Posts Tagged ‘James Shoal’

China Has Bought Brunei’s Silence in South China Sea Dispute

February 22, 2018
China’s takeover of the strategic South China Sea region is ‘steering the world toward war.’

In discussions about the South China Sea dispute, we often hear about China claiming nearly the entire resource-rich, strategic region. And we also often hear about rival claimants—nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines—who dispute China’s claims. International law says these smaller nations rightfully own the portions of the sea along their coasts, so they often cry foul of Beijing’s claims to their territory.

But there is one country with claims to part of the South China Sea that we no longer hear from in this context: Brunei.

Brunei lies on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo at the southern end of the South China Sea. Brunei can lawfully claim 200 nautical miles of the sea off its coast as its Exclusive Economic Zone (eez).

In previous decades, Brunei was clear about asserting its claims in the South China Sea. In the 1990s, its leadership launched a public objection after China had conducted unauthorized research off Brunei’s coasts. But more recently, Brunei has grown virtually silent about its claims.

In sharp contrast to the vocal governments in Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and elsewhere, Brunei has not openly contested China’s illegal claims that infringe on its eez.

Evidence indicates that Brunei’s reticence in this area is largely due to receiving billions of dollars in investments from China. “Total consolidated Chinese investment in Brunei is now estimated at around $6 billion and scheduled to rise,” the Asia Times recently reported.

For a nation as small as Brunei, this is a vast amount of money. And it is coming at a time when Brunei’s main economic lifeline, oil reserves, are dwindling.

Chinese investment in Brunei has helped build local infrastructure and a major oil refinery. China is also helping Brunei expand its manufacturing and improve its connectivity. China now also holds joint control of Brunei’s largest container terminal.

With these investments, China has essentially bought Brunei’s silence in the South China Sea dispute. Its government has even gone so far as to censor its own media from criticizing China.

Brunei is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean), an organization established largely to unify smaller nations in the region to stand up to China’s influence. China’s sway over Brunei erodes asean unity and complicates the ability of other member nations to challenge Beijing.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said that China’s takeover of the strategic South China Sea is “steering the world toward war.” In the July 2016 Trumpet issue, he wrote:

Since Japan’s defeat in World War ii, America has protected this vital trade route and brought peace to this part of the world. Now the American military is retreating, and other great powers are coming in to fill the vacuum. … China is intimidating the nations of Southeast Asia into submission to its will. It is forcing these countries to do what it wants. Everything is headed in the direction of war.

Mr. Flurry’s understanding of the South China Sea dynamic is based on Bible prophecy.

In Deuteronomy 28:52, God warns the nations of Israel that if they reject Him, He will hand control over the world’s strategic sea gates to their enemies:

And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

Mr. Flurry explained that this warning in Deuteronomy is not for ancient peoples. “It is a prophecy for the modern-day descendants of Israel,” he wrote. “Two nations in particular represent Israel in this end time: America and Britain. … This prophecy and several others show that He will send foreign enemies to punish America and Britain!”

The fact that China has now essentially bought Brunei’s silence and compliance in the South China Sea, allowing Beijing’s ongoing takeover of the whole region, shows that the era of America ensuring peace to this part of the world is rapidly ending. It shows that this prophecy is now in the process of being fulfilled.

But Mr. Flurry made plain that this approaching war is closely linked to the best imaginable news. “All this prophesied destruction is what it will take for God to reach this world!” he wrote in that article. “After this, people will be ashamed—and they will get to know God! Ezekiel repeatedly talked about that inspiring conclusion (e.g. Ezekiel 6:7; 7:4; 11:10; 12:20; 13:9; 23:48-49; etc). Yes, there is a lot of bad news when you consider what it takes to get people to the point of knowing God. But ultimately, the outcome is spectacularly good news!”

To understand the details of these prophecies, and the profound hope that is tied to them, please request a free copy of Mr. Flurry’s book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.

https://www.thetrumpet.com/16927-china-has-bought-bruneis-silence-in-south-china-sea-dispute

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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.

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China island expansion moves ahead in South China Sea

December 25, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | In this photo taken on June 15, 2016 a vendor stands behind a map of China including an insert with red dotted lines showing China’s claimed territory in the South China Sea

BEIJING (AFP) – 

China’s large-scale land reclamation around disputed reefs and shoals in the South China Sea is “moving ahead steadily”, state media has reported, and is on track to use giant “island-builders” to transform even more of the region.

Beijing claims nearly all of the sea and has been turning reefs in the Spratly and Paracel chains into islands, installing military facilities and equipment in the area where it has conflicting claims with neighbours.

“The course of construction is moving ahead steadily and a series of striking results have been achieved,” according to a report that appeared Friday on Haiwainet, a website under theHaiwainet’s flagship newspaper the People’s Daily.

The projects have “completely changed the face of the South China Sea’s islands and reefs”, the report said.

The aggressive campaign has been a source of contention with neighbouring countries. China’s sweeping claims overlap with those of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan.

During 2017 China built 290,000 square meters (29 hectares) of facilities on South China Sea reefs and islands, including underground storage, administrative buildings and large radar installations, the report said.

“To improve the livelihood and work conditions of people living on the islands, and strengthen the necessary military defences of the South China Sea within China’s sovereignty, China has rationally expanded the area of its islands and reefs,” it said.

The sea is believed to hold vast oil and gas deposits and $5 trillion in annual trade passes through it.

The report noted that with last month’s introduction of the new super-dredger Tianjing, a “magical island building machine”, and other “magical machines” soon to come, “the area of the South China Sea’s islands and reefs will expand a step further”.

China is also building a floating nuclear power plant, the report said, to provide power for those living in the Sansha city area.

Sansha lies on Woody Island in the Paracel chain — which is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan — and administers much of China’s claims in the South China Sea.

China established Sansha in 2012 by unilaterally awarding it two million square kilometres of sea and declaring it the country’s largest city.

Earlier this month a US think-tank released new satellite images showing deployment of radar and other equipment on the disputed islands.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said that over the course of 2017, China had been advancing the next phase of development with construction of infrastructure to support air and naval bases, such as underground storage areas and large radar and sensor arrays.

“We believe that some individuals are making a fuss about this. They’re trying to hype it up,” said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang after the first report was published.

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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.

World’s largest amphibious aircraft takes off in China

December 24, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | The AG600’s flight capabilities put all of China’s island building projects in the South China Sea well within range

BEIJING (AFP) – China’s home-grown AG600, the world’s largest amphibious aircraft in production, took to the skies on Sunday for its maiden flight.The plane codenamed “Kunlong” according to state news agency Xinhua, took off from the southern city of Zhuhai and landed after roughly an hour long flight.

With a wingspan of 38.8 metres (127 feet) and powered by four turbo-prop engines, the aircraft is capable of carrying 50 people and can stay airborne for 12 hours.

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“Its successful maiden flight makes China among the world’s few countries capable of developing a large amphibious aircraft,” chief designer Huang Lingcai told Xinhua.

The amphibious aircraft has military applications but will also be used for firefighting and marine rescue, with at least 17 orders placed so far with its state-owned manufacturer Aviation Industry Corp of China, state media reported.

While it is around the size of a Boeing 737, the AG600 is considerably smaller than billionaire Howard Hughes’ flying boat, better known as the Spruce Goose, which had a wing span of 97 metres and a length of 67 metres but only made one brief flight, in 1947.

The AG600’s flight capabilities put all of China’s island building projects in the South China Sea well within range.

The aircraft can fly to the southernmost edge of China’s territorial claims — the James Shoal — in just four hours from the southern city of Sanya, state-owned Global Times reported.

Image result for James Shoal, photos

The shoal is also claimed by Taiwan and Malaysia, and is currently administered by Malaysia as the collection of submerged rocks lies roughly 80 kilometres from its coastline and about 1,800 kilometres from the Chinese mainland.

Beijing’s buildup in the South China Sea, through which some $5 trillion in annual shipping trade passes, is hotly contested by other nations.

The Philippines for many years was one of the region’s strongest opponents of Chinese expansionism, and brought a complaint to a United Nations-backed tribunal.

The panel ruled last year that China’s territorial claims in the sea were without legal basis, but the Philippines has backed away from the dispute under its new president Rodrigo Duterte.

The launch of the new amphibious aircraft also adds to China’s rapidly modernising military.

Earlier this year, it launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, which complemented the Liaoning, a secondhand Soviet carrier commissioned in 2012 after extensive refits.

China’s military expenditure in 2016 was an estimated $215 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, putting it in first place in Asia, well ahead of India ($56 billion), Japan ($46 billion) and South Korea ($37 billion).

South China Sea: USS Carl Vinson Strike Group Departs for Korea; Chinese ships in “near continuous presence near Malaysia” — Latest South China Sea moves

April 10, 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, home to several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region.

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The Pentagon says A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike group is departing the South China Sea to provide a physical presence near the Korean Peninsula.

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USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS Sterett (DDG 104)

The U.S. Pacific Command directed the carrier group to sail north to the western Pacific after departing Singapore on Saturday, according to a Navy news release. The strike group includes the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, with support from several missile destroyers and missile cruisers.

Deployed from San Diego to the western Pacific since Jan. 5, the strike group has participated in numerous exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy, various maritime security initiatives, and routine patrol operations in the South China Sea.

Its activities in the South China Sea were considered a message to Beijing about Washington’s determination to maintain its presence in the disputed waters. Beijing said it was well aware of the strike group’s activities and reiterated its stance that the U.S. presence in the area would only increase tensions at a time when claimants are working toward a long-awaited code of conduct aiming to reduce the potential for conflicts.

China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, also held exercises in the South China Sea from late 2016 to the beginning of this year, concluding them by sailing through the Taiwan Strait that divides China from the island it claims as its own territory. China is also believed to be close to launching its first entirely-home built aircraft carrier.

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Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying warships in the South China Sea. Reuters photo

DUTERTE ORDERS MILITARY TO OCCUPY AND FORTIFY ALL PHILIPPINE-HELD ISLANDS

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to occupy and fortify all Philippine-held islands in the South China Sea to assert the country’s claims in an apparent response to China’s moves to cement its control over its claims.

“We tried to be friends with everybody but we have to maintain our jurisdiction now, at least the areas under our control,” Duterte said during a visit to a military camp in western Palawan province.

Duterte said he has ordered the armed forces to occupy and place Philippine flags on all islands, reefs and shoals controlled by the Philippines. Bunkers and other infrastructure for habitation must be built on nine or 10 islands, he said.

It was unclear how Duterte’s order can be executed. Some of the tiny reefs and outcrops would need expensive and logistically difficult reclamation work before structures could be built on them.

Duterte said he may visit one of the islands, Pag-asa, to raise the Philippine flag on Independence Day. He said money has been budgeted to repair the runway on Pag-asa, home to a small fishing community and Filipino troops.

Duterte has worked to mend ties with China that were strained under his predecessor over the territorial disputes. He paired that approach by attacking the U.S. for its policies in Asia and insulting former president Barack Obama for having criticized his bloody anti-drugs campaign.

However, his administration now appears to be avoiding frictions with the U.S. while taking a more wary approach to Beijing.

STUDY SAYS CHINESE COAST GUARD MAINTAINS NEAR-CONSTANT PRESENCE OFF BORNEO

Vessels from China’s coast guard are nearly constantly on station at the Luconia Shoals off the coast of Malaysia’s Sarawak State on the island of Borneo, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative under the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The presence of the vessels “speaks to Beijing’s determination to establish administrative control throughout the nine-dash line,” the report said, referring to China’s roughly drawn outline of its South China Sea territorial claim.

The reefs lie between the Spratly chain, where China has been building islands out of reefs and equipping them with airstrips and other military installations, and James Shoal, which Beijing considers the southernmost extent of its territory. The James and Luconia shoals are underwater at high-tide and so cannot be claimed as territory.

The center recorded the presence of coast guard vessels at the shoal beginning from September 2013. Malaysia sent one of its coast guard ships to monitor the presence of the Chinese in January, but its vessels are outclassed by the much larger Chinese vessels. Despite operating within 4 nautical miles (7 kilometers) of each other, there have been no reported confrontations between the vessels, it said.

During a visit to Beijing by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to Beijing in November, the two countries said their navies would cooperate more in the South China Sea, in what was seen as a new attempt by Beijing to dilute U.S. influence in the area.

That included the purchase by Malaysia of four Chinese littoral patrol boats.

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INDONESIA DESTROYS FOREIGN VESSELS CAUGHT FISHING ILLEGALLY IN ITS WATERS.

Indonesian authorities destroyed 81 foreign ships at the start of April after seizing the vessels for fishing illegally in the country’s waters.

The world’s largest archipelago nation has taken a tough stance against illegal fishing since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office in 2014. Authorities have sunk 317 foreign vessels since then, including the most recent.

Most of the vessels were from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand.

Indonesia was upholding its sovereignty and combating illegal fishing, said Susi Pudjiastuti, the minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries who witnessed the sinking of two ships in the port of Ambon in Maluku province.

“We hope Sino (the name of one of the ships) is the symbol of our victory against poaching after years of defeat, especially in eastern Indonesia,” Pudjiastuti said. She expressed hope that the action would deter poachers.

Pudjiastuti declared a fishing moratorium for foreign vessels immediately after taking office. “The state’s sovereignty has to be upheld.”

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Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report from Manila, Philippines.

China’s Arrogantly Domineering Attitude in the South China Sea

July 18, 2016

By Julian Ku

The award issued last week by an arbitral tribunal sitting in The Hague can only be described as a tremendous legal victory for the Philippines over China. The tribunal, which was formed pursuant to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ruled in favor of the Philippines on 14 of 15 claims. On every issues of substance, the tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines. Few experts who followed the award closely had predicted such a sweeping, one-sided result. I certainly did not.

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But taking a step back after reviewing the award, perhaps I should not have been surprised. China’s legal arguments for maritime rights in the South China Sea were always weak since the Chinese mainland is much farther away than any of its neighbors. China exacerbated these weaknesses by refusing to participate in the tribunal in any way, and then launching a global public relations campaign that dramatically heightened the award’s significance in the eyes of the global media.

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A contested sea.

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In the award, the tribunal ruled that China had violated its obligations under UNCLOS in a variety of ways. First, the tribunal held that China’s nine-dash-line claim, which refers to a line delineating some form of Chinese sovereign rights over nearly 80% of the South China Sea, was inconsistent with China’s obligations under UNCLOS. Whereas the treaty requires all states to limit maritime rights to certain distances from land, the nine-dash line represented a broad claim to “historic rights.” China may well have had historic rights to fishing in the region dating back centuries, the tribunal ruled, but it gave up such rights when it agreed to join UNCLOS in 1996.

In return for joining UNCLOS and giving up its historic rights, the tribunal noted, China gained internationally recognized exclusive economic zones (EEZs) stretching out over 200 nautical miles from its mainland coasts and islands. Without UNCLOS, the tribunal pointed out, China would not have had such broad, internationally recognized maritime rights near its mainland coast and islands.

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Second, the tribunal found that none of the land features claimed or occupied by China in the Spratly Islands (a group of land features near the Philippines) are actually “islands” as defined by UNCLOS. This means that even if China has sovereignty over all of the land features in the Spratlys, China cannot claim rights to control fishing and undersea hydrocarbons under an EEZ because there are no “islands” as defined by UNCLOS in the whole Spratly region.

Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague; hearing on the South China Sea. At the podium speaking to the court is then Foreign Minister of the Philippines, Albert del Rosario. China refused to participate.

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Such EEZ rights thus default to the Philippines because much of this area lies within 200 nautical miles of the main Philippines islands. To be sure, the tribunal found that (contrary to the Philippines’ arguments) several land features do constitute “rocks” rather than simply “low-tide elevations.” So China could potentially claim 12 nautical miles of territorial seas around those rocks if it could establish sovereignty over them.

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But the tribunal’s award makes it legally difficult for China to make a sweeping claim to sovereignty over both the land and the maritime zones in the Spratlys. It also calls into serious question the legality of China’s construction of an artificial island on Mischief Reef, which the tribunal held was merely a “low-tide elevation” incapable of generating even a 12 nm territorial sea.


Chinese dredging vessels are seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.Chinese dredging vessels seen in 2015 in the waters around Mischief Reef.(Reuters/US Navy)

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Finally, the tribunal also ruled that China’s construction of artificial islands has caused “irreparable” damage to the region’s environment. Whether or not China has sovereignty over the land features, the tribunal held China had violated its UNCLOS obligations to protect and preserve the marine environment. China further violated its obligations to allow Filipino fisherman to enter their traditional fishing grounds and to avoid harassing or obstructing non-Chinese fishermen in the region.
It didn’t have to be this way

All of this constitutes a stunning across-the-board legal victory for the Philippines. Moreover, the award will only damage China while benefiting Southeast Asian states like Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, which are far less likely to base their maritime claims on sketchy underwater land features.

All of those nations, like the Philippines, have undisputed sovereignty over mainland coastlines that can generate broad maritime rights. China, whose mainland coast is 600 miles away, has to rely on land features that it does not even control and that are too small to generate maritime rights. Because China is the only state vulnerable to this type of legal attack, the other claimants will not hesitate to invoke the tribunal’s award since it will be unlikely to backfire on their own claims.

Francis Jardeleza, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, shows a copy of the tribunal’s decision.(EPA/Mark R. Cristino)

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So now China finds itself on the losing end of a damaging arbitral award. But it didn’t have to be this way. In my view, China made two fateful mistakes in responding to the Philippines’ lawsuit. First, from the outset, China decided it would neither accept nor participate in the arbitral tribunal process. This meant that China gave up its right to appoint one member of the arbitral tribunal of its own choosing, and to participate and influence the appointment of three others.

South China Sea map on display at a maritime defence educational facility in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Photo via AP

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Because of China’s boycott, the task of appointing four out of five members of the arbitral tribunal fell (pursuant to the treaty) to Shunji Yanai, the then-President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. While Yanai’s appointments were all experienced, credible international lawyers with deep expertise in the legal issues of the case, none was particularly sensitive or favorable to China.

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China’s boycott also meant that China made no written submissions to the tribunal, and did not participate in oral hearings. From a legal point of view, this hurt China’s case because it could not fully present the substance of its arguments in a detailed form that could be legally persuasive, while its opponent filed thousands of pages of written documents. It also could not orally answer specific questions the tribunal had that might have influenced the final decision. While the tribunal made every effort to figure out China’s views from public statements published on the internet, there is little doubt that China’s case was hurt by the fact that no one actually presented it in a rigorous legal form.

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Where was China? A scene from the tribunal proceedings.(Permanent Court of Arbitration)

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Finally, China exacerbated the significance of the award by launching a global public relations blitz in the months leading up to release of the tribunal’s award. Most international tribunals operate in deep obscurity, especially in the United States. Media coverage is dutiful, but rarely comprehensive, because most international arbitral awards seem technical, dull, and unenforceable. The US government’s refusal to carry out an order from the International Court of Justice in 2008 barely rated a single day’s news coverage.

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But China’s blizzard of editorials, op-eds by Chinese ambassadors, joint declarations with obscure foreign leaders, and Chinese civil society statements of support drew the attention of the global media like nothing else could. Such media gave foreign governments and NGOs a platform to opine on the importance of the award. When China reacted with clearly hostile and nearly frantic language, the global media had found its story. China, the newly risen power, was risking its global reputation in a now landmark international law ruling. Such a story, complete with China’s angry denials, was too good for the global media to resist.

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Beijing has indicated it will simply ignore the award, and UNCLOS has no mechanisms for enforcing compliance with its awards. But China’s global image has suffered a serious blow. China promised in UNCLOS to allow an arbitral tribunal to conclusively settle any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the treaty, including whether such a tribunal has jurisdiction to hear the dispute. Once such a dispute arose, China boycotted and then tried to denigrate through a global publicity campaign the entire legitimacy of a widely accepted international treaty regime. And by refusing to comply, it has now reneged on that promise and damaged its image among its neighbors and partners around the world.
It is not an irreversible situation, but it was an avoidable one.

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You can follow Julian on Twitter at @julianku.

Source: http://qz.com/733012/it-is-beijings-fault-that-china-lost-big-in-the-south-china-sea-ruling/

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Chinese tourists have posted photographs of themselves online showing off their catch, including endangered reefer sharks and red coral. Photo: Guangzhou Daily

 (Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports)

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South China Sea: Beware the “Chinese Superiority Complex” — It’s time for the Philippines to tell China: “No More Free Fish.” (Or anything else)

July 17, 2016

Commentary From Peace and Freedom

By John Francis Carey

Philippines needs to tell China: “No More Free Fish.” (Or anything else). Photo by Bryan Alano

Most national leaders encountering the Chinese these days will comment upon the Chinese attitude of arrogance and superiority currently washing through China’s top echelons of power.

This is a subject not often discussed in “polite company.” But it should be — especially as junior diplomats and new negotiators head toward today’s China.

Usually, after a few drinks, a European or American or even a Russian diplomat or official will confess to the sense that the Chinese think they run the world right now.

This “Chinese Superiority Thing” as one diplomat we know calls it —  is a dangerous psychological mind-set, as any psychologist or historian can tell us.

Germans have been known to have that “master race” thing sometimes. It isn’t polite to say it, we know — so my apologies to all.

We Yanks, of course, have been known for our overbearing “we can tell you how to run things” demeanor. Maybe that will slip away some now that America’s status as an economic and military superpower is much more frequently in question.

So, please excuse my own overbearing arrogance for just a brief word on the “Chinese Superiority Complex” — as my favorite psychologist calls it.

The worst part of the Chinese Superiority Complex is a kind of racism found when Chinese interact with the Japanese, Vietnamese and Filipinos. If you’ve seen it, you know. The Chinese can often act as if the inferior Asians around them are just little uneducated people in the way of Chinese greatness.

And woe be unto the Japanese, especially. China isn’t finished holding Japan accountable for World War II by a long shot.

Every other “great power” has suffered this kind of thing since the Roman Empire — but it is always damaging to the goals of the very people that exhibit any hint of disdain for the the folks called “those people.”

Much of the current South China Sea sovereignty dispute is a manifestation of China’s psychological return to a mind-set of the “Greatness of the Emperors.”

By teaching Chinese schoolchildren for the past 50 years that China owns the entire South China Sea all the way to James Shoal in Indonesia, China has created generations of arrogant ego-maniacs unconcerned with the facts, the law or history. The South China Sea, as one Chinese delegation member told us, “is part of our birthright as Chinese.”

Yet according to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, that birthright is actually a wrong since birth.

China has dredged by destroying growing coral reefs that may never recover — inflicting almost unbelievable and wanton ecological damage to shoals, reefs, atolls and the rest that they should never have visited without the express permission of the rightful owners under the law.

The notion that China does not in fact “own” the South China Sea, that the “indisputable sovereignty” is not only disputable but wrong — will take a while to diminish.

But we must get on with the task of discussing honestly with China the ways of the world.

China won’t like it. But it has to be done now.

We had better get on with it or face the fact that we’ll be seeing little red flags on every chunk of sand between Hanoi and Manila, Manila to Singapore and Singapore to who knows where the terminus of the new maritime silk road will end?  Riyadh maybe. Or Paris. We once though London — but since Xi Jinping’s coach ride with the Queen and the Brexit vote, maybe my friends in London can stop paying for Chinese language classes.

Photo: October 20, 2015.

