Posts Tagged ‘Chinese ships’

South China Sea: One Year After The Philippines Win At The Permanent Court of Arbitration — Brilliant Statecraft or Treason?

July 12, 2017

By Ellen Tordesillas

Posted at Jul 12 2017 02:46 AM

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One of the good things that President Duterte has done was to rekindle relations with China which reached its lowest ebb during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

Never mind that during the election campaign, he rode on the anti-China sentiments of most Filipinos fueled by the pro-American leanings of Aquino and his Foreign Secretary, Albert del Rosario.

Remember, a standard in Duterte’s campaign speech was his boast that he will ride on a jet ski to one of the islands in the disputed Spratlys and plant the Philippine flag. He would kiss the flag to dramatize his promise. Once in Malacanang, he was asked when he was going to jetski to Spratlys and he replied it was a joke. He said he didn’t even know how to swim.

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In the guise of independent foreign policy, Duterte didn’t just cozy up to China. He attacked the United States when then President Barack Obama reminded him to respect human rights amid reports of rampant killings in connection with his anti-illegal drugs campaign.

His foreign policy moves can be likened to a pendulum that swung from extreme right to extreme left. Today marks first year anniversary of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands on the case filed by the Philippines against China on the latter’s activities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

China did not participate in the Arbitral Court proceedings.

It was a major victory for the Philippines. The Arbitral Court declared invalid China’s nine-dashed line map which covers some 85 percent of the whole South China which infringes on the economic exclusive zones of other countries namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Arbitral Court also ruled that China’s  artificial islands – rocks that were turned into garrisons through reclamation – in the disputed South China Sea do not generate entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea such as economic exclusive zone (220 nautical miles from the shore) and extended continental shelf (350 nautical miles).

As to Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, which is within the Philippine EEZ, the Arbitral Court said it’s a traditional fishing ground of Philippine, Chinese, Vietnamese and fishermen of other nationalities and should be maintained as such.

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Filipino fishermen had been denied access to the area since April 2012 after a two-month stand off between Chinese and Philippine Coastguards following arrest by a Philippine warship of Chinese fishermen in Scarborough shoal. Two Chinese ships remained even after the Aquino government withdrew its ships.

Duterte takes pride that because of his friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Filipino fishermen are now allowed to fish in the area, which is being guarded by two Chinese ships.

It’s like a battered wife thankful that the husband has stopped beating her.

Duterte’s critics have scored his deference to China even  echoing  the position of China that historically South China Sea is theirs  as the name states.

In an ambush interview last April. Duterte said, “They really claim it as their own, noon pa iyan. Hindi lang talaga pumutok nang mainit. Ang nagpainit diyan iyong Amerikano. Noon pa iyan, kaya (It goes way back. The issue just did not erupt then. What triggered the conflict were the Americans. But it goes all the way back. That’s why it’s called) China Sea… sabi nga nila (they say) China Sea, historical na iyan. So hindi lang iyan pumuputok (It’s historical. The issue just had not erupted then) but this issue was the issue before so many generations ago.”

VERA Files fact-check about the name of South China Sea showed  that  South China Sea used to be called the Champa Sea, after the Cham people who established a great maritime kingdom in central Vietnam from the late 2nd to the 17th century.

That is contained in the book,  ‘The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” by  Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Carpio said it was the  Portuguese navigators who coined the name South China Sea.

“The ancient Malays also called this sea Laut Chidol or the South Sea, as recorded by Pigafetta in his account of Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world from 1519 to 1522. In Malay, which is likewise derived from the Austronesian language, laut means sea and kidol means south,” he further said.

“The ancient Chinese never called this sea the South China Sea. Their name for the sea was “Nan Hai” or the South Sea, he adds.

Reading Duterte’s blurting the Chinese line on the South China name, Ruben Carranza, former commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and now director of the Reparative Justice Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice, said “In football, that would be an ‘own goal.’

That’s when a player delivers the ball to the opponent’s goal.



 (Contains links to information about Vietnam’s renewed efforts to extract oil and gas from the sea bed)

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Dominance of the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean would solidify China’s One Belt One Road project
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The international arbitration court in the Hague said on July 12, 2016, that China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law — making the Vietnamese and Philippine claims on South China Sea islands valid and lawful.
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China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at Hong Kong

South China Sea: China says It Will Build Upon Scarborough Shoal — Apparently Breaking a Promise made to President Dutere

March 17, 2017


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The top official in Sansha City that has administered China’s island claims since 2012 was quoted by the official Hainan Daily newspaper as saying that preparations were underway to build an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal off the northwestern Philippines. File photo

BEIJING – China plans to build the first permanent structure on a South China Sea shoal at the heart of a territorial dispute with the Philippines, in a move likely to renew concerns over Beijing’s robust assertions of its claims in the strategically crucial waterbody.

The top official in Sansha City that has administered China’s island claims since 2012 was quoted by the official Hainan Daily newspaper as saying that preparations were underway to build an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal off the northwestern Philippines.

The preparatory work on the stations and others on five other islands in the strategically vital waterway was among the government’s top priorities for 2017, Sansha Communist Party Secretary Xiao Jie was quoted as saying in an interview published in the paper’s Monday edition seen online yesterday in Beijing. No other details were available.

Beijing seized tiny, uninhabited Scarborough in 2012 after a tense standoff with Philippine vessels. Taiwan also includes the island within its South China Sea claims that largely overlap with those of China.

The other stations mentioned by Xiao would be situated on features in the Paracel island group that China has controlled since seizing parts of it away from Vietnam in 1974.

China’s construction and land reclamation work in the South China Sea have drawn strong criticism from the US and others, who accuse Beijing of further militarizing the region and altering geography to bolster its claims. China says the seven man-made islands in the disputed Spratly group, which it has equipped with airstrips and military installations, are mainly for civilian purposes and to boost safety for fishing and maritime trade.

Prior to the announcement, South China Sea tensions had eased somewhat since Beijing erupted in fury last year after a Hague-based arbitration tribunal ruled on a case filed by the Philippines. The verdict invalidated China’s sweeping territorial claims and determining that China violated the rights of Filipinos to fish at Scarborough Shoal.

China has since allowed Filipino fishermen to return to the shoal following President Duterte’s calls for closer ties between the countries, but it does not recognize the tribunal’s ruling as valid and insists it has historical claims to almost the entire South China Sea, through which an estimated $5 trillion in global trade passes each year.

Scarborough has no proper land mass and any structure on it would likely have to be built on stilts. The shoal forms a triangle-shaped lagoon of rocks and reefs running for 46 kilometers, with its highest point just 1.8 meters (about 6 feet) above water at high tide. Known in Chinese as Huangyan Island, it lies about 200 kilometers (120 miles) west of the main Philippine island of Luzon, and about 600 kilometers (370 miles) southeast of China.

US diplomats have said privately that reclamation work on the shoal would be seen as crossing a red line because of its proximity to the main Philippine islands and the threat it could pose to US and Filipino military assets.

During his Senate confirmation hearing for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson compared China’s island-building and military deployments to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and suggested China’s access to the islands should not be allowed. The US says China has reclaimed more than 1,295 hectares (3,200 acres) of land in the area.

The topic is likely to be high on the agenda when Tillerson visits Beijing for talks with top officials on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang was visiting the Philippines, just days after Duterte said Monday that he had told the military to assert Philippine ownership of a large ocean region off the country’s northeastern coast where Chinese survey ships were spotted last year, in a discovery that alarmed Philippine defense officials.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have long contested ownership of the South China Sea, which straddles one of the world’s busiest sea lanes and is believed to sit atop vast deposits of oil and gas.

Also this week, the commander in chief of China’s navy, Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong, noted improving relations in a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Rear Adm. Pham Hoai Nam, in Beijing.

China and Vietnam have had long-running territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Tensions spiked in 2014 after China parked an oil rig near Vietnam’s central coast, sparking mass protests in Vietnam.

The two navies and their countries should “together play a positive role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Shen was quoted as saying by China’s defense ministry.



