Posts Tagged ‘East China Sea’

China says it is vigilant as two U.S. bombers fly over South China Sea — Plus Who Lost the West Philippine Sea?

June 9, 2017

Reuters

China said on Friday it was monitoring U.S. military activities in the South China Sea, after two U.S. bombers conducted training flights over the disputed waters.

The U.S. Pacific Command said on its website that two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew a 10-hour training mission from Guam over the South China Sea on Thursday, in conjunction with the Navy’s USS Sterett guided-missile destroyer.

The exercise comes after a U.S. warship in late May carried out a “maneuvering drill” within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea.

The U.S. military conducts such “freedom of navigation” patrols to show China it is not entitled to territorial waters there, U.S. officials said at the time.

The latest exercise was part of Pacific Command’s “continuous bomber presence” program, but it did not give details on where it was conducted, and did not refer to it as a freedom-of-navigation operation.

“China always maintains vigilance and effective monitoring of the relevant country’s military activities in the South China Sea,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the United States.

“China’s military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and regional peace and stability,” it said.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, a stance contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and build-up of military facilities there, concerned they could be used to restrict free movement and extend China’s strategic reach.

U.S. allies and partners in the region had grown anxious as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had held off on carrying out South China Sea operations during its first few months in office.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Who lost the West Philippine Sea?

/ 12:09 AM June 06, 2017

This could be the question that will haunt us in our old age. Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio asked the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum on Monday to imagine that moment, years from now, when our children and grandchildren will sit us down and ask us: “Who lost the West Philippine Sea to China?”

It is our “civic duty,” Carpio said, to raise the alarm today about the imminent loss of our territory and our waters, to forge a national consensus on what needs to be done, and to defend the West Philippine Sea.

What is at stake in the dispute with China, and in Beijing’s continuing disregard of the July 12, 2016, arbitral tribunal ruling? In his “The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” (the e-book is available online, free of charge), Carpio added up the costs: The Philippines stands to lose “about 80 percent” of its exclusive economic zone (“including the entire Reed Bank and part of the Malampaya gas field”) and “100 percent” of its extended continental shelf (about 150,000 square kilometers of maritime space). Altogether, China’s claim to most of the South China Sea “encroaches on over 531,000 sq km of Philippine EEZ and ECS, including all the fishery, oil, gas, and mineral resources found within this vast area, which is larger than the total land area of the Philippines …” Carpio does not mince words: “This Chinese aggression is the gravest external threat to the Philippines since World War II.”

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Bill Hayton, the BBC journalist who is a leading expert on the South China Sea disputes, recently tweeted a link to a new article in the “Journal of Modern Chinese History.”

“The Origins of the South China Sea issue” is by Li Guoqiang, who is identified in the journal as “vice director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.” Perhaps not coincidentally, CASS publishes the journal.

Hayton’s one-tweet review is brutal: “Li Guoqiang demonstrating the intellectual bankruptcy of official Chinese history of the South China Sea. ‘Nonsense on stilts’.”

He points to his “favorite” among Li’s “ridiculous statements”: “For example, in 1791, British Captain Henry Spratly ‘discovered’ Mischief Reef in the Nansha Islands and named it after his German crewman Mischief.”

Set aside the mention of Mischief (the claim that the reef was named after a “German” crew member named Heribert Mischief seems dubious) or of the use of “Henry” (in fact, Captain Spratly’s name was Richard). But the man who gave his name to the Spratly Islands was born in 1802.

This ridiculousness is repeated in a propaganda website like http://www.spratlys.org (“Spratly Islands—China’s precious pearls in the South Sea!”), where the “timeline” asserts that “Captain Spratle arrived in the group and named the islands by his name” in 1791—11 years before he was born!

This is the kind of thinking that supports the aggressive Chinese posturing in the South China Sea. Just imagine if, rather than merely acknowledging Chinese military might, President Duterte’s scathing tongue were directed at this and other fallacies. Mischief abroad!