This cautionary note is especially important for our friends Rodrigo Duterte and Perfecto Yasay as they charge off toward Beijing in hopes of maybe getting a high-speed railroad or something in exchange for the sovereignty, food and natural resources God gave to the Philippines.

Our advice is this: don’t give China another Filipino fish. Not one. The Chinese should be paying damages to the Philippines for destroying much of the South China Sea marine environment — and they know it.

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

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 (China always tells others what topics can and cannot be discussed)

Giant clam at Hundred Islands National Park — a national park in the Philippines. These giant clams are now endangered. Photo by Ed Gomez

Reef debris after destruction by a Chinese super dredge in the South China Sea

David and Goliath ? A China Coast Guard ship (top) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a stand off as the Philippine boat attempts to reach the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea reef claimed by both countries, on March 29, 2014. The Philippines was resupplying Filipino marines on BRP Sierra Madre. (AFP Photo/Jay Directo)

In this photo released by the Office of the City Mayor of Davao City, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao City in the southern Philippines, Monday, May 16, 2016. Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP, file
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Mr. Duterte should be saying, “Show me the money.” China owes the Philippinines hundreds of billions of dollars. They should be made to pay in gold since they manipulate their currency.

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South China Sea: China’s citizens are angry with international maritime court ruling because they’ve always been taught the South China Sea is theirs — International court exposes China’s dishonest schoolbooks, state media lies and propaganda

July 14, 2016

If you keep retelling a lie, often people will grow to believe it…..


Chinese citizens have reacted swiftly and angrily to a ruling this week that China’s claim to most of the South China Sea are illegal.

By Zheping Huang and Echo Huang Yinyin
Quartz

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Patriotic netizens have called for war against the Philippines, a boycott of the country’s products, and created a somewhat racist cartoon to mock Filipinos. They’re jumping the Great Firewall to spit vitriolic, expletive-laden insults on Twitter, and over 20,000 Chinese citizens have signed an open letter to protest against the court ruling.

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Many can’t believe the Philippines brought a complaint to an international tribunal to begin with.

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“Why were there any disputes?,” Lin Hongguang, a 23-year-old university student now based in Australia, wondered to Quartz. “You don’t have to be taught that the South China Sea belongs to China—just like no one would ask whether northeastern region belongs to China.”

This disbelief and anger is rooted in the fact that Chinese citizens never learn in school that the sea is claimed, under international law, by other countries, or that China’s claims have been disputed for decades.

.Nationalistic education is common in many countries, but China has probably carried it to extremes—and censorship means there’s little conflicting information available for students.

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China’s state-run education system makes a point of drilling into students’ heads the four extremities of China’s territory. Where is the southernmost point? It’s a shoal sitting 1,100 miles from the Chinese mainland and 50 miles from the Malaysian coast, according to official textbooks.

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Here’s a map from a geography textbook from a high school in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province that’s representative of most textbooks:


China’s territory.(Quartz)

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Every Chinese student learns the name “James Shoal,” or Zengmu Ansha, a small bank in the South China Sea, lying 72 feet below water. China officially claims the shoal as the southernmost feature of its territory, although Malaysia also claims it, under the UN Convention on the Continental Shelf.

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The pink box on the bottom of the map above reads “The southernmost point of our country’s territory is Zengmu Ansha in the Nansha [Spratly] Islands.”

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Geography textbooks in China have been that way since the 1940s, Zheng Wang, Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the US’s Seton Hall University, explains in The Diplomat. Generations of Chinese have done the same exercise in middle school: “The students use a ruler to measure the distance from the northernmost point of China (Mohe, near the Amur River, at the latitude of 53° 29′ north) to Zengmu Ansha (at the latitude of 4° 15′ north) and then feel very proud of their country’s vast territory.”

“Where is the southernmost point of China’s territory?” is a regular test question.

Not only do students learn about James Shoal, they’re tested on it often.

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“Where is the southernmost point of China’s territory?” is an often-asked question in high school examinations, explains Guan Siqi, 23, who works for an environmental NGO in Beijing. “At first you would wonder what the heck James Shoal was,” Guan said. She said the nearness of other islands and countries to the nine-dash line made her wonder as a kid if China was being a bit of a bully, but it wasn’t until she read news about the territory the she learned it was actually disputed.

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Shi Junyu, 22, a university student from Guangzhou, remembers being punished by his geography teacher when he failed to come up with the James Shoal’s name, by being forced to stand against the wall. “I hate geography class,” he added.

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Other official textbooks have also played a part in asserting China’s South China Sea claims. “The Rich Xisha [Paracel] Islands,” an article in People’s Education Press’s Chinese textbook for 9-year-olds said that the islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam, are “our country’s coast defense outpost” with “beautiful scenery” and “rich natural resources.”

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On the islands, “sea turtles are turned upside-down by fishermen, with their four legs in the air—there’s no way to escape,” the article said, describing how they’re caught. “The rich Xisha Islands are the place where we have lived generation to generation,” it concludes. “With the development of our motherland’s construction, the lovely Xisha Islands will definitely become more beautiful and richer.”

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Roy Zhou, 25, from Guangzhou, remembers he was “fascinated by the beautiful pictures,” in the article, as he learned that the South China Sea was unquestionably part of China’s territory.

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After this week’s court ruling, young Chinese say their belief that China’s territory extends to James Shoal is firmer than ever. No matter how the South China Sea issue plays out, Lin, the student in Australia, said, “I will stand by China.”

Source: http://qz.com/730669/chinas-citizens-are-livid-at-the-south-china-sea-ruling-because-theyve-always-been-taught-it-is-theirs/

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South China Sea: China’s Foreign Ministry says Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has no jurisdiction to rule

June 30, 2016

China’s Foreign Ministry statement repeats Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has no jurisdiction to rule in the matter and Beijing will rejects its findings

By Liu Zhen
South China Morning Post

Thursday, June 30, 2016, 11:51am

China has repeated that it will not accept the ruling of an international tribunal over its claims in the South China Sea after the court announced that it will deliver its findings on July 12.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague had no jurisdiction in the matter and should not have heard the case.

“With regard to territorial issues and maritime delimitation disputes, China does not accept any means of third party dispute settlement or any solution imposed on China,” the statement said.

China has refused to take part in the case which was brought by the Philippines, a rival claimant to territory in the South China Sea.

The Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily also published a commentary on the issue.

“China does not accept any activity based on illegal arbitration and is well prepared to defend our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea with firm and powerful actions at any time,” it said.

The arbitration court said in a statement late on Wednesday night that would deliver its ruling in the case next month.

Manila went to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague three years ago seeking to clarify its economic entitlements under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and declare void China’s “nine-dash line” claim on the South China Sea.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about US$5 trillion worth of trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

The maritime territorial issue pits China against several Southeast Asian countries and has escalated tension in the region.

The court had “informed the parties” that “the tribunal will issue its award on Tuesday, 12 July 2016 at approximately 11am [Central European Time]”, the institution based in The Hague said.

China argues at territorial issues are not subject to the UN convention on the law of the sea and that as early as 2006 it declared – in line with Unclos – to exclude disputes concerning maritime delimitation from mandatory dispute-settlement procedures.


A member of the Indonesian navy standing before the Chinese trawler Hua Li-8 in Belawan, North Sumatra, on April 23, 2016. Indonesia has accused China of illegal fishing in Indonesia’s EEZ.  PHOTO: AFP

The Philippines has asked the court to rule on three aspects relating to neighbouring countries’ competing claims in the sea.

First, it wants the court to rule whether the Philippines’ territorial claims in the region under the 1982 convention should be placed above China’s historic claims to the same area, known as the “nine-dash line”.

Second, it wants a ruling on whether the disputed islands are actually “islands, rocks, low-tide elevations, or submerged banks”. The ruling could shore up the Philippines’ claims to the region by making it their Exclusive Economic Zone.

Third, it wants the court to rule whether China has infringed on the Philippines’ sovereign rights through China’s construction and fishing activities.

China has said 47 countries support its refusal to recognise the case. Its diplomats have written editorials in regional newspapers denouncing what has been seen widely as a bold move by Manila, with scope for repercussions.

Incoming Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, said on Monday he would not discuss the case until a ruling was made.

Additional reporting by Reuters

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/1983247/china-defiant-after-international-tribunal-sets-date

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In this photo released by the Office of the City Mayor of Davao City, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao City in the southern Philippines, Monday, May 16, 2016. Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP, file
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South China Sea — The Struggle for Power in Asia Continues

June 20, 2016

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We at Peace and Freedom decided to go back and re-read Bill Hayton’s book, “The South China Sea — The Struggle for Power in Asia.”

Much of what Bill predicted when he wrote the book in 2014 has already come to pass.

For the past two years, Asia has been constantly troubled by China’s remarkable rise, and an almost total disregard for international norms and laws.

This crisis is coming upon a world already beset by an unprecedented humanitarian migration crisis, an Islamic-inspired jihad that shown no sign of let up, and wars across the Middle East from Afghanistan to Libya. Boko Haram and other groups are still active in many parts of Africa and in Venezuela the troubled nation in now in a growing hunger crisis.

Global leaders seem to face challenges of an unprecedented magnitude unknown since the end of of World War II. One wonders if the human race is headed toward World War III — or maybe we are already in the opening acts…

Below is part of a Review by Nayan Chanda of Bill Hayton’s book “The South China Sea — The Struggle for Power in Asia,” reprinted from GlobalAsia.org. If you don’t have time to re-read the book, Nayan Chanda review is a good reminder about what is going on…

Bill Hayton, who covered Vietnam and Southeast Asia for the BBC in 2006-2007 and wrote an engaging book, Vietnam: Rising Dragon, about that country, has now provided a comprehensive account of a complex conflict. Digging deep into the archives, he has produced a detailed yet accessible story of how the South China Sea has emerged from a mythical danger zone to a real arena of conflict between regional powers and a source of big-power strife.

Hayton has dispelled some popular misconceptions about the South China Sea. “The Sea,” Hayton notes, “is not particularly rich in oil and gas resources, the military bases on the disputed islands are not particularly ‘strategic’ since almost all could be destroyed with a single missile strike.” Nor is this body of water an ancient playground for Chinese sailors. His account places the South China Sea and the people who sailed and fished around it at the center of history, not the latecomers of state powers. His meticulous account shows islands, reefs and rocks that lie astride the water that attracted only fishermen of the coastal countries seeking marine delicacies and guanofor use as fertilizer on rice fields.

For a long period, until the early 19th century, the only other people who cared about those specks in the South China Sea were European sailors who sought ways to avoid these dangerous shoals and reefs and whose wrecked ships ended up giving names to these features. Non-coastal powers such as Japan and later Maoist China first got interested in one of those islands as possible sources for guano. Rising nationalism in late Qing China saw the involvement of the European colonial powers and Japan as a challenge. They considered themselves to be the rightful owners of the islands, even though initially the Chinese paid scant attention to them. Hayton emphasizes that it was the people of coastal territories, the Nusantao, sea gypsies of Southeast Asia who made their living from the waters surrounding the islands and coral reefs.

Notwithstanding China’s oft-repeated claim that these are China’s historical waters (Deng Xiaoping is said to have told Vietnamese leaders that the South China Sea “… belonged to China since ancient times”), there is no archaeological evidence that Chinese ships made trading voyages across the South China Sea until the 10th century. Although the Chinese did travel on other people’s boats, they were “content to let others take the risk of going to sea and then manage the trade at the point of arrival.” Well-known Ming dynasty expeditions led by the Muslim eunuch Admiral Zheng He, which brought a large Chinese armada to India and East Africa, proved to be a short-lived ocean adventure.

Not only did the Chinese show a lack of interest in the South China Sea, for a long time the Chinese believed in the myth about the existence of a long embankment in the middle of the sea “where the water descends into the underworld.”

Hayton also demonstrates how the modern controversy over the sovereignty of the waters is the result of the arrival of the Europeans and the introduction of the Westphalian concept of territorial boundaries and their extension into the sea. Asia’s notion of a kingdom’s border was until then fluid and hierarchic. The rise of Chinese nationalism and the desire to end “centuries of humiliation” by colonialists led China to claim ownership of the islands and reefs. The nationalist mapmakers produced maps of the South China Sea showing features that “belonged” to China, although their names were most often translations or plain transliteration of names given by European sailors. Macclesfield Bank in the middle of the South China Sea was named after a British ship; China called it Hong Mao Qian, “the bank of the barbarians with red hair.” Near the Borneo coast is James Shoal, an area of shallows 22 meters under the sea, but claimed to be southernmost point of Chinese territory as a result of a mistranslation; because of their unfamiliarity with the area, Chinese mapmakers in 1933 gave it the Chinese name Zengmu Tan, or “James Sandbank” (Zengmu is a transliteration of James). In 1947 the name was revised to Zengmu Ansha, or “James Reef,” but the fictional Chinese territorial claim has persisted.

In 1936, Bai Meichu, an ardent nationalist geographer who had earlier created the “Chinese National Humiliation Map” to educate his countrymen, produced his most memorable map, showing a U-shaped line marked by 11 dashes going around the perimeter of the South China Sea as far south as James Shoal. In 1953, the Communist Chinese government, perhaps as an act of solidarity towards a struggling comrade, removed two dashes that had cut through the Gulf of Tonkin next to Vietnam, leaving the line with only nine dashes. This nine-dash line showing the border of China’s claim has since been presented (in 2009) to the UN Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf as marking the extent of China’s historic waters.

Even if one disregards the lack of evidence for China’s claim of historic waters, there is another problem: Hayton points out that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which China signed in 1982, does not recognize the claim of historic waters, instead basing territorial rights on distance from islands and other features. Since 1990, China has repeatedly called upon claimant countries to accept Chinese sovereignty and engage in joint development of energy resources. The fact that such a joint venture is proposed in areas effectively under the control of other states, but not where China is in control, has not enticed any country to take up the Chinese offer. Aware that its extensive sovereignty claims cannot win in a court of law, China has taken recourse to the old practice of claiming rights based on historical antecedents and has deployed its economic, political and military resources to realize that claim.

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/south-china-sea-struggle-power-asia

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As Beijing flexes muscles in South China Sea, Malaysia eyes harder response — While New Philippine Leader Says He Will Not Listen to The U.S. — “We will be charting a course of our own.”

June 2, 2016

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MIRI, Malaysia – Spotting a large vessel off the coast of Sarawak state in March, officers on a Malaysian patrol boat were shocked when it steamed towards them at high speed, blaring its horn before veering off to reveal “Chinese Coast Guard” emblazoned on its side.

According to an officer from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Chinese Coast Guard vessels have been sighted several times before around the South Luconia Shoals, off the oil-rich town of Miri. But such an aggressive encounter was a first.

“To us, it looked like an attempt to charge at our boat, possibly to intimidate,” said the officer, who was not authorized to speak publicly but showed Reuters a video of the previously unreported incident.

Spurred by the incident and the appearance of some 100 Chinese fishing vessels in the area around the time, some in Malaysia are hardening the nation’s previously muted responses towards their powerful neighbor China.

One senior minister said Malaysia must now stand up against such maritime incursions as China flexes its muscles along dozens of disputed reefs and islands in the South China Sea.

China’s growing assertiveness has already alarmed the Philippines, Vietnam and other claimants. It has also increased US-China tensions, with the two heavyweights trading accusations of militarizing the vital waterways through which some $5 trillion in trade passes each year.

But heralding its “special relationship” with China, and heavily reliant on trade and investment, Malaysia’s previous responses to China’s activity in the region have been described by Western diplomats as “low-key”.

It downplayed two naval exercises conducted by China in 2013 and 2014 at James Shoal, less than 50 nautical miles off Sarawak. And in 2015, concerns raised by Malaysian fishermen in Miri about alleged bullying by armed men aboard Chinese Coast Guard vessels were largely ignored.

Fishing fracas

But when scores of Chinese fishing boats were spotted in March encroaching near South Luconia Shoals, a rich fishing ground south of the disputed Spratly Islands, Malaysia sent its navy and uncharacteristically summoned China’s ambassador to explain the incident.

China’s foreign ministry downplayed the matter, saying its trawlers were carrying out normal fishing activities in “relevant waters”.

Just a couple of weeks later, Malaysia announced plans to set up a naval forward operating base near Bintulu, south of Miri.

The defense minister insists the base, which will house helicopters, drones and a special task force, is to protect the country’s rich oil and gas assets from potential attacks by Islamic State (IS) sympathizers based in the southern Philippines, hundreds of kilometers to the northeast.

Some officials and experts however say China’s activities off the coast are a more important factor.

“If you beef up security for oil and gas assets, you are protecting yourself from non-state and state actors so there is some plausibility to what he’s saying,” said Ian Storey, a South China Sea expert at Singapore’s ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute.

“But is it really being driven by Daesh? I don’t think so,” Storey added, using an alternative name for IS.

Underscoring the hardening attitude, one senior federal minister told Reuters that Malaysia must take more decisive action on maritime incursions or risk being taken for granted.

The minister, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, highlighted the contrast between Malaysia’s response in March to a similar incident just days earlier in neighbouring Indonesia.

“When the Chinese entered Indonesia’s waters, they were immediately chased out. When the Chinese vessels entered our waters, nothing was done,” the minister said.

Last month in parliament, Malaysia’s deputy foreign minister also reiterated that like other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Malaysia did not recognize China’s controversial Nine Dash Line, which it uses to claim over 90 percent of the South China Sea.

Limited options

Asked about the incident described by the MMEA officer, China’s foreign ministry said both countries had a “high degree of consensus” on dealing with maritime disputes through dialogue and consultation.

“We are willing to remain in close touch with Malaysia about this,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Malaysia’s reliance on China goes some way to explaining Kuala Lumpur’s reluctance to react more strongly.

China is Malaysia’s top export destination and Malaysia is the biggest importer of Chinese goods and services in the 10-member ASEAN group.

Corporations owned by the Chinese government also paid billions of dollars last year to buy assets from debt-riddled state investment firm 1MDB, which has been a major embarrassment for Prime Minister Najib Razak.

China’s influence in Malaysia’s domestic affairs has always been a concern for the Malay-majority nation. Ethnic Chinese in Malaysia account for about a quarter of the population.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries were tested in September when the Chinese ambassador visited China town in the capital Kuala Lumpur ahead of a pro-Malay rally, and warned that Beijing has no fear in talking against actions that affect the rights of its people.

The ambassador was summoned to explain his comments but the Chinese foreign ministry defended the envoy.

Seeking to balance its economic and national security interests, Malaysia is pursuing various strategies including bolstering its surveillance and defence capabilities while promoting a code of conduct between China and ASEAN countries signed in 2002.

A more sensitive option is to seek closer military ties with the United States.

One senior official told Reuters that Malaysia has reached out to the United States for help on intelligence gathering and to develop its coast guard capabilities, albeit quietly to avoid angering Beijing.

Storey said moves to secure closer US military ties could be twinned with soft diplomacy to try to convince China to be less assertive on its claims, but resolving the issue would be difficult regardless.

“None of these strategies work very well, but what can you do?,” Storey said. “This dispute is going to be around for a very long time.” Reuters

– See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/568335/news/world/as-beijing-flexes-muscles-in-south-china-sea-malaysia-eyes-harder-response#sthash.vRwrCnWd.dpuf

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Philippines’ president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks as cabinet members look on during a press conference in Davao. PHOTO by AFP

Philippines president-elect says won’t rely on United States on South China Sea dispute with China

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Philippines President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday (May 31) his country would not rely on long-term security ally the United States, Reuters reported, signalling greater independence from Washington in dealing with China and the disputed South China Sea.

The Philippines has traditionally been one of Washington’s staunchest supporters in its standoff with Beijing over the South China Sea, a vital trade route where China has built artificial islands, airstrips and other military facilities.

Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of Davao City who swept to victory in a May 9 election, has backed multilateral talks to settle rows over the South China Sea that would include the United States, Japan and Australia as well as claimant nations.

He has also called on China, which claims most of the sea, to respect the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone granted to coastal states under international law.

Asked by reporters if he would push for bilateral talks with China, Duterte replied: “We have this pact with the West, but I want everybody to know that we will be charting a course of our own.”

He added: “It will not be dependent on America. And it will be a line that is not intended to please anybody but the Filipino interest.”

In another hint that frosty relations between the Asian neighbours could soon warm, Duterte also described China’s Xi Jinping as “a great president”, AFP reported.

Chinese-Philippine ties soured during the six-year term of outgoing President Benigno Aquino, whose government sued China before a United Nations tribunal over its claims to most of the South China Sea.

Asked about Duterte’s comments on the South China Sea at a State Department briefing, Daniel Russel, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, said the United States had “no problem whatsoever” with bilateral talks among the claimants.

Russel noted that some disputes in the South China Sea were by their nature multilateral and could not be resolved on a bilateral basis, but added “those that can, we’re all for it.”

Duterte’s comments came he was unveiling his cabinet line-up a day after a joint session of Congress declared him the election winner. He formally takes over as president on June 30.

Key ministerial appointments went mainly to conventional choices, a decision likely to allay nerves among foreign and domestic investors about a lurch away from reforms that have generated robust economic growth.

They also may point to a bid to resolve differences over the South China Sea.

The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims to waters rich in oil and gas and through which trillions of dollars’ worth of trade pass each year.

Duterte’s pick for foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay, has sounded a conciliatory note.

“I don’t think that there is another way of resolving this dispute except talking to each other,” Yasay told reporters this week. “We certainly would like to make sure that we are able to resume bilateral talks because these are necessary.”

NOT SO CLEAR CUT

Muddying the picture somewhat was the choice of Nicanor Faeldon, a former marine who led a coup bid about a decade ago, as head of the customs bureau, the country’s second-largest agency in terms of revenue.

In December, Faeldon took a group of Filipino protesters to a disputed island in the South China Sea that is held by the Philippines, triggering an angry response from Beijing.

Before Duterte’s election, the Philippines also took the dispute to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, although China does not recognise the case. A ruling is expected in the coming weeks.

“I am waiting for the arbitration,” Duterte said of the process, when asked about investment prospects with China. “It will impact on us in so many fronts … I would like to wait for this, then, with the advice of the cabinet, I might be able to proceed. But you know, I am not ready to go to war. It will just result in a massacre.”

Duterte, 71, named a former school classmate, Carlos Dominguez, as finance minister, and an economics professor, Ernesto Pernia, as economic planning minister.

“I can assure you they are all men of integrity and honesty,” Duterte said in Davao, where he was mayor for more than two decades before being elected president.

Dominguez, who was mining and farm minister in two previous governments, hails from a wealthy family that has interests in real estate and hotels, while the US-educated Pernia is a former lead economist for the Asian Development Bank.

“We are very excited about this cabinet,” said Perry Pe, president of the Management Association of the Philippines.”They will hit the ground running from the first day.” Duterte’s defiance of political tradition has drawn comparisons with US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

His “man-of-the-people” demeanour tapped into voters’disappointment at the ruling elite’s failure to tackle poverty and inequality despite average economic growth of more than 6 per cent under President Benigno Aquino.

Duterte condones execution-style killings of criminals, shudders at the thought of wearing a tie or socks, and has vowed not to work until after noon when he becomes president.

Some cabinet positions have yet to be announced, and two of the 21 jobs confirmed so far are women. When a female journalist asked a question at the briefing, Duterte wolf-whistled.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/philippines-president-elect-says-wont-rely-on-united-states-on-south-china-sea-dispute