Posts Tagged ‘Carpio’

Philippine minister starts damage control after Duterte’s China war remark — “Now we are on China’s ‘One Belt, One Road,’ and can’t get off?”

May 22, 2017

Reuters

 Newly installed Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (R) delivers a statement during a flag raising at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
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Talks last week between leaders of China and the Philippines were frank and friendly, with no threats or bullying, Manila’s foreign minister said on Monday, after his president said he was warned of war if he drills for oil in the South China Sea.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano would not disclose more details of the Beijing meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and China counterpart Xi Jinping, but said they had the kind of relationship in which they could openly discuss preventing maritime conflict.

The notoriously outspoken Duterte said during a televised speech on Friday that Xi warned him there would be war if he tried to explore for oil in a stretch of the sea that both countries claim. China has yet to respond to Duterte revealing contents of the meeting.

“The conversation was very frank. There was mutual respect, there was mutual trust,” Cayetano told reporters.

“The context was not threatening each other, that we will go to war. The context is how do we stabilize the region and how do we prevent conflict.”

The maverick Duterte has faced criticism at home for refusing to push China to comply with an award last year by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled largely in favor of the Philippines.

It also said the Philippines had a sovereign right to access offshore oil and gas fields in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including the Reed Bank.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea, a vital conduit for trade and a hotbed of territorial squabbling that has stoked nationalist fervor in some countries.

“I will not contradict the president’s words. I am just telling you…my interpretation: there was no bullying or pushing around, it was not a threat,” Cayetano added.

“It was more the threat of conflict will always be there if we don’t have dialogue.”

A Philippine Supreme Court judge on Saturday urged the government to file another international arbitration case over the alleged Chinese threat, and also lodge a complaint with the United Nations.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said failure to do that would mean Duterte would be “selling us out” and forfeiting sovereignty to secure Chinese loans and investments needed for his ambitious $180 billion infrastructure program.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Monday said the Philippines was “very clear that we are not giving up our claim of sovereignty and sovereign rights.”

(Reporting by Martin Petty and Karen Lema; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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China is preparing for the reclamation and construction on Scarborough Shoal

FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  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.

Philippine Senators Demand Protesting China At The United Nations Over South China Sea War Threat

May 21, 2017

By : @inquirerdotnet

/ 12:11 AM May 22, 2017

Sen. Francis Pangilinan

Sen. Francis Pangilinan

Several senators on Sunday urged the government to take action against China such as filing a diplomatic protest over its threat of war against the Philippines if Manila tried to enforce an arbitration ruling and drill for oil at a reef within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea.

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Sen. Francis Pangilinan urged Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to file the diplomatic protest against China two days after President Duterte disclosed the threat.

“Did China really threaten the Philippines with war after President Duterte asserted the Southeast Asian nation’s sovereignty over disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea? If so, then Foreign Secretary Cayetano should issue a diplomatic protest for this threat,” Pangilinan said in a statement.

Arbitral ruling

In remarks that could infuriate China, Mr. Duterte hit back on Friday at domestic critics who said he had gone soft on Beijing by refusing to pressure it to comply with an award last year by the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled largely in favor of the Philippines in a challenge brought by Manila against Beijing’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea.

Mr. Duterte said he discussed the ruling with Chinese President Xi Jinping when they met in Beijing on Monday, and got a firm but friendly warning.

“We intend to drill oil there. If it’s yours, well, that’s your view. But my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth because it is ours,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech, recalling his conversation with Xi.

“His response to me, ‘We’re friends, we don’t want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain the presence of warm relationships, but if you force the issue, we’ll go to war,’” Mr. Duterte said.

The President had long expressed his admiration for Xi and said he would raise the arbitration ruling with him eventually, but needed first to strengthen relations between the two countries, which the Philippines was hoping would yield to billions of dollars in Chinese loans and infrastructure investments.

The Hague award clarifies Philippine sovereignty rights in the West Philippine Sea—waters within its 370-kilometer EEZ in the South China Sea—to access offshore oil and gas fields, including Recto Bank (internationally known as Reed Bank), 153 km off its coast.

It also invalidated China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea.

China has built islands by reclamation of sand and coral and has militarized them for People’s Liberationa Army (PLA) use. Seen here, Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratlys group of islands are shown from the Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force during the visit to the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano and other officials off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017. President Duterte on Friday, May 19, 2017, described this as “some kind of armed garrison.” It looks like a fortress that coul take on the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines.  Credit Francis Malasig/Pool Photo via AP

Senate inquiry

Pangilinan sought an inquiry into China’s threat by the Senate committees on foreign relations and economic affairs and into the foreign policy direction of the Duterte administration, which he said Sen. Bam Aquino had been calling for since October.

“The hearing should tackle not only this issue, but also details of the $24-billion loans and investments recently sealed with China, as well as the administration’s decision to reject aid from the European Union,” he said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson agreed with the call of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Saturday to take China’s threat to the United Nations.

“There is an arbitral ruling favoring us and which cannot be changed anymore. While it may not be enforceable now, there is no denying the fact that UN member nations must respect the decision. If we go back in time and review previous rulings, concerned countries had initially resisted compliance but eventually, they gave up and complied,” Lacson said in a text message.

“Following that argument, it may only be a question of time before China will realize that her position in the [WestPhilippine Sea] is untenable. We therefore need to marshal the support of the community of nations to put pressure on China, and hope that compliance is accelerated in our favor,” he said.

Take it to UN

Carpio, part of the legal team that argued the Philippines’ case against China in the Hague court, suggested that the Philippines bring China’s threat of war to the United Nations General Assembly by sponsoring a resolution condemning the threat and demanding that China comply with the tribunal’s ruling.

China has no veto in the UN general assembly, Carpio said.

Manila could also claim damages from China for the period of delay that the Philippines is prevented from exploiting resources within its EEZ, Carpio said.

Also agreeing with Carpio, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said the government should go to the United Nations, as this is one of the diplomatic and legal options available to the Philippines.

In a phone interview, however, Trillanes said he did not believe the Chinese president had threatened the Philippines with war.

Blatant lies

“Duterte has been known to make blatant lies to justify his action. In this case, he justifies his cowardice by surrendering our territorial or sovereign rights on the area,” Trillanes said.

Sen. Richard Gordon said that if indeed Xi threatened war, Mr. Duterte should have told him that he was violating “all international laws.”

“We should use the UN here,” Gordon said in a radio interview.

But he also doubted that Xi had made such a threat, pointing out that Mr. Duterte has a habit of saying something and then taking it back later.

He said he doubted that Mr. Duterte gave an accurate account of his conversation with Xi.

“If he really said that, we go to the UN, we go to the international community … make that manifestation and it’s China against the world,” Gordon said.

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/157075/file-protest-vs-china-un-senators-urge#ixzz4hjzlBi3w
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China is preparing for the reclamation and construction on Scarborough Shoal

FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  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.

South China Sea: China’s threat of war against the Philippines is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter — The Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ

May 21, 2017
“The threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within the Philippine EEZ (exclusive economic zone) in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, UNCLOS and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties,” Carpio said. AP/Bullit Marquez/ File
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MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has advised the Duterte government to elevate to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Chinese President Xi Jinping’s threat of war against the Philippines should the latter insist on drilling for oil in the disputed South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea.

“The threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within the Philippine EEZ (exclusive economic zone) in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, UNCLOS and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties,” Carpio said.

Since the Philippine Constitution renounces war as an instrument of national policy, one of the Duterte administration’s options is to bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal.

It could also secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared Recto (Reed) Bank part of Philippine EEZ.

Recto Bank is vital to Philippine national interest, as it is the only replacement for Malampaya, which supplies 40 percent of the energy requirement of Luzon.

The Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.

Another option, according to Carpio, is to report China’s threat of war before the UN General Assembly by sponsoring a resolution condemning China’s threat of war against the Philippines and demanding that China comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the 33rd National Convention of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary in Davao City, the Philippines, on Friday.  Photo: AFP

China, Carpio pointed out, has no veto in the General Assembly.

Carpio also said that the UN Charter outlaws the use or threat of force to settle disputes against states.

Since a threat has been issued, Carpio called on the Filipino people to stand united and defend the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the Constitution, international law and the UNCLOS.

“China’s threat of war against the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea reveals the aggressive design of China against the Philippines. No less than Chinese President Xi Jingping has delivered the threat personally to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte,” Carpio said.

“An arbitral tribunal…has already ruled with finality that the Reed Bank is within the EEZ of the Philippines and only the Philippines can exploit the natural resources within Philippine EEZ,” Carpio said, as he reminded the Philippine government to protect the nation’s maritime wealth in its EEZ, as mandated by the Constitution.

Since the Philippines cannot resort to war, the President has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect the country’s EEZ.

“(T)he President cannot simply do nothing, or worse, acquiesce to China’s action, for inaction is the opposite of protecting Philippine EEZ,” Carpio, an expert on the issue, said.

Under international law, acquiescence is the inaction of a state in the face of threat to its rights under circumstances calling for objection to the threat to its rights; thus, the Philippines will lose forever its EEZ in the West Philippine Sea to China.

Carpio suggested that the country strengthen its ties with its defense alliances, particularly with the United States, since it is the only country with which the Philippines has a Mutual Defense Treaty.

“The Philippines can ally with the United States because the United States does not claim the West Philippine Sea or any Philippine territory,” he said.

‘Chinese propagandist’

For Magdalo party-list group Rep. Gary Alejano, Duterte acts like a Chinese propagandist on the territorial dispute.

Alejano, author of the dismissed impeachment complaint against Duterte, yesterday said he does not believe that the President directly raised the issue on the dispute with Xi.

“We did not hear that from his Chinese counterpart,” he said, referring to Duterte’s statements made in Davao City, where the President revealed Xi’s war threat.

Alejano said Duterte raises hell whenever the US and the European Union reminds him about human rights and adherence to the rule of law.

“But he is a meek lamb in front of Chinese officials,” Alejano said, adding that Duterte’s statements “are a justification of his subservience to China.”

“He is selling us out,” he said.

Envoys divided

Former Philippine ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Wilfredo Villacorta, however, said Duterte properly handled the crafting of the chairman’s statement during the leaders’ summit of the ASEAN member-states in Manila last month.

“There was no need to mention the arbitral ruling in the sections on the South China Sea. The ruling is now part of international law and we can always invoke it as part of international law jurisprudence,” Villacorta told The STAR.

“The specific provisions on the South China Sea in the latter part of the chairman’s statement recognized the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and over-flight in and above the South China Sea,” he added.

But for former Philippine ambassador to the UN Lauro Baja Jr., Duterte could have handled the summit leaders’ meeting more aggressively.

“He is chairman and in our past experiences, it is the chairman (who) sets the tone,” he told reporters during the launch of a book on ASEAN at the University of the Philippines on Friday.

“It’s not the chairman’s statement, it’s the Chinese statement,” he added.

Baja also expressed doubts that the code of conduct that is being crafted to address the territorial dispute in the South China Sea could resolve the decades-long conflict in the region.

“If the code of conduct will not have a so-called enforcement provision and will not have a dispute mechanism, it will again be in the nature of political declaration,” he said.

Former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said China’s threat of war is Beijing’s strong statement that it does not honor the arbitral ruling.

“The utterance…clearly demonstrates to the world China’s position regarding the arbitral tribunal outcome that is consistent with UNCLOS,” Del Rosario said.

“Contrary to our position that right is might, China has strongly declared that it is might that will triumph what is right,” Del Rosario said. “China – unless it stands to benefit – does not intend to respect the rule of law,” he added.  –  With Jess Diaz, Janvic Mateo, Pia Lee-Brago

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/21/1701973/philippines-can-bring-china-war-threat-un

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 (Has links to previous articles)

South China Sea: Philippine Supreme Court Justice Says Philippines Can Bring China’s Threat of War Before the UN — Calls For Restoration of Rule of Law in the South China Sea

May 21, 2017
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Philippine President Duterte has said that China threatened the Philippines with war…
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Carpio says that the President has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect Philippine territory.
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May 20, 2017 4:24pm

The Philippines can file another case against China before a United Nations tribunal for threatening war against the country and demand that Beijing comply with an international court ruling that invalidated its massive claim over the South China Sea, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Saturday.

Carpio – one of the country’s leading maritime legal experts and a member of the Philippine legal team to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands – was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s revelation that Chinese President Xi Jinping threatened to use force against the Philippines if it will extract oil in the Reed Bank.

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Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Reed Bank is an offshore area internationally recognized as part of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippines Sea but China claims as part of its territory.

Beijing says it has historic claims over nearly the entire South China Sea, including areas that are within Manila’s EEZ called the West Philippine Sea.

“China’s threat of war against the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea reveals the aggressive design of China against the Philippines,” Carpio said. “No less than Chinese President Xi Jingping has delivered the threat personally to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.”

Carpio stressed that Duterte has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect Philippine territory.

“In the face of China’s open threat of war to seize Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, an area larger than the total land area of the Philippines, the President cannot simply do nothing, or worse acquiesce to China’s action, for inaction is the opposite of protecting Philippine EEZ,” he said.

“Under international law, acquiescence is the inaction of a state in the face of threat to its rights under circumstances calling for objection to the threat to its rights. Acquiescence means the Philippines will lose forever its EEZ in the West Philippine Sea to China,” Carpio warned.

In a statement on Saturday, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippines enraged China “in a frank discussion on possible oil explorations in the WPS (West Philippine Sea).”

“President Duterte was forthright about its economic rights awarded by the Arbitral Court in the Hague, a claim the Chinese leader said they would vigorously contest given their historic claims to the area,” Abella said.

He said that because of the “complexity” of  the issue, “both parties agreed to pursue a more peaceful resolution to the matter that satisfies both our sovereign and economic rights.”

Filipinos unite

Carpio said this “extremely troubling development” calls for all Filipinos to unite to defend the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the Constitution, international law and UN Convention on the law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

As a nation that under its Constitution has renounced war as an instrument of national policy, Carpio said the Philippines’ recourse is to bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal to secure an order directing China to comply with an earlier court ruling that declared Reed Bank part of Philippines’ EEZ.

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“The threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties,” Carpio said.

Carpio reminded China that the UN Charter outlaws the use or threat of force to settle disputes between states.

Reed Bank is vital

Reed Bank is vital to Philippine national interest as it is the only replacement for Malampaya, which supplies 40 percent of the energy requirement of Luzon.

Carpio warned that Malampaya will run out of gas in less than 10 years and unless the Philippines develops Reed Bank, Luzon will suffer 10 to 12 hours of brownouts daily 10 years from now and will devastate the Philippine economy.

The Philippines, he said, can also seek damages “for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.”

Carpio also said that the Philippines can sponsor a resolution condemning China’s threat of war against the Philippines before the UN General Assembly where Beijing has no veto power.

Manila can also demand that China conform with the July 12, 2016 ruling handed down by the PCA which delivered a sweeping victory to the Philippines on the case it filed against China and declared its historic claim over nearly the entire waters as illegal.

China has ignored the arbitral decision, calling it “ill-founded” and “naturally null and void.”

While ignoring the ruling, China has pressed ahead with its construction of seven artificial islands in the South China Sea. Now completed, the islands have been equipped with military facilities, runways and surface-to-air missiles.

Such move sparked alarm among Southeast Asian nations, Japan, Australia and the United States, fearing that it would increase tensions and hinder freedom of movement in the area where a large volume if international trade passes through.

China has built islands by reclamation of sand and coral and has militarized them for People’s Liberationa Army (PLA) use. Seen here, Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratlys group of islands are shown from the Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force during the visit to the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano and other officials off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017. President Duterte on Friday, May 19, 2017, described this as “some kind of armed garrison.” Credit Francis Malasig/Pool Photo via AP

No respect of rule of law

Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who spearheaded the Philippines’ arbitration case against China, said Beijing’s threat of war against the country is an indication that it does not intend to respect the rule of law.

“Contrary to our position that right is might, China has strongly declared that it is might that will trump what is right,” Del Rosario said.

“The utterance by the leadership of China on a threat to go to war if the Philippines drills for oil within its Exclusive Economic Zone in the South China Sea clearly demonstrates to the world China’s position regarding the arbitral tribunal outcome that is consistent with UNCLOS,” he added.

Carpio explained that an arbitral tribunal created under the UNCLOS, to which China is a party, has already ruled with finality that the Reed Bank is within the EEZ of the Philippines and only the Philippines can exploit the natural resources there.

Strengthen alliances

Duterte said the threat of armed confrontation compelled him to pursue friendly ties with China, which pledged millions of dollars worth of aid and development package to the Philippines.

Carpio stressed that the President has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect Philippine territory.

Carpio also said that China’s blatant threat of war against the Philippines demands that the Philippines strengthen its defenses and alliances, particularly with long-time treaty ally, the United States.

The US is the only country with whom the Philippines has a mutual defense treaty.

“The United Nations Charter recognizes the right of states to mutual self-defense against armed aggression.  The Philippines can ally with the United States because the United States does not claim the West Philippine Sea or any Philippine territory,” he said.

He said the country cannot ally with China because it wants to “grab for itself” the West Philippine Sea and the southern part of the South China Sea, called the Spratlys.

