Posts Tagged ‘nine-dash line’

Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines Struggle To Understand China’s Views on Law, Sovereignty

September 29, 2018

Latest China Map Shows Vietnamese Province of Quang Ninh as Chinese Territory

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:

VIETNAM UPSET AT CHINESE GLOBE

Vietnam’s government stated its concerns to Ukraine over plastic globes being sold in the country that showed the Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh as Chinese territory.

The state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted the Ukrainian company that sold the globes as saying they were purchased from Chinese traders in Kharkov, Ukraine’s second-largest city. It said Vietnam’s embassy in Ukraine had sent letters to the Ukrainian foreign ministry and the company involved and that sales had been discontinued.

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The issue was reported in a briefing paper produced by a consultancy run by Carlyle Thayer, an expert on Southeast Asia and emeritus professor at Australia’s University of New South Wales.

Quang Ninh borders China and is home to the famed Ha Long Bay scenic area.

China’s military seized islands claimed by Vietnam in the Paracels group in a bloody 1974 battle and the two continue to feud over the chain and other South China Sea territories.

In May, Vietnamese anger was sparked by a group of Chinese tourists who arrived in the country wearing T-shirts featuring the so-called “nine-dash line” demarcating Beijing South China Sea claims, many of which overlap with Vietnam’s own.

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A Taiwan Coast Guard ship, left, and cargo ship take part in a search-and-rescue exercise off of Taiping island in the South China Sea as part of Taiwan’s efforts to cement its claim to a key island in the strategically vital waterway in 2016. Taiwan’s coast guard said annual live-fire exercises conducted at Taiping island in the Spratly island group were routine and didn’t endanger shipping. Neighboring countries were informed in advance of the exercises carried out on last week, the coast guard said. (Johnson Lai/AP)

Taiwan’s coast guard said annual live-fire exercises conducted at Taiping island in the Spratly island group were routine and didn’t endanger shipping.

Neighboring countries were informed in advance of the exercises carried out on last week, the coast guard said.

Taiping island, also known internationally as Itu Aba, is Taiwan’s sole possession in the highly contested Spratly chain. It is the largest naturally occurring islet in the group but has been dwarfed by China’s construction in the area of seven man-made islands atop coral reefs equipped with airstrips and other military infrastructure.

China, the Philippines and Vietnam also claim Taiping, and Vietnamese foreign ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Tra last week had said her country “resolutely opposed” the drill. Tra said the exercises violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and posed a threat to navigation and aviation security in the region, Vietnam’s official news agency reported.

Taiwan’s formal claim to virtually the entire South China Sea mirrors that of China’s, but it has limited its activities to Taiping and the Pratas group to the north.

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Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense shows an aerial view of Taiwan’s Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, in the Spratly archipelago, roughly 1,000 miles south of Taiwan in 2016. Taiwan’s coast guard said annual live-fire exercises conducted at Taiping island in the Spratly island group were routine and didn’t endanger shipping. Neighboring countries were informed in advance of the exercises carried out on last week, the coast guard said. (Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense via AP)

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PHILIPPINES CONCERNED ABOUT DEPLOYMENTS

The Philippines says it is concerned about possible Chinese nuclear deployments in the South China Sea following the issuing of a Pentagon report warning Beijing could use nuclear energy to provide power to man-made islands.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said last week that Manila was “concerned about the entry of any and all nuclear weapons into the Philippine territory because our constitution provides that we are a nuclear-free zone.”

Roque also cited an Association of Southeast Asian Nations treaty designating the entire region a nuclear-free zone.

“We are concerned about the possibility that any foreign power, be it American, Russian, Chinese may bring nuclear warheads into our territory and into ASEAN,” Roque said.

In its 2018 annual report to Congress on military and security developments involving China, the Pentagon said China’s plans to use floating nuclear power plants to power its islands “may add a nuclear element to the territorial dispute.

“In 2017, China indicated development plans may be underway to power islands and reefs in the typhoon-prone South China Sea with floating nuclear power stations; development reportedly is to begin prior to 2020.”

The report said nothing about the possibility of China deploying nuclear weapons in the South China Sea.

MALAYSIA CANCELS CHINESE PROJECTS

Malaysia has suspended a multibillion-dollar raft of construction projects financed by Chinese loans, possibly stymieing Beijing’s drive to strengthen its hold over Southeast Asia’s economy.

China has sought to downplay the move announced by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on the final day of a visit to Beijing on Aug. 20, but it is still seen as a blow to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature “Belt and Road” initiative.

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Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

Mahathir said he was seeking support from China’s leaders over Malaysia’s situation as it deals with a mass of debt and other economic problems created under previous administrations.

Mahathir is a vocal critic of large-scale investment in his country backed by loans from Beijing and has tested Malaysia’s ties with China by suspending Chinese-financed infrastructure projects. The suspended projects comprise a Chinese-backed $20 billion East Coast Rail Link and two energy pipelines worth $2.3 billion.

Malaysia has claims to territory in the South China Sea that overlap with those of China, but under Mahathir’s predecessors, took a low-key approach to asserting those in deference to strongly positive ties with Beijing.

Mahathir is seen as possibly taking a firmer approach.

Associated Press writer Tran Van Minh contributed to this report from Hanoi, Vietnam

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2018/08/27/neighbors-square-off-with-beijing-in-south-china-sea/

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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. The U.S. views China’s base building in the South China Sea as unlawful and similar to Russia’s incursions into Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine.

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Pentagon predicts military buildup to counter China in South China Sea

August 9, 2018

U.S. allies may expand their naval presence in the South China Sea in order to counteract China’s assertion of sovereignty over one of the most vital shipping lanes in the world, a senior Pentagon official predicted Tuesday.

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China has laid claim to South China Sea waterways as far as 1,000 miles away from the Chinese coast, far more than the 200 miles reserved for a given country under international law. That has set the stage for diplomatic contests and perhaps military confrontation between China and five other claimants in the region, including the U.S.-allied Philippines.

“I think what you’ll see is certainly a continuation of freedom of navigation [operations],” Randall Schriver, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said at the American Enterprise Institute. “I think you’ll see perhaps more countries joining in presence activities … Presence in the South China Sea is very important because China claims the whole thing up to the Nine-Dash Line.”

The Communist regime uses a “Nine-Dash Line” to argue that, historically, China has enjoyed sovereignty over the vast majority of the South China Sea. But under international law, a country’s territorial sovereignty extends just 12 nautical miles from the coastline, although each country has exclusive economic rights to resources within 200 miles of the coast.

“And so if you’re the Vietnamese and that Chinese claim is accepted, you’re essentially a landlocked state,” Gregory Poling, a regional expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, explained during a Nixon Foundation event in February. “You have no fishing rights, at least no exclusive fishing rights, you have no rights to undersea oil and gas, you have no rights whatsoever except those that China gives you. The Philippines it’s almost as bad. You have one coastline, not two.”

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

That’s a problem for the United States, in two ways. First, if China ever sinks a Philippine ship, an American president will have to decide how to defend a key ally. “And if we don’t, then every ally that the U.S. has globally is gonna start wondering what the price is on their head because the Philippines aren’t worth standing up for,” Poling said.

And if China wins the crisis, then other countries will take note. “And pretty soon after that the Russians will start claiming vast swaths of the Arctic, and the Iranians will demand special rights to restrict the Persian Gulf, and it’ll be a race to grab the ocean,” he predicted. “Then what we’ll basically have is a system in which big navies in big countries get to make their own rules.”

China has deployed military facilities to artificial islands constructed in the sea, while arguing that the United States has no right to challenge the issue because it lacks territorial sovereignty in the area. “The United States has no right to make irresponsible remarks about this,” China’s Defense Ministry said in March.

U.S. officials are looking at an array of options to punish the activity and similar moves elsewhere, Schriver said.

“I think you’ll potentially see more cost-imposition, even if it’s not directly on point,” he said at AEI. “We don’t have to do something in the South China Sea, per se, to express our concern about what China is doing in the South China Sea themselves. “

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/pentagon-predicts-military-buildup-to-counter-china-in-south-china-sea

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  (This is what China cares about what people think….)

(Why give away what you own?)

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Above: China’s seven military bases near the Philippines in the South China Sea

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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.

South China Sea: Albert del Rosario, Justice Antonio Carpio do not ‘fully comprehend the nature of arbitration,’ Philippine Government says

July 12, 2018

Does Philippine sovereignty matter? Is it meaningless?

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and other individuals do not ‘fully comprehend the nature of arbitration’

FRIENDSHIP FORWARD. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photo following a bilateral meeting at the Boao State Guesthouse on April 10, 2018. Malacañang file photo

FRIENDSHIP FORWARD. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photo following a bilateral meeting at the Boao State Guesthouse on April 10, 2018. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines under the Duterte administration continues to defend its rights over the West Philippine Sea even as he said there is no need to enforce the landmark ruling won by the country against China.

“I’m not sure what they mean by enforcing an arbitral decision because an arbitral decision is binding on parties thereto,” said Roque on Thursday, July 12, the 2nd anniversary of the historic Hague ruling.

DIPLOMATIC PROTEST. Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario urge the Duterte administration to file a diplomatic protest against China's bombers in the South China Sea. File photos by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario

Asked by Rappler if he means there is no need for enforcement, Roque said in a message: “Who will enforce? It’s self-executory as it’s binding on parties thereto.”

“We continue to assert our sovereignty and sovereign rights, but we have decided to move on on issues that are non-controversial,” he said in a press conference.

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He questioned the call of former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario for the Duterte administration to enforce the ruling.

“I don’t know what makes him an authority to give that view…. It clearly underscores the fact that some individuals, including the former secretary of foreign affairs, [do] not fully comprehend the nature of arbitration,” said Roque. (READ: How to enforce Hague ruling? PH lead counsel explains)

It was under Del Rosario’s watch as Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) chief when the Philippines took China to court.

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Roque, asked why he thinks Del Rosario does not understand the nature of arbitration, said: “Because he’s calling for enforcement when clearly arbitration is binding…. Whether or not China will acknowledge it, China is bound by it because that is the nature of arbitration.”

However, China’s refusal to acknowledge the ruling, coupled with the Philippines’ decision to shelve it for later, has made the ruling ineffective in changing the situation on the ground.

Despite the ruling, China continues its military buildup in the West Philippine Sea and harassment of Filipino fishermen in areas declared by the decision as common fishing grounds. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/207132-malacanang-no-need-enforce-hague-ruling

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Philippines should support freedom of navigation in South China Sea to protect own rights

July 12, 2018
In March, the French Navy announced that Floréal-class surveillance frigate Vendémiaire conducted a patrol in the South China Sea to assert French presence in the region.

French Navy, File
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) – July 12, 2018 – 6:12pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines should encourage freedom of navigation and overflight operations in the South China Sea as these could strengthen the enforcement of the historic arbitral ruling, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said on Thursday.

Carpio explained that the operations enforced the core legal effect of the 2016 ruling of the United Nations-backed tribunal.

“In effect, these operations enforce the core legal ramifications arising from the Award- that there are high seas in the South China Sea, and aroud these high seas are the exclusive economic zones belonging to the adjacent coastal states, including the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio said in a forum organized by the Stratbase ADR Institute in Makati City.

READ: US to continue operations in South China Sea despite China’s dissent — Pentagon chief

The acting chief justice said that China would not be able to transform the South China Sea into its mare nostrum with these operations.

Carpio said that immediately after the release of the ruling naval powers such as the US, the UK, Australia, France, Canada, India and Japan conducted their naval and aerial operations in the region.

The tribunal in the Hague invalidated in 2016 China’s expansive claim to the South China Sea, which was based on its so-called nine-dash line.

The ruling was released several weeks into Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency, and after initial uncertainty he eventually chose to back burn it to court Chinese money and investments into the country.

He has since tried to forge warmer ties with China, a stark contrast to the frosty relations between Manila and Beijing under former President Benigno Aquino III, whose government filed the case.

“Thus, effectively the president has placed in deep freeze any enforcement of the (arbitral) award by the Philippines,” Carpio said.

According to Carpio, it is the responsibility of Duterte as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to ensure that the military was conducting regular naval and aerial patrols in the country’s exclusive economic zones.

He said that the 1987 Constitution mandated the military to be the protector of the State and was mandated to secure its sovereignty and the integrity of its territory.

He also urged the Philippines to campaign among Southeast Asian nations and the US to make the building on the Scarborough Shoal their red line in the dispute.

He said that the US should treat this as a trigger for it to invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which requires the countries to come to the aid of each other if it is attacked.

“I have always said that defending Philippine maritime zones in the West Philippine Sea is an intergenerational struggle,” Carpio said.

READ: France, UK sail warships in South China Sea

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/12/1832907/philippines-should-support-freedom-navigation-south-china-sea-protect-own-rights

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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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Philippines now ‘willing victim’ in South China Sea — “Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China”

July 12, 2018

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Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – July 12, 2018 – 10:55am

MANILA, Philippines — Two years after a United Nations-backed tribunal handed down its ruling on the arbitration case on the South China Sea, the positions of both the Philippines and China remain “less than acceptable.”

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Thursday lamented that the Philippines had set aside the landmark ruling.

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Activists protest Chinese reclamation work in the South China Sea, part of which Manila claims and calls the West Philippine Sea. Credit KJ Rosales, file

“The Philippines had two years to take advantage of its position to develop and obtain the support of many countries whose principles are aligned with our own and with whom our own voice could be magnified. Sadly, however, this was not made to happen,” Del Rosario said in a forum organized by independent think tank Stratbase ADR Institute.

Del Rosario, who led the Philippines in its arbitration case against China, stressed that the ruling was also beneficial to other countries relying on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The  arbitration ruling was also beneficial to all states determined to maintain peaceful relations by committing to international law.

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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.

“In this light, we must as well consider our own country’s character since we have once been a reliable advocate for international law,” Del Rosario said.

READ: DFA urged to bare 100 protests filed vs China

The Philippines has become “a willing victim” and “an abettor” for its current policy in the disputed waters, he added.

“What may we call one that acquiesces to the abuses against it? Answer: a willing victim,” Del Rosario said.

“What may we call one that defends an aggressor at every opportunity? Answer: an abettor,” he added.

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Del Rosario

‘China, a grand larcenist’

China, meanwhile, is a “grand larcenist” and “international outlaw” for unlawfully taking the property of others and refusing the rule of law.

Moving forward, Del Rosario noted that the Philippines still has opportunities to promote rule of law, whether through multilateralism with the UN or ASEAN or through bilateral engagements.

“To close, we reiterate our position that coercive diplomacy has no place in a rules-based international order,” Del Rosario said.

He reiterated that Filipinos should urge the government to raise the country’s indignation against China.

“Finally, we need a of our friends in the community of nations who believe in the rule of law to help us. But before we can hope for help, we must first demonstrate that we are worth helping,” he said.

The July 12, 2016 ruling effectively invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

The Chinese government, however, refused to acknowledge the arbitration and has since installed anti-ship cruise missiles, surface-to-air missile systems and electronic jammers on its outposts in the contested waterway.

As It Happens
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LATEST UPDATE: July 12, 2018 – 3:25pm

Social media users, including former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, are reporting seeing banners saying “Welcome to the Philippines, Province of China” hanging from overpasses in parts of Metro Manila.

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The sightings coincide with the second anniversary of an arbitral tribunal ruling that China’s sweeping nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea has no legal basis. The Philippines has opted to play down the ruling and focus on nurturing better political and economic relations with China.

It is unclear who put up the banners, which are a possible reference to a “joke” that President Rodrigo Duterte told Chinese-Filipino business leaders in February.

“He (Xi) is a man of honor. They can even make us ‘Philippines, province of China,” we will even avail of services for free,” Duterte said in apparent jest. “If China were a woman, I’d woo her.”

The Palace said the remark was meant to impress the audience, who were Filipino citizens of Chinese descent.

July 12, 2018 – 3:25pm

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in response to criticism from former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario of the Duterte administration’s handling of issues in the West Philippine Sea, says: “We do not agree with those who lost control of territory by their confrontational hubris.”

He says President Rodrigo Duterte has instead “forged friendship which has obtained benefits for our people, boosted investment and trade for our economy, reduced the threat of conflict, and opened the door to confidence-building talks between ASEAN and China.”

He says issues with China are handled through a dialogue between friends and not as an argument between adversaries.

“All this time, we are building up our capabilities to eventually assert our sovereign rights and interests. That is the policy that works for our nation,” he says.

July 12, 2018 – 12:18pm

The Quezon City government has ordered its Public Safety personnel to remove tarpaulins that refer to the Philippines as a province of China.

In a Palace briefing earlier Thursday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said “enemies of the government” are behind the banners.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/12/1832874/philippines-now-willing-victim-south-china-sea-dispute-del-rosario-laments#jvoii1mgWC03iLXP.99

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Some of China’s military bases in the South China Sea

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China has seven military bases near te Philippines

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Reuters

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Chinese bombers

Philippines President Duterte says will ‘go to war’ over South China Sea resources, but nobody believes it

May 29, 2018

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said China will cross a red line if it unilaterally mines the natural resources of the South China Sea, according to the country’s Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano.

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Updated 1:29 AM ET, Tue May 29, 2018

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“(Beijing) said some red lines, we said some red lines … The President has already said that. If anyone gets the natural resources in the Western Philippines Sea, South China Sea, he will go to war. He said, “Whatever happens, happens.” He will go to war,” Cayetano said.
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Tensions in the hotly disputed region have risen in recent weeks, amid reports of the Chinese military landing bombers on their artificial islands for the first time.
Under Duterte, who took office in 2016, the Philippines has toned down its rhetoric towards China on the dispute. In April, he publicly declared that he “loved” Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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It’s not clear whether the latest statement marks a tougher approach from Duterte, who’s been accused of being too lenient on the issue. Cayetano said China had been told of the “red lines.”
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Manila is pursuing a joint exploration agreement with Beijing for oil and natural gas reserves in their claimed territory in the South China Sea.
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Cayetano said during the speech his department was repeatedly told to “file a protest” over Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea. “We are taking all diplomatic actions at the right time,” he said.
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But he said it was unfair to single out China for its advanced militarization in the South China Sea. “If there is more than one country militarizing, and it’s not only the islands, if huge navies are sailing through the area, is that not militarization?” he said. “So we don’t even have a definition of militarization.”
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US Navy steps up

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Cayetano’s speech came as the United States Navy sailed two warships within 12 nautical miles of China’s artificial islands in the Paracels, as part of their regular freedom of navigation exercises in the contested waters.
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It was the first time more than one US vessel had been used in the exercises, according to experts, part of a recent escalation in US opposition to China’s action in the region.
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Beijing claims a huge swathe of territory across the South China Sea, known as the “nine-dash line,” from its southern Hainan province all the way down to the waters north of Malaysia.
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To reinforce its claims to the territory, the Chinese government has built a series of artificial islands in the Paracel and Spratly Island chains, complete with radar facilities and airstrips.
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The Philippines says it “owns” Mischief Reef, but there is not one known Filipinos living there. China has militarized the South China Sea — even though they have no legal claim. This is Mischief Reef, now an extensive Chinese military base — one of seven Chinese military bases near the Philippines. China says its activity bears “not the slightest resemblance to the so-called ‘militarization’ that the US side has been irresponsibly accusing us of.”
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The Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated the territory in the South China Sea falls under Beijing’s jurisdiction, to do with as it pleases.
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But Beijing’s position overlaps competing territorial claims from the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, among others. An international tribunal ruled in 2016, in a case brought by the Philippines, that most of Beijing’s stated claims in the South China Sea were illegal under international maritime law.
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To register its objection to Beijing’s growing militarization of its artificial islands, the United States military on May 23 disinvited China from biannual RIMPAC naval exercises.
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“China’s behavior is inconsistent with the principles and purposes of the RIMPAC exercise,” a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement at the time.

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https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/29/asia/duterte-cayetano-south-china-sea-intl/index.html

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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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As Rosneft’s Vietnam unit drills in disputed area of South China Sea, Beijing issues warning

May 17, 2018

Only the the Chinese government can carry out oil and gas exploration or exploitation activities in waters under Chinese jurisdiction (which is just about all the South China Sea) the Chinese say….

Rosneft Vietnam BV, a unit of Russian state oil firm Rosneft, is concerned that its recent drilling in an area of the South China Sea that is claimed by China could upset Beijing, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Wednesday.

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A view shows JDC Hakuryu-5 deep water drilling platform in the South China Sea off the coast of Vung Tau, Vietnam April 29, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

Rosneft said on Tuesday its Vietnamese unit had started drilling at the LD-3P well, part of the Lan Do “Red Orchid” offshore gas field in Block 06.1, 370 kms (230 miles) southeast of Vietnam. The block is “within the area outlined by China’s nine-dash line,” according to energy consultancy and research firm Wood Mackenzie.

When asked about the Reuters report of the drilling, China’s foreign ministry spokesman said that no country, organisation, company or individual can, without the permission of the Chinese government, carry out oil and gas exploration or exploitation activities in waters under Chinese jurisdiction.

“We urge relevant parties to earnestly respect China’s sovereign and jurisdictional rights and not do anything that could impact bilateral relations or this region’s peace and stability,” the spokesman, Lu Kang, told a regular news briefing on Thursday.

China’s U-shaped “nine-dash line” marks a vast expanse of the South China Sea that it claims, including large swathes of Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Maps of the area indicate the block is around 85 kms (53 miles) inside the contested area.

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russia’s oil company Rosneft is pictured at the Rosneft Vietnam office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

A series of dashes, the line is not continuous making China’s claims often ambiguous. In recent years, though, China has increasingly patrolled and enforced the area, claiming historic rights to the resources and features within it.

In March, Vietnam halted an oil drilling project in the nearby “Red Emperor” block following pressure from China, sources told Reuters.

That block is licensed to Spanish energy firm Repsol, which has asked Vietnam to pay compensation over the issue.

The Vietnamese foreign ministry did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

Rosneft had no consultations with the Kremlin on drilling in the South China Sea, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

“As far as we know, the company has already made a statement that it works exactly in line with the obtained licenses,” Peskov told a regular conference call with reporters.

Fearing repercussions and pressure from China, Rosneft Vietnam had wanted to begin drilling with as little attention as possible, despite the statement by its parent company on Tuesday, the sources said.

On Thursday, its parent company said its drilling in the block was within Vietnam’s territorial waters, and in accordance with Vietnamese legislation.

PETROVIETNAM WARNED OVER PRODUCTION

Both Rosneft and Russia’s Gazprom have significant development projects in Vietnamese waters that fall within the area claimed by China, said Ian Storey, a regional security expert at Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

“Although Russian diplomats have privately expressed concerns to their U.S. counterparts that China may one day put pressure on Moscow to terminate those projects, so far Beijing has refrained from doing so because of the ever-closer strategic partnership between the two countries,” said Storey.

“It would be a serious blow to the burgeoning Sino-Russian entente if Beijing asked Moscow to end its energy projects in Vietnam.”

China has become Russia’s top destination for exports, largely because Russia is the largest supplier of oil and gas to China, mainly through pipelines.

The drilling in the “Red Orchid” gas field within the block will be undertaken using the “Hakuryu-5” equipment made by Japanese company Japan Drilling Co., Ltd, Rosneft said in that statement.

The Hakuryu-5 arrived in the disputed area on May 6, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon ship tracking data and was still recorded as being inside the block late on Wednesday.

The drilling is significant for Vietnam, which has been struggling to maintain its crude oil and gas output amid already declining production from its key fields and the continuing pressure from China in the disputed waters.

Vietnam already gets about 30 percent of its gas needs from block 06.1 because of oil and gas operations established there as long as 15 years ago.

It lies just south of blocks 05.3 and 05.2, where in 2007 British Petroleum suspended work following a threat of “economic consequences” from China, according to a September, 2007 U.S. State Department cable leaked by WikiLeaks.

In April, Vietnam’s state oil firm PetroVietnam said that maritime tensions with China will hurt its offshore exploration and production activities this year.

Hanoi and Beijing have long been embroiled in disputes over the maritime boundary, which is a politically sensitive issue in Vietnam.

Police in the central province of Khanh Hoa have launched an investigation into a group of Chinese tourists who were pictured in a local airport wearing T-shirts printed with a map showing the “nine-dash line”, state media reported on Wednesday.

Airport authorities asked the tourists, who arrived at Cam Ranh Airport on Sunday, to take off their T-shirts after going through customs, the Van Hoa (Culture) newspaper reported.

To view a graphic on Drilling in contested waters, click: tmsnrt.rs/2wPREom

Additional reporting by Khanh Vu in HANOI, Greg Torode in HONG KONG, Christian Shepherd in BEIJING and Andrey Ostroukh in MOSCOW; Editing by Martin Howell

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

South China Sea: China’s missiles technically directed at everyone

May 8, 2018

China has installed surface to air missiles and anti-ship missiles on islands it occupies but doesn’t legally own in the South China Sea

This March 11, 2017 satellite image shows China’s hardened shelters with retractable roofs for mobile missile launchers on Mischief Reef, which is well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

AMTI/CSIS via DigitalGlobe, File

 

China’s missiles technically directed at everyone — Hilbay
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – May 8, 2018 – 12:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to the government’s assurances that Beijing’s weapons on the Spratly Islands are not directed to the Philippines, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay stressed that the missiles are technically directed at everyone.

Hilbay, in a television interview, said that it was false to say that the missile system of China was not directed at the Philippines, the closest country where the weapons are installed.

“It’s technically directed at everyone within the range of that missile system and we’re nearest to the range of that missile system and so it is, in fact, directed at us,” Hilbay told ANC’s Early Edition on Tuesday.

RELATED: ‘To verify’ or ‘can’t verify?’ Malacañang shifts rhetoric on Chinese missiles

The former solicitor general also warned that China has a “history of dishonesty” over its actions in the South China Sea.

China’s militarization activities in the area are well within the Philippines’ backyard as Mischief Reef, one of Beijing’s “big three” islands, is within Manila’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“When China started reclaiming or took over those areas and the started building an island, they said that this was for civilian purposes, non-military, this was for weather purposes, for the protection of the fishermen. Now you realize that they have militarized the area,” Hilbay said.

He added that China has no right to reclaim and militarize Mischief Reef as it is part of the country’s EEZ, as ruled upon by the United Nations-backed tribunal in the Philippines versus China arbitration.

Considering the matter as a geopolitical issue is also a wrong characterization of the problem as it places the Philippines in an area of weakness.

“Our area of strength is legal precisely because we have won the case and so even before we go to the geopolitical aspects of the problem we should always keep in mind that there is a legal advantage that we have here,” Hilbay said.

Hilbay pointed out that the Senate and the House of Representatives should continue its investigations into the matter.

The government ought to inform the public on what is going on given the extent of China’s militarization and its potential effect to the country and the Filipino people.

“The government is not doing anything. If at all it’s stepping back, stepped back over and over again and we now know for a fact that the policy of total friendliness is not work to our advantage,” Hilbay said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang had admitted that the government does not have the technology to verify China’s installation of missile systems in the Spratly Islands.

“Well I had a talk with the security — National Security Adviser (Germogenes Esperon) and he told me that there’s a technology that we need that we still don’t have to be able to verify it for ourselves,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Beijing, on the other hand, already confirmed this and insisted that the deployments were not directed at anyone.

“The relevant deployment targets no one. Anyone with no invasive intention will find no reason to worry about this,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

FLORIN HILBAY, MISCHIEF REEF, SOUTH CHINA SEA, SPRATLY ISLANDS, WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/05/08/1813314/chinas-missiles-technically-directed-everyone-hilbay#bzWJFPRvik1vCc1G.99

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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Philippines: Robredo urges diplomatic protest over Chinese missiles

May 6, 2018

 

Vice President Leni Robredo criticized the reports that China has installed missile systems in the West Philippine Sea. Office of the Vice President/Released, file

Robredo urges diplomatic protest over Chinese missiles

Rosette Adel (philstar.com) – May 6, 2018 – 6:24pm

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday called on the administration to protest against China’s installation of missiles on reclaimed reefs in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Robredo said she is alarmed by the reports that missiles were deployed in three reefs claimed by Manila: Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan), Mischief Reef (Panganiban) and Subi Reef (Zamora).

She said the increased militarization is in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of The Sea. She added that it contributes to regional instability, compromise our security, and further curtail our sovereignty.

“We urge the administration to take immediate and appropriate actions, including the filing of a diplomatic protest, to protect, what is rightfully owned by the Filipino people, in line with the ruling of the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal,” Robredo said.

“It is in the interest of all parties concerned to find a long term solution to the on-going impasse. It is critical for our government to work with our neighbors and friends who have a stake in the region to craft a just and peaceful agreement – taking into account international laws and respect for each nation’s sovereignty,” she added.

READ: Philippines to exhaust diplomatic options on SCS

Robredo said that the South China Sea — part of which Manila claims and calls the West Philippine Sea —  is a major passageway for international shipping.

She said the heightened tensions in the area “will be to the detriment of all the parties concerned.”

“This area should continue to serve as an open waterway for all countries, in accordance to international laws,” the vice president said.

On Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government also found the deployment of missiles on the manmade islands in WPS “worrisome.” He added that the government would resort to diplomacy or diplomatic protest if the Department of Foreign Affairs deemed it.

“If it is verified, of course, we view it with much concern because any form of militarization of the West Philippine Sea is worrisome, given that it is one of the busiest sea lanes of the world,” Roque  said at a press briefing in Davao City.

Roque added that there is no need at this time for the government to summon Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua to shed light on the issue.

He said the Philippines will “resort to diplomacy, resort to diplomatic protest if the (Department of Foreign Affairs) deems it fit.”

‘China has no right for reclamation’

Meanwhile, in a radio interview, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, one of the members of the legal team who argued the Philippines’ arbitration case before a United Nations-backed tribunal in The Hague, said China has no right to install missiles in the West Philippine Sea.

He added that China is lying because they said when they first started building shelters, they said it was for peaceful, non-military purposes.

“China has no right in that area, because Mischief Reef is ours. They have no right to reclaim that area,” Hilbay was quoted as saying in Filipino in an interview with dzBB.

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, Netherlands issued a landmark ruling invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim over the disputed waters.

China has ignored the ruling and the Philippines has opted to focus on trade and investments from China instead of pressing its arbitral victory.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/entertainment/2018/05/06/1812661/robredo-urges-diplomatic-protest-over-chinese-missiles#Xzup3gYExZy0Cw8E.99

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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Philippines ‘aggressively’ pursuing joint exploration in South China Sea — China is there and building but has no leagal rights in the South China Sea

February 16, 2018

 

China’s construction activities on Subi Reef is seen from Philippine-controled Pagasa Island in the South China Sea off Palawan province on April 21, 2017. AP, File photo

AP, File photo
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – February 16, 2018 – 3:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is consulting international experts in its bid to pursue joint exploration with China in disputed areas in the South China Sea, the Philippines’ top diplomat said Friday.

The possibility of joint exploration was among the agenda in the recently concluded second meeting of the bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea in Manila.

Pursuing joint exploration in disputed areas would entail talks with other claimant countries, DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a press conference.

 

“I can tell you that we’re pursuing it aggressively because we need it,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano revealed that the Philippine government is currently discussing joint exploration first to ensure that it is in accordance with the 1987 Constitution and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

RELATED: ‘Joint venture with China on South China Sea violates Charter’ l China seen to push states to withdraw South China Sea claims

The DFA secretary said that the Philippines cannot explore undisputed areas alone due to financial concerns.

“Unless we can do it by ourselves without starting a war or worse without a massacre, it will be prudent to do it in partnership without violating our sovereignty,” he said.

International legal experts who have handled contracts on legal framework of disputed areas and who have dealt with sovereign rights will be consulted regarding a possible joint exploration with China.

The Chinese government, on the other hand, will be forming their own technical working group while consulting with the DFA, the Department of National Defense and the security cluster.

“We will find a legal framework if it is possible under the Constitution that will allow joint exploration. Once there’s results, we will report it to the Filipino public,” Cayetano said.

“If they find deposits commercially viable to help development, then we will have to file a framework,” he added.

Cayetano noted that the Philippines and China are only discussing joint exploration first and not joint development.

“We’re discussing exploration muna cause what’s the use of a debate whether or not allowed sa Constitution ang joint development kung hindi natin alam ano ang nandyan na pwedeng i-harvest without damaging the environment,” he said.

Experts had warned that a joint development in the South China Sea between the Philippines and China does not guarantee better relations and that the failure of such may spark another conflict.

RELATED: ‘South China Sea claimants will suffer if harsh to China’

“The feasibility of joint development is directly correlated with the state of relations between the parties,” UP Law professor Jay Batongbacal said in a forum last year.

In July 2016, the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China’s historic nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

The Philippines, however, pushed aside the landmark ruling as President Rodrigo Duterte is pursuing “friendly” relations with China.

Read more at https://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/16/1788467/philippines-aggressively-pursuing-joint-exploration-south-china-sea#TcbLfWfzOqzEap6u.99

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Chinese military bases near the Philippines

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China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. 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.