Posts Tagged ‘Permanent Court of Arbitration’

China rebuffs Philippines president’s South China Sea rebuke — No reversing “deal with the devil”

August 16, 2018

China rebuffed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for Beijing to rethink its conduct in the South China Sea on Thursday, saying China had the right to react to foreign ships or aircraft that get close to its islands.

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FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte said China has no right to repel foreign aircraft and boats passing by its artificial islands in the disputed waterway, and that he hoped China would “temper” its behavior and stop restricting movements.

In a statement sent to Reuters, China’s Foreign Ministry said the Spratly Islands are China’s inherent territory and that China respects the right to freedom of navigation and overflight that all countries enjoy in the South China Sea under international law.

An aerial view of China occupied Subi Reef at Spratly Islands in disputed South China Sea April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Francis Malasig/Pool

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of China occupied Subi Reef at Spratly Islands in disputed South China Sea April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Francis Malasig/Pool

“But China has a right to take necessary steps to respond to foreign aircraft and ships that deliberately get close to or make incursions into the air and waters near China’s relevant islands, and provocative actions that threaten the security of Chinese personnel stationed there,” it said.

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The Chinese Dream may not be the Philippine Dream….

“China urges the relevant party to meet China halfway, and jointly protect the present good situation that has not come easily in the South China Sea,” the ministry added, without elaborating.

China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei have competing claims to the Spratly archipelago, where China has rapidly turned reefs into artificial islands that appear to be military installations, from which its personnel routinely instruct foreign vessels to leave.

Duterte has a policy of engagement with Beijing, in the hope of securing billions of dollars in grants, loans and investments, and has rejected criticism that he is acquiescing to Chinese pressure or surrendering Philippines sovereignty.

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China has built seven military bases near the Philippines. Yet China does not have sovereign rights over this territory by international law….

However, instead of blaming China for building and militarizing islands in disputed waters, he has said the United States was at fault for not blocking the construction when it started.

China has been angered by the United States in particular sending military ships and aircraft close to Chinese-occupied islands in the South China Sea in the name of freedom of navigation, saying the operations are highly provocative and potentially dangerous.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry

Reuters

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Part of the Chinese military base at Subi Reef

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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.

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Philippines, China work on framework of joint oil hunt

http://manilastandard.net/news/top-stories/272639/philippines-china-work-on-framework-of-joint-oil-hunt.html

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Above: military intelligence planners say China may next declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea

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Banners declaring the Philippines a province of China appeared in various parts of Metro Manila on July 12. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the apparent prank.(Contributed photo)

  (propaganda)

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Wang Yi

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

(Why give away what you own?)

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China threatens Philippine military aircraft in latest flight over South China Sea — China shows a “more menacing tone” to the Philippines than to the U.S.

August 12, 2018
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called China a “Great Friend” and China’s Xi Jinping is headed to visit the Philippines in November. Yet China still treats the Philippines like a child or colony that needs to behave…
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Pictured: Philippine Cessna C-208B used for maritime surveillance
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By:  – Reporter / @FMangosingINQ
 / 01:24 PM August 12, 2018
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The Chinese Navy has threatened a Philippine military aircraft in its latest known flight over China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea, telling it to leave or else it will face consequences.

A US Navy plane overheard China’s radio message to the Philippines during a surveillance flight of its P-8A Poseidon aircraft over the Spratly Islands last Friday.

“Philippine military aircraft! I’m warning you again. Leave immediately or you will bear responsibility for all the consequences!” a voice was heard as saying.

Television networks BBC and CNN were given the rare opportunity to join the US surveillance flight and witness China’s expansion in the Spratly Islands from a view of 16,500 feet.

BBC was able to pick up the radio warning of the Chinese to the Philippine military aircraft supposedly flying nearby. It noted the difference in tone with the ones issued to the US.

“We overhear China warning a Philippine aircraft. This time, they are not as nearly as polite,” BBC’s Rupert Wingfield- Hayes said in his report.

