Posts Tagged ‘Chinese retaliation’

Vietnam seeks South Korean support in South China Sea

March 20, 2017


South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se is welcomed by Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

Vietnam’s Prime Minister sought support for the nation’s stance in the South China Sea when he met South Korea’s foreign minister in Hanoi on Monday.

Vietnam is the country most openly at odds with China over the waterway since the Philippines pulled back from confrontation under President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The Prime Minister proposed that South Korea continue its support over the position of Vietnam and Southeast Asia on the South China Sea issue and to help the country improve its law enforcement at the sea”, the government said in a statement on its website after the meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

The statement did not say whether South Korea backed Vietnam’s position on the South China Sea.

Yun did affirm his country’s willingness to promote ties despite instability in South Korea after the ousting of President Park Geun-hye over a graft scandal.

South Korea is Vietnam’s biggest foreign investor thanks to companies like Samsung.

South Korea and China are currently in dispute over deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defense system. South Korea on Monday has complained to the World Trade Organization about Chinese retaliation against its companies over the deployment.

Last week, Vietnam demanded China stop sending cruise ships to the area in response to one of Beijing’s latest moves to bolster its claims to the strategic waterway.

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan lay claim to parts of the route, through which about $5 trillion of trade passes each year.

(Reporting by My Pham; Editing by Julia Glover)





South Korea to express concern over China’s behavior — South Korea says China may be “punishing” via trade restrictions

January 12, 2017

South Korea may complain to China about actions perceived to have been taken in retaliation for a South Korean decision last year to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system, its trade minister said on Thursday.

“We plan to present the relation between China’s actions that have been pointed out by our companies and the THAAD deployment during a meeting on Friday regarding the free trade agreement between South Korea and China,” Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan told parliament.

Joo said South Korea’s concern over China’s behavior would be expressed at the meeting.

South Korea’s finance minister said this month China was suspected to be taking indirect action against the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system as China worries its powerful radar can penetrate its territory.

Beijing has objected to the deployment, which South Korea and the United States say is only aimed at defending against any threat from North Korea.

China recently rejected applications by South Korean carriers to add charter flights between the two countries.

Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho later said the government was looking into whether China’s decision was related to the deployment of the anti-missile system.

China has not commented on South Korea’s concern about retaliation.

(Reporting by Jane Chung and Christine Kim; Editing by)

Philippines-China: With South China Sea Dispute At The International Court, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

April 7, 2014

China: Will the Philippines’ legal challenge against China work?

A Philippine national flag flutters in the wind aboard the BRP Sierra Madre on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea on March 29, 2014. According to local media, two Chinese Coast Guard vessels on Saturday tried to block a Philippine government civilian ship from bringing troops and supplies to the military detachment. BRP Sierra Madre has been aground on the disputed shoal, which is known as the Ren’ai reef in China and the Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines, since 1999. REUTERS/

April 6, 2014 8:40pm

Recently, our government took the bold decision to take China before a United Nations (UN) court at The Hague. It represented the culmination of years of preparing a legal challenge to China’s increasingly belligerent actions in the West Philippine Sea.It also reflected our exasperation with existing diplomatic mechanisms under the aegis of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has, so far, failed to establish a legally-binding Code of Conduct (CoC) across the contested waters.  As of this writing, the Philippines is the only country that has chosen to stand up to China in an international court in such an explicit, high-profile manner. And this may explain China’s expressed outrage at the Aquino administration’s latest legal maneuver. Far from calming the warm waters of the West Philippine Sea, tensions are bound to rise in the coming months.There is a clear and present risk of Chinese retaliation in the future. Beijing can (once again) not only resort to imposing economic sanctions and travel bans against the Philippines, but it can also up the ante by expanding its maritime patrols across the West Philippine Sea. China has the option of further tightening its ongoing siege of Philippine marine detachments in the Second Thomas Shoal as well as consolidating its control over the Scarborough Shoal. If push comes to shove, there is also the possibility of targeted attacks against the Philippines’ key infrastructures, especially the electricity sector, which is heavily deregulated. In short, the Philippines is highly vulnerable, and there should be a coherent strategy to prevent a destructive confrontation.

Since the Philippines is the only country to have legally challenged Chinese claims in the Western Pacific, China has the option of engaging in a targeted, concentrated punishment of the Philippines. Obviously, the situation would have been much different if we coordinated our legal challenge against China with other like-minded countries such as Vietnam, Japan, and India, which share similar territorial disputes with China. But we didn’t do so, choosing instead to be a trailblazer for using international law as an instrument of resolving an increasingly militarized maritime dispute.

An uncertain strategy 

“By going to arbitration, the Philippines has signaled its fidelity to international law… We are defending what is legitimately and rightfully ours,” declared Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

On the surface, the Philippines has a strong case to make. Our territorial disputes with China concern a number of maritime features, which unequivocally fall well within our 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). China’s nearest shores are several times farther.

The picture, however, gets a bit more complicated once you jump into the complexity of the case at hand. First of all, there is no established “enforcement mechanism” to ensure that China will respect the outcome of the arbitration, assuming the Philippines wins the case.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has unequivocally expressed its refusal to subject itself to any international arbitration concerning, among other things, “territorial delimitation”. Based on Annex VII of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it can be argued that the ITLOS can exercise jurisdiction over an arbitration case in which parties such as China refuse to participate. But China has the wherewithal to ignore or veto any international resolution questioning its territorial and key foreign policies, or simply quit the UNCLOS.

Then, one must consider the fact that the deliberate vagueness of China’s territorial claims, based on unprecedented historical grounds, poses complications for the ITLOS arbitration panel, which would face considerable challenge at arriving at a clear-cut decision in a short period.

Potential rewards 

The strength of the Philippines’ case, however, lies in its strategy of questioning the legal validity of China’s sweeping territorial across the South China Sea basin, rather than definitively determining sovereignty claims over the disputed features in the area. In this sense, the Philippines’ legal case is more about undermining the legitimacy of China’s territorial claims, which, in turn, would place tremendous international pressure on Beijing.

There is also a strategic element. Depending on how the arbitration case moves forward, the Philippines can gradually cajole other like-minded countries such as Vietnam and Japan to file similar cases against China — cementing a regional counter-alliance against Beijing based on international law.

The ultimate goal of the Aquino administration’s latest legal maneuver shouldn’t be to antagonize China, which is poised to become the preeminent power in Asia in the coming decades. Instead, it should focus on generating enough strategic pressure to convince Beijing to get back to the negotiating table, de-escalate its para-military maneuvers in the contested waters, and accede to a legally-binding CoC in the West Philippine Sea.

There are two elements that will be extremely crucial to the success of the Philippines territorial policy. In the absence of a credible minimum deterrence capability, the Philippines has little choice but to maximize its strategic partnership with external powers such as Japan and the U.S. It is extremely important to garner maximum guarantees of support from Washington in an event of a Philippine-China confrontation in the West Philippine Sea. But the most crucial element is the development of our own maritime defense capabilities, with special focus on the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard, which are pivotal to the preservation of our territorial claims.

In times of crisis, international affairs become largely a realm of ‘balance of power’ politics and military self-reliance, rather than evoking laws and norms. Therefore, we should view the arbitration maneuver as only a supplement to a broader strategy of defending our territorial claims. – GMA News