Posts Tagged ‘international court’

China believes that fishing and oil industries from the South China Sea may amount to trillions of dollars — What does the Philippines get?

July 20, 2018

NATIONAL papers talk about the Spratly Islands as belonging to us, well and good. What’s then all the protests about?

The Spratly Islands were, in the past, coral islets mostly inhabited by seabirds. They consist of 18 islands but, according to Chinese sources, the Spratlys consist of 14 islands or islets, 6 banks, 113 submerged reefs, 35 underwater banks and 21 underwater shoals.

Image result for philippine flag, china flag

After so many claims and disputes of nearby surrounding countries, the international courts decided in favor of the Philippines. So, the Spratly Islands belong to us. However, claims and counter claims as to which country these islands belong to have not waned.

Aside from us, China insists on its historical rights over the islands, and so do Brunei, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. This is now what we call the South China Sea Disputes involving island and maritime claims.

What’s there to fight about? The Philippines, Malaysia and other countries began referring to the Spratly Islands as included in their own territory as far back as the 1970s. The Philippines started exploring the area in 1976 until gas was discovered. However, China complained and its protests halted the exploration. President Ferdinand Marcos then in 1978 issued Presidential decree No. 1596, declaring the north-western part of the Spratly Islands or the Kalayaan Island Group as Philippine territory.

The first Philippine oil company discovered an oil field off Palawan in 1984, which is an island province bordering the Sulu Sea and the South China Sea. These oil fields supply 15 percent of annual oil consumption in the Philippines.

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The whole contested area seems to parallel the crude oil output of Kuwait in case it undergoes serious exploration and production. It has been speculated to be the new Persia related to oil production. In addition, the abundant fishing opportunities in the area are strong incentives for the disputes. The South China Sea is believed to have accounted for ten percent of fishing harvests worth billions of dollars in the world resulting in clashes between Philippine and foreign vessels. China seems to believe that fishing and oil industries from the South China Sea may amount to trillions of dollars.

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Aside from these, the region is also one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. Crude oil transported by sea passes through this sea way and accounts for more than half the tonnage of the world’s transported crude oil. It is claimed that the traffic here is three times bigger than that passing through the Suez canal and greater too than the business traffic in the Panama Canal. Oh oh, no wonder the scramble for ownership?

To add, the US and China are at odds over the area because of international rights to free access. The USA’s free access to this region is good for its economic and geopolitical interests.

So that’s the picture! The claims of six other sovereign nations will go on despite the Philippines’ being bestowed ownership by international courts. Vietnam is aggressive on this and so are several of the other nations. Now, we have protesters urging our government to fight China and all other nations expecting ownership of the Spratlys despite the international court’s decision.

Should we fight for our rights over the islands that have been naturally inhabited by birds since the beginning of our knowledge, or should we opt for peace by sharing the bounty of the South China Sea with all the nations aggressively fighting for this area too? In other words, should we opt for peace…or WAR?

I love you Baguio!




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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. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.


UN chief calls for Syria referral to International Court — “Grave crimes in Syria” — Use of Chemical Weapons

January 27, 2018


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. (AFP)
UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is again calling on the U.N. Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, pointing to “serious violations” including blocking aid deliveries and medical care to millions.
The U.N. chief also called on all combatants, U.N. member states and civil society to cooperate with an independent panel established by the General Assembly in December 2016 to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity in Syria.
Guterres said in a report to the council circulated Friday on the humanitarian situation in Syria in December that “accountability for serious violations is a requirement under international law and central to achieving sustainable peace.”
During December, he said, no aid was delivered to over 417,000 people in nine “besieged” locations, and only 60,000 of the nearly 2.5 million Syrians living in “hard-to-reach” areas received humanitarian help. He said 95 percent of the besieged population is besieged by Syrian government forces.
Guterres said “access for the United Nations and its partners to those people living in besieged and hard-to-reach locations remained a critical concern.”
He said deliveries of food and other aid remained “extremely challenging” in many areas last month “as a result of active conflict, shifting conflict lines, administrative impediments and deliberate restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods by the parties to the conflict.”
The secretary-general singled out the deteriorating humanitarian situation for the estimated 393,000 people living in eastern Ghouta, an opposition-held pocket besieged by Syrian forces. Prices for basic goods there are some 30 times higher than in neighboring Damascus city, “far beyond the purchasing power of most residents,” he said.
Guterres noted that between Dec. 26-28, 29 urgent medical cases were evacuated from eastern Ghouta. But he said “an additional 600 people remain in need of urgent medical evacuation” and “18 have already died while waiting to be evacuated.”
The U.N. chief called on all countries with influence over the Syrian government and opposition fighters “to do their utmost” to facilitate medical evacuations and humanitarian aid into eastern Ghouta.
Syrian authorities also continued rejecting or removing “life-saving and life-sustaining medical items” from convoys last month, he said. In addition, 16 health care facilities and personnel were attacked in December.
While Guterres again urged that Syria be referred to the International Criminal Court, the search for justice has proven to be exceedingly difficult, especially at the United Nations.
A Security Council resolution backed by more than 60 countries to refer the Syrian conflict to the ICC was vetoed by both Russia and China in May 2014.
A new attempt at the council to refer Syria to the ICC would almost certainly face a similar fate.
But following the double veto, several countries, including Sweden, Germany, France and Finland, said they were investigating or prosecuting alleged perpetrators of grave crimes in Syria.
In November, Russia also vetoed renewal of the expert body from the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that was determining responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
The Joint Investigative Mechanism or JIM had blamed Russia’s close ally, President Bashar Assad, for using chlorine gas in two attacks and the nerve agent sarin in one — accusations that Moscow strongly criticized. By contrast, Russia supported the JIM’s findings that the Islamic State extremist group used mustard gas twice.
On Tuesday, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called a Security Council meeting and circulated a draft resolution that would replace the JIM.
The council session coincided with a meeting in Paris where the U.S., France and 22 other countries launched a new organization aimed at identifying and punishing anyone who uses chemical weapons.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called the Security Council meeting a distraction, saying the U.S. is ready to re-establish the JIM “with its original independent and impartial mandate, right now. But anything less is unacceptable.”




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Above: Iranian foreign minister Zarif shares some fun with his co-equal from Russia Mr. Lavrov.

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Sochi, Russia, on November 22, 2017

Philippines President Duterte: On Killings, Don’t Look At Me — But The Number of Unlawful Killings Attributed to Duterte’s “War” Continues To Rise

October 15, 2016


Photo shows the President gesturing while delivering his speech.

MANILA, Philippines – With the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s chief prosecutor warning that anyone involved in extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would be held accountable, President Duterte yesterday washed his hands of the deaths.

Responding to the warning of the ICC’s Fatou Bensouda, Duterte explained that he has openly encouraged police to go after drug suspects and kill them only if they resist arrest.

“Now they say there are already 3,000 people who were killed. Three thousand? Who killed them? I don’t know, but why are they pointing at me, blaming me for those deaths?” the President said in a speech in Basco, Batanes where he visited the victims of a recent typhoon.

Duterte has been up in arms over criticisms raised by the United Nations, United States and the European Union over his bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

Residents stand on tree branches to get a glimpse of President Duterte during his visit to typhoon-hit communities in Basco, Batanes yesterday.

The President and his officials have said he cannot be prosecuted before an international court for crimes against humanity in connection with the drug deaths, amid reports that certain groups are pushing for his prosecution.

More than 3,000 suspected drug offenders and users have been killed since Duterte’s June 30 inauguration. Critics are alarmed at the sheer number whose deaths have been attributed to vigilantes, and the President’s apparent support for the killings.

Feeling insulted, the President berated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barack Obama and the EU representatives for meddling in local affairs.

“Now, who were those kind of people who were killed? Were they from the government? No, not yet 3,000, we haven’t even reached that far… this is only just the beginning,” Duterte said, referring to the number of killings attributed to his war on drugs.

Duterte added human rights advocates should look at the situation and compare the fatalities to the victims of rape and other brutal crimes committed by drug-crazed individuals.

A multi-billion industry

Duterte stressed illegal drugs in the country are a multibillion-peso industry that he is seeking to destroy.

Computing the P200 per hit of shabu, multiplied by the estimated number of users, Duterte said the shabu industry is a P216-billion industry a year – victimizing families and breaking relationships.

“I’ll give you a simple computation. At P200 per hit for one day, that is P6,000 a month per person times (3-million)… that is P18 billion a month. Times 12, that is P216 billion a year,” he said.

Duterte, however, stopped short of lambasting the United States and the EU anew over the extrajudicial killings.

“Now, they will say that I am threatening the European Union. They are using that ‘this politician is threatening the criminals to death.’ There is nothing wrong in threatening criminals to death,” said Duterte, a former prosecutor and mayor.

“By that statement alone, when you said: ‘I will kill criminals so stop fooling around’. It is a perfect statement, then they want to implicate me for that statement,” he said.

