Posts Tagged ‘Malayssia’

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

March 3, 2017

By  – Reporter / @jiandradeINQ

/ 05:49 PM March 03, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (Includes commentary by former President of Columbia Gaviria)

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

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

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


South China Sea: Philippine President Not Interested in Evidence of Chinese Missiles

February 27, 2017


Sino missile sites don’t alarm Duterte!

 South China Sea: Philippine President Not Interested in Evidence of Chinese Missiles

WHY the deafening silence of President Rodrigo Duterte over disclosures of updated satellite images showing Chinese missile sites in advanced stages of completion on several areas that it has militarized in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone?

The Commander-in-Chief should say something, anything, about new photographs of military-type structures built on such sites as Fiery Cross (Kagitingan), Mischief (Panganiban) and Subi (Zamora) Reefs in the Spratly Group. There are other militarized Chinese outposts in Philippine waters.

The Spratly islands, some of them occupied or claimed by the Philippines, are just 100 kilometers off Palawan. That China has built structures on them to hide or support missile sites should at least prod the President to ask his Chinese friends what they are up to.

Etched in the public mind is the campaign caricature drawn by Duterte himself of his braving the waves on a jetski, flag in hand, on his way to planting the Philippine banner in the disputed islands.

That resolve of his seems to have been dissolved by cunning Chinese leaders who regaled the visitor from Davao with promises of millions of dollars in investments, infrastructure, easy loans, et cetera, to help him keep his campaign promises of a better life for Filipinos.

Duterte actually has an ace, but chose not to play it. He set aside the favorable ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on a complaint filed by Manila questioning the expansive claim of Beijing over much of the South China Sea and Philippine maritime areas.

While the Chinese keep Duterte hoping and waiting for the delivery of the promised aid, they accelerate their building of artificial islands on reefs and protrusions in Philippine waters – and proceed to put up surface-to-air missile sites on them.

We do not expect Duterte to rant and rage on this issue – he may not be able to muster the courage for that kind of performance despite his tough front. But, as we said, he should at least grunt or mutter something.

Duterte held back by his China liaison?

THE CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative based in Washington, DC, released satellite images days ago showing eight buildings being constructed by China on several isles in the Spratlys.

Alarm was expressed in Manila and elsewhere, but not in Malacañang. US Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), for one, condemned China’s buildup in disputed areas. Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said it is high time the arbitral ruling at The Hague was invoked.

Del Rosario said the Philippines’ hosting and chairing the coming 50th anniversary summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an opportune time to bring up the PCA ruling to fast-forward an ASEAN consensus on resolving territorial disputes.

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. may be able to say something to assert Philippine interests in the dispute with China as soon as he and the Commission on Appointments are able to decide if he is a Filipino, an American, or whatever.

The AMTI, meanwhile, said the deployment of weapon systems to China’s three largest outposts in the Spratlys boosts its defense capabilities within the so-called “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea.

The think tank said that China appears to have begun building the structures between late September and early November last year. It said they could be used for HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles that Beijing had deployed to Woody Island in the Paracels.

The images presented showed buildings measuring about 66 feet long and 33 feet wide – said to be capable of hiding “transporter-erector-launcher vehicles carrying missiles” ready to fire from inside without being exposed prematurely.

Abandon Filipino town of Kalayaan?

THE SEVEN islands and three reefs in the Spratlys that the Philippines occupies or controls are collectively called the Kalayaan Group. They lie just 100 kilometers away from Palawan, well within the 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the country.

In May 1956, Filipino adventurer Tomas Cloma, then operator of a fishing firm and director of the Philippine Maritime Institute, discovered the islands together with his brothers and a crew. He founded on the biggest island a new town he called Kalayaan, which until now is a thriving community where the Philippine flag flies.

The Philippine government incorporated Kalayaan into Palawan in April 1972 and sent troops to the Spratlys for the first time in 1968. On June 11, 1978, then President Ferdinand Marcos formally annexed the Kalayaan Group by virtue of Presidential Decree No.1596.

Commenting on the roiling of regional waters, Del Rosario said the Philippines must resolutely adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea upon which was based the ruling that junked as illegal China’s “nine-dash line” arbitrary claim on the South China Sea.

On the coming ASEAN summit in Manila, Del Rosario said: “Our proposed agenda should have included an open discussion on the outcome of the arbitral tribunal, which effectively addresses a lawful approach to ASEAN’s most crucial security concern in the region.”

He warned that developing a Code of Conduct framework would be “an exercise in futility if the arbitral tribunal outcome is not factored in and not recognized as being a most important component of the framework.”

“The Philippines should assert effective leadership as ASEAN chair,” Del Rosario said. “We have an opportunity which we should not forgo. By seizing it, we can be confident that we will not be short-changing the many generations to come, who should be benefiting from our proactive leadership.”

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 (Includes commentary by former President of Columbia Gaviria)

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

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

No automatic alt text available.

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