 

On Twitter: @jnery_newsstand

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/104569/lost-west-philippine-sea#ixzz4jVr93U3d
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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

Pentagon: China used coercive force to assert and maintain maritime claims

June 8, 2017
FILE – In this Friday, April 21, 2017, file photo, an airstrip, structures and buildings on China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force. Beijing says it is “firmly opposed” to a Pentagon report on the Chinese military that highlighted China’s construction of military facilities on made-made islands in the South China Sea and speculated that Beijing would likely build more military bases overseas. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing has used its growing power to assert its sovereignty claims over features in the East and South China Seas, the US Department of Defense said in its 2017 China Military Power Report.

“China has used coercive tactics, such as the use of law enforcement vessels and its maritime militia, to enforce maritime claims and advance its interests in ways that are calculated to fall below the threshold of provoking conflict,” the report read.

The Pentagon reported that for the past year, China continued construction of its military outposts in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea, part of which the Philippines claims as the West Philippine Sea.

China can now deploy military asserts to the Spratly Islands as it is nearly finished with the construction of infrastructures on Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross Reefs.

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

The report also noted that Beijing was able to land civilian aircraft on its airfields on the “Big Three” artificial islands.

The Pentagon took note of the July 2016 of an arbitral tribunal ruling which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim in the disputed waters, which Beijing rejected.

“Among other things, the tribunal ruled that China’s ‘nine-dash line’ cannot represent a lawful maritime claim to the extent that any of the claims it reflects would exceed the limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention,” the Pentagon said.

The report added that the United Nations-backed tribunal did not rule on sovereignty claims to land features which is an issue outside the scope of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte did not attempt to advance the Philippines’ position based on the ruling, easing tensions between Beijing and Manila.

“China publicly welcomed improved relations with the Philippines, signing $24 billion in potential economic agreements and pledging to settle territorial disputes through dialogue, and it also characterized President Duterte’s approach towards China as contrasting with that of his predecessor, former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III,” the report read.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused China of using its economic power to “buy its way out” of problems including the South China Sea dispute.

In a joint statement after the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations in Sydney, Tillerson and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called for the demilitarization of disputed features in the South China Sea.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/06/08/1707979/pentagon-china-used-coercive-force-enforce-maritime-claims

RELATED: China hits Tillerson’s remarks on evading South China Sea issue

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(Contains links to previous related articles)

No automatic alt text available.
For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

China rejects ‘irresponsible’ US remarks on South China Sea

June 5, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Competing claims to the South China Sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits, have for decades made it one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints

BEIJING (AFP) – 

China has expressed “firm opposition” to remarks made by US Pentagon chief Jim Mattis during a regional defence summit over the weekend, after he criticised Beijing’s “militarisation” of the South China Sea.

Washington has repeatedly expressed concerns that China’s development of artificial islands in the region poses a threat to freedom of navigation through its waters, a major artery for international trade.

Competing claims to the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits, have for decades made it one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints.

 Image may contain: 1 person, text
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis speaks at the 16th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 3, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

“The scope and effect of China’s construction activities in the South China Sea differ from other countries in several key ways,” Mattis noted, saying Beijing’s “militarisation” and “disregard for international law” showed its “contempt” for other nations’ interests.

In a statement late Sunday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called Mattis’s comments “irresponsible” and accused “certain countries outside the region” of making “erroneous remarks driven by ulterior motives”.

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the (Spratly) Islands and their adjacent waters,” Hua said, referring to reefs and islets in the South China Sea where Beijing has built installations that could be used by its military.

China’s behaviour in the South China Sea, which is claimed in part by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, has sparked broad concern in the region.

But in May, Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took a step towards easing friction over the sea, agreeing to a framework for a “code of conduct” to prevent incidents in the disputed waters.

Tensions over the Spratlys have also quieted down in recent months as new Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has pursued friendlier relations with Beijing.

China has balked at US involvement in the dispute and last month accused a US warship of trespassing after it sailed near a reef claimed by Beijing.

Hua said China “respects and safeguards all countries’ freedom of navigation and overflight” in the area “but definitely opposes certain country’s show of force in the South China Sea under the pretext of navigation and overflight freedom, challenging and threatening China’s sovereignty and security”.

In addition to Mattis, Japanese defence secretary Tomomi Inada also took the opportunity of the summit to scold China for its “unprovoked, unilateral attempts to alter the status quo” in the East and South China Seas.

Beijing is involved in a simmering territorial row with Tokyo over the disputed Senkaku Islands, claimed by China as the Diaoyus.

“Remarks made by the Japanese side, which confuse right and wrong, are not worth refuting,” Hua said in her statement.

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China Cancels Xiangshan Forum, Asian Military and Security Seminar and Rival of Shangri-La Dialogue — Contentious issue among China’s neighbors blamed

June 4, 2017

Major leadership reshuffles this year, clashes with other events, and a desire to allay fears of Asian neighbours cited as reasons

By Minnie Chan
South China Morning Post

Saturday, June 3, 2017, 11:09pm

Beijing’s annual high-level forum to discuss Asia-Pacific security and defence issues has been cancelled this year due to pressure at home and abroad, a military official familiar with the event told the South China Morning Post.

The Xiangshan Forum, held each September or early October and dubbed Asia’s “new security architecture” by Beijing to voice China’s view on regional disputes, will not be held this year, an official from the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Science, the key sponsor of the event, told the Post.

The forum, started in 2006, has widely been seen as Beijing’s move to rival the Asia Security Forum in Singapore, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue after the hotel venue where it is staged.

“The main reason is the Academy of Military Science will undergo a major reorganisation and leadership reshuffle as part of the ongoing military overhaul and the upcoming 19th party congress [later this year],” said the official, on the condition of anonymity.

“There are so many uncertainties at the military academy. For example, no one knows who will be its new president, and who will take care of foreign issues, and which departments will be cut.”

General Cai Yingting, the academy’s former president, was among 50 senior officers to leave their positions amid the massive military reshuffle, according to an exclusive report by the SCMP in January.

 PLA Navy Admiral Sun Jianguo led Beijing’s delegation to the Asia Security Summit in Singapore last year. China’s Xianghan Forum is largely regarded as a rival to the Singapore event. Photo: AP

Another source close to the PLA said the cancelled decision was made three weeks ago because senior leaders of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which usually assisted hosting the event, were all occupied by several other big occasions such as the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, in September.

“The forum, which is co-organised by the Academy of Military Science and the China Institute for International Strategic Studies, was staged with the help of the foreign ministry in the past years,” the source said.

The forum will resume next year, the source said.

As a high-level platform to discuss Asian security and defence issues, the Xiangshan Forum was initially held every two years but was upgraded to an annual event in 2014.

It is widely believed the forum was designed to rival the Asia Security Forum in Singapore.

A Beijing-based retired senior colonel said Beijing wanted to downplay its miliary role this year to pacify its neighbours in the hope of attracting more support for “One Belt, One Road” initiatives of President Xi Jinping.

“China realised that it should not frighten its Asian neighbours but create a stable security situation in Asia-Pacific that will help Beijing convince other small countries to join the Belt and Road initiatives,” the veteran, who also requested anonymity, told the Post.

The Xiangshan Forum has sparked controversy due to its role as a rival to the Shangri-la Dialogue.

Huang Jing, a professor and director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee K uan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, said that it was not appropriate for China to host a regional security forum.

“Regional security forums shouldn’t be launched by big powers, but small countries like Singapore,” Huang said.

“China is now powerful enough to pose a security threat to other Asian countries in the region. Its involvement in territorial disputes in the East and South China seas with neighbouring countries cannot convince other Asian countries to join a sensitive discussion about regional security.”

Last year, the spat between China and Singapore over an international tribunal ruling against Beijing’s South China Sea claims, and Seoul’s decision to allow the staging on its soil of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system, overshadowed the Xiangshan forum.

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China’s South China Sea Activities Show “Contempt for International Law, Rights and Interests of Other Nations.”

June 3, 2017

AFP

“The scope and effect of China’s construction activities in the South China Sea differ from those of other countries in several key ways,” Mattis told the Shangri-La regional defense summit in Singapore. Francis Malasig/Pool Photo via AP, file

SINGAPORE – Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Saturday criticized China’s actions in the South China Sea, saying Beijing showed “contempt” for other nations’ interests.

“The scope and effect of China’s construction activities in the South China Sea differ from those of other countries in several key ways,” Mattis told the Shangri-La regional defense summit in Singapore.

“This includes the nature of its militarization… China’s disregard for international law… (and) its contempt for other nations’ interests.”

Mattis’ remarks come as China builds up a series of artificial islands on shoals and reefs in contested waters in the South China Sea, which has sparked broad concern among its neighbors.

He urged regional nations to seek solutions through mediation.

“We are going to have to work together,” Mattis said.

 US Secretary of Defence James Mattis addresses the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

“I don’t think there’s room right now to pushing adversarial approaches.”

The US Navy on May 25 conducted a “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, when the USS Dewey guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief (Panganiban) Reef in the Spratly Islands.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, despite partial counter-claims from Taiwan and several southeast Asian nations including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

It has rapidly built reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.

Global threat

Mattis also said North Korea posed a global threat and praised China’s efforts to influence Pyongyang.

President Donald Trump – who frequently denounced China on the campaign trail – has turned to Beijing to help rein in North Korea’s weapons program, prompting concerns among Asian allies that America might go easy on the South China Sea issue.

Calling North Korea’s nuclear ambitions a “threat to us all,” Mattis said the international community must work together.

“It is therefore imperative that we do our part, each of us, to fulfill our obligations and work together to support our shared goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula,” Mattis said at the same summit.

Pyongyang on Monday test-fired another rocket, the latest in a series of launches and atomic tests that have ratcheted up tensions over its quest to develop weapons capable of hitting the US – something Trump has said “won’t happen.”

“The Trump administration is encouraged by China’s renewed commitment to work with the international community toward denuclearization,” Mattis said.

The defense chief spoke directly to concerns that America might grant concessions to China in order to ensure its cooperation on North Korea, saying the issue was not “binary” and that the US would continue to pressure Beijing elsewhere.

‘Enduring commitment’

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada meanwhile told the conference that North Korea has improved its ability to operate its ballistic missile forces and warned that the threats it posed to the region and the world “have now entered a new stage.”

“I urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. North Korea must cease its provocative actions and abide by its international obligations and commitments,” she said.

After meeting with President Xi Jinping in April, Trump, who once accused China of “raping” the US, praised its leader as a “good man,” saying it would be inappropriate to pressure Beijing while Washington is seeking its help with Pyongyang.

The posture shifts have left some in the region seeking clarity on US policy.

Mattis told the summit that America maintains an “enduring commitment” to the region.

International pressure ramped up on Pyongyang Friday as the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on 18 North Korean officials and entities.

The council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution that put North Korea’s suspected spy chief, 13 other officials and four entities on the UN sanctions blacklist, hitting them with a global travel ban and an assets freeze.

“Beyond diplomatic and financial consequences, the United States remains prepared to counteract North Korean aggression through other means, if necessary,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council.–  AFP

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/06/04/1706550/chinas-contempt-other-nations-interests-hit

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South China Sea: China to build underwater observation system for “national defense” in Chinese territorial waters

May 30, 2017

By James Griffiths, CNN

China building underwater monitoring systems 01:08

Story highlights

  • System would also be deployed in East China Sea
  • China says system for maritime environmental research

Hong Kong (CNN)China is planning to build a massive underwater observation system across the disputed East and South China seas, that experts say could be used to detect the movement of foreign ships and diminish the stealth capabilities of US submarines.

According to state-run broadcaster CCTV, the monitoring networks will cost two billion yuan ($290 million) and “serve as a platform to provide long-term observation data and support experiments in the research of the maritime environments of the two seas.”
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China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both seas. Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea — parts of which are also claimed by five other countries — and has built up and militarized many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
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In the East China Sea, disputed islands have soured relations between Beijing and Tokyo for decades, and led to tense stand-offs between Chinese and Japanese warplanes and ships.
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Chinese ships sail near disputed islands

Tense waters

While there is no indication yet that the planned underwater monitoring system is anything but a scientific endeavor, Carl Thayer, a regional security analyst and emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales, said it was “a further unilateral assertion of China’s claim to indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.”
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This could anger other claimants, especially if, as Thayer warned, “undersea cables are placed on the seabed in disputed areas or are linked to facilities on any of China’s artificial islands.”
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CCTV’s report also suggested that the plan was about more than just science.
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Speaking to the broadcaster, Jian Zhimin, a marine scientist at Shanghai’s Tongji University said the move cemented China’s status as an “ocean power.”
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“An ocean power must be able to go to the high seas and go global,” he said. His colleague Zhou Huaiyang added the system could provide benefits to “national defense.”
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Thayer said China “could use the cover story for this undersea network to lay sensors designed to detect the movement of surface warships and submarines in particular.”
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Such a system, said Thayer, “mitigates the stealth advantage that submarines have. This would be of direct concern to the United States and other regional states that operate submarines.”
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Undersea spying

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As China has become more aggressive in pushing its claims in the South China Sea in recent years, other territorial claimants have also pursued militarization.
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This month, the Philippines revealed plans were under way to reinforce and upgrade facilities on Pagasa Island, in the Spratly Islands chain.
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As well as activity above the water, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines have also reportedly been expanding their submarine capabilities. In the East China Sea, Japan also has a substantial underwater fleet.
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Thayer said China’s underwater monitoring system could serve the same purpose as the US sound surveillance system (SOSUS), the Cold War-era system used to detect and monitor submarine activity.
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In February this year, China State Council issued a draft law to revise its Maritime Traffic Safety Law, which if approved, would seek to prevent foreign ships from passing through Chinese territorial waters.
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According to the proposed draft, all foreign submersibles would be required to travel on the surface, display national flags and report to the relevant Chinese authorities when passing through the designated waters. The draft does not mention how China plans to enforce the law if approved.
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“From China’s point of view it needs accurate information not only on the deployment and patrols of regional submarines, but US nuclear submarines as well,” said Thayer.
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G7 calls for demilitarization of ‘disputed’ South China Sea areas — A Slap At China

May 29, 2017
The Group of Seven or the seven richest countries in the world have issued a joint communiqué expressing concern about the situation in the East and South China Seas and calling for a demilitarization of “disputed features.” AP/Andrew Medichini

MANILA, Philippines – The Group of Seven (G7) or the seven richest countries in the world have issued a joint communiqué expressing concern about the situation in the East and South China Seas and calling for a demilitarization of “disputed features.”

The joint statement was released following the May 26 and 27 meetings in Taormina, Italy attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump.

The leaders strongly opposed any unilateral action that could increase tensions.

They expressed their “commitment to maintaining a rules-based order in the maritime domain based on the principles of international law.”

The joint communiqué voiced support for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and for the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes “through diplomatic and legal means, including arbitration.”

China was “strongly dissatisfied” with the mention of the East and South China Sea issues in the G7 statement as Beijing called on G7 allies to stop making “irresponsible” remarks.

In April, the G7 foreign ministers called for the implementation of The Hague arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, as they reiterated their strong opposition to threat or use of force and building of outposts and their use for military purposes.

The G7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US.

“We consider the July 12, 2016 award rendered by the arbitral tribunal under the UNCLOS as a useful basis for further efforts to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea,” the G7 joint communiqué read.

They also maintained their commitment to the freedom of navigation and over-flight.

The ministers emphasized the fundamental importance of building trust and security and of the peaceful management and settlement of maritime disputes in good faith and in accordance with international law, including through internationally recognized legal dispute settlement mechanisms such as arbitration.

They encouraged dialogue based on international law towards early finalization of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

China earlier vowed not to honor the arbitral tribunal ruling as it continued fortifying its artificial islands and restricting Filipinos’ access to disputed waters even if they are within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/30/1704940/g7-seeks-demilitarization-disputed-sea-features

No automatic alt text available.

For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

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Related:

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

China slams G7 for ‘interfering’ in South China Sea dispute

May 28, 2017

PTI

Times of India

BEIJING: China on Sunday strongly denounced the just-concluded G7 summit, accusing it of interfering in the East China Sea and South China Sea disputes in the “guise of international law”.

The G7 summit held in Taormina, Italy, ended with a joint communique yesterday, saying the members are committed to “maintaining a rules-based order in the maritime domain based on the principles of international law”.

The statement expressed concerns about the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

China’s position on the East China Sea and South China Sea issues is clear and consistent, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement.

China has been committed to properly handling disputes, cementing cooperation and safeguarding peace and stability of the East China Sea and South China Sea through talks and consultations directly with related parties, he said.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippine’s, Malaysia and Brunei have counter claims.

China last year rejected an international tribunal judgement quashing its claims over the area.
 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-slams-g7-for-interfering-in-south-china-sea-dispute/articleshow/58881922.cms

 

Lu urged the G7 and countries outside to understand the situation, stick to the pledge to take no position on relevant disputes, fully respect the efforts made by the countries in the region to handle disputes and stop making irresponsible remarks.

Top Comment

The truth is that these so called G7 countries do not have any capabilities anymore. Except for Germany, their economies are dying, their education system is failing, their labour is expensive and la… Read MoreSangita Banerjee

 

China has also been opposing US dispatching naval ships and aircraft to assert freedom of navigation.

 

The G7 consists of the United States, France, Canada, Germany, the UK, Italy and Japan.

China’s Xi Says Navy Should Become World Class

May 24, 2017

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country’s navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.

China’s navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.

With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.

Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should “aim for the top ranks in the world”, the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit.

Image may contain: 13 people, people standing and indoor

President Xi Jinping (centre), who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, pictured during his inspection of the PLA Navy headquarters, in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Beijing denies intercepting US ‘sniffer plane’ over Yellow Sea

May 20, 2017

China says its aircraft were acting ‘in accordance with the law’ when they approached the American WC-135 plane

A US WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft can detect signs of nuclear activity.
A US WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft can detect signs of nuclear activity. Photograph: HANDOUT/Reuters

China has denied US allegations that two of its fighter jets intercepted an American “radiation-sniffing” plane earlier this week, saying that its aircraft were acting “in accordance with the law”.

The U.S. Air Force's WC-135 Constant Phoenix sniffer plane in a file photo. (Yonhap)

The U.S. Air Force’s WC-135 Constant Phoenix sniffer plane in a file photo. (Yonhap)

“Related remarks from the US side are inconsistent with fact,” the Chinese defence ministry said in a statement posted to its website late on Friday.

“On 17 May, a US reconnaissance aircraft was carrying out an operation in airspace over the Chinese Yellow Sea (the northern part of the East China sea), and Chinese aircraft acted to identify and investigate in accordance with the law,” the statement said, calling the action “professional” and “safe”.

President Donald Trump thought he made a new friend at Mar-a-Lago

The US air force said in an earlier statement on Friday that its plane, a WC-135 Constant Phoenix, was conducting a “routine mission” in international airspace when it was intercepted by two Chinese Sukhoi SU-30 fighter aircrafts.

The WC-135 is a so-called “sniffer plane” designed to scan the atmosphere for signs of nuclear activity.

“The WC-135 was operating in accordance with international law. While we are still investigating the incident, initial reports from the US aircrew characterised the intercept as unprofessional,” the US air force said.

Mid-air interceptions occur routinely in international airspace, but the US militarywill often call out foreign pilots if it judges the manoeuvres to be risky or unprofessional.

Meanwhile, China urged the US to halt such reconnaissance exercises in order to prevent future incidents.

“The American military’s frequent reconnaissance operations are the root cause of security issues between the Chinese and US navy and air forces,” the Chinese defence ministry’s statement said.

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An SU-30 fighter jet

An SU-30 fighter jet CREDIT: EPA