Posts Tagged ‘Ernest Bower’

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

March 3, 2017

By  – Reporter / @jiandradeINQ

/ 05:49 PM March 03, 2017

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

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

“Tthere’s always war and peace. If I am not ready for war then peace is the only thing,” President Rodrigo Duterte told Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua. PPD/King Rodriguez

READ: Philippines wins arbitration case vs. China over South China Sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more:
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook



 (Includes commentary by former President of Columbia Gaviria)

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

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

No automatic alt text available.

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


Manila advised against talks with China over disputed waters

June 7, 2016

 By Yeganeh Torbati and Michael Martina and Manuel Mogato, Reuters

June 7, 2016

MANILA (Reuters) – A former Philippine foreign minister and a U.S. security expert said on Tuesday Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte should not hold unconditional bilateral talks with China to try to resolve their South China Sea dispute.

China claims most of the waters, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims, as well as close military ties with the United States.

Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte
The Philippines has brought a case at an international tribunal in The Hague contesting China’s claims, a case rejected by China which wants to try solve the issue bilaterally.
Duterte has said he will not go to war against China and may hold bilateral talks.
“We must await the decision from (the tribunal) before we start talking to China because otherwise, the judges are going to think twice about what it is that we’re doing,” former foreign minister Albert del Rosario, who filed the complaint in The Hague in 2013, told reporters.
Then Philippine Foreign Minister at the 26th APEC Ministerial Meeting
Ernest Bower, head of the Southeast Asia program at the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies, also cautioned the government against bilateral talks without condition.
“If the Philippines finds a way forward with China that includes China’s commitment to forego the nine-dash line claim and commit to a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea, then go ahead,” he told soldiers and diplomats at the main army base in Manila.
But, if there were no such conditions, he said: “I think the Philippines would lose the respect of its partners in ASEAN and certainly the U.S. will be extremely disappointed.”
Manila is contesting Beijing’s claim to an area shown on its maps as a nine-dash line stretching deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia, covering hundreds disputed islands and reefs. ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China told the United States on Tuesday that it should play a constructive role in safeguarding peace in the South China Sea, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for talks and a peaceful resolution.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)



Vietnam Continues “Talk/Fight Strategy” During Human Rights Negotiations

September 26, 2013

For  decades, the Vietnamese communists’ negotiating strategy has been “Talk/Fight”  — first in dealing with the French, then with the U.S. during the Vietnam War, and now in the current U.S.-Vietnam  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.  The “Talk/Fight” strategy is  to engage their opponent in negotiations, stalling for time, all the while  replenishing, repositioning, and resupplying their troops, as they gain ground  and concessions.  According  to Ernest Bower, senior advisor on Southeast Asia at the Center for  Strategic and International Studies, “[t]he American government admires  Vietnam’s strategic thinking.”

By Mike Benge

American Thinker

The  TPP includes nine other countries besides Vietnam and is touted as a  new-generation, high-standard trade agreement of the 21st century.   The finalization and implementation of this trade deal would give a huge  boost to U.S.-Vietnam economic relations, granting Vietnam even greater access  to its largest export market — the U.S.

While  the State Department continues to meander and vacillate in its negotiations  regarding human rights abuses, communist henchmen have ratcheted up the  repression in Vietnam.  As a distraction, the Vietnamese communists are  playing the need-to-contain-China card, while seeking lethal weapons from the  U.S., supported by both of Vietnam’s major advocates — Senator John McCain and  Secretary of State John Kerry.

American  TPP negotiators are mouthing toothless concerns about Hanoi’s ongoing gross  human rights abuses, so one can assume that stipulations on the improving  freedoms for the Vietnamese people will be incorporated into the agreement  before it is approved.  However, history shows that the Vietnamese communists have never lived up to  any agreement with the U.S., so it is reasonable to expect the communist  henchmen to go merrily on their way, continuing their repression, while thumbing  their noses at the U.S.

The  TPP is a done deal if one is to believe Scott Busby, the acting deputy assistant  secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, who recently  stated in Falls Church, VA, “The United States and Vietnam continue to  improve economic and trade ties, including through the Trans-Pacific Partnership  … free trade agreement.”

Vietnam  is a police  state where one in six working people are employed either full- or part-time  in the massive state security network.

“Plus  ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” (The more things change, the more  they remain the same.)