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China has built seven military bases near the Philippines

READ: PH airs concern over Chinese radio warnings

The US plane flew over four of China’s artificial islands — Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Zamora (Subi Reef), Panganiban Reef (Mischief), and Mabini (Johnson) Reef.

The report said the US Navy was warned by China at least five times within the flight. But China appeared to have issued milder warnings to the US: “Leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding.”

During the warnings, the US consistently replied with: “This is United States naval aircraft conducting lawful military activities beyond the national airspace of any coastal state and exercising these rights is guaranteed by international law. I am operating with due regard for the rights and duties of all states.”

The US pilot on board Lt. Matt Johnson said the warnings were a “routine occurrence” and it has no effect on their operations.

Nine vehicles were also spotted moving around in one of the reefs during the surveillance flight.

Philippine defense and military officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at the Australian-based Lowy Institute, also noted the “striking” difference of China’s approach to the Philippines and US.

“The more menacing tone of PLA [People’s Liberation Army] warning to Philippine aircraft, compared to US aircraft, is striking. Calibrated to intimidate smaller, weaker states?” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign policy on China, said the Philippines should file a diplomatic protest over the incident.

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China’s military base at Subi Reef

“Subi Reef, a low-tide feature, is part of the territorial sea of Pagasa (Thitu) as ruled by the arbitral tribunal. The airspace above Subi Reef is part of the territorial airspace of Pagasa,” he told Inquirer.net.

Pagasa is the biggest island occupied by the Philippines in the Spratlys, and the only one inhabited by civilians. It is located less than 20 nautical miles from Zamora Reef.

Paganiban (Mischief) Reef, meanwhile, is a low-tide feature part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone as ruled by the international court, Carpio argued.

“Only the Philippines can build structures on Mischief Reef. There is freedom of overflight in the airspace above Mischief Reef,” he said.

 

China claims most parts of the South China Sea, including waters close to the shores of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The ruling on a challenge brought by the Philippines, the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s sweeping claim in July 2016.

But the Duterte government set aside the ruling in exchange for economic opportunities and friendly ties with China.

Early this year, the Inquirer published close-up surveillance images of China’s reclaimed features now equipped with runways, radar towers, missile shelters and other military facilities. The photos showed that the bases are almost operational and awaiting the deployment of personnel and aircraft.

EXCLUSIVE: New photos show China is nearly done with its militarization of South China Sea

China insists that the facilities on its man-made islands in the Spratlys are primarily for civilian purposes and they have “indisputable sovereignty” over the area. /je

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/168982/china-threatens-ph-military-aircraft-latest-flight-south-china-sea#ixzz5NxjChugu
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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.

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Philippines, China work on framework of joint oil hunt

http://manilastandard.net/news/top-stories/272639/philippines-china-work-on-framework-of-joint-oil-hunt.html

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Above: military intelligence planners say China may next declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea

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Banners declaring the Philippines a province of China appeared in various parts of Metro Manila on July 12. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the apparent prank.(Contributed photo)

  (propaganda)

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Wang Yi

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

(Why give away what you own?)

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South China Sea: China’s Illegal Message to Outsiders is ‘Leave immediately and keep far off’ — This is International Airspace Over International Waters

August 11, 2018

A U.S. Navy ocean surveillance aircraft recently visited the South China Sea on a routine maritime patrol in international airspace over international waters. China told the U.S. P-8 to leave — an illegal order since the claim of sovereignty by China in the South China Sea was disallowed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on July 12, 2016.

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China has ignored international law in the South China Sea, much as Russia has done in Georgia and the Ukraine (Crimea).

Are we becoming a world where nations take what they want? Is the concept of international law dead? The answers could be “yes”.

Above: CNN Video

See also:

BBC Video:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-45152525/south-china-sea-leave-immediately-and-keep-far-off

The Full CNN report:

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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.

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Above: China has built seven military bases near the Philippines in the South China Sea

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Philippines, China work on framework of joint oil hunt

http://manilastandard.net/news/top-stories/272639/philippines-china-work-on-framework-of-joint-oil-hunt.html

Image result for south china sea, adiz, picture

Above: military intelligence planners say China may next declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea

No automatic alt text available.

Banners declaring the Philippines a province of China appeared in various parts of Metro Manila on July 12. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the apparent prank.(Contributed photo)

  (propaganda)

Image may contain: 1 person

Wang Yi

Image result for philippine flag, china flag

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

(Why give away what you own?)

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One of the islands China built at Subi Reef — and then built a huge military base on top. This is an area china claims but that claim was not allowed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague in 2016

China sends warning to US ocean surveillance plane flying over South China Sea—report

August 10, 2018
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A US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flying 16,500 feet from China’s man-made islands over South China Sea was warned six times by Chinese military to get out of their territory.

The flight included CNN International, which was able to witness the exchanges between the US and Chinese military.

“US military aircraft, this is China. Leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding,” a voice said.

The US Navy crew responded with: “I am a sovereign immune United States naval aircraft conducting lawful military activities beyond the national airspace of any coastal state. In exercising these rights guaranteed by international law, I am operating with due regard for the rights and duties of all states.”

The US plane flew over four of China’s artificial islands — Fiery Cross, Subi Reef, Mischief Reef and Johnson Reef.

 / 09:21 PM August 10, 2018

“What we saw [include] an incredible amount of infrastructure and development in the three years since CNN last boarded one of these planes and was able to fly through that area,” said CNN correspondent Ivan Watson in his report.

China claims most parts of the South China Sea, including waters close to the shores of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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The ruling on a challenge brought by the Philippines, the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s sweeping claim in July 2016.

But the Duterte administration set aside the ruling in exchange for economic opportunities and friendly ties with Beijing.

Image result for Fiery Cross reef, china, photos

Early this year, the Inquirer published close-up surveillance images of China’s reclaimed features now equipped with runways, radar towers, missile shelters and other military facilities. The photos showed that the bases are almost operational and awaiting the deployment of personnel and aircraft.

China insists that the facilities on its man-made islands in the Spratlys are primarily for civilian purposes and they have “indisputable sovereignty” over the area. /jpv

RELATED STORY
EXCLUSIVE: New photos show China is nearly done with its militarization of South China Sea

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/168969/china-sends-warning-us-spy-plane-flying-south-china-sea-report-navy-china-us-military-afp-cnn#ixzz5Nn4wRIz6
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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(Why give away what you own?)

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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 progress between China and Asean will run into choppy waters yet

August 8, 2018

Emanuele Scimia says despite the breakthrough on a code of conduct in the South China Sea between China and Asean, the US will not cede influence in the region easily

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2018, 4:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2018, 6:46am

 

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations now have a single text to negotiate a code of conduct in the South China Sea, where four Asean member countries – Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam – are locked in territorial disputes with Beijing. The announcement, which came on Thursday during the Asean-China ministerial meeting, was hailed as a milestone by both sides.

However, the concerned parties are a long way from reaching a consensus on a final document, and the United States is likely to try to sabotage any agreement that could weaken its position in the region.

China and Asean have worked to finalise a code of conduct in the South China Sea since 2002. The recent breakthrough may be the result of a convergence of diplomatic and economic factors. Beijing is fighting a trade war with the US, and looking for ways to absorb the shock of its conflict with Washington. In this respect, the easing of tensions in the South China Sea with its Southeast Asian neighbours could expedite the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a prospective regional trade agreement it backs, which could mitigate the risk of isolation for Beijing.

For their part, Asean claimants to the South China Sea are wary of US President Donald Trump’s real commitment to Southeast Asia, as well as his protectionist policies. The US was Asean’s third-largest trading partner in 2017 (China and the European Union topped the rankings), but it ran a trade deficit of US$55.6 billion. Given this imbalance, Asean countries have automatically become potential targets of Trump’s trade tariff campaign, which has thus far hit both enemies and friends, and may need Beijing’s help in case of a commercial spat with the US.