Duterte said he cannot be tried for a supposed violation which is not classified as a crime in the Philippines.

“That’s why I am angry, and I keep on cursing them,” he said.

Malacañang yesterday maintained there are no state-sanctioned killings of suspected drug offenders.

“Drug-related killings, including vigilante killings, are not state-sanctioned. Many of those who died were killed during legitimate police operations, which are currently undergoing investigation as directed by the President,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

He said that even congressional leaders, in conducting an inquiry into the killings, saw no proof that the killings were state-sponsored.

“In any case, the President has articulated that he is willing to submit himself to an investigation before any body,” Andanar added.

The ICC has warned Duterte that he could face prosecution over extrajudicial killings in his deadly crackdown on drugs that has left more than 3,000 Filipinos dead since July 1.

Bensouda said she was deeply concerned over reports of thousands of alleged killings in the Philippines and statements by government officials who she said “seemed to condone such killings.”

“Any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the [court] is potentially liable to prosecution before the court,” Bensouda said.

The Philippines is a member-state of the ICC in The Hague, which has the authority to prosecute individuals for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Duterte then tossed the blame to allies of former president Benigno Aquino III, accusing them of launching a black propaganda campaign against him ahead of the May elections.

He also recalled how his opponents, including Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, “threw garbage” at him, referring to supposed exposés on his alleged huge bank accounts.

“The yellows started it all, then they rode on the issue. Remember that it was not an issue against me. It was only (used) after I keep hitting the (high) ratings. Then the garbage of Trillanes surfaced,” Duterte said.

Rody: Don’t threaten me with rally

Talk of ousting Duterte also persists in the country, particularly in Metro Manila, barley four months into his six-year term.

A group of Filipino businessmen in New York was reportedly hatching a plan to oust Duterte early next year.

In response, Duterte yesterday told Manila residents not to threaten him with a rally.

He said that if he gets ousted in a year or two, he would accept it as part of God’s plan for him or as part of his destiny.

“Huwag ninyo akong takutin ’yang mga taga Manila na mag rally kayo next year paalisin niyo ’yan. Kasi pag napaalis ako, that is part of my destiny (people of Manila, don’t threaten me with a rally to oust me next year. If I would be ousted, that is part of my destiny),” he said in Batanes.

“Hindi ko (alam) bakit ako nanalo (I do not know how I won) without the money and effective machinery. And I would say ‘it’s the Lord. God gave it (presidency) to me’,” he added.  – With Giovanni Nilles

A few things all Filipinos should know:

Pontius Pilate also washed his hands. But that did not make him any less responsible and accountable. Too many unlawful deaths are never a good thing. One unlawful death is unlawful and wrong. All nations need to continue to work on that every day.

No nation with a drug problem ever successfully killed their way out of it.

The below three paragraphs come from this article in The Star:

John Collins, the executive director of London School of Economics IDEAS International Drug Policy Project has said, “What we find is that aggressive enforcement often spikes violence by disrupting cartel structures, leading to fragmentation of operations whereby members of cartel go to war with each other for control of the organization or splinter into rival groups competing over turf.”

Enforcement-heavy wars against drugs around the world in the past century are found to have failed in cutting the supply and demand of substances in the long run. Acknowledging that the drug problem persists, experts recommend a holistic approach to managing it.

“The right objective should be to minimize violence in criminal markets and maximize public health. For both of those objectives, the war on drugs in the Philippines unleashed by Duterte is not only ineffective but outright counterproductive,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a Brookings Institution scholar on urban violence and drug policy.


See also:

“China is suppressing Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations”

(There is almost no nation on earth with less respect for human rights than China. But the Philippines under President Duterte is on the path to become one of the worst human rights offenders on the planet.)

China’s record on helping people who are addicted is horrible.

Japan, China to hold summit meeting on Monday amid island row

September 4, 2016


Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, the Japanese government said, the first such meeting in more than a year as Asia’s two largest countries are locked in a territorial dispute.

The meeting will follow the conclusion of the two-day G20 summit that started on Sunday in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Tension flared up last month after more than a dozen Chinese coastguard and other government ships sailed near a group of East China Sea islets controlled by Tokyo but claimed also by Beijing, making a meeting between the two top leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit uncertain.

Ties between Japan and China have also been strained by the South China Sea dispute, with Japan urging China to adhere to a ruling by an international court that invalidated China’s territorial claims there. China warned Japan not to interfere.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, editing by Louise Heavens)

China-Philippines fishing deal for Scarborough Shoal ‘may help calm troubled South China Sea waters’ — But China has no claim at all, according to the International Court

August 12, 2016

Joint fishing rights in Scarborough Shoal could help ease tensions between Beijing and Manila, think tank chief says after talks with Fidel Ramos

By Kristin Huang  and Catherine Wong
South China Morning Post

Friday, August 12, 2016, 11:40pm

Beijing and Manila could explore ways to open the Scarborough Shoal to fishermen from both countries and jointly develop fish farms in the disputed waters, ­according to the head of a ­government-affiliated think tank after talks with former Philippine president Fidel Ramos.

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said Ramos’ five-day fence-mending trip to Hong Kong could help lower tensions raised by the South China Sea disputes.


But Ramos would have to first visit Beijing for talks with Chinese officials to pave the way for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to make a formal state visit to China, he said.

In Hong Kong as a Duterte envoy, Ramos discussed six areas for cooperation with Wu and Fu Ying, chairwoman of the National People’s Congress’ foreign affairs committee.

Ties between the two nations have been strained since the Philippines applied for a ruling on the South China Sea from the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which dismissed Beijing’s claims to the disputed waters. Filipino fishermen have also complained of harassment by Chinese government vessels in the Scarborough Shoal.

There are various cooperation plans the two countries can discuss

Wu said Filipino and Chinese fishermen both needed to fish.

“There are various cooperation plans the two countries can discuss. Fish-farming technology is not advanced in the Philippines and China can help with that,” he said.

But the Philippines had to respect China’s territorial rights over the shoal, Wu said.

Ramos stressed that his meetings with Fu and Wu were held “in a private capacity”, but said his country’s government wanted formal talks to avoid further tensions with China and to explore ways of increasing cooperation between the two nations.

 Fidel Ramos (seated, centre) has dinner in with Fu Ying (third from left) and Wu Shicun (second from right). Photo: SCMP PIctures

Discussions on resolving the territorial disputes would be held, but “as to where this will take place we don’t know yet. We have to go back to Manila to find out the latest developments on the official side”, he said.

A statement signed by Ramos, Fu and Wu said that in addition to marine conservation and fishing rights, the two nations should cooperate on tourism, investment, and cracking down on drugs and corruption.

Efforts on issues such as drugs, smuggling and crime are not as tricky as defence and national security and thus more achievable at this point

Analysts said the consensus reached between Ramos and Fu was crucial to rebuilding confidence between the two countries.

“Efforts on issues such as drugs, smuggling and crime are not as tricky as defence and national security and thus more achievable at this point,” said Dai Fan,,an assistant professor at Jinan University’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

De La Salle University assistant professor Richard Javad Heydarian said Ramos’ trip restored a functional level of communication between the two countries.

The visit made room to discuss less politicised areas for cooperation, paving the way for more high-stakes talks between Beijing and Manila, he said.


 (July 27, 2016 — Philippine Star)

China H-6 bomber Scarborough Shoal in the Philippines.

South China Sea tensions to dominate Sino-Asean talks in Singapore

April 27, 2016

Two-day event marks the 25th anniversary of the start of the dialogue and comes ahead of The Hague’s ruling on territorial disputes

By Shi Jiangtao
South China Morning Post

Senior officials of China and Southeast Asian nations are gathering for two-day talks, amid Beijing’s strengthening efforts to lure support from its neighbours ahead of an international court ruling over the South China Sea disputes.

Just weeks before an international court ruling on territorial disputes over the sea, senior diplomats from China and 10 nations from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will meet in Singapore – an event that will mark the 25th anniversary of the start of the Sino-Asean dialogue.

Obama and Asean leaders say South China Sea disputes must be resolved under UN rules


This event is jointly chaired by China’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Liu Zhenmin, and the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Chee Wee Kiong.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that apart from making preparations for a Sino-Asean summit in September, the consultation was also aimed at implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed between Asean and China in 2002.

Four Asean members – the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – have rival claims to parts of the sea with China.

The Philippines has taken a case against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The court’s ruling, due in late May or early June, is expected to go against China.

Beijing has intensified its efforts to seek allies to contest the ruling and claimed over the past week that Brunei, Cambodia and Laos had backed its stance on the dispute.

China to build up atoll in contested South China Sea, source says

However, Beijing’s move has been criticised by several Asean diplomats, who accused China of meddling in Asean’s internal affairs and trying to divide the grouping, according to Singapore’s The Straits Times.

An Asean diplomat said of the meeting on the bid to have a code of conduct: “Not much can be expected out of this. Progress will be achieved at a glacial pace as China will try and manipulate Asean into acquiescence of its stance.”

China has been targeted by the US-led concerted efforts surrounding the South China Sea disputes and Beijing has every reason to fight back


Wang Hanling, an expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the allegations as well as the arbitration case were biased against China. “China has been targeted by the US-led concerted efforts surrounding the South China Sea disputes and Beijing has every reason to fight back,” he said.

Three Asean nations agree row will not hurt ties: Beijing

He said three Asean nations’ endorsement of China’s stance in the maritime dispute was of “extraordinary significance” ahead of the ruling.

Pang Zhongying, of Renmin University of China, also said Beijing’s moves laid bare the fact that there were disagreements among Asean nations on the dispute. But he voiced concerns over the escalating war of words over the dispute, saying it could further strain the Sino-Asean ties.


Vietnamese speak about their expectations from new leaders

January 24, 2016


The Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam is holding an eight-day congress to choose new set of leaders who will govern for the next five years. Only about 4 million of Vietnam’s 93 million people are party members, but the party has the constitutional right to rule, and its leaders are chosen in a secretive process in which the general public have no say.

 Many Vietnamese fear the police

A selection of views on what people expect from the new leaders:


“I’m scared of police more than my parents beating me when I did something wrong when I was a kid. I don’t care about who will be the new leaders, but I just hope that the new leaders will help people like me to find a job so that I don’t have to sell fruits on the streets.” — Tran Thi Nhan, 35, fruit seller.


“I do hope that the new leaders will introduce some major changes to the country, but I doubt that we are going to be happy. In Vietnam, it’s collective leadership style and it’s very slow for them to make a decision.” — Pham Bich Diep, 47, office secretary.

Vietnamese Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh welcomes his Chinese counterpart Senior Lieutenant General Chang Wanquan


“I just want the country to have political stability, so that everybody can do their business. Over the past few years, Vietnam has signed or concluded a series of free trade agreements including the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the free trade agreements with the EU that will open opportunity for the country and businesses.” — Do Ninh, 36, businessman.


“Things will be the same, I don’t expect the new leaders will do something major. (…) I understand that Vietnamese leaders are in difficult positions to deal with Chinese, but they should get tougher on Chinese and they should sue China at an international court like what the Philippines did. Vietnam should have closer ties economically and militarily with the U.S. to help balance its relations with China.” — Nguyen Van Cu, 62, retiree.

Chinese Coast Guard vessel ramming a Vietnamese vessel in the disputed South China Sea


“In countries with a multi-party system, I would have a say in choosing who will lead the country, but in Vietnam, I have no say in choosing our leaders. A bunch of Communist Party officials will choose the country’s leaders. Who will be the leaders does not matter much to me, my life will be the same.” — Nguyen Van Hung, 55, construction engineer.


“I have no hope in the new leadership. People have been fed up with what they said, people just want to see what they said would be translated into reality.” — Phan Ngoc Dung, 65, retiree.

A Chinese Coast Guard ship watches over a Chinese oil rig — in Vietnamese waters.

China Urges The Philippines To Drop South China Sea Arbitration

July 14, 2015

The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — China urged the Philippines on Tuesday to ditch its attempt to solve South China Sea territorial disputes with an international tribunal and instead negotiate with Beijing directly, following the arbitration panel’s latest request for input from China.

Members of the Philippine delegation and legal team wait for the hearing to start at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands, July 8, 2015. Twitter/Abigail Valte

The Philippines has asked the tribunal in The Hague to declare China’s claims to virtually all the South China Sea invalid, saying Beijing’s actions have trampled on other nations’ rights.

China contends the tribunal doesn’t have jurisdiction, and has refused to participate. The tribunal, which operates under the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea, held a weeklong hearing ending Monday to address China’s contention. It said that Beijing has until Aug. 17 to comment on the hearing, and that it should make a ruling on the issue this year.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Tuesday reiterated China’s opposition to the arbitration, and said China “will never accept the unilateral attempts to turn to a third party to solve the disputes.”

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chuying

“China urges the Philippines to come back to the right track of resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation,” she said in a statement.

The Philippines praised the tribunal’s effort to prod China again to join the case, saying the five-man arbitration body has been fair and transparent in its handling of Manila’s complaints against Beijing.

“We have asked China to participate and we continue to extend the invitation for them to explain their side,” Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said by phone in Manila.