 Here  are just a few human rights abuses committed recently by communist  Vietnam:

  • September      3rd: It started out as a peaceful protest until Vietnamese      police attacked hundreds of Catholics protesting in front of their church      in My Yen Parish, Nghe An Province, using live ammunition and throwing       grenades.  Protesters were demanding      the release of two parishioners  arrested in June and held without charges.       An      unknown number of  people were rushed to hospital with critical head, hand,      stomach, and neck  injuries after being beaten by police who tried to stop      people from  receiving treatment.
  • August  1st:      After three years’ imprisonment in Gia Lai province and  suffering      continual beatings, Protestant pastor Pyap Rolan died from  starvation      after being denied food and water.  Pyap      was being  persecuted because he was a house church pastor and because his      father Bre  Puih had escaped and fled to the U.S.
  • August  1st: House church members Beu Siu and Pet Ksor from      Plei Pong  Village Gia Lai province were arrested by police.  Pet was beaten and  released, but Beu’s fate      is unknown.
  • August  19th:      House church members Kla Rmah, Sop Rahlan, and H’Bleng  Rmah (female) from      Plei Sur village, Gia Lai province, were arrested by  police and beaten,      Sop so severely that he cannot walk.       Kla  remains in jail, while the other two were released.  Reports about above  came from relatives      in North Carolina.
  • March  17th:      Hmong Christian Church Leader Vam Ngaij Vaj of Cu Jut  District, Dak Nong      Province, was tortured with electrical batons and died  of beatings while      in police custody, according to sources.
  • April      12th: Hoang Van Ngai, an elder of the Evangelical Church of      Vietnam, also from Dak       Nong Province,      died of beatings, according  to his brother, who was imprisoned in an      adjacent cell.  Additionally,  “over      300 witnesses saw Ngai’s body with bruises, deep cuts and broken  skull.”

According  to its recent report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms  (USCIRF) said that Vietnam, under one-party communist rule, is expanding control  over all religious activities, severely restricts independent religious  practice, and represses individuals and religious groups it views as challenging  its authority.  “The Vietnamese government uses a specialized religious  police force and vague national security laws to suppress independent Buddhist,  Protestant, Hoa Hao, and Cao Dai activities, and seeks to stop the growth of  ethnic minority Protestantism and Catholicism via discrimination, violence and  forced renunciations of their faith.”

Internet  freedom has gone  from bad to worse in Vietnam as an online censorship law known as “Decree  72” went into effect this month, allowing people to post online  only personal information.  The new law punishes anyone who  discusses current affairs or news sensitive to the life of the state.  It  bans bloggers and users of social media from quoting, gathering, or summarizing  information from press organizations or government websites.  In addition,  internet providers are tasked with  blocking stories that criticize Vietnam or that could endanger “national  security.”  In 2013 alone, Hanoi has arrested more than 40 activists for  these so-called “crimes against the state.”

While  the Obama administration vacillates, the European Parliament recently strongly  condemned the violations of human rights and of freedom of expression,  religion, and assembly in Vietnam, including the political intimidation,  harassment, assaults, arbitrary arrests, heavy prison sentences, and unfair  trials brought against political activists, journalists, bloggers, dissidents,  and human rights defenders.  The condemnation included the “severe  religious persecution” against Catholics as well as “non-recognized” religions  such as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and the Protestant  churches.

Ironically,  Vietnam is bidding for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for  2014-2016.

White  House Visit

As  all eyes and ears are turned to President Obama and Syria, nearly everyone has  forgotten Obama’s White House meeting in July with Vietnam’s President Truong  Tan Sang, and the ridiculous utterings of both men.  Sang peddled the lie  that the communist nation’s founder, Ho Chi Minh, was a nationalist inspired by  the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson.  Sang and the other  communist Vietnamese leaders adhere to Joseph Goebbels’ “Big Lie” postulate —  people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one, and if you repeat it  often enough, people will eventually believe.

In this July 25, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama, right, meets with Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. A Vietnamese appeals …court overturned a six-year prison sentence against a dissident on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 and halved the jail term of another in a rare show of leniency by the country’s Communist authorities. The decision followed meetings last month between Obama and Truong Tan Sang. Obama pressed Vietnam to take concrete steps to improve its human rights record – a major sticking point in ties between the countries. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Not  to be outdone by his communist counterpart, President Obama agreed that the hardcore communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh was inspired by the U.S.  Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as well as the words of Jefferson  and our founding fathers.  He went on to say that both countries share a  mutual admiration for Thomas Jefferson and our founding  principles.

Au  contraire, mon président.  The Vietnamese regime’s  creator was not Jefferson’s God, but Ho Chi Minh himself, an unscrupulous  Comintern agent paid by Moscow whose loyalty was only to the World Communist  Movement.  And our founding principles did not include the murder of tens  of thousands our people, as did theirs.  Rather than “all men are created  equal,” Sang’s regime is closer to George Orwell’s satirical allegory of  communism in “Animal Farm,” where some animals are much more equal than  others.

Michael  Benge spent 11 years in Vietnam as a Foreign Service officer and is a student of  South East Asian politics.  He is very active in advocating for human  rights, religious freedom, and democracy for the peoples of the region and has  written extensively on these subjects.


Read more:

Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook