Posts Tagged ‘China’s “nine-dash line”’

Chinese President Xi Jinping to Visit Philippines, Perhaps To Sign Oil and Gas Deal — Critics Claim China “Stealing” Philippine Resources

August 9, 2018

Chinese leader likely to visit by end of year as Rodrigo Duterte’s administration looks at ways of easing tensions over disputed South China Sea

South China Morning Post

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit the Philippines before the end of the year in the latest sign of improved relations between the two sides, the foreign minister of the Southeast Asian nation said.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said also that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had approved a proposal to form a group to study plans for the two countries to conduct a joint exploration in the disputed South China Sea.

“We’re now fixing the date [of Xi’s visit]. We’re looking at the latter part of the year,” Cayetano was quoted as saying by local broadcaster GMA Network.

Both sides “wanted it to happen”, he said.

The trip would be Xi’s first visit to the Philippines since Duterte took office. The Philippine president invited his Chinese counterpart to Manila during his state visit to Beijing in October 2016.

Cayetano did not say if Xi’s trip would be a state or official visit.

“This has been an invitation from their first meeting. They accepted it right away. But we are finding the right time. When presidents at this level meet there are a lot of preparations and a lot of things that they want to announce,” he said.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano

Relations between China and the Philippines soured when Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino took their dispute over the South China Sea to an international tribunal in The Hague, which ruled against Beijing.

But Duterte has since tried to mend ties, while China has pledged to boost investment in the Philippines and donated military equipment such as guns and patrol boats.

However, a long-running dispute over the Spratly Islands, where China’s military build up has prompted frequent protests from Manila, remains unresolved.

As well as the Philippines and mainland China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have claims to the South China Sea.

On the joint exploration proposal, Cayetano said: “Our job is to provide a framework acceptable to both the Philippines and China.”

The government officials, academics and private sector representatives in the group studying the idea would have a draft ready within the next two months, he said.

Xu Liping, a professor at the Institute of Asian-Pacific Studies, which comes under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the political trust developed between China and the Philippines would help them to reach agreement on the joint exploration plan.

“Joint exploration requires political trust,” he said. “Now is the best time to do it, with the smooth progress over the negotiations for a code of conduct for the South China Sea.”

But Zhang Mingliang, a specialist on Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University, said the wariness of Manila’s elite towards Duterte’s close ties with China meant that the project could yet face opposition, as did a similar plan, which was eventually aborted, when Gloria Arroyo was president.

“It is likely that the project will be realised during Duterte’s term in office, but many challenges lie ahead,” he said.

The proposed areas for joint exploration were likely to fall within China’s nine dash line and therefore create controversy, he said.

“The project under Arroyo faced huge opposition and accusations over the lack of transparency and conflicts of interests … similar concerns may arise under Duterte.”

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Joint oil and gas development deal may be finalized before Xi visit – Roque

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to fly to the Philippines in late 2018, after he attends the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea November

VISITOR. President Rodrigo Duterte may soon welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping to Philippine shores. Malacañang file photo

VISITOR. President Rodrigo Duterte may soon welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping to Philippine shores. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – The framework for joint development of resources in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) between the Philippines and China may be finalized before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Manila visit later this year, Malacañang said on Thursday, August 9.

Asked at a Palace news briefing when the agreement would be “forged,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said: “No timeframe but, of course, because of the impending visit of President Xi, I would say that it is anytime between now and the visit of President Xi but it was not expressly stated as such.”

Xi is expected to visit the Philippines in the last quarter of 2018. Roque said the Chinese leader might head to Manila after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea in mid-November.

Manila and Beijing earlier held talks on a “bilateral agreement that would enable the joint exploration to happen” in the West Philippine Sea, said Roque.

The Philippines and China have agreed on a 60-40 profit-sharing arrangement in favor of the Philippines.

The bilateral framework is supposed to clear the way for private entities in the Philippines and China to enter into contracts for joint development of natural resources like oil and gas in the sea.

Working groups

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Tuesday that earlier this week, Duterte allowed him to form a working group on the proposed joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

Cayetano had said the working group will be composed of representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Energy, the Department of National Defense, and other agencies.

He said that China “is also ready with their working group.”

The working group will help the government negotiate with China, though the government will leave the contract negotiation “to the commercial entities.”

“The challenge is for us to be able to draft a framework or an agreement that the Supreme Court will have an easy time saying it’s constitutional,” Cayetano said.

‘Exclusive to Filipinos’

However, former president Benigno Aquino III earlier warned that the proposed 60-40 arrangement could end up as disadvantageous to the Philippines.