That said, disruption of Asean-China talks on the code of conduct may come at any time.

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It has been reported that Chinese leaders have proposed joint patrols, military exercises and energy exploration with Asean countries in the region. According to Agence France-Presse, Vietnam is the only claimant to have challenged China’s construction of artificial islands in the disputed waters and their transformation into military bases. Beijing and Hanoi are likely to clash over the latter’s request that the code of conduct be legally binding under international rules – a clause that the Chinese leadership has always opposed.

Vietnam is the only claimant to have challenged China’s construction of artificial islands in the disputed waters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that his country and Vietnam would join hands to uphold freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. Beijing has always been critical of Washington’s air and naval operations in the area.

The current geopolitical scenario in the South China Sea region is rather fluid, despite China’s success in mollifying other claimants, especially the Philippines, which won an arbitration case against the Chinese government in 2016. The ruling, handed down by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and dismissed by Beijing, rejected vast Chinese claims to the contested waters.

In those days, the Philippines held joint naval drills with the US near a sector of the South China Sea where it has overlapping claims with Beijing. The exercises also saw the deployment of a US aircraft carrier. The Philippine navy was also involved in the Rim of the Pacific exercises until last Thursday. Three other Asean members – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – took part in the US-led drills, the largest of their kind in the world, from which China had been disinvited in May.

Manila’s air force is also taking part in the biennial Pitch Black, a premier multinational air power exercise in the Asia-Pacific region. Organised by Australia – a vocal opponent of China’s military rise in the Indo-Pacific arena – Pitch Black also involves the participation of aircraft from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

What’s more, Asean countries are taking countermeasures against China’s aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea with a growing focus on coastal defence. Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have all expanded their coastguard capabilities and operations to counter Beijing’s military assertiveness in the region. Hanoi and Jakarta have also strengthened their arsenals of anti-ship missiles, and the Vietnamese navy has reinforced its fleet with Russian high-speed frigates and missile corvettes.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that an early conclusion of the code of conduct would be possible if future negotiations were not hindered by “external disturbances”. But Wang’s expectations will go unmet.

Meeting top Asean diplomats on Friday, Pompeo said that US would support the group in its bid to foster peace in Southeast Asia. However, last month, during the annual Australia-US ministerial consultations, Washington and Canberra emphasised that a code of conduct in the South China Sea should not prejudice “the interest of third parties or the rights of all states under international law”.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

The bottom line is that the US will never accept a status quo where China maintains military outposts in the disputed Spratlys and Paracels, turning the stretch of the South China Sea between the two groups of islands into a “Chinese channel”. In that event, Washington is likely to work to derail a final deal between Asean and Beijing.

Emanuele Scimia is an independent journalist and foreign affairs analyst

https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/united-states/article/2158455/south-china-sea-progress-between-china-and

Related:

  (propaganda)

  (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: Evolving Strategy

August 1, 2018

For many who follow developments in the South China Sea, the July 2016 tribunal ruling in the Philippines’ case against China has become the equivalent of the birth of Jesus in the Gregorian calendar: Developments are considered B.A. and A.A.—Before Award and After Award.

In the first year after the award, compliance was fair: Beijing largely kept its actions, if not its words, within the letter of the ruling.

By  Lynn Kuok
Lawfare

In late July 2017, however, things went south. The Chinese government insists that the situation in the South China Sea is “calm” and that the region is “in harmony”; it accuses the United States of stirring up trouble. But any stability in the past year has largely been the result of smaller countries in the region resigning themselves to the notion that the weak suffer what they must.

Two years on from the ruling, the stakes are clear: The challenge immediately after the award was getting smaller countries on China’s periphery to be less risk-averse in openly supporting the rule of law; now, the test has become whether the United States and its allies can help countries stand firm against incursions into their exclusive economic zones and defend a rules-based order.

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Exclusive Economic Zone Encroachments

The main significance of the 2016 ruling was to clarify resource rights. An international tribunal in The Hague ruled that China cannot claim historic rights to resources in the waters within a “nine-dash line” encompassing much of the South China Sea if these waters are within the exclusive economic zone, or EEZ, of other coastal states. Such rights, the tribunal determined, were extinguished when China ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1996.

The tribunal also clarified that none of the features in the Spratly Islands—a group of features in the south of the South China Sea that China and five other actors claim—generates an exclusive economic zone that China can claim overlaps with the exclusive economic zones of coastal states. Taken together, the findings make clear that coastal states in the South China Sea are entitled to full 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones unencumbered by any Chinese claims.

Although the award is not technically binding except between the parties to proceedings, namely, the Philippines and China, it was clear on China’s maritime entitlements. Beijing should adhere to its findings.

Instead, shortly after the one-year anniversary of the award, Beijing reportedlythreatened Vietnam with military action if Vietnam did not stop drilling in its own exclusive economic zone. Prompted by concerns that Washington did not have its back, Hanoi stopped its operations. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the rest of the international community averted their gaze. This might well come to be regarded as the point when a rules-based order began unraveling in the region. In March and May this year, Vietnam again attempted to drill for oil and gas in its exclusive economic zone, and Beijing issued similar warnings.

Vietnam is not the only country Beijing has leaned on. Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines have all come under pressure to concede “joint development” in their exclusive economic zones, a term that has come to suggest legitimate overlapping claims: Where there are such claims, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that parties should seek to enter into “provisional arrangements of a practical nature” prior to delimitation of the exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.

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China H-6 bomber over Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines

Fortresses in the Sea

In recent months, Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea has escalated. In April, it deployed anti-ship cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratlys. In May, it landed long-range bombers on Woody Island in the Paracels, features to the west of the South China Sea.

The tribunal did not directly address the question of whether the militarization of features was lawful. It considered only whether Beijing’s island-building activities in the South China Sea were military in nature to determine whether it had jurisdiction to rule on these activities. Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, when a state signs, ratifies or accedes to the convention, it may declare that it does not accept compulsory procedures entailing binding decisions in certain categories of disputes, including military activities. China availed itself of this option in 2006. The tribunal determined that for ascertaining whether the exclusion applied to deny it jurisdiction, it would take Beijing’s word when it insisted that activities were not military in nature.

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Still, China’s activities on features in the South China Sea are problematic. Beijing maintains that it is entitled to do as it wishes on its territory and that this is allowed by international law.

But Mischief Reef is not China’s territory. While the tribunal did not have jurisdiction to rule on competing claims to sovereignty, it did have jurisdiction to determine whether a feature is, at first instance, entitled to an independent sovereignty claim. The tribunal made clear that jurisdiction over a low-tide elevation lies with the country in whose territorial sea or exclusive economic zone it is located. Because Mischief Reef is a low-tide elevation in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, the Philippines has jurisdiction over it.

As for the rest of the features in the South China Sea, sovereignty continues to be fiercely contested. International law on the responsibility of an occupying state in a disputed area is far from clear, so Beijing’s actions are, at best, in a legal grey zone.

Lawfare

While Beijing’s dramatic military buildup in the South China Sea has received much attention, its attempts to undermine the tribunal’s award through “lawfare” have been largely overlooked. In the long run, this could shape the narrative on the South China Sea and promote Beijing’s ability to justify its claims and actions.

In mid-May, the Chinese Society of International Law published a “Critical Study” on the South China Sea arbitration case. Over nearly 750 pages, it detailed why it thought the tribunal erred. It was mostly an unremarkable rehash of arguments long raised by Beijing.

Notably, however, the study also attempted to advance an argument that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs first laid the foundation for in a statement issued just after the award. The statement’s wording was vague, but it flagged that China was seeking to claim maritime zones from groups of features in the South China Sea rather than from individual features. In other words, Beijing appears to be making the case that even if not entitled to historic rights within the nine-dash line, it was entitled to resources in a wide expanse of sea on the basis of an exclusive economic zone generated from outlying archipelagos.

But under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, only archipelagic states (such as the Philippines and Indonesia) may draw straight archipelagic baselines from which maritime zones may be generated. The tribunal explicitly found that there was “no evidence” that any deviations from this rule have amounted to the formation of a new rule of customary international law.

China’s arguments are unlikely to convince lawyers, but that is not their intended audience. Rather, their target is the political and business elites in Southeast Asia who are already predisposed to accept Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. They fear Beijing’s threat of coercive economic measures and eye promises of development through offerings such as the Belt and Road Initiative.

China is also seeking to shape international law to its liking through the strategic use of research funding and has prioritized issues of national import, including the law of the sea.

Holding Beijing Accountable

In April, Adm. Phil Davidson, then commander-designate of U.S. Pacific Command, testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that China has attained peace-time control of the South China Sea.

At present, such control is not complete: The United States continues to assert maritime rights in the South China Sea and, in a positive development, other maritime powers—Australia, France and the United Kingdom—have also asserted such rights. These operations send the important message that countries apart from the United States care about maintaining an open South China Sea and that rules matter.

However, the Trump administration’s failure to express support for Vietnam or to condemn China’s threats suggests that while smaller countries on China’s periphery are expected to support maritime powers’ defense of navigation, overflight and other freedoms of the seas, the United States and others are quite willing to hang these countries out to dry when it comes to  defending their economic rights—a matter that directly impacts their interests. It also feeds into the narrative that support for the United States’ “America First” agenda is effectively a one-way street: all for one and one for none. As countries make their strategic calculations, this will hurt U.S. interests.

Holding Beijing accountable requires action. A comparison of  Beijing’s behavior in the first and second year after the tribunal ruling suggests that it responds to coordinated pressure to abide by the rule of law and, conversely, takes advantage of times when the world looks away. As a major power, the United States must organize a regional and international effort to insist that Beijing abide by international law. What should this entail?

First, coastal states must be supported in standing up to any incursions into their exclusive economic zones, including through legal action initiated by coastal states. Second, there must be renewed calls to abide by the tribunal’s ruling. Washington went quiet on this partly because of Manila’s own reticence but also because of the ruling’s implications for U.S. claims to EEZs from small, uninhabited features in the Pacific. The United States should not miss out on the opportunity to demonstrate consistency in supporting the rule of law both within and outside of the South China Sea.

In this vein, the United States should finally accede to UNCLOS. The United States has already committed itself to abiding by the convention; acceding to it, as Adm. Davidson points out, “would give the United States greater credibility when calling on other states to adhere to the same rules.” Many observers note the double standard when the United States calls on other states to abide by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and comply with decisions of courts and tribunals regarding its interpretation when the United States itself has not acceded to the convention.

Fourth, Beijing’s claims that it is entitled to do as it likes on its own territory should be challenged. This involves reiterating that Mischief Reef is not Chinese. It also involves giving greater consideration to the responsibilities of an occupying state on disputed territories. Beijing should keep its behavior in check on features it occupies but that are also claimed by other parties.

Finally, a successful South China Sea policy must be part of a well-conceived and implemented Asia policy. Regional countries consider wider strategic developments in determining how best to respond in the South China Sea. The United States must continue to demonstrate a clear commitment to the region if it is to effectively counter growing sentiments that China is an unstoppable force and that caving in to Chinese demands now avoids greater pain later. In particular, the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy will need a strong economic component to provide viable alternatives to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.

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Mattis at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore

At the International Institute for Strategic Studies’s Shangri-La Dialogue meeting of defense officials in Singapore in June, Defense Secretary James Mattis was sensitive to the region’s need for greater investment, including in infrastructure. But it is unclear whether “private sector-led economic development” will be sufficient. Other possibilities include a coordinated infrastructure fund that the United States and its allies could contribute to. A compelling vision must accompany any such fund: Japan outspends China in infrastructure investment in Southeast Asia, but this goes largely unnoticed.

Beijing is adept at using all instruments, including the law, to reinforce its claims. The United States and other like-minded partners must learn to do likewise if they are to have any hope of turning the tide in the South China Sea. The question for the Trump administration is less one of capacity, or even means, than one of will and focus.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/countering-chinas-actions-south-china-sea

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

China Continues to Coerce South China Sea Neighbors with its Maritime Forces

August 1, 2018

China persists in employing a variety of tactics to coerce Taiwan, its maritime neighbors and put more pressure on Japan, a panel of experts agreed last week.

Image result for china flag over south china sea, art, pictures

Nowhere is that more visible than Beijing’s “persistent and flexible presence” from its maritime militia, Coast Guard and People’s Liberation Army Navy. It is a maritime force that also keeps open the Malacca Straits, a vital passageway for its energy imports, as well as backing up its territorial claims far from its shores and extending its reach into the Indian Ocean and Africa, Bonnie Glaser, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies China Power Project, said on Thursday.

In addition to its maritime forces, China has expanded the capability of its artificial island network in the South China Sea. The installations are now capable of handling patrol aircraft, fighters and strategic bombers as well as anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. The expansion allows the PLA “to develop operating concepts… they could use further north” to intimidate Tokyo and raise new threats to U.S. bases on Guam, she said.

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Collin Koh Swee Lean, a research fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said some South East Asian nations, already operating at a quality and numbers disadvantage with China on law enforcement and naval vessels.

They “could not match what China has” when Beijing was only employing its coast guard or maritime militia in these disputes. In a confrontation with the Chinese under those conditions, a South East Asian navy and coast guard would likely “turn tail and run.”

“Modernization is moving at a snail’s pace” in these nations’ coast guards and navies, he said. Because the security needs vary widely, there is little or no coordination among neighbors on buying together, setting common needs, developing interoperable capability and a general reluctance to spend money in this area. They also don’t want to risk provoking China — militarily or economically.

Maritime domain awareness must be the building block in responding to China’s assertiveness, Hideshi Tokuchi, of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, said. Tokyo does not distinguish between Beijing’s behavior in the South China Sea or what it is doing in North Asia — from intimidation of civilian fishermen to insisting on specious claims to islands in the East China Sea.

From that point of view and geography, “Taiwan is more important than before” because it is in the connecting position between the two bodies of water. Its security concerns “should not be ignored” with strike aircraft from the mainland constantly circling the island and causing scrambles of fighters and periodic threats of invasion.

Glaser said despite its military moves and sometimes heated rhetoric China was not looking for a war with anyone in the Indo-Pacific.

“There has been some pushback” against China, surprisingly enough it came from Europe,
Richard Heydarian, a fellow at ADR-Stratbase Institute, said

Acknowledging France and Great Britain joining the United States in freedom of navigation operations around the artificial islands was new, he warned that those missions “alone could be counterproductive.” In Beijing, they could be dismissed as “empty tactics” because they “are not robust enough to deter” the Chinese from beefing up their military presence on the reclaimed lands or extending their reach to reefs and rocks further out or to the north.

Complicating matters is the behavior of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “meek” and “humble” approach to China in its territorial dispute, despite an international arbitration panel’s supporting Manila’s claims, he said.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

This has caused a split between the country’s military, “with its constitutional responsibility to protect Philippine sovereignty” and the president’s “leaning to China.” Signs of this include his allowing PLAN naval vessels to make port calls and military aircraft to fly into bases without treaty or much formal notice.

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Further complicating matters in the Philippines is Duterte’s periodic bashing of the United States, that throws into question American use of naval and air bases. At the same time, the Philippine military has more closely embraced Washington to counter China and is seeking to expand exercises and training assistance.

While a way ahead would include a “negotiated Code of Conduct” for the South China Sea, Heydarian said for the countries in the region to accept such a deal it would have to include a freeze on militarization, reclamation and naval exercises.

“Otherwise, what’s the point,” he said.

https://news.usni.org/2018/07/30/panel-china-continues-coerce-south-china-sea-neighbors-maritime-forces

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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. China occupies the South China Sea illegally. Asean seems ready to agree to China’s “de facto ownership” — even though it violates rule of law.