China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan have been contesting ownership of the resource-rich South China Sea. The United States and other countries have expressed concerns over China’s island-building in the region that they say has been provocative and has damaged vast coral reefs in the disputed waters.

Beijing says fears that it would eventually limit freedom of navigation and overflight to back its claims are unfounded.


Associated Press writer Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.


 (By David A. Welch)

 (Contains links to several related articles)

Philippines Makes Its Case In International Arbitration of South China Sea

July 13, 2015


The second round of oral arguments by a Philippine delegation before an international court in the Hague seeks to establish the point that China’s claim over almost the entire South China Sea is illegal.

MANILA: A Philippine delegation concluded its oral arguments on Monday (Jul 13) before an international court in the Hague for a case it has filed against China over a maritime dispute.

The second round of oral arguments seeks to establish the point that China’s claim over almost the entire South China Sea is illegal.

Over the last week, the Manila team has submitted oral arguments to show that the nine-dash line claim is invalid under the Law of the Sea.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a cornerstone of the delegation’s arguments. The Philippines and China are signatories to the agreement.

UNCLOS’ parties have agreed to a 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, China’s historically-based nine-dashed line – which it uses to justify its activities in the West Philippine Sea – overlaps with the Philippine EEZ.

Throughout the first round of arguments, the Philippine delegation has been seeking clarifications of the territorial limits. The Philippines also asserted its environmental and fishing claims against China.

It is estimated that Chinese reclamation work may have damaged 311 hectares of coral reefs amounting to over US$352,000.

Manila filed the arbitration case in 2013. However, China declined to participate. It published a “Position Paper” last December explaining why the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case.

The dispute is being closely watched by Asian governments and Washington, given rising regional tensions as Chinese naval power grows.

A decision on jurisdiction is expected within 90 days.

 (By David A. Welch)

 (Contains links to several related articles)

Both China and Taiwan have South China Sea obligations, says Beijing — As The Philippines Makes Its Case At Arbitration

July 8, 2015


Both China and Taiwan have an obligation to assert claims to the South China Sea, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, in a sign of rare political agreement between the old foes on either side of the Taiwan Strait.

Rivals China and Taiwan share claims to virtually the entire South China Sea, a legacy of the Chinese civil war when the Communists beat the Nationalists and took control of the Chinese mainland in 1949.

The Nationalists settled on Taiwan and as the “Republic of China” still claim to be the legitimate rulers of greater China. Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.

This week, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its claims to the South China Sea. Taiwan occupies the largest of the Spratly Islands, Itu Aba, as well as the Pratas Islands, which lie between southern Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Asked about the Taiwan comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that after World War Two, the then Nationalist government of China had made “positive efforts” to protect the country’s claims in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

This was something the Communist government carried on, she added.

“In the present situation, Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have a responsibility and obligation to maintain national territorial sovereignty and maritime rights,” Hua told a daily news briefing.

Itu Aba boasts the larger of two landing strips in the archipelago and is the only island with its own fresh water supply, making a long-term presence possible.

Taiwan has tended not to take sides with China in the South China Sea, despite the historical ties, given the political mistrust between them – and because of its need to maintain good relations with its biggest ally and arms supplier, the United States, a vocal critic of Beijing’s policies in the disputed waters.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei also have competing claims in the strategically located waters, situated on a major shipping lane.

Taiwan and China have signed a series of landmark economic agreements since the pro-China Ma Ying-jeou took power in 2008, but deep suspicions remains, especially in now proudly democratic Taiwan.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Editor’s note: China watchers say this announcement comes as China sees the Philippines making their case at the International Arbitration Court at The Hague — and Vietnam is making friends with the U.S. like never before. The Announcements today from China’s Foreign Ministry are perhaps meant to show China’s resolve and strength but could also have a sense of anxiety or fear of what will happen next.


Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong shakes hand with US President Barack Obama on July 7 during the Vietnamese leader’s official visit to the US. On the same day, the two countries adopted a joint vision statement, recognising the positive and substantive developments in many areas of cooperation over the past 20 years. — VNA/VNS Photo Tri Dung



China says it owns all the South China Sea north of the “nine dash line” shown above

China claims ownership of about 90% of the South China Sea. Most of China’s neighbors believe otherwise.

The chart below shows the area declared by China on 1 January 2014 as “an area under China’s jurisdiction.” China says “foreign fishing vessels” can only enter and work in this area with prior approval from China. Vietnam, the Philippines and others have said they will not comply with China’s law. Experts say, this could be the geographic area that China could declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ).