Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Kenya’s empty nets: How cheap Chinese fish imports have hooked buyers

April 18, 2018
Kenyan fisherman pull up their nets in the early morning as they fish on Lake Victoria.

Story highlights

  • Perch, tilapia declined by 20% to 30%
  • Cheap frozen imported fish from China
  • Kenya companies turn to fish farming

(CNN)With nets in hand and the boat’s motor chugging along on still waters, dozens of fishermen set out to Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, at the crack of dawn.

It’s a scene that’s been repeated for generations.
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Fishing is the mainstay of lake-side communities in Kenya. It has fueled the economy and provided employment for decades, but these days overfishing, a lack of infrastructure and cheap Chinese imports have hit the industry hard.
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“In the last 20 to 30 years, perch and tilapia catches have declined 60% to 80% throughout this region,” said Joseph Rehmann, co-founder and CEO of Victory Farms. At the same time Kenya’s population has roughly doubled to nearly 50 million.
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Kenyan fisherman Charles Otieno told CNN: “It’s a trend that’s been happening for a long time.”

Superpower fish

Marketplace Africa Kenya China fish trade A_00000225
Competing with cheaper fish imports 05:15
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Kenya’s fish stocks have been ailing and its main competitor is China, one of the world’s largest economies and leading fish producers.
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The increased demand from Kenya’s fish-hungry population means the country is relying on frozen farmed imports.
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“We know that the demand in Africa is very big,” Ling Wang, executive vice president at agricultural firm Baiyang Investment Group, which exports to Kenya, told CNN.
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A collection of tilapias. A popular fish in Kenya.

In 2016, China exported roughly $30 million of fish to Kenya — double the year before.
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“It’s a good thing that we have fish coming in to fill in the gap, the deficit that we have. But on the other hand, we have to compete in terms of production and either lower the cost or increase our volumes so that we can avail fish to our communities,” said former Kenyan Fisheries Secretary Charles Ngugi, who now runs his own fish farm.

Local consumers

Women sell dried fish at the Kawangware market on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Despite China being thousands of kilometers from Kenya, intensive, large-scale farming, and a willingness to keep prices low, even at a loss, means Chinese fish are often considerably cheaper than local offerings.
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“If you can get a fish from China, one piece is selling at 150 shillings ($1.5) per kilo while we sell at 400 shillings ($4). It is a very big challenge because people will always go with the cheaper things,” Kenyan fisherman and trader Maurice Muma told CNN.
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Kenya’s fishing industry has started looking to fish farming to increase competitiveness with Chinese companies.
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Victory Farms, is fish farming enterprise based in Kenya, was founded in 2015 and harvests 80 to 100 tons of fish per month.
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“The Kenyan fisheries of the regions where we operate is currently harvesting two tons per year from hundreds and hundreds of fishermen, whereas at Victory Farms we are able to pull five to 10 tons on any given day,” Rehmann said.
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However, industrial fish farming has been criticized because of the negative impact it can have on the ecosystem, health and the environment, if not done sustainably.
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Victory Farms says it is committed to farming fish in the same water for years to come.
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However, it is likely to take more than fish farming to solve Kenya’s fishing deficit. Unlike China, Kenya has to import most of its fish feed.

Cold chain infrastructure

Marketplace Africa Kenya cold chain fish industry A_00025022

Additionally, Kenya’s fishing industry lacks a cold chain infrastructure — a supply chain, from source to sale, that keeps fish fresh and cool.
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“The quality of the fish will be degraded by not being properly preserved,” Rehmann said.
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An inadequate power network is also preventing the cold chain system from working.
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“Ice needs power and power is not, let’s say, consistent in this part of the world,” said Steve Moran, co-founder and COO of Victory Farms.
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While the heyday of Lake Victoria’s fishing boom in the 1980s and 1990s is a way off, better environmental protections and infrastructure could help restore the fishing industry.
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“This lake is presently undeveloped, but as it begins to develop environmental protection — keeping diseases out, keeping foreign fish out is a very important part of the long-term sustainability of aquaculture,” Rehmann said.
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Philippines says in talks with China state firm on joint sea exploration

March 1, 2018

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China has militarized the South China Sea — even though they have no legal clame. This is Mischief Reef, now an extensive Chinese military base — one of seven Chinese military bases near the Philippines

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines said Thursday it is in talks with a Chinese state firm for joint South China Sea energy resource exploration and extraction, in a proposed deal described by President Rodrigo Duterte as akin to “co-ownership” of contested areas.

The two countries have long been embroiled in a bitter dispute over their competing claims to the region — with China claiming nearly the entire sea — but Duterte has in recent years softened his predecessors’ policy of opposing Beijing’s claims.

Duterte said Wednesday an arrangement to turn two of the rival claimants virtual joint owners of the strategic and supposedly oil and gas-rich sea was preferable to the “massacre” of Filipino troops in a war with China.

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Chinese bases near the Philippines

“Now their (Beijing’s) offer is joint exploration, which is like co-ownership. It’s like the two of us would be the owners. I think that’s better than fighting,” he said during a visit to the war-torn southern city of Marawi.

Negotiations between the Philippines and China over South China Sea exploration were raised last month by Filipino Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque provided more detail Thursday, specifying that talks were underway between the Philippines’ energy department and an unnamed Chinese state firm, and that extraction of energy resources was now on the table.

He did not specify which specific area of the sea was under discussion.

Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim all or part of the sea. Proposed cooperation between Manila and Beijing has caused alarm among neighbouring Southeast Asian countries in the past.

“We might enter into an agreement with a Chinese-owned corporation, not the Chinese state itself,” Roque said in an interview aired on ABS-CBN television, adding the company he declined to name was state-owned.

“I know that they’re discussing, they’re moving forward and it’s likely to happen,” he added without giving a timetable or the exact terms of the proposed deal.

“This will now actually entail joint exploration and possible exploitation of natural resources.”

– ‘Alternative sources’ –

Duterte’s willingness to cooperate with China marks a turnaround from predecessor Benigno Aquino’s stance accusing Beijing of encroaching, occupying, and building structures on reefs and rocks that Manila claims as part of its exclusive economic zone.

Aquino won an international arbitration tribunal ruling in 2016 invalidating Beijing’s claims, but Duterte set aside the ruling while courting investments and trade from the Philippines’ giant neighbour, the world’s second-largest economy.

Cayetano said last month that Manila would consult legal experts to make sure any accord would not infringe on Philippine sovereign rights.

“It’s not that we have no choice. We can go back and say, ‘Fine, no one benefits from the resources now’. But come on, we’re trying to look for alternative sources of energy,” Roque said Thursday.

He said Filipino firms could not do it on their own and would need Chinese capital, while noting that “when a Filipino company attempted to explore on its own they were met by Chinese warboats (gunboats).”

He was referring to a 2011 incident when Manila said Chinese patrol boats harassed a seismic survey vessel chartered by a unit of a Philippine mining company at Philippine-claimed Reed Bank in the South China Sea.

© 2018 AFP

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From Rappler

Why it matters: The 1987 Constitution states that resources within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be reserved for Filipinos. The West Philippine Sea is a portion of the larger South China Sea which falls within the country’s EEZ and continental shelf.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, an expert on maritime law, has said the Constitution bans “joint development ” within the country’s EEZ.

While the government can tap a private company as a contractor to extract resources within the EEZ, there can be no state-to-state joint development, he said.

Cause for concern? Duterte’s use of the term “co-ownership” could be a cause for concern given that the West Philippine Sea and its resources are supposed to be exclusively for Filipinos.

China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea was invalidated by the Permanent Court of Aribtration in the Hague, Netherlands, back in 2016. Beijing, however, has chosen to ignore the ruling.

Duterte also used the term “co-ownership” after joking that it would be better if China declares the Philippines as one of its provinces, a remark widely condemned by lawmakers and citizens. Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/197108-duterte-likens-joint-exploration-china-co-ownership

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We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

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China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

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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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

South China Sea: Philippine President says Joint exploration with China like ‘co-ownership’ — Philippines as China’s Newest Province? — What do Filipinos get?

February 28, 2018

Rappler

‘It’s like two of us own that. That’s better than fighting,’ says President Rodrigo Duterte about China’s offer for joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea

Published 5:35 PM, February 28, 2018
Updated 5:40 PM, February 28, 2018

PARTNERING WITH CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte wants to push through with joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China. Malacañang photo

PARTNERING WITH CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte wants to push through with joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte likened joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea to “co-ownership” in a speech on Wednesday, February 28, in Marawi City.

Ngayon, offer nila, eh di joint exploration. Eh di parang co-ownership, parang dalawa tayong may-ari niyan, eh di mas maganda ‘yan kaysa away,” he told an audience of Marawi residents and government officials. (They offered joint exploration. So that’s like co-ownership, it’s like two of us own that. That’s better than fighting.)

The Philippine president didn’t distinguish if he meant co-ownership of the West Philippine Sea or of the resources found in it, such as oil.

Duterte hailed China’s joint exploration offer as proof that his foreign relations strategy with them succeeded in bringing benefits to the Philippines.

Kita mo, eh kung inasar ko noon, pinagpu-putang ina ko sila, wala nangyari,” he said. (See, if I annoyed them before, called them sons of bitches, nothing would have happened.)

Why it matters: The 1987 Constitution states that resources within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be reserved for Filipinos. The West Philippine Sea is a portion of the larger South China Sea which falls within the country’s EEZ and continental shelf.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, an expert on maritime law, has said the Constitution bans “joint development ” within the country’s EEZ.

While the government can tap a private company as a contractor to extract resources within the EEZ, there can be no state-to-state joint development, he said.

Cause for concern? Duterte’s use of the term “co-ownership” could be a cause for concern given that the West Philippine Sea and its resources are supposed to be exclusively for Filipinos.

China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea was invalidated by the Permanent Court of Aribtration in the Hague, Netherlands, back in 2016. Beijing, however, has chosen to ignore the ruling.

Duterte also used the term “co-ownership” after joking that it would be better if China declares the Philippines as one of its provinces, a remark widely condemned by lawmakers and citizens. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/197108-duterte-likens-joint-exploration-china-co-ownership

Related:

We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

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China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

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No automatic alt text available.

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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippines: Japanese security expert backs Judge Carpio on Permanent Court of Arbitration, South China Sea, Benham Rise

January 19, 2018
By: – Reporter / @MRamosINQ
 / 10:05 AM January 19, 2018
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China research ship Ke Xue.  Maritime scientific exploration is usually done by a soverien nation with rights to the sea area subject to research. When an outside nation is brought in to research, an extensive legal agreemnent is usually required to protect the sovereign owner’s rights. What is the Philippine Agreement with China — or has some underhanded deal or bribes set up the current state of affairs?

TOKYO – Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was right in insisting that the Philippines should deny China access to the Philippine Rise if Beijing continued to reject a United Nations-backed arbitral court ruling honoring Manila’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, a leading Japanese international security expert said.

At the same time, Professor Ken Jimbo of the Keio University’s Faculty of Policy Management backed Carpio’s argument that Beijing should respect the landmark July 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague whether China liked it or not.

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SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH A diver explores the seabed of Benham Rise believed to be rich in marine resources and underwater minerals. —INQUIRER PHOTO

The magistrate, who has made the Philippines’ ownership claims over portions of the South China Sea his personal advocacy, contradicted Malacañang’s position that China’s recognition or non-recognition of the PCA verdict was immaterial.

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President Duterte

“The Philippines has a clear legal judgment on what could be allowed and what could not be allowed (under the international law),” Jimbo told visiting foreign journalists here on Thursday.

“And that is not based purely on the Philippine interpretation of where is the red line, but there’s an internationally-recognized legal red line. That’s the strength of the PCA,” he also said.

Jimbo even added: “I do agree with (Carpio) in trying to manage the issue and I hope to see the consistency (that) every decision the Philippines will make… should be based on the PCA ruling. I wish to see the Philippines maintain the status of the PCA (decision).”

Early this week, Carpio labeled as “dumb” the Duterte administration’s decision to let a Chinese vessel conduct a supposed marine scientific research in the Philippine Rise, internationally known as Benham Rise, since China has maintained its intransigence not to recognize the arbitral ruling.

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The United Nations (UN) had already ruled that the rise, believed to be rich in oil and marine resources, was part of the Philippine continental shelf in 2012 and awarded the Philippines sovereign rights to explore and exploit resources on the submerged plateau.

In March last year, President Duterte admitted that he had authorized Chinese survey vessels to enter the Philippine Rise as part of an agreement.

But Carpio said the Philippines should not let China avail its rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) for its refusal to heed the international law in its entirety.

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“By refusing to accept the award of the… arbitral tribunal pursuant to the dispute settlement provisions of Unclos, China is not accepting its obligation under Unclos,” he said. “China is cherry-picking and not taking Unclos as one package deal.”

In response, Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said Mr. Duterte’s decision to let Beijing explore the rise, a 13-million-hectare underwater plateau in the Philippine Sea just 250 kilometers east of Isabela province, was irrelevant with the issue over the West Philippine Sea.

“Science is science,” Roque said. “Science knows nationalities and the requirement is Philippine scientists must also participate in the scientific exercise and the results must be shared with Philippine authorities.”

Interestingly, Roque had previously been very vocal against Beijing’s intrusion into Philippine waters until he was designated by the Chief Executive as his official mouthpiece a few months ago.

Jimbo, who has done researches and studies on security policies in the Asia-Pacific region, noted that Japan had been supportive of the Philippines’ efforts to secure a legally-binding solution to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, which also involved Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

When asked how to best counter China’s hardheadedness in complying with the arbitral court ruling, Jimbo said the international community should continue to rally behind the Philippines.

“I think it (PCA ruling) has been very much politicised in a way… The international community needs to congratulate what the Philippines has done so far,” he said. “It was a very rare case in international society that the PCA made a judgment on a very specific legal issue in the South China Sea.”

He said that although it may be a bitter pill to swallow, Mr. Duterte should rethink his policy of veering away from the United States militarily while increasing the Philippine engagement with China on economic matters.

“If you look at the wider perspective of the security architecture in the region, the US engagement not only in Northeast Asia, but also in (Southeast Asia), is still the platform in creating the basic kind of structure of deterrence and response capability,” Jimbo reiterated.

With China’s rapid rise as an economic superpower, its annual defense budget had eclipsed Japan’s military spending in the past several years, making Beijing a force to reckon with in the whole Asian region, according to Jimbo.

“Obviously, US has lot of fluctuation in engagement, but we cannot really replace the role of the US. We can engage in Philippine maritime security, but not in replacing the role of the US,” he said.

Moreover, the Japanese security expert said the Duterte administration may reconsider its decision to take on China and the South China Sea issue unilaterally.

“I think President Duterte and his team may come back to the logic that it’s not about what the US thinks, but it’s about the multinational platform (that must) co-exist with (his) China policy,” he said.

“The Philippine government has the comprehensive understanding on how to deal with them… I hope that those kind of ‘black-and-white’ type of engagement with China should be moderated. Otherwise, China will likely to penetrate into that logic,” he continued. /kga

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/163488/japanese-security-expert-backs-carpio-philippine-rise-issue#ixzz54fA9v5Ps
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

See also:

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/163408/cayetano-defends-granting-china-research-access-benham-rise

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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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

China is again exploiting the Philippines

January 18, 2018

Opinion

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)

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MANILA, Philippines — China is again exploiting the goodwill of the Philippine government to conduct studies in Philippine seas to discover more areas rich in minerals and gas, a lawmaker warned yesterday.

In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate cautioned the public that with the Duterte administration’s friendly approach to the Chinese, Beijing is using the same modus operandi it employed during the Arroyo administration.

Zarate reminded the public about the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) of Beijing in 2005, wherein Philippine    official position in the disputed West Philippine Sea “jeopardized our claims in the Recto Reed Bank” near the waters off Palawan.

He warned that the JMSU during the Arroyo administration “is bound to happen again in the case of Benham Rise.”

Benham Rise is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf awarded by the United Nations in 2012, which provides Manila the exclusive sovereign rights over it. The area is believed to be rich in minerals and gas.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should rethink its decision to allow Chinese oceanographers to conduct studies in Philippine waters because it is one of the methods they used before under the JMSU that China entered with the Arroyo administration,” Zarate said.

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/15/1777874/chinese-research-benham-rise-slammed#xsQJHeZhvqdsG7lZ.99

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South China Sea and Beyond: Chinese research ship ‘Kexue’ to conduct research in Philippine waters

January 18, 2018

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China research ship Ke Xue

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By Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) – January 18, 2018 – 2:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — China will deploy its most sophisticated research ship to study Philippine waters, including the potentially resource-rich Benham Rise (Philippine Rise).

Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) earlier slammed the Department of Foreign Affairs for allowing the Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IO-CAS) to conduct research in waters off Eastern Luzon, where Benham Rise is located, and off Eastern Mindanao.

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The Chinese marine exploration will take place on January 24 to February 25 this year.

READ: Alejano: DFA approved Chinese think tank request to study Philippine waters

In a press conference in Beijing last Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang confirmed that Chinese research vessel “Kexue” will survey Philippine eastern waters, adding that such a cooperation would further strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relations.

“China commends this decision made by the Philippine side on agreeing to China’s scientific activities and offering facilitation,” Lu said.

“We welcome Philippine scientific research institutions’ participation and would like to work with them to advance maritime practical cooperation in marine research and other fields so as to create a favorable environment for the sound, steady and sustainable development of bilateral ties,” he added.

The $87.5-million Kexue was handed over to IO-CAS in 2012, newspaper China Daily reported. In September 5 last year, Kexue reportedly finished a month-long scientific exploration of the western Pacific Ocean.

Weighing 4,711 tons, China Daily described Kexue as a “moving laboratory on the sea” capable of global voyages and all-day observations.

Kexue can also conduct water body detection, atmospheric exploration, deep-sea environment exploration and remote sensing information verification.

In 2012, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved the Philippines’ undisputed claim to the Benham Rise.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed an Executive Order officially renaming Benham Rise to “Philippine Rise” to assert the country’s sovereignty there following reports that Chinese research vessels were spotted surveying the area in 2016.

The Philippine Navy now regularly patrols the continental shelf.

According to Alejano, the Chinese researchers will be joined by the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Institute “as a requirement.”

Alejano also revealed that a similar plea was lodged by French-based non-profit organization Tara Expeditions Foundation, but it was declined by the DFA.

The lawmaker said Tara Expeditions was a better choice if Manila was seeking additional resources and manpower to study eastern waters, noting that France, unlike China, has no territorial conflict with the Philippines.

For his part, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the law gives equal chance to foreign countries to study Philippine waters as long as there are Filipinos on board.

Foreign marine researchers must also share their findings and data with their Filipino counterparts, Cayetano added.

READ: Cayetano: ‘Same rules for all countries’ seeking to study Philippine waters

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/18/1779010/chinese-research-ship-kexue-conduct-research-philippine-waters#dqq5ep5YZFmOuGUS.99

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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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Judge Carpio: Philippines dumb to grant China request to do research in Benham Rise

January 16, 2018

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/video/24oras/441574/palasyo-umapela-kay-carpio-na-respetuhin-ang-desisyon-ukol-sa-planong-survey-sa-phl-rise/evideo/

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Monday said it would be “dumb” if the Philippine government would allow the request of China to explore the resource-rich Philippine Rise.

“China has squatted on the West Philippine Sea and refuses to leave despite the ruling of the UNCLOS tribunal. Now, China requests to be allowed to survey the Philippine Sea on the east side of the Philippines. The Philippines would be dumb to grant China’s request,” Carpio said in a 24 Oras report by Raffy Tima.

Magdalo partylist Representative Gary Alejano last week said that he had recieved information that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had granted the request of a Chinese entity to do research in waters off eastern Luzon.

The Philippine Rise, formerly known as the Benham Rise, is located east of Luzon and is part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.

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In 2012, the United Nations gave the country exclusive sovereign rights over the rise, believed to be rich in minerals and gas.

Chinese vessels were spotted surveying the said area in 2017, prompting the Philippine government to send Beijing a note verbale, seeking clarification as regards the presence of its ships in the resource-rich area.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Carpio should respect the executive branch once a decision was already made.

“Sana respetuhin natin ‘yung separation of powers kapag meron ng kasong nakahain sa kanya,” Roque said.

DFA secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had said “Philippine law says research can be done as along as there is a Filipino on board.”

“So there’s nothing suspicious about approval or disapproval of scientific research whether they’re Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolians, Singaporeans. If they comply we will approve, if they do not comply we will not approve,” Cayetano said.

It is the DFA which usually grants applications to conduct research in the area, with coordination from technical agencies depending on the type of research. —Anna Felicia Bajo/NB, GMA News

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/639788/carpio-phl-dumb-to-grant-china-request-to-do-research-in-benham-rise/story/

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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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Philippine President Duterte Allowed China “More Extensive” Research Rights in South China Sea, Pacific Ocean Near The Philippines — Chinese Chicanery in the Palace — Who Gains the Most?

January 15, 2018

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Chinese research vessel ‘Kexue’ is seen in the South China Sea. How do we know China is not stealing Philippine oil, fish and other natural resources?

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally made a decision to let China conduct scientific research off the Philippines’ Pacific coast, his spokesman said on Monday, despite concern among critics about threats to maritime sovereignty.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that as chief architect of foreign policy, Duterte allowed China to work with the University of the Philippines in Benham Rise, an area roughly the size of Greece and believed by some scientists to be rich in biodiversity and tuna.

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Welcome to The Philippines!

The United Nations declared Benham Rise, off the Pacific coast, part of the continental shelf of the Philippines in 2012. Manila last year renamed it the “Philippine Rise”.

Though China does not lay claim to the area, the lingering presence of its vessels for several months in late 2016 triggered concern about its intentions.

The Philippines granting of the permission to China was not announced and was revealed a few days ago by a lawmaker who has been fiercely critical of Duterte’s close ties with Beijing.

The Philippines and China have a long history of maritime squabbles over sovereignty in the South China Sea, but there has been no disagreement about waters off Manila’s Pacific coast.

Roque said anyone opposed to the joint research project should go to Congress and raise the issue there.

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Filipino fishermen have long complained about their “Chinese overseers.”

“If this is not a wise move of the president, then a law could be enacted to prohibit it,” he said.

The Philippines would grant permission to any other country that might show interest in conducting maritime research at Benham Rise, he added.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel)

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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 and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

ASEAN: Philippine President Duterte May Push For Resource Sharing in the South China Sea (Although China is Not an ASEAN Member and Holds Land in Violation of UN Court Ruling)

October 24, 2017
 
President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the National Convention Center in the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and other related summits last Sept. 6, 2016 in Vientiane, Laos. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte may rally fellow Southeast Asian leaders attending the region’s upcoming summit in Manila next month to support the sharing of resources in the disputed South China Sea.

Speaking before the ASEAN High Level Forum last week, Duterte said he was in favor of sharing resources in the contested waters—which China, an ASEAN dialogue partner, also claims. The Philippines claims parts of the South China Sea within its exclusive economic zone and calls it the West Philippine Sea.

His explanation for possible joint exploration hinted at a willingness to open exclusive economic zones to foreign parties despite an international court ruling favoring Manila’s entitlements over the sea.

READ: Duterte finds no urgency in South China Sea row

Asked if such a proposal is included in the president’s agenda for the 31st ASEAN summit in November, Ambassador Marciano Paynor, director general for operations of the ASEAN 2017 National Organizing Council, said Tuesday that the subject is “still under discussions.”

He said Duterte, who chairs this year’s ASEAN meetings, may raise the topic “if the president says and that is his directive.”

“In fact, many of the things that will happen during the Summit will still be discussed during the preparatory meetings,” Paynor said in a press conference in Malacañan.

In 2013, the previous administration filed a case, and won last year, in a United Nations-backed tribunal against China’s sweeping claims to over most part of the resource-rich sea.

The court said China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights by blocking fishing and oil exploration as well as by building manmade islands there.

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In the South China Sea, fishermen wonder where they can fish without angering China

Resource-sharing a ‘win-win’

But Duterte sought warmer relations with the Asian power in exchange for billion dollars’ worth of Chinese investments while moving away from Washington—Manila’s traditional treaty ally and China’s strategic rival.

Aside from Manila and Beijing—other ASEAN countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam also have overlapping claims over the sea.

According to Paynor, resource-sharing would be a “win-win situation and solution” for the maritime row that has dogged both ASEAN and China.

But he stressed that leaders must make sure that all parties would agree to the details of the deal.

An aerial view of China occupied Subi Reef at Spratly Islands in disputed South China Sea. It is now one of China’s south China Sea military bases. © Reuters

“As always, the devil is in the details and sometimes, in the details, there’s one aspect that might not be agreeable to one and because these are consensus, it has to be threshed out,” Paynor said.

“So I’ll say, in principle, yes, of course, that is one objective of ASEAN,” he added.

Experts say a joint development in the South China Sea between the Philippines and China does not guarantee better relations as they cautioned that failure to spell out the “expectations” under such an agreement may spark another conflict.

The Philippines last April hosted the 30th ASEAN summit, which was highlighted by a watered-down communique that evaded reference to China’s maritime encroachment in the South China Sea.

Analysts earlier expressed disappointment over ASEAN’s apparent soft stance on China’s aggressive activities in the sea—with some saying this response could embolden Beijing to step up its incursion in the area, thereby undermining the bloc’s centrality.

READ: Experts: Joint development in South China Sea no guarantee of better ties

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/10/24/1752008/duterte-may-push-resource-sharing-disputed-sea-asean-meet

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Recent Developments Surrounding the South China Sea

August 7, 2017

BEIJING — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region.

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CHINESE FM SAYS TALKS MAY START THIS YEAR ON CODE OF CONDUCT

China’s foreign minister said talks on a long-sought code of conduct in the South China Sea that were first mooted in 2002 may finally start this year if “outside parties” don’t cause a major disruption.

Chinese and ASEAN foreign ministers approved a negotiating framework for a code of conduct during a meeting at the weekend in the Philippines. The idea is to draw up an outline of the rules and responsibilities for the countries to prevent clashes from erupting in the contested waters. However, the initial roadmap doesn’t say whether the code of conduct will be legally binding or enforceable.

China had long been perceived as delaying negotiations with ASEAN so it can undertake and complete construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea without being restricted by any maritime code.

Wang said the start of talks may be announced by the heads of state of China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations at their annual summit in the Philippines in November if Beijing’s conditions are met. He said those conditions include a “stable situation” in the South China Sea and non-interference by “outside parties,” an apparent reference to the United States. Beijing frequently accuses the U.S. of meddling in what it says is an Asian dispute that should be resolved only by the countries involved.

Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton said countries locked in the sea disputes should “stop improving or expanding or militarizing any of their outposts.”

Wang’s mention of the vague conditions can allow China to delay or halt the planned talks for any reason. Differing expectations between Beijing and ASEAN of what the code of conduct should look like also likely mean the negotiations will be anything but straightforward.

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ASEAN NATIONS CRITICIZE CHINA’S LAND RECLAMATIONS

ASEAN foreign ministers defied China’s steadfast stance and overcame their own disagreements to issue a joint statement criticizing Beijing’s land reclamation and military fortifications in the South China Sea.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has tried to fortify its foothold in recent years by transforming reefs into island outposts, some with runways and radars and — more recently — weapons systems.

The U.S. and ASEAN claimants to the waters and islands oppose the work. They are wary of restrictions on ship movements in a key waterway for world trade which boasts rich fishing grounds and a potential wealth of undersea oil, gas and mineral deposits.

These tensions divide ASEAN. Some ASEAN nations want to stand firmly together against Beijing, while others who depend heavily on China for trade and investment are wary about possible retaliation.

ASEAN foreign ministers failed to promptly issue a joint communique after their annual gathering Saturday due to a disagreement over whether to include criticism, even indirectly, of China’s activities in the contested territories.

Then, in a surprise move late Sunday, they indirectly criticized Beijing’s land reclamation and military fortifications in the disputed waters.

They also in their 46-page statement referred vaguely to an international arbitration ruling last year that invalidated China’s historical claims to virtually all the strategic waterway.

The regional grouping decides by consensus, and last year Cambodia and Laos, who receive massive aid from China, blocked any mention of the arbitration ruling in the final text.

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US, CHINESE, JAPANESE NAVIES END SEARCH FOR MISSING US SAILOR

The U.S., Chinese and Japanese navies ended a three-day search for a missing sailor who was believed to have gone overboard in the South China Sea.

Vessels and aircraft, including two Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy frigates and aircraft from two Japan Maritime Self-Defense ships, had combed roughly 10,000 square miles (30,000 square kilometers) of the sea west of the Philippines by Friday. The U.S. Navy said the joint search had demonstrated “the common bond shared by all mariners to render assistance at sea.”

The sailor was from the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem, based in Yokosuka, Japan. He was reported missing on Aug. 1.

China accused the U.S. in July of trespassing in its waters when the Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles (32 kilometers) of Triton Island in the Paracel Group.

The operation was aimed at affirming the right to passage and challenging what the U.S. considers China’s excessive territorial claims in the area. China sent ships to intercept the destroyer.

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XI SAYS CHINA WON’T ALLOW THE LOSS OF “ANY PIECE” OF ITS TERRITORY

Chinese President Xi Jinping says China will have the “confidence to conquer all forms of invasion” and won’t allow the loss of “any piece” of its land to outsiders.

His words were contained in a speech in Beijing marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

It strikes a similar note to other tough talk by Xi about China’s territorial disputes with its neighbors, including in the South China Sea.

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Drama at ASEAN: Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (at left in blue) is the only one brave enough to challenge China at the ASEAN conference in the Philippines, August 5, 2017. At right, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano tries to write language that Vietnam can agree to. POOL photo

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North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, poses with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for a photo prior to their bilateral meeting in the sideline of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and its Dialogue Partners. Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines. Bolstered by new U.N. sanctions, the United States and North Korea’s neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global campaign cheered on by U.S. President Donald Trump. (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.