“Among all the countries in the world, only China has threatened the Philippines with war over Philippine EEZ in the West Philippines Sea,” Carpio said, adding other claimant states – Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei – recognize Philippine EEZ, including Reed Bank. —ALG, GMA News

– See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/611540/carpio-phl-can-bring-china-war-threat-before-the-un/story/#sthash.avCqqa9t.dpuf

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China is preparing for the reclamation and construction on Scarborough Shoal

FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

No automatic alt text available.

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  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.

South China Sea: Philippines seeks gentleman’s agreement on sea code

May 20, 2017

Newly appointed Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano made this observation on Friday after the ASEAN and China finished a draft framework for negotiating a code of conduct (COC), despite regional skepticism over Beijing’s commitment to rules that can restrain its maritime ambitions. File

 

MANILA, Philippines – With no legally binding mechanism to enforce any deal on the South China Sea dispute, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) may, in the meantime, settle for a “gentleman’s agreement” to prevent war or at least keep the situation in the region stable.

Newly appointed Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano made this observation on Friday after the ASEAN and China finished a draft framework for negotiating a code of conduct (COC), despite regional skepticism over Beijing’s commitment to rules that can restrain its maritime ambitions.

“Many countries want it to be legally binding. But what I’m saying is, let’s start with it being binding, gentleman’s agreement,” Cayetano said, referring to the absence in the draft framework of a clause specifying that a code should be legally binding.

“We have a community of nations that signed it,” he added.

He explained that legally binding means there is a court or tribunal to which parties can turn if another party reneges on the agreement.

“So, let me say this: definitely, it should be binding. Now, the question is, if it’s legally binding, which court can the parties go to? And the countries that don’t comply, will they respect that court? We’re all trying to avoid not only war, but instability,” Cayetano told reporters during a visit to the DFA Office of Consular Affairs on Macapagal Avenue on his first day as DFA chief. He was replying to a question on whether Manila should insist on a legally binding COC.

He admitted there is a need for a mechanism that would help resolve issues if some parties fail or refuse to comply with the code.

“I’m telling you the practical reality of negotiations in international agreement. So, do most or all of the countries want it to be legally binding? Yes. But will the language include that? We don’t know. Because if one or two do not approve of that, they don’t believe that there can be an independent court, will we go for nothing, no Code of Conduct?” Cayetano said. “Or will we agree to a code of conduct that will be enforced only by the community of nations who signed it?” he said.

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Southeast Asian nations with claims in the South China Sea have long wanted to sign China up to a legally binding and enforceable code.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in sea-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims in the resource-rich waters, aside from China and the Philippines.

Arbitral ruling

In July last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea in a case filed against Beijing by the previous Aquino administration.

A code of conduct is the key objective of a 2002 Declaration on Conduct, large parts of which China has ignored, particularly a commitment not to occupy or reclaim uninhabited features.

China has piled sand upon reefs and other land features to build seven islands in disputed parts of the Spratly archipelago. China has also been transforming three of the reefs into what experts believe could be forward operating bases.

President Duterte on Friday described them as “some kind of armed garrison.”

China has built islands by reclamation of sand and coral and has militarized them for People’s Liberationa Army (PLA) use. Seen here, Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratlys group of islands are shown from the Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force during the visit to the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano and other officials off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017. Francis Malasig/Pool Photo via AP

The code framework would envisage a round-the-clock hotline and urge defense officials to find ways to follow the code, Chee Wee Kiong of Singapore’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Some ASEAN diplomats fear China’s sudden interest in completing the code could be a strategy to buy time for Beijing to wrap up construction activities.

Experts say China wants to appear to engage ASEAN or bind its claimant states to a weak code at a time when US policy on the South China Sea is in a state of flux.

One ASEAN diplomat said the latest draft did not mention any dispute settlement mechanism or sanctions for violations, but focused mostly on managing tension and building trust.

“We are very realistic and practical,” said the source who declined to be identified. “We wanted first to pick the low hanging fruit. If we went straight to the contentious issues, we would not get to where we are now.”

The framework represented progress, but expectations should be realistic, said Jay Batongbacal, an expert on the South China Sea issue. “Given it’s been 15 years to get to a draft, I’m not really holding my breath,” he added.

What green light?

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, meanwhile, rebutted yesterday the claims of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that President Duterte had given a green light to China’s further reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea.

Abella explained Duterte maintains a two-track approach to keep a stable relationship with China.

“One, to grow our healthy economic, trade and investment relationships, and to ensure that our arbitral rights in the West Philippine Sea are not compromised, more so now through the newly established bilateral consultation mechanism to manage disputes in the area,” he said.

“The Philippines engaged (China) in a frank discussion on possible oil explorations in the WPS,” Abella said in a separate statement yesterday.

“President Duterte was forthright about its economic rights awarded by the Arbitral Court in The Hague, a claim the Chinese leader said they would vigorously contest given their historic claims to the area,” he added.

He stressed the President would never stop exploring peaceful ways of resolving the country’s maritime dispute with China.

“Given this complexity, both parties agreed to pursue a more peaceful resolution to the matter that satisfies both our sovereign and economic rights,” he added.

Abella echoed Duterte’s chastising the United States for not directly confronting China over its island building activities in the West Philippine Sea.  He said the US chose to remain on the sidelines despite having in its possession satellite images of Chinese activities in disputed waters.

“With all due respect to the Senior Associate Justice, Chinese island-building and military deployment activities on certain features in the West Philippine Sea have been ongoing for some years now,” Abella added.

“The disputes in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea are not the sum total of our relations with China, but we are cognizant of the warmer relationships we have in the region.”

Old issue

Duterte on Friday took Carpio and former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario to task for criticizing him over his decision to cozy up to China and separate from the US, a long-time ally.

He said Carpio and Del Rosario have had no basis to claim that he had totally disregarded the arbitral tribunal ruling favoring the Philippines’ position.

It was in the same remarks – delivered at the Philippine Coast Guard’s 333rd anniversary celebration in Davao City – that Duterte revealed that China’s President Xi Jinping had threatened war if the Philippines would force the issue of the arbitration ruling.

A senior security official, who declined to be named, said China was just bluffing. “China could just be exploiting our weaknesses using all elements within its national power,” he said.

“This is a very difficult issue but if push comes to shove, let it be known to all that we are determined, as protector of the people and state, to defend what is ours,” another official said.

Last Thursday, Carpio said Duterte had practically allowed China to continue its reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea when he did not mention the territorial dispute in his ASEAN chairman’s statement.

“In 2017 we were the host (of the ASEAN Summit), the President was responsible for the chairman’s statement (and made) no mention of reclamation or militarization. For the Chinese this is a green light,” Carpio said.

Reports said that ASEAN leaders revised the final statement and removed any reference to the arbitration ruling. The revision reportedly happened after intense debates and lobbying among ASEAN leaders.

Carpio was a member of the country’s legal team that argued the Philippines’ case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The magistrate said even the 2016 chairman’s statement in Cambodia mentioned China’s land reclamation activities.

“That statement was very good despite the fact that we were not happy. It was strong, it mentioned land reclamation, expressing concern about land reclamation, about land militarization. It was directed at China – do not reclaim further – especially Scarborough Shoal,” he said.

Carpio earlier cautioned that it would be “game over” for the Philippines if China succeeds in reclaiming Panatag or Scarborough Shoal. – With Christina Mendez, Jaime Laude 

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/21/1701969/philippines-seeks-gentlemans-agreement-sea-code

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China is preparing for the reclamation and construction on Scarborough Shoal

FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  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

May 15, 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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GUAM HOSTS JOINT EXERCISES BETWEEN FORCES OF JAPAN, FRANCE, BRITAIN, US

U.S. marines joined with forces from Japan, France and Britain for live-firing exercises on the American territory of Guam that are intended to show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid concerns China may restrict access to the South China Sea.

The drills are being held around Guam and Tinian islands about 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) south of Tokyo and east of Manila, Philippines.

The exercises feature two French ships currently on a four-month deployment to the Indian and Pacific oceans. Some 50 Japanese soldiers and 160 Japanese sailors were due to participate, along with U.K. helicopters and 70 U.K. troops deployed with one of the French ships.

The drills had been halted temporarily Friday after a French landing craft ran aground. U.S. officials said they stopped the drills so they could assess the situation. They moved ahead as scheduled on Saturday.

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SHIPS FROM THAILAND, SINGAPORE, JOIN US NAVY IN SOUTH CHINA SEA DRILLS

Ships from the navies of Thailand and Singapore completed a three-day exercise with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea last week aimed at boosting their ability to work together on a broad range of maritime tasks.

The exercises, termed Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) have been held since 1995 with Thailand and Singapore as original participants.

“Our Sailors certainly are learning extensively from this tremendous experience,” Cmdr. Doug Meagher, who commands the littoral combat ship USS Coronado, was quoted as saying by the website navy.mil.

Singapore and Thailand sent frigates to take part in the drills, which also included the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett.

Along with operating together at sea, the exercises included boarding, search and seizure, joint flight operations and communications drills.

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PHILIPPINES BEGINS MOVING TROOPS AND SUPPLIES TO REINFORCE ISLAND HOLDING

The Philippines has started transporting troops and supplies to a disputed island in the South China Sea in preparation for construction work that includes reinforcing and lengthening an airstrip and building a dock.

Pag-asa has been home to Filipino soldiers and fishermen for decades, but is also claimed by Beijing.

Lt. Gen. Raul del Rosario, head of the Philippine military’s Western Command, said last week that troops and initial supplies had arrived on the island. About 1.6 billion pesos ($32 million) has been earmarked for the construction that will also include a fishing port, solar power generators, a water desalination plant, the refurbishment of housing for soldiers and the construction of facilities for marine research and tourists.

China’s construction of seven islands nearby in the Spratly archipelago has dwarfed similar activities by rival claimants, including the Philippines, whose frosty relations with Beijing have improved significantly under President Rodrigo Duterte.

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JAPAN, INDIA AFFIRM PLANS TO STRENGTHEN MILITARY COOPERATION

Japan and India affirmed plans last week to strengthen their military cooperation amid rising tensions in the South China Sea and elsewhere in Asia.

Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley told his Japanese counterpart, Tomomi Inada, in Tokyo that his country hopes to pursue a strategic partnership with Japan for regional peace and stability.

Jaitley welcomed a planned trilateral naval exercise among the U.S., India and Japan in July as a way of strengthening cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

Japan and India have been stepping up defense cooperation amid China’s increased assertiveness in the South China Sea and moves to establish a more permanent presence in the Indian Ocean. China regards Japan as a historical rival for dominance in northeast Asia and is embroiled in longstanding border disputes with India, with which it fought a brief but bloody frontier war in 1962.

Related:

The Philippines, China and the South China Sea: Corruption, Tricky Deals and Failure to Follow International Law

May 12, 2017

There should be a military unit exclusively to protect the resource-rich Benham Rise off Luzon’s Pacific coast. Former President Fidel Ramos proposed such sea-air-land force amid reports of foreign trespass in the 13 million-hectare undersea plateau.

Teeming with fish and believed to hold oil and minerals, Benham is within the Philippines’ extended continental shelf. Ramos, who once headed the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said an “Eastern Command” should be formed to guard it. The defense department could assign the task to the Navy, he said during the latter’s forum on ASEAN maritime security last Wednesday.

Chinese exploration vessels were sighted crisscrossing Benham waters for three months starting last Nov. One even stayed for a month in one spot, leaving only to hospitalize an injured sailor in Surigao City, northern Mindanao. Beijing alibied that the vessels merely were on innocent passage. But a southern China newspaper later reported the return of one vessel from a “special mission” to gather seabed sediment samples. Such specimens were to determine mineral presence and suitable submarine parking.

An Eastern Command could be based in an existing Cagayan naval station that also has airstrips, sources said. The station is half a day’s sailing time to Benham. It would be equivalent to the Western Command, based in Palawan, also under the Navy, guarding the exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

Foreign fishers long have been poaching in the unguarded Benham seas. A coast guard patrol confirmed their presence last week. Ramos said the Eastern Command would protect maritime interests granted by the United Nations exclusively to the Philippines.

* * *

Beijing’s narrative in the South China Sea is that it is only trying to retrieve historic territorial waters. And it supposedly is doing so legally and peacefully. But what’s the truth, based on ancient maps, historical records, and modern maritime laws?

Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio extensively has researched the issues, presented in the e-book “Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea: The South China Sea Dispute.” Download and share it for free from the following websites:

http://www.imoa.ph/

http://murillovelardemap.com/

* * *

There’s blood in the hands of those who procured dilapidated Air Force combat-utility helicopters during the Aquino administration. There would be more if present officials ignore the P1.2-billion scam.

One of the 19 choppers crashed in Tanay, Rizal, last week, killing three airmen. Another crash-landed in clear weather in Sarangani last Nov. No one perished there, but danger signs already showed.

The defective aircraft already hit the headlines about this time two years ago. A Filipino broker blew the whistle on her estranged American partner who sold the units under suspicious circumstances. Exposed was that two biddings had been rigged three years earlier to suit one party. Better suppliers either walked out or were disqualified on flimsy technicalities. The biddings were declared failures. That paved the way for negotiated purchase from the favored American. Sixty-year-old UH-1D helicopters, double the age of the pilots who would fly them, were indented. Components from junkyards were assembled in an ill-equipped California factory. Signing the contract were the defense secretary, an undersecretary, an assistant secretary. Two generals endorsed and accepted the units – delayed, decrepit, and mostly inoperative.

In his 2012 State of the Nation, then-President Noynoy Aquino announced that nine of the choppers were en route to Manila. They arrived three-and-a-half years later. Some of the aircraft were displayed during the Air Force anniversary; none were flown because the motors wouldn’t start. A Senate inquiry ensued; warnings were aired about deaths and injuries from the unfit choppers; there was no final report. What stood out was the badmouthing by Internet trolls of the whistleblower and the few newsmen who reported on the issue.

* * *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA

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Chinese ships’ passage off Samar ‘innocent’ – PCG

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said that based on information received by the PCG, the Chinese ship seen in the waters off Guiuan, Eastern Samar between January and March was a research vessel. File

MANILA, Philippines – A Chinese research vessel spotted off Eastern Samar was only making “innocent passage,” the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said yesterday.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said that based on information received by the PCG, the Chinese ship seen in the waters off Guiuan, Eastern Samar between January and March was a research vessel.

“For as long as the Chinese ship was only passing through, then there is no problem… The Chinese ship was also monitored more than 200 nautical miles away from the shoreline,” Balilo said.

He said they have not received any report of irregularity in the activities of the unnamed Chinese vessel, like illegal fishing or dumping of waste into the water.

The PCG spokesman stressed there were other foreign ships in the area – including US and Japanese vessels.

On Wednesday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported sightings of three Chinese ships in different parts of the country.

The AFP told the House committee on national defense that the Chinese research ship Xiang Yang Hong 03 stayed for nine days northwest of Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, while the Xiang Yang Hong 06 stayed for 19 days at 226 nautical miles northeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

Image result for Xiang Yang Hong 06, photos

Xiang Yang Hong 06

Another Chinese vessel Jiangkai, with bow number 525, was allegedly seen in Mindoro last April 23. It was reportedly following US Navy ship USS Stethem that was on routine operations in the area.

Balilo said that they have no information about the Chinese ships reportedly seen in Mindoro and Ilocos Sur.

Amid reports of increasing Chinese activities in Philippine waters, the military has started moving personnel and construction materials to Pag-Asa Island in the disputed Spratlys archipelago, in preparation for the construction of a beaching ramp and the concreting of the Rancudo Airfield.

A beaching ramp is needed so that ships could unload construction materials and equipment on the island.

Puerto Princesa City-based Western Command (Wescom) commander Lt. Gen. Raul del Rosario said units involved in the projects have left the Palawan mainland for their journey to Pag-Asa.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the administration has allotted P1.6 billion for the development of all nine military outposts in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

“Our personnel along with some construction materials have already moved. They moved last week but they have to wait for more construction materials,” Del Rosario said.

But he could not say yet when the actual spadework would begin.

Building a beaching ramp requires dredging a shallow portion of the shoreline. At present, cargo or supplies for the island are unloaded from ships and ferried on small boats to the shore some 500 meters away. The procedure takes days or even weeks to complete.

Pag-Asa Island, which is also the seat of Palawan’s farthest fifth-class municipality, is located just 14 nautical miles from Zamora (Subi) Reef, which has been transformed into an island fortress by the Chinese.

Meanwhile, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña is pushing for more scientific studies on the resources in Benham Rise, also known as the Benham Plateau.

Dela Peña, in an address before the recent National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) regional scientific meeting in Cebu, said Benham Rise carries tremendous potential that could help the government realize its vision of reducing economic inequality.

Aside from its rich marine and aquatic resources, Benham Rise is believed to contain huge gas and oil deposits.

Benham Rise is a seismically active undersea region estimated to cover an area of about 13 million hectares located east of Luzon. It is 35 meters underwater with the shallowest point located off the provinces of Aurora and Isabela.

In April 2012, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea recognized Benham Rise as part of the Philippines’ continental shelf and territory.

“The Department of Science and Technology is focusing on strengthening research and development initiatives in various fields, including the fisheries sector because this will provide more opportunities for our marginalized fishermen in the regions and will help them uplift their economic condition,” Dela Pena said.  – Jaime Laude, Rainier Allan Ronda

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/12/1699079/chinese-ships-passage-samar-innocent-pcg

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  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 and nobody has even complained.

Philippine Supreme Court Justice — Not even President Rodrigo Duterte or the Congress can waive the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea

May 11, 2017
Gov’t urged to protest Beijing acts despite friendlier ties
/ 12:57 PM May 11, 2017

CARPIO ON A FORUM OF PH STAKE ON WEST PHILIPPINE SEA / APRIL 25 2016 Senior Justice Antonio Carpio talks about country's stake in the West Philippine Sea during a forum in CLub Filipino in San Juan City. INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

Senior Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio talks about country’s stake in the West Philippine Sea during a forum in Club Filipino in San Juan City. INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

 

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday said not even President Rodrigo Duterte or the Congress can waive the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea amid warming ties between Manila and Beijing.

Asked if the President could be breaking Philippine laws with his remarks and actions in connection with China, Carpio said Duterte should be careful in making “unilateral statements” as he is the one recognized to “bind the country.”

READ: Carpio book on sea row challenges China | Carpio hopes e-book on disputed seas reaches Chinese audience

“Because the ruling involves sovereign rights, it says the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea, so the sovereign rights cannot be waived by the President or anyone.  I don’t think even the Congress can waive that. Only the people can waive that. So if government officials waive that, it can be betrayal of public trust,” Carpio said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.

Carpio was referring to the United Nations-backed arbitration ruling last year that invalidated China’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea and favored the Philippines based on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He was instrumental in Manila’s filing of the case.

Since his election in May last year, President Duterte has forged a “recalibrated” foreign policy that veered away from dependence on the United States and shifted toward friendlier relations with China and Russia.

Duterte, who is facing an impeachment complaint filed by the Magdalo group over his alleged mishandling of the South China Sea case, has repeatedly said that the Philippines can’t match China’s military power.

But Carpio said the Philippine government should keep on protesting Beijing’s reclamation and militarization activities in the South China Sea despite the country’s relatively weaker military capacity. Beijing, which refused to recognize the arbitral ruling, continues to develop artificial islands in the Spratlys archipelago.

“If we are no match with China, we don’t have to waive it. You can insist even if you can’t physically get it but you must keep on insisting. Because if you waive it, it’s gone forever. The moment we concede our sovereign rights, we cannot take it back because China will never give it back. That’s why we have to be very careful,” the justice said.

He said, “We have many cards to play that are not confrontational.”

Carpio cited Vietnam, one of the claimant countries in the disputed seas, as a possible model for the Philippines. Hanoi maintains good trade relations with Beijing despite a strong stance in the maritime row.

“I would take the approach of Vietnam as the model because Vietnam is very strong in resisting China’s encroachment but they continue to have very strong trade relations with China. A lot of Chinese companies operate in direct export zones. It’s not an ‘either or’ because they were able to separate these issues and China would accept that,” Carpio said.

“If we adopt that attitude that we don’t want to displease China, we’ll never get back our exclusive economic zone. Every time China fortifies its claim, build something there, we will not displease China. It will end that way. We have to protest every act of China, any attempt to increase or enforce its claim,” he added.

Carpio has recently launched a book that questions China’s claims to the disputed seas, which he said he will distribute online in Mandarin so it could reach Chinese people. CBB

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/156441/carpio-duterte-congress-cant-waive-ph-rights-west-ph-sea#ixzz4gkZbLOtS
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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No automatic alt text available.
For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  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 and nobody has even complained.

China is likely to militarize Scarborough Shoal — Philippines sees its islands become Chinese

May 11, 2017
Scarborough Shoal, Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal, is a traditional common fishing ground located 120 nautical miles from Zambales. Google Maps

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing may start building military facilities on Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea as part of their strategy in countering the United States.

 

In an interview with ANC’s “Headstart,” Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said China may reclaim Scarborough Shoal in the same way they did with Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

Carpio explained that Scarborough Shoal is a strategic location for China as it guards the exit to the Pacific, which would allow them to fire missiles directed to the US in the future.

“Scarborough Shoal guards the exit to the Pacific because the Chinese submarines, nuclear-armed submarines are based in Hainan (Island) and if they fire their missiles in the South China Sea, those missiles will not reach the US because the range is only about 7,500 kilometers,” Carpio said.

Image result for Scarborough shoal, photos

Recent reports showed that China has been making preparations for new land-based missile installations on Hainan Island in the South China Sea.

Satellite imagery from ImageSat International reveals recent changes in the layout of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Yulin Naval Base at the tip of Hainan Island.

Defense News reported that the PLA has deployed multiple missile launchers on the western side of Yulin Naval Base in less than two months.

Carpio, meawhile, noted that China would have to go to the mid-Pacific in able to launch missiles that would reach the US.

“They have to go to the mid-Pacific and their only exit is though the Bashi channel and the air and naval base of China in Scarborough Shoal will protect that exit to the Bashi channel,” Carpio said.

Situated in Batanes off northern Luzon, the Bashi Channel is a route to enter or exit the Western Pacific.

No automatic alt text available.

China is preparing for the reclamation and construction on Scarborough Shoal

“If they reclaim it, it will be like their reclamation in Mischief Reef where they have a runway, they have a harbor for warships and their warships from there can go to the Bashi Channel to protect their outlet to the Pacific,” Carpio said.

Carpio warned that increased Chinese presence in Scarborough Shoal means that they are planning something.

“Scarborough Shoal, I think, is the last shoal that they will reclaim and build into an artificial island to house, to host air and naval base and that could happen anytime,” the high court justice said.

‘China’s militarization of South China Sea is real’

Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, said that Washington is challenged by an aggressive China which continues a methodical strategy to control the South China Sea.

