Posts Tagged ‘Chinese ships’

Filipino officials: Chinese navy stalked Philippine area — Philippine Government not telling all they know?

August 22, 2017
 / 08:04 PM August 22, 2017

In this Friday, April 21, 2017 photo, a sandbar is seen from the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, two Filipino security officials said China has deployed its navy and coast guard ships in a cluster of uninhabited sandbars in the disputed South China Sea amid concerns that the Philippines may build structures on them in an emerging territorial issue that the government stated was quickly resolved. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines- China recently deployed navy and coast guard ships in a cluster of uninhabited sandbars in the disputed South China Sea amid concerns that the Philippines may build structures on them, two Filipino security officials said Tuesday. The government, however, said the issue was quickly resolved amid the Asian neighbors’ friendlier ties.

Two senior Philippine security officials told The Associated Press that three Chinese navy ships, a coast guard vessel and 10 fishing boats began keeping watch on Sandy Cay on Aug. 12 after a group of Filipino fishermen were spotted on the sandbars. The Filipinos eventually left but the Chinese stayed on.

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The two spoke on condition of anonymity, saying only the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila has been authorized to publicly discuss issues related to the country’s territorial disputes with China. The foreign affairs department, however, has in recent days refused to divulge details of the situation at Sandy Cay, a cluster of three sandbars.

A senior Philippine diplomat, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to discuss the issue publicly, said China “is concerned that we will build” structures on the sandbars. Chinese and Philippine officials have quietly worked to resolve the issue in recent days, said the diplomat, who is involved in the talks.

A government security report seen by the AP says Chinese navy ships with bow numbers 504, 545 and 168, a Chinese coast guard ship with bow number 46115, and 10 Chinese fishing vessels took positions off Sandy Cay. Its nearest sandbar is about 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 kilometers) from Philippine-occupied Thitu Island.

On Aug. 15, a blue Chinese helicopter flew low off Thitu’s southwest coast, the report said.

Philippine troops and villagers based at Thitu call it Pag-asa -Tagalog for hope – while the Chinese call the island Zhongye Dao.

The Chinese military presence near Thitu sparked concerns in Manila.

Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has studied the disputes extensively, said the Chinese navy ships and other vessels encroached in the Philippine island’s 12-nautical mile (22-kilometer) territorial waters.

“In short, Sandy Cay is a Philippine land territory that is being seized, to put it mildly, or being invaded, to put it frankly, by China,” Carpio said in a statement over the weekend.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano have the constitutional duty to defend and protect Philippine territory.

“The very least that they could do now is to vigorously protest this invasion of Philippine territory by China,” Carpio said. “If both are courageous, they should send a Philippine navy ship to guard Sandy Cay and if the Chinese navy ships attack the Philippine navy vessel, they should invoke the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty.”

The 1951 treaty binds the allies to come to the aid of each other when attacked.

Cayetano, however, told reporters Tuesday that the issue has been diplomatically resolved and denied that China has invaded Sandy Cay.

“Let me assure you, there is no more problem in that area,” Cayetano told reporters, declining to provide details. “But it is not true that there was an attempt to invade or seize it.”

Much-friendlier ties between Manila and Beijing under Duterte have allowed both governments to manage their disputes better. “If our relationship with our neighbors isn’t this good, the situation in the West Philippine Sea will be much, much worse,” Cayetano said, using the Philippine name for the South China Sea.

Duterte told reporters over dinner late Monday that he has been assured by China’s ambassador in Manila, Zhao Jianhua, and the Chinese foreign ministry that Beijing has no plans to occupy or build structures on Sandy Cay.

“They’re not invading,” ABS-CBN TV network quoted Duterte as saying. “They are just there but they are not claiming anything.”

One of the Philippine security officials said the military has been monitoring the Chinese presence at Sandy Cay but added it was difficult to check if Beijing’s ships were still there due to bad weather in the remote offshore region.

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/159933/china-west-philippine-sea-west-philippine-sea-sandy-cay-uninhabited-sandbars#ixzz4qURzNHPe
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The ONLY TRULY JOYFUL FACES at the ASEAN conference were provided by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.  (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

 

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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 chose to ignore international law.

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South China Sea: Philippine President Duterte Struggles With Question of Sovereignty, International Law Over Sandy Cay as China Watches

August 22, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte speaks with the Malacañang Press Corps at the Malago Clubhouse, Malacañang Park in Manila on August 21, 2017. PPD

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed the warning of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that the Chinese are invading a sandbar near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

Carpio earlier urged the Philippine government to act on China’s “invasion” of Sandy Cay, located some 2.5 nautical miles off Pag-asa Island and well within the island’s 12-nautical mile territorial waters.

READ: Carpio: China virtually occupying Sandy Cay

The president, on the other hand, said that there is no reason to defend the sandbar as China was only patrolling the area.

“Why should I defend a sandbar and kill the Filipinos because of a sandbar?” Duterte told reporters Monday night.

Duterte added that Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua assured him that Beijing will not be building facilities in the area.

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Sandy Cay

“Hindi nga na-invade eh. Hindi naman totoo iyong sinasabi ni ano — they are just there but they are not claiming anything,” Duterte said.

Carpio called on Duterte and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to protest the invasion of Philippine territory of China as it reportedly has two frigates, a coast guard vessel and two military fishing boats around Sandy Cay.