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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.


China to build on Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea — Did the Philippines Get Swindled? —

March 17, 2017


China will begin preparatory work this year for an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, an official said, as two U.S. senators introduced a bill to impose sanctions on its activities in the disputed waterway.

Last month, a Philippine minister said Chinese President Xi Jinping had promised his Philippine counterpart China would not build structures on the rocky outcrop both countries claim, but China called the comments “baffling and regrettable”.

China seized the shoal, which is northeast of the Spratly islands, in 2012 and denied access to Philippine fishermen. But after President Rodrigo Duterte visited China last year, it allowed them to return to the traditional fishing area.

This week, Xiao Jie, the mayor of what China calls Sansha City, said China planned to begin preparatory work this year to build environmental monitoring stations on a number of islands, including Scarborough Shoal.

Sansha City is the name China has given to an administrative base for the South China Sea islands and reefs it controls.

The monitoring stations, along with docks and other infrastructure, form part of island restoration and erosion prevention efforts planned for 2017, Xiao told the official Hainan Daily in an interview.

A spokesman for the Philippine foreign ministry, Charles Jose, declined to comment, saying it was trying to verify the reports.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Beijing on Saturday for a two-day visit, where the South China Sea, almost all of which is claimed by China, is likely to figure.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the waters, which have rich fishing grounds, along with oil and gas deposits. About $5 trillion worth of trade passes through the waterway each year.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of manmade islands and its build-up of military facilities there, expressing concern they could be used to restrict free movement.

This week, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin introduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act that would ban visas for Chinese people contributing to building development projects in the South and East China Seas.

It would also put sanctions on foreign financial bodies that “knowingly conduct or facilitate a significant financial transaction for sanctioned individuals and entities” if China steps up activity at Scarborough Shoal, among other actions.

The senators’ proposal was “extremely grating,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday.

“I think the proposal put forward by individual senators shows their arrogance and ignorance,” Hua told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

China resolutely opposes the proposal, which infringes international law and international relations norms, she added.

Tension over the South China Sea reached a flashpoint after the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China in the Hague and as China started militarizing artificial islands it built up on reefs in the region.

China is also involved in a separate dispute with Japan over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd; Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato in MANILA; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)



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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.


Philippines: Lawmaker Cautions About Sea Sovereignty — “Are we going to let China fool us again in Benham Rise?”

March 14, 2017

By  – Reporter / @MJcayabyabINQ

/ 04:07 PM March 14, 2017
Philippines: Lawmaker Cautions About Sea Sovereignty — “Are we going to let China fool us again in Benham Rise?”

benham rise

Map showing disputed claims in the South China Sea. Includes locations for Reed Bank and Benham Rise, where Chinese survey ships were seen last year, according to the Philippine government. AFP

A former soldier turned lawmaker on Tuesday denounced the entry of Chinese ships in Benham Rise, a 13-million hectare mineral-rich undersea region east of Luzon, urging President

Rodrigo Duterte to fight for our country’s territorial rights instead of making sweet deals with China.

In a press briefing at the House of Representatives, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano scored Duterte for selling out the country’s territory while making sweet deals with China in exchange for foreign investments and loans.

“Kailangang maging transparent ang Pangulo dahil parang pinagpapalit sa pera ang ating teritoryo,” Alejano said.

(The President should be transparent about this because it seems he is exchanging our territory for money.)

Alejano denounced the entry of Chinese ships in the Benham Rise, a biodiversity hotspot, even though this was not part of China’s nine-dash line which an arbitration court earlier ruled as invalid.

China had said the Philippines could not claim Benham Rise as its own territory, and that the passage of the Chinese survey ships supposedly to look for submarine stations was an “innocent passage” supported by international law.

READ: PH can’t claim Benham Rise as its own territory—Beijing 

President Rodrigo Duterte took a soft stance on the Benham Rise, adding that the Philippines should not fight China about sovereignty or ownership over the Benham Rise especially because the Philippines could not match China’s might.

“Why would I pick a fight, I’d rather talk,” Duterte said on Monday.

READ: ‘Let’s not fight over sovereignty at this time,’ says Duterte on Benham Rise 

Alejano said China had misled the Philippines when it built illegal structures over the Mischief Reef and the Scarborough Shoal which China claims are part of its territory.

“China foiled us in Mischief Reef, foiled us in Scarborough Shoal. Are we going to let China fool us again in Benham Rise?” Alejano said.

Alejano urged the administration to defend the country’s territory and not bow down to the whims of China.

“We won’t be able to assert our rights even in Benham Rise in the future if we want to always appease China,” Alejano said.

Alejano said Duterte may be liable for treason, an impeachable offense, if the administration does not defend its sovereignty over the Benham Rise.

“Kasama ang treason as basis for impeachment. Dapat pangalagaan ang ating teritoryo. ‘Pag ang Pangulo na mismo ang nag-va-violate niyan, he should be accountable,” Alejano said.

(Treason is a basis for impeachment. We should protect our territories. If the President is the one violating that, he should be accountable.) JE

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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.


Philippines stresses rights to undersea area amid suspicions about China — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called for “structures” to be erected

March 14, 2017


Tuesday, 14 March 2017 11:52 GMT

MANILA, March 14 (Reuters) – The Philippines went on the offensive on Tuesday to assert its sovereign rights over a fishing ground in the Pacific Ocean, stressing a need to protect it after a Chinese survey ship was monitored in the area last year.

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

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called for “structures” to be erected in the area to denote Philippine jurisdiction and told the navy that should Chinese vessels return, “go there and tell them straight that this is ours”.

The preemptive push by the Philippines underlines decades of mistrust of China over its activities in the South China Sea, which has been largely put aside since Duterte took office and sought to tap Beijing for business.

The foreign ministry said there was no question, and no rival claim, over Benham Rise, a 13 million hectare undersea region rich in biodiversity and yellow fin tuna.

“It is indisputable because no other country has an overlapping claim there,” foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose said in a statement.

“So as a country that exercises sovereign rights and jurisdiction, we are the only one that has a sole and exclusive right to explore and exploit the national resources in Benham Rise. It is our responsibility to protect it.”

Philippine officials are suspicious and say the Chinese ship was not passing through the area, but surveying it.

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Seismic research vessel of the type typically used by China before mining the sea bed

Officially, there is no dispute over Benham Rise and statements by China in recent days have not challenged those of the Philippines about jurisdiction of the area.

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

Philippine presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said such passage was acceptable, “but they (China) are disallowed to stay and establish any structure”, he said.

“First and foremost, Benham Rise belongs to the Philippine people,” he added.

Former foreign minister Albert del Rosario, who has a history of challenging China, suggested the Philippines work with ally the United States to outline options for Manila to deal with Beijing over Benham Rise.

“Under no circumstances would it be wise for us to trade away our national security,” he said. (Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty)


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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.


Philippines: President Duterte orders military to assert the country’s rights “in a friendly way” in sea area where Chinese oil research ship seen

March 14, 2017
Benham Rise is part of Philippine territory, President Duterte made clear yesterday even as he ordered the military to assert the country’s rights over the area in a friendly way. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – Benham Rise is part of Philippine territory, President Duterte made clear yesterday even as he ordered the military to assert the country’s rights over the area in a friendly way.

“My order to the military is to tell them straight that it’s ours and say it in friendship,” the President said in a press conference yesterday at Malacañang.

Duterte’s pronouncements came on the heels of the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement that the Philippines has no right to claim Benham Rise despite a UN declaration that it is part of the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Duterte’s friendly tone also differed from that of his defense chief Delfin Lorenzana, who had expressed concern over the presence of Chinese vessels in Benham Rise.

The President said the Chinese government had informed him beforehand of its plan to pass through Benham Rise. He also expressed belief the presence of Chinese ships in the area does not constitute an incursion.

“We were advised way ahead but we have the right to ask ‘how are things going? What is your purpose?’” the President said.

“We don’t want to dignify (that). Things are getting great our way. Why spoil it?” he added.

Duterte believes that reports about the presence of Chinese ships in Benham Rise were just exaggerated.

He said he is confident there are no strings attached to China’s commitment to support Philippine projects.

“Why pick a fight? I’d rather talk. Kung gusto nila ng show of force doon, papuntahin ko Navy. Pagdating doon, banggain mo lang sa likod then say sorry naglalambing lang po. May amin kami diyan. Ganun lang (If they want a shpowof force, I will send the Navy, ask them to bump them a little then say sorry, just showing affection. We own that. That’s it),” the President said in jest.

In Beijing, the foreign ministry said the Philippines cannot claim the mineral-rich Benham Rise as part of its territory despite the area’s being within the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone as recognized by the United Nations.

While acknowledging the 2012 approval by a UN commission of the Philippines’ submission in 2009 regarding the limits of its continental shelf in Benham Rise, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Friday the approval “does not mean that the Philippines can take it (Benham Rise) as its own territory.”

It was the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which decided on the Philippines’ submission.

Chinese survey ships have not only conducted oceanographic research at Recto or Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea but also at Benham Rise in the Pacific, which has been recognized by the United Nations as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared yesterday. File photo/Benham Rise Program

Citing international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Geng said a coastal state’s rights over a continental shelf do not affect the legal status of the superjacent waters or of the air space above those waters, freedom of navigation and innocent passage.

The UN confirmed that Benham Rise, a 13-million hectare area off the coast of Aurora province, is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf and territory. Benham Rise has untapped natural resources, including rich mineral deposits, and is said to be wider than Luzon, Samar and Leyte combined.

On Saturday, Manila officially sought Beijing’s explanation on the reported presence of one of its vessels in Benham Rise in the Pacific.

“The Philippines has expressed its concern about the reported presence of a Chinese ship in Benham Rise, which has been recognized by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf as Philippine waters,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Geng confirmed the reported presence of its ship in eastern Philippines last year but maintained that it was simply exercising freedom of navigation.

Defense Secretary  Lorenzana on Thursday expressed concern over the latest incursion of China on Philippine territory and ordered the Navy to accost or drive away Chinese ships if these are seen again in the area.

Yesterday, Lorenzana said the Philippines would deploy more patrol ships to Benham Rise or possibly set up structures in the area. –  Michael Punongbayan

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Seismic research vessel of the type typically used by China before mining the sea bed

China, Japan Working Toward Steps to End the War of Words on Who Owns What in the East China Sea

December 26, 2016
December 26, 2016, 12:26 AM EST
  • China seeks to divide public opinion in Japan, spy agency says
  • Agency says need to watch Chinese actions concerning Okinawa

Chinese universities and think tanks are forming ties with Okinawan independence groups in a bid to divide public opinion in Japan, a Japanese government agency said in an annual report.

By deepening ties with independence activists on the subtropical islands that host the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan, China hopes to swing public opinion in its favor and spark a split within Japan, the Public Security Intelligence Agency said without elaborating. The agency also said in the report published last week that Japan must pay attention to Chinese activities with regard to Okinawa.

There was no immediate response to a request for comment from China’s foreign ministry.

Asia’s two largest economies are in dispute over the ownership of a group of uninhabited islets near Taiwan, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Official media in China have also suggested that Beijing should refuse to accept Japanese sovereignty over the main islands of Okinawa, which maintained ties with both countries prior to annexation by Japan in the 19th century.

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Tensions between Okinawa and mainland Japan have grown in recent years, with many of the 1.4 million residents resenting the burden of  hosting the U.S. military. Even so, the independence movement has so far failed to gain momentum. A poll conducted by the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper in May 2015 found two-thirds favored the status quo, while 21 percent said they wanted more self-determination as a Japanese region and just over 8 percent said they were pro-independence.


Japan is bolstering its own defenses on some of Okinawa’s more remote islands amid tensions with China’s navy and coastguard. Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force said Sunday it detected six Chinese ships including the Liaoning aircraft carrier sailing into the Western Pacific near Okinawa — the first time the navy has spotted the Liaoning entering the ocean from the East China Sea.

The intelligence agency also referred in its report to an Aug. 12 opinion piece in China’s Communist Party-affiliated Global Times, which it quoted as saying that China should use the old name Ryukyu to refer to the islands, because calling them Okinawa was tantamount to accepting Japanese sovereignty.

Fishing War: South Korean coastguard fires machine guns at Chinese trawlers — Will quest for food make more nations lawless? Will China Continue its South China Sea Conduct?

November 2, 2016


South Korean coastguard vessels have, for the first time, fired machine guns against Chinese boats illegally fishing in Korean waters, an official said Wednesday.

There were no casualties reported from the incident on Tuesday, which was the first of its kind since the coastguard announced last month that it would pursue a “more aggressive” firearms policy with Chinese trawlers.

Image result for Vietnamese fishing boat Dna 90152 sinking May 2014 after being rammed intentionally by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel, photos

Chinese workers sort the day’s catch.

Disputes over illegal fishing have dogged relations between South Korea and China for years, and there have been numerous clashes between the coastguard and Chinese crew members.

Senior coastguard official Kim Jung-shik said the order to fire came during a stand-off with some 30 Chinese fishing boats illegally operating near the South’s Yellow Sea border with North Korea.

 A Chinese fishing boat catches fires during an inspection by the South Korean coastguard in September. File photo: AP
In this Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 photo provided by the South Korean Mokpo Coast Guard, a Chinese fishing boat catches fires during an inspection by the South Korean coast guard in the water off Hong Island, South Korea. South Korea’s coast guard said three Chinese fishermen have been found dead when a fire broke out on their boat after the coast guard fired a flashbang grenade at the vessel to stop it. South Korean Mokpo Coast Guard via AP

 Chinese boats banded together with ropes are chased by a South Korean coastguard helicopter and rubber boats in 2011. File photo: AFP

“They tried to ram our ships although we repeatedly warned them,” Kim told the Yonhap news agency.

“I thought our officers would be in danger if I allowed any more resistance so we ended up using the crew service weapon,” he was quoted as saying.

Initial machine gun bursts were fired into the air, but the crew were later ordered to fire on the bows of the Chinese boats that were sailing directly at the coastguard vessels.

Two Chinese trawlers were seized in the clash.

Seoul has been asking Beijing to take a tougher stand on its vessels that have entered the South’s waters in increasing numbers to satisfy growing demand at home for fresh seafood.

Small wooden Chinese ships were once tolerated in an area where the top priority has always been guarding against potential incursions from North Korea.

But in recent years, the small boats have given way to larger steel trawlers which engage in bottom trawling – dragging a large weighted net across the seabed that sweeps up everything in its path.

See also:


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Vietnamese fishing boat Dna 90152 sinking May 2014 after being rammed intentionally by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel

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Vietnamese fishing boat Dna 90152 sinking May 2014 after being rammed intentionally by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel — The boat was towed home and repaired!

  (March 2016)

 (Also shows examples of how China treats Vietnamese and Filipino fishermen…)

 (Contains links to several related articles)

South China Sea: Chinese coastguard ships still patrolling the disputed Scarborough Shoal, But Filipino fishers allowed

October 30, 2016

AFP — 30 October 2016 – 10H45


MANILA (AFP) – Chinese coastguard ships are still patrolling the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea but are not stopping Filipinos from fishing there, a Philippine defence spokesman said Sunday.The information — from fishermen who have just returned from the shoal — came despite earlier Philippine government statements that the Chinese had left the outcrop they seized in 2012.

A spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte had said Saturday there were no longer signs of Chinese ships at the shoal, after Duterte visited China to repair frayed ties.

However Defence Department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said the fishermen who visited the shoal on Saturday still saw Chinese coastguard ships there.

“Filipino fishermen, who have been to Bajo de Masinloc, (the local name for Scarborough Shoal) say that they have observed an undetermined number of Chinese white ships in the area but (the Filipinos) were not subjected to any harassment by these vessels and they were able to fish in peace,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

China took control of Scarborough Shoal, 230 kilometres (140 miles) west of the main Philippine island of Luzon, in 2012. It drove Filipino fishermen away from the rich fishing ground, sometimes using water cannons.

