involved four Southeast Asian states.

The United States is also in the midst of a bitter trade war with China which has undermined global markets.

China is pushing the RCEP deal – Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong told reporters on Thursday it “will be of great significance for deepening regional cooperation, coping with unilateralism and protectionism, and promoting an open, inclusive and rules-based international trading system.”

However, Li is expected to appeal in Singapore for the need for the world’s two largest economies to work together to resolve trade disputes, reiterating commitment made by Beijing’s top leaders last week for market opening and lowering tariffs.

It was not clear if Li and Pence will hold separate talks on the sidelines of the Singapore meetings, which would be a prelude to a summit scheduled between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the end of the month in Buenos Aires.

The encounter, if it happens, would come on the heels of high-level talks in Washington where the two sides aired their main differences but appeared to attempt controlling the damage to relations that has worsened with tit-for-tat tariffs in recent months.

Many of the leaders in Singapore will also meet at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Papua New Guinea next weekend.

ASEAN, which will hold its own summit on Tuesday before being joined by other leaders, also faces the challenge of working through sharp differences over the handling of the Rohingya minority by Myanmar whose military has been accused of “genocidal intent” by the United Nations.

Leader Aung San Suu Kyi is due to attend the Singapore meetings this week while Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, attending his first multilateral summit since returning to power in May, has served notice he has lost faith in the Nobel peace laureate over the issue.

The Rohingya crisis is one of the biggest man-made disasters involving a member since ASEAN was founded in 1967, and it is one of the thorniest issues yet faced by a group that traditionally works by consensus.

Many diplomats and rights activists say ASEAN’s credibility is at risk if it fails to tackle the matter head-on.

At the meetings, ASEAN and China will try to make headway in negotiations for a code of conduct for the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety while ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the area. Taiwan is also a claimant.

But an agreement is unlikely to be announced.

Also, ASEAN members states may announce the successful conclusion of agreements with Russia and the United States on cooperating on cyber security.

Reporting by Jack Kim; additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Roberta Rampton in Washington

Reuters

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Philippines join Asean-China maritime drills later this month

October 8, 2018

The navies of Asean nations and China will launch its first-ever maritime drills later this month amid ongoing maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

The Philippines will join the exercises hosted by China in Zhanjiang from Oct. 22 to 29, Defense spokesperson Dir. Arsenio Andolong told reporters Monday.

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Photo from PHILIPPINE NAVY

It is still undetermined which vessel the Philippine Navy would be sending for the exercises.

“At the moment, the only thing certain are the dates which is Oct. 22 to 29 and the Philippines is participating,” he said, adding that Navy chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad is likely to attend the exercise.

Asean and China navies conducted tabletop exercises in Singapore last August but the actual drills would only take place this October.

Andolong said that defense ministers earlier agreed that the drills, which was originally proposed by China, would not take place in contested areas. Hence, it was decided to be held in Zhanjiang, located in the southwestern end of Guangdong province.

The drills would focus on cooperation and responding to maritime incidents at sea.

“We hope to deepen our understanding [with them] and we are also exploring the possibilities of finding ways to improve the unexpected encounters and sea protocols,” Andolong said.

China continues to assert its “indisputable sovereignty” over almost the entire South China Sea despite its massive claims being invalidated by an international arbitration court in The Hague in 2016, in a case filed by the Philippines.

Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei are the other Asean member states which have claims in the South China Sea, aside from the Philippines, China and Taiwan.

Non-claimant Asean states include Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand.

A defense analyst told Inquirer.net early this year that the Asean drills with China was “tantamount to rewarding Beijing for its bad behavior.”

“The Chinese military will also use these exercises to establish direct contacts with their military not for confidence-building measures but more on networking to co-opt and influence Asean militaries, with the Philippine military fast turning into the most vulnerable one for cooptation due to the pro Beijing policy of Duterte and the willingness of some within the Philippine military institution to advance their careers by advancing pro-China policies within the services,” Jose Custodio said in June.

He added that confidence-building measures have been “abused” by China since the 1990s when it lied about its presence in Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef) by saying that they only built fishermen shelters.

International maritime security expert Collin Koh said that the drills would be confidence-building measures at best but would not actually help in the ongoing sea disputes.

“Even where it concerns confidence-building, I also have reservations about the impact it has on actually moderating behavior of the claimants, not least China. If I can just be blunt: even if this exercise takes place and becomes a regular event, the claimants will still most plausibly continue with their respective activities to maintain and even enhance their possessions in the disputed waters, including militarization,” he said. /je

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Hope, skepticism over first-ever Asean-China maritime drills this year

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U.S. Considers Major Show of Military Strength After U.S.-China Warship Incident

October 4, 2018

Freedom of navigation operation will take place amid rising tensions and near-collision between USS Decatur and Chinese vessel

South China Sea

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 11:27am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 4:47pm
 A US carrier group pictured during an exercise near the Philippines last year. Photo: AFP

The United States Pacific Fleet has drawn up a plan for a major show of force as a warning to China that will indicate its determination to counter Beijing’s military activity, it was reported on Thursday amid rising tension over the disputed South China Sea.

The plan would see planes and ships passing close to Chinese-claimed waters in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait in a freedom of navigation operation, CNN reported, citing several unnamed US defence officials.

The proposal means US ships and aircraft will be operating close to Chinese forces and is expected to trigger a strong reaction from Beijing.

China’s defence ministry did not immediately comment on the report, but a Chinese diplomatic observer said that by expanding its operations from the South China Sea to the Taiwan Strait the US was escalating the confrontation.

The observer also predicted that China would step up its military presence in both areas.

The proposal is being driven by the military but CNN noted that carrying it out it in early November when the US midterm elections are taking place could have political implications for the Trump administration if the US troops are challenged by China.

USS Decatur nearly collided with a Chinese ship on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Beijing has previously criticised freedom of navigation operations by the US in the South China Sea as an infringement of its territorial sovereignty.

Tensions are running high between the US and Chinese militaries over the disputed waters, parts of which are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

On Sunday, a Chinese destroyer nearly collided with the USS Decatur, which was carrying out a freedom of navigation operation and sailing close to the China-claimed Gaven Reef.

The Chinese destroyer came within 41 metres (135 feet) of the American warship, the US navy said, describing the Chinese move as “unsafe and unprofessional”.

US Vice-President Mike Pence will give China a blunt warning on Thursday that the United States will not back down from what Washington sees as Chinese intimidation in the South China Sea.

Pence will address the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington and excerpts released in advance suggest he will draw attention to the incident.

“Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be intimidated. We will not stand down,” the speech will say.

Su Hao, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, said recent incidents were a sign that the South China Sea had become an arena for the US and China to confront each, rather than simply being a territorial dispute between Beijing and the other claimants.

“Relations between China and the other claimants have been relatively calm recently, but the conflict in the South China Sea has been intensified by the involvement of the US,” he said.

“When two big nations are confronting each other, it is necessary to maintain a proper military balance to avoid the conflict from getting out of control,” he said. “The other nations in Southeast Asia will find it very difficult being sandwiched between the two big powers.”

By expanding its area of operations to the Taiwan Strait, Su continued, the US was linking the South China Sea and Taiwan and was prepared to confront China across a wider front.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/2166910/us-navy-plans-major-show-strength-south-china-sea-warning

Additional reporting by Reuters

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The U.S. does not recognize China’s claims in the South China Sea. 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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior. The U.S. views China’s base building in the South China Sea as unlawful and similar to Russia’s incursions into Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine.

Australia concerned over China’s ‘aggressive tactics’ in South China Sea

October 3, 2018

Defence minister says any intimidation in region is ‘potentially dangerous’ after ‘unsafe’ encounter with US destroyer

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Chinese warship (right) has maneuvered to block the U.S. warship USS Decatur, on a routine freedom of navigation patrol, in the South China Sea, Sunday, September 30, 2018. U.S. Navy photo

Australia has expressed concerns about China’s “aggressive tactics” in the South China Sea after a Chinese navy destroyer sailed within yards of an American warship on the weekend.

Christopher Pyne, Australia’s defence minister, said the Morrison government would view any use of intimidation in the region as “destabilising and potentially dangerous”.

According to a US official, the USS Decatur guided-missile destroyer was conducting a “freedom of navigation operation” in the South China Sea on Sunday, when it passed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the contested Spratly Islands.

Beijing claims the entire Spratly island chain as part of its sweeping claims across much of the South China Sea, but the archipelago is contested.

China repeatedly asserts its right to build “defence” facilities in the region, which it views as key to pushing its defences beyond China’s coast and securing oil supply routes, but it has been accused of building “island fortresses” on the islands.

Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the region.

A US official has claimed the USS Decatur was conducting a freedom of navigation operation in the region on Sunday when a Chinese Luyang destroyer approached in “an unsafe and unprofessional manoeuvre in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea.”

The Chinese destroyer reportedly conducted a series of “increasingly aggressive” manoeuvres, warning the Decatur to depart the area.

It then approached “within 45 yards of Decatur’s bow”, forcing the Decatur to manoeuvre to prevent a collision, Cdr Nate Christensen, US Pacific Fleet spokesman, said on Monday.

Pyne said the Morrison government would view such tactics as “potentially dangerous”, and called the reports “concerning”.

“We would view any use of intimidation or aggressive tactics as destabilising and potentially dangerous,” he told Guardian Australia on Wednesday.

“Australia has consistently expressed concern over ongoing militarisation of the South China Sea and we continue to urge all claimants to refrain from unilateral actions that would increase tension in the region,” he said. His comments were first reported by the Australian.

China’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that a Chinese naval ship had been sent to warn the US vessel to leave, saying it was resolutely opposed to an operation that it called a threat to its sovereignty.

The foreign ministry in Beijing said in a separate statement it strongly urged the United States to stop such “provocative” actions.

US-Chinese relations have been strained since Donald Trump became president.

A trade war launched by Trump has infuriated Beijing, as did his authorisation of a $1.3bn arms sale to Taiwan, which China considers a rebel province. Washington last week enacted new tariffs against China covering another $200bn of its imports.

China has taken a series of retaliatory measures, including scrapping a US warship’s planned port visit to Hong Kong and cancelling a meeting between the head of the Chinese navy and his American counterpart.

On Monday, a US defence official said security talks due to take place later this month in Beijing between the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, and his Chinese counterpart had been cancelled.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/03/australia-concerned-over-chinas-aggressive-tactics-in-south-china-sea

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The U.S. does not recognize China’s claims in the South China Sea. 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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior. The U.S. views China’s base building in the South China Sea as unlawful and similar to Russia’s incursions into Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine.

China condemns U.S. for South China Sea freedom of navigation operation — Who “owns” the sea?

October 2, 2018

China expressed anger on Tuesday after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea, saying it resolutely opposed an operation that it called a threat to its sovereignty.

Beijing and Washington are locked in a trade war in which they have imposed increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other’s imports.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the destroyer the USS Decatur traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands on Sunday.

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The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.

China’s Defence Ministry said a Chinese naval ship had been sent to warn the U.S. vessel to leave.

The ministry said China has irrefutable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the waters around them, and the situation there is progressing well thanks to the hard work of China and countries in Southeast Asia.

“The U.S. side repeatedly sends military ships without permission into seas close to South China Seas islands, seriously threatening China’s sovereignty and security, seriously damaging Sino-U.S. military ties and seriously harming regional peace and stability,” the ministry said.

“China’s military is resolutely opposed to this,” it said.

The Chinese armed forces will continue to take all necessary steps to protect the country’s sovereignty and security, the ministry said.

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China has built seven military bases near the Philippines — including on Gaven and Johnson reefs

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement it strongly urged the United States to stop such “provocative” actions and to “immediately correct its mistakes”.

The operation also comes as military ties between the two countries have dived, with China also angered by U.S. sanctions on China’s military for buying Russian arms and by U.S. support for self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday he did not see relations between the United States and China worsening, a day after his trip to China was canceled.

Reuters reported on Sunday that China canceled a security meeting with Mattis that had been planned for October. A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mattis was no longer going to China.

China has not yet commented on the matter.

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe is due to visit the United States later this year but China’s Defence Ministry suggested last week that may not happen.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by David Stanway in SHANGHAI; Editing by Paul Tait

Reuters

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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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior. The U.S. views China’s base building in the South China Sea as unlawful and similar to Russia’s incursions into Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine.

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US warship sails near South China Sea area claimed by China

October 1, 2018

An American warship has sailed through waters off the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in the latest implicit challenge to Beijing’s sweeping territorial claims in the region, the Pentagon said Sunday.

“Guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur conducted a freedom of navigation operation,” an official told AFP. “Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands.”

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USS Decatur

The official said all US military operations in the area “are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”

The 12-mile distance is commonly accepted as constituting the territorial waters of a landmass.  Beijing claims all of the Spratly chain.

There was no immediate reaction from China, but a similar US operation in July, involving the disputed Paracel islands, prompted a furious Beijing to deploy military vessels and fighter jets.

The Paracels, north of the Spratly Islands, are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

On May 25, the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed less than 12 nautical miles from a reef in the Spratly archipelago.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.

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China has built seven military bases near the Philippines — including on Gaven and Johnson reefs

Further angering those countries, and the US, Beijing has moved aggressively to build reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.

US-Chinese relations have been strained on multiple levels since  Donald Trump became president in 2017. A trade war launched by Trump has infuriated Beijing, as did his authorization of a $1.3 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which China considers a rebel province.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/10/01/1856332/us-warship-sails-near-south-china-sea-area-claimed-beijing-pentagon#pZuJPgZaq8h24QDK.99

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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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior. The U.S. views China’s base building in the South China Sea as unlawful and similar to Russia’s incursions into Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine.

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US: ASEAN committed to counter ‘unilateral’ actions in South China Sea

September 28, 2018

Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have committed to uphold the rule of law in resolving the South China Sea dispute, a US Department of State official said.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said all ASEAN countries acknowledge that there are disputed claims in the South China Sea.

Sullivan recently co-chaired the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, along with Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith.

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“I would say that there is consensus, a commitment by ASEAN and the United States to the rule of law, the Law of the Sea treaty, that that should govern these claims, disputed claims to the South China Sea, and not unilateral actions by one country to develop features in the South China Sea and, even worse, to militarize them,” Sullivan said in a press briefing in New York on Thursday.

The deputy secretary added that ASEAN countries are looking forward to a resolution of the overlapping claims under the norms of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In July 2016, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a landmark ruling, which concluded that Beijing violated its commitment under the UNCLOS when it constructed artificial islands in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

China’s so-called nine-dash line claim over the South China overlaps the claims of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

“We want international law to be followed and for there to be a peaceful process, not a unilateral decision by one country, to resolve those claims, which involve a number of different countries – Philippines, Vietnam, et cetera, Malaysia,” Sullivan said.

Beijing, on the other hand, has been refusing to acknowledge the arbitral ruling and insisted that it has indisputable sovereignty over the contested waterway.

“And our opposition to what the Chinese Government has done in the South China Sea is not because we think we’re making a determination that China does or does not have a claim to a particular feature of the South China Sea,” Sullivan said.

 

 

China has reportedly installed anti-cruise ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming equipment on its “big three” islands in the South China Sea — Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs — which are also being claimed by the Philippines.

Washington has been consistent on its position to reject Beijing’s territorial claims and has been insisting that its military will “continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows at times and places of our choosing.”

The US recently flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers in the South China Sea and East China Sea as part of “regularly scheduled operations.”

“So there’s nothing out of the ordinary about it, nor about our ships sailing through there,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.

Beijing, on the other hand, considered Washington’s fly-by over South China Sea airspace as “provocative.”

“As for the provocative actions taken by the US military aircraft in the South China Sea, we are firmly against them and will continue to take necessary measures in response to these actions,” Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang said.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/09/28/1855529/us-asean-committed-counter-unilateral-actions-south-china-sea#euPOgX78ectsRS0D.99

China demands U.S. act to improve military ties amid tensions — “Stop these wrong words and deeds.”

September 27, 2018

China on Thursday criticized the United States for flying B-52 bombers in the vicinity of the South China Sea, and demanded that the U.S. take steps to improve military relations amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

Defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told a monthly briefing that China is resolutely opposed to provocative U.S. military actions in the South China Sea – where China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines have rival claims.

Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang denied U.S. President Donald Trump’s accusation that Beijing is trying to influence the U.S. congressional elections in November.

“We advise the United States to stop this unceasing criticism and slander of China,” Geng said at a briefing in Beijing.

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FILE PHOTO: Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang

“Stop these wrong words and deeds that damage bilateral relations and the basic interests of both countries’ peoples,” Geng said.

The two countries, already engaged in an acrimonious trade war, continue to butt heads over a list of sensitive issues including the South China Sea and Taiwan.

On Saturday, China summoned the U.S. ambassador in Beijing and postponed joint military talks to protest Washington’s decision to sanction a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.

Beijing has also denied a request for a U.S. warship to visit Hong Kong, the U.S. consulate in the Chinese city said on Tuesday.

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China has built seven military bases near the Philippines

China also expressed anger after the U.S. approved the sale of spare parts for F-16 fighter planes and other military aircraft worth up to $330 million to self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd; Writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Darren Schuettler

Reuters

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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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior. The U.S. views China’s base building in the South China Sea as unlawful and similar to Russia’s incursions into Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine.

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South China Sea: Vietnam re-states its position on freedom of navigation, sovereignty in Paracel and Spratly islands

September 23, 2018

Vietnam respects navigation freedom conferred by international laws, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Thursday.

She said at a press conference that Vietnam’s position on freedom of navigation in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea, has been consistent.

“Vietnam respects the rights to freedom of navigation and overflight of other countries in the East Sea in accordance with international laws, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” she said.

Hang also reiterated that Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel (Hoang Sa) and Spratly (Truong Sa) Islands in accordance with international laws. She called for other countries to contribute “practically and responsibly” to the maintenance of order, peace and the rule of law in the East Sea.

Hang was responding to questions regarding recent activities by the British and Japanese navies in the waters.

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The British Royal Navy fleet flagship, HMS Albion, which sailed close to China-claimed Paracel Islands before arriving in Ho Chi Minh City on September 3, 2018. Photo by Reuters

The British Royal Navy’s amphibious warship HMS Albion sailed close to the Paracel Islands on its way to Saigon Port in Ho Chi Minh City for a visit on September 3, as part of a freedom of navigation operation to challenge China’s “excessive claims” in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.

China seized the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974, and has since been illegally occupying the archipelago. Its claims virtually the entire waterway, including waters close to Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s submarine JS Kuroshio also took part in a naval drill in the South China Sea last week, before docking at Cam Ranh Port in central Vietnam on Monday for a four-day visit.

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Japanese submarine Kuroshio docks at Cam Ranh Port in central Vietnam. Photo by the Vietnam News Agency

“Japan is responding to Chinese assertiveness by pushing back,” Carl Thayer, an Australia-based longtime analyst of regional security, told VnExpress International in an email.This marked the first time a Japanese submarine has taken part in a drill in the waters, and is part of the Japanese fleet’s month-long trip to other Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

He said all maritime powers have a national interest in the maintenance of freedom of navigation and overflight over the high seas, and the sea lanes that pass through the South China Sea are vital to sustain the global economy. Some $3 trillion of ship-borne trade passes the waters each year.

“The Japanese submarine is an important demonstration of naval power and adds risk and uncertainty to China’s military posture in the South China Sea,” he said.

https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-reiterates-stance-after-british-japanese-south-china-sea-drills-3812868.html