Ang bargaining position, 60-40. Baka naman sa dulo nito ay baliktad. Baka sila 60, baka 70 (Our bargaining position is 60-40. But in the end, it might be the opposite. They might get 60, maybe 70),” Aquino said.

Aquino stressed that the West Philippine Sea is covered by the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile area within which the Philippines has exclusive rights to explore and exploit marine resources.

Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, a leading expert on the West Philippine Sea, earlier said the Philippine Constitution bans joint development within the Philippines’ EEZ.

Xi in Davao City?

During the Palace briefing, Roque also said that Duterte had invited Xi to visit his home in Davao City.

Duterte had invited Xi to come to the Philippines during his past visits to China.

“I remember in China the President even invited him not just to come to the Philippines but to [have] dinner in his house in Davao,” said Roque.

The first foreign leader to visit the President’s private residence in Davao was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in January 2017– Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/209190-joint-development-deal-xi-jinping-philippines-visit

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Are we China’s slaves? Filipino fishermen ask

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/167617/chinas-slaves-filipino-fishermen-ask

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Filipino fisherman in a banca moves away from a Chinese Coast Guard vessel at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. —REM ZAMORA

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South China Sea: Philippines Defense Secretary Calls International Court Ruling “Empty Victory” — The Rule of Law Administration of Rodrigo Duterte

July 28, 2018

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana apologized for saying the ruling favoring the Philippines over disputes in the West Philippine Sea is an “empty victory.”

He extended his apologies to former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio. The two helped argue the Philippines’ case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

DIPLOMATIC PROTEST. Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario urge the Duterte administration to file a diplomatic protest against China's bombers in the South China Sea. File photos by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario

CNN

“I sincerely apologize to these two great gentlemen for ruffling their feelings when I said that the PCA ruling in our favor is an empty victory. Both have reasons to be miffed for they worked hard to win our case before the PCA. It was not my intention to denigrate their achievement,” Lorenzana said in a message to reporters Friday.

Earlier media reports claimed Carpio and Del Rosario did not take Lorenzana’s statements well.

But Lorenzana then said that with current realities, the victory claimed is premature and incomplete.

“The phrase ’empty victory’ does not pertain to the efforts of Mssrs. Carpio and del Rosario in successfully winning our case in the PCA but rather, to the outcome of the ruling. With the realities on the ground, the victory being claimed is premature and incomplete since the ruling has no enforcement mechanism,” he added.

The Defense chief explained that until our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is under the country’s complete control, and until the ruling is fully enforced, it remains just “a piece of paper.”

“If it is a victory, then why is the (West Philippine Sea) not under our complete control? If we are victorious, why are the Chinese still in the (West Philippine Sea)? Lest we forget, the Malaysians and Vietnamese are also within our exclusive economic zone, occupying many islands which they have improved through the years,” he said.

Lorenzana’s remark came Monday, after the Social Weather Stations’ latest survey showed that 9 of 10 Filipinos deemed important that the Philippines to regain control over island occupied by China in the contested waters.

“We won, but it is an empty victory. The Chinese won’t leave our EEZ  and instead it continues to assert its historical rights over the areas within the nine-dash line,” he earlier said.

But Lorenzana said how the survey questions were framed might be wrong.

“Many people also need to understand that the PCA ruling was about ‘sovereign rights’ and not ‘sovereignty,’ which are two different things,” Lorenzana added.

The 2016 ruling junked China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, which overlaps with parts of the country’s 200-nautical mile (EEZ). China has refused to observe the international tribunal’s ruling.

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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.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been criticized for his warmer ties with China, but he vowed to protect the country’s sovereign rights in his third State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“Our improved relationship  with China does not mean we will waver to defend our interest in the West Philippine Sea,” Duterte had said. 

CNN:

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The Philippines has extensive defenses on its island holdings

Philippines Struggles To Cope With China’s “Duplicitous Ways” in South China Sea, Benham Rise

March 7, 2018

GOTCHA – Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) – March 7, 2018 – 12:00am

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China has militarized the South China Sea — even though they have no legal claim. This is Mischief Reef, now an extensive Chinese military base — one of seven Chinese military bases near the Philippines

The issues of the West and East Philippine Seas are joined, as far as China is concerned. As polls show, Filipinos distrust China because of its duplicitous ways. In Benham Rise east of Luzon, China conducted natural resource and military explorations without Manila’s consent. It rejected Manila’s reasonable condition of including Filipino scientists in its researches. After sneakily giving Chinese names to five undersea peaks it now wants to name 50 or so other features. It claims to a right to conduct marine scientific research (MSR) under international law.

In the West Philippine Sea, China has done worse. It grabbed the traditional Filipino fishing ground Scarborough Shoal 123 miles off Zambales, within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone but 700 miles from China’s nearest coast and beyond its own EEZ. It has concreted seven reefs and shoals in the Philippine EEZ into artificial island fortresses. It also claims reefs and rocks closer to the Philippines by imagining to be the first to name them.

Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio leads patriotic Filipinos in disputing Beijing’s illegal claims and activities. He helped in Manila’s victorious arbitration in The Hague against China’s maritime expansionism. He also debunked through ancient maps and documents Beijing’s farcical “historical rights” to the South China (West Philippine) Sea.

Here Carpio shares his thoughts on the joined east-west issues:

“(1) No Philippine law specifically regulates MSR in our extended continental shelf (beyond the 200-mile EEZ) like Benham Rise.

“(2) However, the Philippines having ratified UNCLOS, this international convention is part of the Philippine legal system. Under Article 246 of UNCLOS, the Philippines has an obligation to allow foreign states to conduct MSR in its continental shelf like Benham Rise ‘to increase scientific knowledge of the marine environment for the benefit of all mankind.’ Thus, the results of the MSR must be made known to the whole world.

“(3) MSR by foreign states in Benham Rise is purely for scientific research, and cannot be to explore the mineral resources for exploitation. Under UNCLOS, the Philippines has exclusive sovereign right to explore and exploit the mineral resources in its extended continental shelf like Benham Rise. Neither the President nor the Foreign Secretary can waive this exclusive sovereign right to a foreign state. To ensure that the foreign state conducting MSR in our extended continental shelf is not exploring for purposes of exploitation, Filipino marine scientists must be on board the foreign research vessels.

“(4) UNCLOS is a ‘package deal.’ A state that ratifies UNCLOS must accept its rights and obligations as one entire package. A ratifying state cannot cherry pick – accepting only certain provisions and rejecting others.

“(5) By refusing to accept the award of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal pursuant to the dispute settlement provisions of UNCLOS, China is not accepting its obligation under UNCLOS. China should not be allowed to enjoy its rights under UNCLOS, like conducting MSR in Benham Rise, while it refuses to accept its obligation under the arbitral award. Otherwise, China is cherry picking and not taking UNCLOS as one package deal.

“(6) Article 246 of UNCLOS states, ‘Coastal States shall, in normal circumstances, grant their consent for marine scientific research projects by other States.’ The refusal of China to comply with the arbitral award of the UNCLOS tribunal is not a ‘normal circumstance,’ and thus the Philippines should refuse China’s request for MSR in Benham Rise.

“(7) If a bully has squatted on your front yard, and requests to look at your backyard, would you grant the request of the bully? China has squatted on the West Philippine Sea and refuses to leave despite the ruling of the UNCLOS tribunal. Now, China requests to be allowed to survey the Philippine Sea on the east side of the Philippines. The Philippines would be dumb (bugok) to grant China’s request.”

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For 14 years Harry Roque headed the Center for International Law and taught at the University of the Philippines College of Law. That was before he became party-list congressman in 2016 and presidential spokesman in 2017. Here are some of his recent statements:

On China’s naming of undersea features in Benham Rise: “Don’t let’s magnify the issue … China gave so many names – siopao, siomai, ampao, pechay, hototay – but all those don’t mean it is laying claim.”

On President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposed “joint exploration” with China of West Philippine Sea resources: “It’s a practical solution for Filipinos to utilize natural resources without having to deal with the contentious conflicting claims to territories… The existing jurisprudence is we can enter into joint exploration and joint exploitation with foreign entities provided that it complies with the Constitution among others, it be pursuant to a written agreement signed by the President and submitted to Congress.”

On China’s “co-ownership” of those Philippine resources: “What the President meant was that’s exactly the kind of relationship we will have in a joint exploration and exploitation.”

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Ten years ago when the Joint Marine Seismic Understanding was exposed, Roque called it “treasonous.” Malacañang had ordered the Philippine National Oil Co. to sign with China National Overseas Oil Corp. the secret joint exploration of the Palawan continental shelf and Recto (Reed) Bank within the Philippine EEZ and way beyond China’s.

Roque said:

“Clearly, an agreement to jointly survey for the existence of petroleum resources in the Spratlys would be a derogation of the country’s sovereign rights (because) the exploration here would cease to be exclusive.

“A Filipino GOCC could not redefine what is provided for by law.

“My position is that anyone who will give away Philippine territory is guilty of treason. Since the national territory is governed by the Constitution and by law, a President (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) who will surrender the exercise of sovereign rights is guilty of treason, an impeachable offense.”

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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.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2018/03/07/1794213/repel-or-yield-carpio-vs-roque#ULfo3EEeUc292FJu.99

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We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

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China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

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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.

Paying back Chinese loans not a problem for Philippines, says Chinese expert

March 6, 2018

 

President Rodrigo Duterte described the partnership as similar to “co-ownership” of the waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

AP, File photo

Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – March 6, 2018 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Paying back its debts to China will not be a problem for the Philippine due to its “strong debt-paying ability,” a Chinese expert said.

The Philippines had sought the support of China in its $168-billion (P8.4 trillion) infrastructure plan which includes roads, bridges, airports and ports.

Beijing has provided about $7.34 billion in loans and grants to Manila for 10 large-scale infrastructure projects, according to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Zhuang Guotu, director of the China Southeast Asian Research Association, told Chinese newspaper Global Times that the Philippines needs the infrastructure plan to boost its economy and support its fast-growing population.

Beijing has provided very low interest rates on loans that it has provided to its Southeast Asian neighbors, Zhuang said.

“And the Philippines has strong debt-paying ability. Besides, the loans are usually accompanied by repayment agreements, which use certain natural resources as collateral,” Zhuang told Global Times.

He also noted that China is willing to provide loans, labor and expertise to help the Philippines.

“China’s infrastructure capability leads the world and as a result many countries and regions are willing to cooperate with China,” Zhuang said.

The Philippine government earlier announced that there are talks with the Chinese side for a possible joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte even described this partnership as similar to “co-ownership” of the waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Zhuang said that the two countries are probably already discussing first-phase preparations over joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea.

“In fact, discussions about joint exploration started in the 1970s, but it didn’t come about for various reasons. This time, the negotiations came after the Philippines had long been troubled by energy shortages,” the expert said.

The possible joint exploration would make a “new phase” in resolving the South China Sea dispute, he added.

In July 2016, a United Nations-backed tribunal issued a landmark ruling invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea. The arbitral tribunal also concluded that Beijing violated its commitment under the Convention on the Law of the Sea when it constructed artificial islands in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

PHILIPPINES-CHINA TIES, SOUTH CHINA SEA AND WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/03/06/1794117/paying-back-chinese-loans-not-problem-philippines-says-expert#TujdMDUlHTBc1qdC.99

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China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

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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.

China says it will not militarize the South China Sea — But satellite images show the real truth

October 18, 2017
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Construction is shown on Mischief Reef in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies to Reuters. (CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout/Reuters)

BEIJING — China maintained it will not militarize the South China Sea despite persistent reports it has been constructing military structures in the disputed territory.

Yao Wen, deputy director general for policy planning of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Asian department, gave this assurance on Monday in an interview with Asian journalists covering the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress.

“China will never seek militarization of South China Sea,” Yao replied when asked if China could make a categorical statement that it would not use its military to assert claims in the disputed sea lanes.

He did admit that structures have been constructed on reclaimed reefs and islands “within China’s sovereignty.”

“Yes indeed, we have some construction works. There are some projects that are actually public structures, especially the lighthouse and hospitals … we believe the neighboring countries will benefit from in the future,” he said.

Yao reiterated China’s call to countries not directly involved in the territorial dispute to leave the resolution to the claimant countries, which include the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

He said stationing military vessels and aircraft near the disputed territory “is highly dangerous” as it could lead to misjudgment.

“We are worried about the so-called free navigation activities of non-relevant countries that come as far as near five to six nautical miles of the reefs where our staff are stationed,” Yao said, apparently referring to such operations by the United States and its allies in the region.

Yao said territorial disputes, particularly those surrounding China’s nine-dash line and historical rights claims, should be resolved peacefully through dialogues and negotiations among the affected countries.

China-Philippines relations hit a snag after The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines’ 2013 arbitration case to contest China’s nine-dash line claims.

But President Rodrigo Duterte, who has chosen to seek closer relations with China, has set aside the verdict.

“The disputes in the south China are always there but the important thing is how to manage those disputes and china and the Philippines have done groundbreaking work in this respect. The basic position of China is to resolve the differences for common development,” Yao said.

http://www.interaksyon.com/promise-no-militarization-of-south-china-sea-china/

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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.

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Indonesia Catches Two Vietnamese Fishing Boats in Indonesian Waters of South China Sea

July 25, 2017

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s navy said it fired a warning shot at two Vietnamese fishing vessels that were discovered in Indonesian waters over the weekend in the second clash between the two countries in the South China Sea in two months.

Navy spokesman Gig Jonias Mozes Sipasulta said the Vietnamese boats were four nautical miles inside Indonesian territory when intercepted by an Indonesian warship on Sunday. He denied media reports that four Vietnamese fishermen were injured.

In a statement released Monday evening, Sipasulta said the two vessels sailed toward the bow of the KRI Wiranto-379, which fired a warning shot, causing the Vietnamese to immediately head for international waters.

Image result for Kapitan Pattimura class, warships, indonesia, photos

Indonesia has a wide range of coast guard and navy ships

Several Vietnamese fishing vessels escaped Indonesian interception in May following a show of force by Vietnam’s coast guard in the South China Sea, where China’s expansive territorial claims overlap with the waters of several Southeast Asian nations.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with more than 13,000 islands, has become increasingly assertive in defending its maritime territory and exclusive economic zone.

It has destroyed hundreds of foreign fishing vessels caught in its territory and earlier this month said it had renamed the southernmost reaches of the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea.

Experts said that move was aimed at protecting its exclusive economic zone north of the Natuna island chain, which overlaps with China’s nine-dash line that roughly demarcates its claim to the South China Sea.

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Indonesian Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno (C) stands in front of a new map of Indonesia during talks with reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta

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Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno points at the location of North Natuna Sea on a new map of Indonesia during talks with reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta
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 (Contains links to several more related articles)

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May 2017 — Vietnam Coast Guard 8005 vessel allegedly hits a Vietnamese-flagged fishing boat, which had been caught by Indonesian authorities for alleged poaching in Indonesian waters. The boat sinks and Indonesian patrol personnel Gunawan Wibisono guarding it is held hostage by the Vietnamese authorities. (The Jakarta Post/Source)

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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.

Philippines Scurries To Support South China Sea Claims as China Moves In

March 13, 2017
Reuters

Mar. 13, 2017, 09:20 AM

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines early January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Ezra AcayanThomson Reuters

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the navy to put up “structures” to assert sovereignty over a stretch of water east of the country, where Manila has reported a Chinese survey ship was casing the area last year.

The Philippines has lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing after the vessel was tracked moving back and forth over Benham Rise, a vast area east of the country declared by the United Nations in 2012 as part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.

The Philippines says Benham Rise is rich in biodiversity and fish stocks.

China’s foreign ministry on Friday said the ship was engaged in “normal freedom of navigation and right of innocent passage”, and nothing more.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Duterte’s instruction was to increase naval patrols in that area and put up structures “that says this is ours”. He did not specify what structures would be erected.

“We are concerned, they have no business going there,” Lorenzana told reporters late on Sunday.

Though he accepts China’s explanation, Lorenzana said it was clear its vessel was not passing through the area because it stopped several times, for sustained periods.

Lorenzana last week said he was suspicious of China’s activities near Benham Rise and suggested they might be part of surveys to test water depths for submarine routes to the Pacific.

Scarborough shoal map south china sea philippines manilla subic bayUS Senator Dan Sullivan

Asked during a news conference what his instruction was to the navy concerning Benham Rise, Duterte said the Philippines had to assert itself, but gently.

“You go there and tell them straight that this is ours,” he said. “But I say it in friendship.”

The issue risks disturbing ties with China at a time of rare cordiality between the two countries under Duterte, who has chosen to tap Beijing for business rather than confront it over its maritime activities and intentions in disputed waters.

Rows with China have usually been about the South China Sea, west of the Philippines, a conduit for about $5 trillion of shipped goods annually. China lays claim to almost the entire South China Sea.

south china sea y'allCSIS/AMTI/Digital Globe

While Duterte has been sanguine about ties with China, Lorenzana is more wary, saying that Beijing’s fortification of manmade islands inside the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone has not abated.

Duterte said ties with China were in good shape and dismissed any suggestion of diplomatic disputes resurfacing soon.

“Let us not fight about ownership or sovereignty at this time, because things are going great for my country,” he said.

http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/looks-like-the-philippines-may-start-building-in-the-south-china-sea-as-well-2017-3-1001829279

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 Duterte: Concern over Chinese ships in Benham Rise ‘exaggerated’

Benham Rise is a shallow bathymetric feature, east of Luzon, that towers above the adjacent deep ocean floor. The shallowest part, which is Benham Bank, is less than 50 meters deep. NAMRIA image
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MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte claimed Monday that China had informed him beforehand of its plan to pass through Benham Rise, an area recognized by the United Nations as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
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“We were advised way ahead but we have the right to ask ‘how are things going? What is your purpose?’” the president said in a press conference in Malacañang.
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“We don’t want to dignify (that). Things are getting great our way. Why spoil it?” he added.
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Duterte’s friendly tone towards China was very different from that of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who previously expressed concerns over the presence of Chinese vessels in Benham Rise.
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Duterte believes that reports about the presence of Chinese ships in Benham Rise were just exaggerated.
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“Pinalalaki lang yan (it is being exaggerated),” the president said.
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Asked to react to China’s claim that the Philippines cannot claim Benham Rise, Duterte said: “Let’s not fight about ownership and sovereignty at this time. Things are going great for my country. When it becomes commercial to me, whether you like it or not we have to talk about the arbitral ruling.”
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When reminded that the Benham Rise is not covered by the 2016 arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, Duterte said: “My order to the military is to tell them straight that it’s ours and say it in friendship.”
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Duterte believes China would not be aggressive in Benham Rise unlike in the South China Sea, where it occupied disputed areas despite protests from other claimants.
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“They’ll not do it at this time. Gugulo yan (It will cause complications),” the president said.
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Duterte believes that there are no strings attached to China’s commitment to support Philippine projects. He noted that a third of the assistance are “almost grants” payable in 30 years and renewable for another 30 years.
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“Why pick a fight? I’d rather talk. Kung gusto nila ng show of force dun, papuntahin ko Navy. Pagdating dun, banggain mo lang sa likod then say sorry naglalambing lang po. May amin kami diyan. Ganun lang (I will send the Navy, ask them to hit the rear part of their ship and say sorry, just showing affection.  We own that. That’s it),” the president said in jest.
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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

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Philippines and South China Sea: China claims right to decide on Scarborough’s fate — “Deal With The Devil?” — No calls for treason from Filipinos?

March 13, 2017
“It is China’s sovereignty to decide what to do or not to do on Huangyan Dao (Scarborough Shoal),” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press briefing. File photo

South China Sea arbitration award brushed aside

MANILA, Philippines — Ignoring the arbitral ruling anew, Beijing insisted that it is within their sovereignty what to do with Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal following reports that Americans stopped them from reclaiming the Filipino fishing ground.

Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that China was set to reclaim Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea but was instructed by the Americans not to do so.

RELATED: China survey ships spotted at Benham Rise

“It is China’s sovereignty to decide what to do or not to do on Huangyan Dao (Scarborough Shoal). Without a doubt, China will properly handle the relevant issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press briefing last Friday.

Geng considered Lorenzana’s claims as “groundless speculation” and stressed that China-Philippines relations are developing.

“It is hoped that individuals in the Philippines will stop groundless speculation and make more efforts to promote mutual trust and bilateral relations,” Geng said.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua recently reported that the China has extended its maritime jurisdiction to cover all seas “under its jurisdiction.”

The Chinese Supreme Court issued a regulation on judicial interpretation which is said to contribute to China’s strategy of becoming a major maritime power.

The regulation, which has been in effect since August last year, states that jurisdictional seas also cover regions including contiguous zone, exclusive economic zones, continental shelves and other areas under China’s jurisdiction. The court’s order has been described by observers as ambiguous.

The regulation seeks to pursue Chinese citizens of foreigners for criminal liability of they engage in illegal hunting or fishing in China’s jurisdictional waters.

In July 2016, a Hague-based arbitral tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea has declared the Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc as a common fishing ground. The ruling also dismissed China’s nine-dash line, which claims Scarborough part of China’s sole jurisdiction as baseless.

Lorenzana said that the United States considers the supposed reclamation of the shoal as a “red line.”

“We received reports from the Americans that there were (Chinese) barges already loaded with soil and construction materials going to Scarborough but the Americans, I think, told the Chinese not to do it,” Lorenzana said.

RELATED: China: Philippines can’t claim Benham Rise

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/13/1680704/china-claims-right-decide-scarboroughs-fate

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

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Center for Strategic and International Studies: What is The Position of the Philippines on the South China Sea?

March 3, 2017

By  – Reporter / @jiandradeINQ

/ 05:49 PM March 03, 2017
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Senior officials of a Washington-based think tank group stressed the importance of asserting the arbitral tribunal’s ruling on the South China Sea, expressing skepticism over a code of conduct being pursued by member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

In a press conference on Thursday’s closing reception of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) international conference “US-Asean Relations: Charting the next 40 Years,” CSIS Southeast Asia program senior adviser Ernest Bower pointed out the popular clamor for the Philippines to assert its claim over the South China Sea using the ruling of the international court in the Hague.

“Tthere’s always war and peace. If I am not ready for war then peace is the only thing,” President Rodrigo Duterte told Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua. PPD/King Rodriguez
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READ: Philippines wins arbitration case vs. China over South China Sea

“I think if President (Rodrigo) Duterte is reading the polls, he would think carefully about the July 12 decision because if you look at what Filipino people think they are very strong in the arbitration case in the South China Sea,” Bower said, pointing out that 82 percent of Filipinos want to see the arbitration case “followed up and followed through on.”

READ: 8 in 10 Filipinos want PH to assert rights in South China Sea—Pulse Asia

“It’s what Filipinos want to do and I think the Philippines showed a lot of courage. It had nothing to do with Philippine domestic politics, it had to do with the Philippines’ sovereignty and the rest of Asia and I think the world admired the Philippines’ courage and leadership to take that case and get the decision and I believe President Duterte would be wise to follow through on it,” Bower said.

According to Bower, the Philippines’ failure to invoke the arbitral ruling could endanger its security and sovereignty.

“I think the reason the Philippines took the arbitral case to the Hague is because they wanted a decision based on rule of law and they got a decision based on international rule of law about what the court thought about the South China Sea issue,” he pointed out.

He stressed: “To squander that opportunity to use such a high-level international legal standard would seem to put the country’s national security and its sovereignty at risk. Rolling the dice. I don’t think that’s the type of leader President Duterte is… He seems to be a very good reader of Philippine national opinion and I think, if I was him, I would heed my people on this question.”

Asked on the importance of establishing a code of conduct in the South China Sea, CSIS senior adviser and Southeast Asia program deputy director Murray Hiebert said, “The big question is if it is at all possible to do it. They (Asean and China) have been working on it for years,” adding that Asean would be better off focusing on other concerns.

“I think to put all the emphasis on the code of conduct is spinning their wheels. We took a long time to negotiate the declaration of conduct and then it took 10 years to put in some non-binding principles. So I’m not sure that’s the most effective way to negotiate to get what Asean wants out of China,” he explained.

However, Bower said that if China would be willing to add legally binding language in and relate it with the arbitral ruling, a code of conduct “would be a very good thing for China and for Southeast Asia.”

He pointed out, “I think China really has an opportunity right now to grab some moral high ground and actually make legal commitments to its neighbors in the code of conduct. So it’s a good opportunity to try and raise the standard for a strong, legally binding code of conduct.”

Amy Searight, CSIS senior adviser and Southeast Asia program director, said that while the code of conduct will not affect territorial rights in the South China Sea “if it’s binding and if it really has the right provisions in it, it could be marginally helpful for Asean.”

Bower pointed out: “Things we’re watching for are: would China declare an ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) over the South China Sea? Will the Chinese go further in militarizing the islands?  If Asean can get some commitments on those things in the code of conduct to not do that, that would be bountifully significant or maybe worth looking at.”

The two-day CSIS international conference held on March 1 and 2 brought together 40 academics, think tank experts and government officials around Southeast Asia to discuss the future after 40 years of US-Asean relations.

CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization providing strategic insights and policy solutions that help guide US decision-makers. RAM

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/153066/duterte-urged-assert-ph-rights-south-china-sea#ixzz4aGQgaZhX
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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 (Includes commentary by former President of Columbia Gaviria)

Police reports showed 10 alleged drug personalities were shot to death in Metro Manila and two more in Bulacan – all by unidentified men on motorcycles – in what appeared to be targeted hits. STAR/Joven Cagande
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 (President Trump says U.S. will respect “One China” policy.)

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

South China Sea: Philippine President Not Interested in Evidence of Chinese Missiles

February 27, 2017

OPINION

Sino missile sites don’t alarm Duterte!

 South China Sea: Philippine President Not Interested in Evidence of Chinese Missiles

WHY the deafening silence of President Rodrigo Duterte over disclosures of updated satellite images showing Chinese missile sites in advanced stages of completion on several areas that it has militarized in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone?

The Commander-in-Chief should say something, anything, about new photographs of military-type structures built on such sites as Fiery Cross (Kagitingan), Mischief (Panganiban) and Subi (Zamora) Reefs in the Spratly Group. There are other militarized Chinese outposts in Philippine waters.

The Spratly islands, some of them occupied or claimed by the Philippines, are just 100 kilometers off Palawan. That China has built structures on them to hide or support missile sites should at least prod the President to ask his Chinese friends what they are up to.

Etched in the public mind is the campaign caricature drawn by Duterte himself of his braving the waves on a jetski, flag in hand, on his way to planting the Philippine banner in the disputed islands.

That resolve of his seems to have been dissolved by cunning Chinese leaders who regaled the visitor from Davao with promises of millions of dollars in investments, infrastructure, easy loans, et cetera, to help him keep his campaign promises of a better life for Filipinos.

Duterte actually has an ace, but chose not to play it. He set aside the favorable ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on a complaint filed by Manila questioning the expansive claim of Beijing over much of the South China Sea and Philippine maritime areas.

While the Chinese keep Duterte hoping and waiting for the delivery of the promised aid, they accelerate their building of artificial islands on reefs and protrusions in Philippine waters – and proceed to put up surface-to-air missile sites on them.

We do not expect Duterte to rant and rage on this issue – he may not be able to muster the courage for that kind of performance despite his tough front. But, as we said, he should at least grunt or mutter something.

Duterte held back by his China liaison?

THE CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative based in Washington, DC, released satellite images days ago showing eight buildings being constructed by China on several isles in the Spratlys.

Alarm was expressed in Manila and elsewhere, but not in Malacañang. US Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), for one, condemned China’s buildup in disputed areas. Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said it is high time the arbitral ruling at The Hague was invoked.

Del Rosario said the Philippines’ hosting and chairing the coming 50th anniversary summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an opportune time to bring up the PCA ruling to fast-forward an ASEAN consensus on resolving territorial disputes.

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. may be able to say something to assert Philippine interests in the dispute with China as soon as he and the Commission on Appointments are able to decide if he is a Filipino, an American, or whatever.

The AMTI, meanwhile, said the deployment of weapon systems to China’s three largest outposts in the Spratlys boosts its defense capabilities within the so-called “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea.

The think tank said that China appears to have begun building the structures between late September and early November last year. It said they could be used for HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles that Beijing had deployed to Woody Island in the Paracels.

The images presented showed buildings measuring about 66 feet long and 33 feet wide – said to be capable of hiding “transporter-erector-launcher vehicles carrying missiles” ready to fire from inside without being exposed prematurely.

Abandon Filipino town of Kalayaan?

THE SEVEN islands and three reefs in the Spratlys that the Philippines occupies or controls are collectively called the Kalayaan Group. They lie just 100 kilometers away from Palawan, well within the 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the country.

In May 1956, Filipino adventurer Tomas Cloma, then operator of a fishing firm and director of the Philippine Maritime Institute, discovered the islands together with his brothers and a crew. He founded on the biggest island a new town he called Kalayaan, which until now is a thriving community where the Philippine flag flies.

The Philippine government incorporated Kalayaan into Palawan in April 1972 and sent troops to the Spratlys for the first time in 1968. On June 11, 1978, then President Ferdinand Marcos formally annexed the Kalayaan Group by virtue of Presidential Decree No.1596.

Commenting on the roiling of regional waters, Del Rosario said the Philippines must resolutely adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea upon which was based the ruling that junked as illegal China’s “nine-dash line” arbitrary claim on the South China Sea.

On the coming ASEAN summit in Manila, Del Rosario said: “Our proposed agenda should have included an open discussion on the outcome of the arbitral tribunal, which effectively addresses a lawful approach to ASEAN’s most crucial security concern in the region.”

He warned that developing a Code of Conduct framework would be “an exercise in futility if the arbitral tribunal outcome is not factored in and not recognized as being a most important component of the framework.”

“The Philippines should assert effective leadership as ASEAN chair,” Del Rosario said. “We have an opportunity which we should not forgo. By seizing it, we can be confident that we will not be short-changing the many generations to come, who should be benefiting from our proactive leadership.”

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ADVISORY: To access Postscript archives, go to www.manilamail.com (if necessary, copy/paste the url on your browser). Follow us on Twitter.com/@FDPascual. Email feedback to fdp333@yahoo.com

http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2017/02/28/1676440/sino-missile-sites-dont-alarm-duterte

Related:

.

 (Includes commentary by former President of Columbia Gaviria)

Police reports showed 10 alleged drug personalities were shot to death in Metro Manila and two more in Bulacan – all by unidentified men on motorcycles – in what appeared to be targeted hits. STAR/Joven Cagande
.

 (President Trump says U.S. will respect “One China” policy.)

No automatic alt text available.

On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.