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File photo

RELATED: Photos confirm Chinese flotilla near Pag-asa

The SC justice stressed that Duterte and Cayetano both vowed to the Filipino people that they will not concede a single inch of Philippine territory to China.

Duterte, however, does not see any reason why China would occupy the sandbar near the Manila-claimed island.

“Why would they risk invading a sandbar and get into a quarrel with us? Ano ang makuha nila?” he said.

Carpio earlier explained that Sandy Cay was discussed in the final ruling of an international tribunal which invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

Located between Pag-asa Island and Zamora Reef, Sandy Cay is a disappearing sandbar — appearing only for a few months before it disappears.

“Apparently, because of China’s dredging in Subi Reef, pulverized corals drifted and gathered at Sandy Cay and made it permanently above water at high-tide. As a high-tide elevation, Sandy Cay is now land or territory capable of sovereign ownership with its own territorial sea and territorial airspace,” Carpio said.

Satellite imagery released by Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative last week confirmed reports that Chinese vessels had been operating near Pag-asa Island.

RELATED: Cayetano defends Chinese presence near Pag-asa

The think tank said that the presence of Chinese ships in the area may be an indication that Beijing is discouraging Manila from its planned construction on Pag-asa.

“It is important to note that ownership of the territorial waters in which these ships are operating is still legally disputed. Subi was a low-tide elevation before China built an artificial island on it,” AMTI said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/22/1731595/duterte-why-defend-disputed-sandbar

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 (Is the Philippines just a pawn for China now?)

The ONLY TRULY JOYFUL FACES at the ASEAN conference were provided by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.  (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

 

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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 chose to ignore international law.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Concerned About Chinese Incursions in Philippine Waters of the South China Sea

August 19, 2017
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Gen. Restituto Padilla broached the idea after the military affirmed reports of the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines – The military wants to bring Chinese incursions at sandbars in the West Philippine Sea before the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultative Mechanism (BCM).

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Gen. Restituto Padilla broached the idea after the military affirmed reports of the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We will work to clarify all of these things and there is a mechanism that is built-in in our current relationship, which is called the Bilateral Consultative Mechanism, that has already been initiated before,” Padilla said.

The BCM was formed by the Philippines and China to address concerns in the disputed seas.

The first BCM was held last May in Guiyang, China – the venue chosen by President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Through the BCM, both parties can raise issues surrounding the maritime claims in a bid to avoid violent confrontation between the two countries.

“It would be best to ask the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) what happened to this mechanism because this is the proper forum to address those issues,” Padilla said.

Earlier, the DFA reported that a second meeting is forthcoming within the year where the Philippines can further bring its concerns.

Ambassador Chito Sta. Romana has said the BCM is a good venue to talk about possible areas of cooperation aimed at building mutual trust and confidence between Philippines and China.

Padilla said the AFP is in the process of looking further into the report of Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano who exposed the presence of Chinese boats in the area.

“We did receive word from the camp of Congressman Alejano regarding the presence of Chinese ships. There have been a lot of fisherman from our side who have been fishing in our waters over there,” Padilla said.

“And I think the bone of contention was regarding the presence of some of our fisherman in some of those areas because the Chinese are there also,” he said.

Alejano claimed there are two Chinese naval vessels, two fishing ships and a Chinese Coast Guard ship operating around Pag-asa Island since Aug. 12.

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File Photo

He added the Chinese have a sinister plan to occupy the sandbars in the area.

Padilla however assured the public that the matter is now being addressed but he has yet to confirm the number of ships spotted in the area.

The AFP’s Western Mindanao Command has been tasked to check out the report to ensure the Filipino fisherman are “well and protected.”

“Now, we will file our ongoing and continuing protest for any of these movements, and the foreign affairs department will see to that,” Padilla added.

“We file diplomatic protest whenever we have sightings close to our areas. Especially this one,” he said.

As this developed, the US government is set to donate an unmanned radar blimp to the Philippine Navy to enhance its intelligence gathering and disaster response operations.

US Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski will hand over the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) – a self-sustained, unmanned lighter-than-air systems – to Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado on Monday.

The turnover ceremony will be held at the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales.

In a statement, the US embassy said the radar is expected to enhance the Navy’s capability in maritime intelligence surveillance reconnaissance by effectively detecting maritime and air traffic within the country’s coastal waters using sensors.

It will also be utilized in the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The TARS also includes a weather station that provides telemetry data to the ground station for the monitoring of ambient temperature, pressure, wind, speed and other pertinent parameters in the operation of the system. – Christina Mendez, Jaime Laude, Helen Flores

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.

***
http://news.abs-cbn.com/blogs/opinions/07/11/17/opinion-ph-win-in-arbitral-court-one-year-after

Blog:www.ellentordesillas.com
E-mail:ellentordesillas@gmail.com

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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.

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

March 17, 2017

Reuters

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.

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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

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/153304/solon-slams-chinese-entry-benham-rise#ixzz4bIlTDxyz
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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 stresses rights to undersea area amid suspicions about China — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called for “structures” to be erected

March 14, 2017

Reuters

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.

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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
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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
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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

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/14/1680913/rody-benham-ours-no-it-isnt-says-china

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/10/1679698/china-survey-ships-spotted-benham-rise

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.

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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.