In a case brought by then-president Benigno Aquino, the Philippines won a resounding victory over China at an international tribunal earlier this year.

In a judgement that infuriated Beijing, the tribunal ruled in July there was no basis for China’s claims to most of the South China Sea — where several nations have competing partial claims.

However Aquino’s successor Duterte played down this victory in a visit to China earlier this month, putting territorial disputes on the back-burner and focusing instead on Chinese aid.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Duterte there was no reason for hostility and difficult topics “could be shelved temporarily”.

The Chinese occupation of the shoal has been a sore point in relations, with Filipino fishermen frequently complaining that Chinese ships drive them away from their fishing grounds.

Duterte had hinted at the possibility of a Chinese withdrawal upon his return from Beijing, saying: “We’ll just wait for a few more days. We might be able to return to Scarborough Shoal.”

Newspaper reports on Sunday also said fishermen from the northern province of Pangasinan were able to fish at Scarborough Shoal, with the Chinese watching but not interfering.

“Happy days are here again,” the Philippine Star quoted one fisherman as saying.


File photo provided by Renato Etac, Chinese Coast Guard members, wearing black caps and orange life vests, approach Filipino fishermen as they confront them off Scarborough Shoal at South China Sea in northwestern Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, Filipino fishermen may be able to return to the China-held Scarborough Shoal in a few days after he discussed the territorial rift with Chinese leaders during his trip to Beijing this past week. Renato Etac via AP, File

   (From July 12, 2016)


Above Chinese chart shows China’s “Nine Dash Line.” China says it owns all ocean territory north of the Nine Dash Line. There is no international legal precedent for this claim.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid.

China Confirms It Has Vessels at Scarborough Shoal — Inside the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines?

September 7, 2016
Photographs released by the Philippine government are displayed on a computer screen in Bangkok, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. AP/Charles Dharapak

MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Wednesday confirmed that Chinese ships and fishing boats are in the waters around the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, called Huangyan Dao in Mandarin.

“The Chinese side has maintained the presence of a number of coast guard vessels for law enforcement patrols. There are also some Chinese fishing boats around that area,” the embassy said.

“The situation has not changed. There are no dredging or building activities there,” it added.

The Chinese embassy also denied reports that the Chinese ambassador has met with the Philippines’ defense chief to explain the sightings.

“Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana quoted Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua as saying that the ‘vessels are transfering sand from one area to another. The Chinese Embassy would like to clarify that Ambassador Zhao has not yet had the honor to meet with His Honorable Defense Secretary Lorenzana, and the media must have misquoted him,” the embassy said.

The statement came following the Philippine government’s release of surveillance pictures of Chinese coast guard ships and barges around Scarborough just hours before the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended the regional summit. with Southeast Asian leaders in Laos.

Lorenzana said the situation is “very worrisome” if it were the start of reclamation activity.

“That area is ours. Once they seize an island, we can no longer recover it,” he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that China hadn’t done anything to alter the circumstances in the waters surrounding the shoal.

“What I can tell you is that the situation in waters near Huangyan Island remains unchanged and China hasn’t made any new moves,” Hua said in Beijing, using the shoal’s Chinese name. “We should be highly alert against the mischief-making intentions of people who spread such groundless information in such situations.”

Asked how disturbed the Philippines was by the presence of the Chinese ships, Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella told a news conference: “Enough to announce it.”

Hours after the Philippines released the pictures, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met with Li and his aides. The South China Sea dispute was tackled at the closed-door meeting with some of the leaders, including Duterte, who reiterated calls for the conflicts to be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

He quoted the Chinese premier as saying that there was now a “positive direction” in Beijing’s relations with ASEAN and that the disputes should not affect overall relations.

The Chinese embassy, meanwhile, said it is “willing to work with the Philippine side to enhance mutual trust and promote development of bilateral relations.” — Camille Diola with reports from the Associated Press