“China’s militarization of the South China Sea is real,” Harris told the US Senate Armed Services Committee a few weeks ago.

Harris stressed that he has testified before that China was militarizing the international waterway and airspace above it by building air and naval bases on seven man-made islands in the Spratlys.

“Despite subsequent Chinese assurances at the highest levels that they would not militarize these bases, today, they have these facilities that support long-range weapons emplacements, fighter aircraft hangars, radar towers and barracks for their troops,” Harris said.

China is nearly finished with its construction of three air bases on Subi (Zamora), Mischief (Panganiban) and Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

Beijing’s naval, air, radar and defensive facilities in the islands would allow them to deploy military assets including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers to the Spratly Islands at any time.

RELATED: China can now deploy military assets to South China Sea

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/11/1698927/china-scarborough-shoal-carpio-south-china-sea

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Hong Kong media reported Monday, April 25 that as China seeks to project its power in the disputed West Philippine sea (South China sea) The Chinese is now preparing for the reclamation and construction on Panatag shoal (Scarborough shoal). An islet inside the exclusive economic zone claimed by the Philippines.

The South China Morning Post daily newspaper cited an anonymous source near the People’s Liberation Army saying, “No one can stop us” We will set-up a station on Scarborough Shoal, otherwise called Bajo de Masinloc, 230 kilometers (143 miles) off the Philippine coast. It is claimed by Manila but has been under Beijing’s control since 2012,

hydhpt

China’s plans to build up Scarborough Shoal also could be a response to an international court ruling anticipated later this month or early next month that is expected to rule in favor of Manila’s claims to the Spratlys.

It likewise takes after a declaration by the US and the Philippines that they would dispatch joint maritime patrol in the West Philippine sea.

China may also be moving quickly to build up Scarborough Shoal over concerns the next U.S. president will be tougher on Chinese maritime expansion.

U.S. Military analyst said that in order to get ahead of this potential confrontation, China will move this year to slice off the next piece of salami—the uninhabited shoals like at Scarborough.”

Scarborough was once used by the U.S. Navy as a bombing range in the early 1980s, something that could complicate the Chinese development plan.

Below is details of the militarization plan for Scarborough Shoal in the Spratly Islands were obtained by U.S. intelligence agencies over the last several months, according to defense officials.

China’s militarization plan for Scarborough Shoal

The plans were confirmed last month when a website for Chinese military enthusiasts posted a detailed dredging plan for Scarborough Shoal, including a runway, power systems, residences, and harbor capable of supporting Chinese navy warships.

The website included satellite photographs purportedly based on a construction bid proposed by the “Huangyan Island Township,” a municipality created under what China claims is its regional authority on Sansha Island, located near China’s Hainan Island.

A graphic with one photo outlined the development plan, with three Chinese guided-missile frigates at a wharf at the southern opening of the shoal.

Other features include an airport and runway at the northern end, an electrical plan, a water treatment plant, a residential building, a hotel, and a “travel holiday” area.

The reported plan to develop and militarize Scarborough Shoal, however, has set off warning bells in both the Pentagon and State Department because of the area’s proximity to the Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally that recently agreed to enhance defense cooperation in the face of Chinese aggression.

Because of this report, six U.S. military aircraft that stayed behind at Clark Air Base after the 2016 Balikatan exercises have conducted a fly ops in the Scarborough Shoal according to the Pacific Air Forces.

United States A10 warthog

“The A-10s and HH-60s conducted a flying mission through the international airspace in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal west of the Philippines providing air and maritime situational awareness,” said the Pacific Air Forces in a public statement on Thursday.

Also, read this U.S. fighter jets conduct fly ops on Scarborough Shoal

U.S. A10 Warthog stationed at Clark Air Base, Pampanga – kunsan.af.mil

Their missions is to promote transparency and safety of movement in international waters and airspace, representing the US commitment to ally and partner nations and to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region’s continued stability now and for generations to come. – Jason E.

http://www.manilalivewire.com/2016/04/china-is-preparing-for-the-reclamation-and-construction-on-scarborough-shoal/

Related here on Peace and Freedom:

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  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 and nobody has even complained.

Philippine Judge: “Difficult to have a Visiting Forces Agreement with China” when the other side is “claiming your territory and your maritime zones”

May 10, 2017
/ 04:43 PM May 10, 2017

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Having a Visiting Forces Agreement with a country claiming another’s territory like China would be difficult, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Wednesday.

“It’s difficult to have a VFA with a country that’s claiming your territory and your maritime zones,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Maritime Security Symposium 2017, which was hosted by the Philippine Navy.

“How can you have military naval exercises if you are doing it with a country that’s claiming that West Philippine Sea. For me, it’s common sense,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he would be open to holding joint patrols with China in Sulu Sea to combat terrorist groups like the Abu Sayyaf.

But security officials said there should be a VFA with China before the two countries could hold joint patrols.

The VFA is an agreement between a country and a foreign nation having military forces visiting in that country. It is needed so foreign military troops can hold joint military exercises with the Philippines.

China and the Philippines previously had strained relations over the West Philippine Sea, over which they both have overlapping claims. But the relationship of the two countries warmed up after Duterte assumed office last year.

Carpio agreed that a relationship of two countries should not be limited to a single issue.

“We have a dispute with China but we can go on trading with China,” he said. “Normal relations can continue, but of course there are other matters that we cannot do like we cannot have a visiting forces agreement with them. They are claiming our territories.”

He also urged the Philippines to ask China to abide by the arbitral ruling invalidating the latter’s nine-dash-line claim.

“We should engage with China because to convince China to comply with the ruling, we have to talk to them,” he said. “If we don’t talk to them, if we don’t talk to their people, they probably would not know that they have to comply with the ruling.” /atm

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/895776/justice-carpio-vfa-with-china-difficult#ixzz4ggA82Fw6
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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No automatic alt text available.
For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  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 and nobody has even complained.
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