South China Sea: Duterte administration has always been transparent, Foreign Affairs Secretary says — No secret deals with China

July 31, 2018
Cayetano: What about Del Rosario’s transparency on South China Sea?
Image result for Alan Peter Cayetano, photos
 President Duterte and former running mate Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. INQUIRER FILE

Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – July 31, 2018 – 12:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — Insisting that the Duterte administration has always been transparent on its foreign policy, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano claimed that former President Benigno Aquino III was misinformed on the West Philippine Sea issue.

Aquino has been calling on the Duterte administration to be more transparent on its negotiations with China on the dipsuted waters.

Cayetano, in a press briefing before leaving for Singapore, stressed that there are no secret deals between the Philippines and China.

The department has, however, been tight-lipped about how it has been dealing with incidents in the South China Sea, part of which is within Manila’s exclusive economic zone and is called the West Philippine Sea. “At the right time, we will prove you wrong because nothing is secret forever,” Cayetano said in May to defend the perceived secrecy.

“On the contrary, maybe President Aquino should ask Secretary (Albert) Del Rosario: ‘Were you transparent with me?” Cayetano told reporters Tuesday in his typical rhetorical style when responding to criticism.

The Foreign Affairs chief claimed that there are no complete records on who ordered Philippine ships to leave the Scaborough Shoal during a standoff in 2012.

READ: Noy orders pullout of ships from shoal | Noy: China reneged on Scarborough deal

“How did we leave Scarborough? Do any of you know? Was it really Sen. (Antonio) Trillanes who said leave or don’t leave? Was it really Foreign Secretary Del Rosario who said (leave)?” the Foreign Affairs secretary said.

Under a deal mediated by the United States in 2012, the Philippines and China agreed to withdraw their forces from the shoal until a deal over ownership was finalized but only Manila complied with the deal.

The Philippine Navy’s BRP Gregorio del Pilar was pulled out of the Scarborough Shoal on April 12, 2012 when Chinese civilian ships entered the area. The Navy said that the ship was withdrawn to replenish fuel and good provisions.

“I have some of the reports but it’s not complete. It was only stated there, ‘Let’s wait for the text of Sen. Trillanes, the president said and then the ship was gone… They did not complete the records, they did not tell us,” Cayetano said.

‘Robredo, Aquino being fed wrong information’

Cayetano also claimed that Vice President Leni Robredo and Aquino were being fed wrong information.

“It’s very unfortunate that the same small corps who hijacked the foreign policy in the last administration are feeding them information that is simply not true,” Cayetano said.

Robredo has also been calling on the Duterte administration to assert the country’s victory in its arbitration against China. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a landmark ruling invalidating Beijing’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

The vice president warned that the Philippines is losing the advantage it gained through the arbitral award when the government chose to shelve it in exchange of better ties with China.

Despite Cayetano’s pronouncements that the government has always been transparent on its dealings with Beijing, the Department of Foreign Affairs has always been silent on the supposed diplomatic protests filed against China for violations of Philippine sovereignty.

Cayetano had claimed that the DFA has filed 50 to 100 protests against China’s expansive maritime claims but refused to disclose the nature of the protests. Appearing to redefine the concept of diplomatic protests, he earlier said that a simple objection of Duterte could be considered a diplomatic protest.

A diplomatic protest or demarche is a request or intercession with a foreign official or a protest about the host government’s policy or actions, according to the US Department of State.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/31/1838426/cayetano-what-about-del-rosarios-transparency-south-china-sea#lM43l0u3Frl7XY49.99

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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. China occupies the South China Sea illegally. Asean seems ready to agree to China’s “de facto ownership” — even though it violates rule of law.

South China Sea: Asean Foreign Ministers and China Agree on Code of Conduct

July 31, 2018

FOREIGN MINISTERS of Asean and China have agreed to accept a “single text” to negotiate the code of conduct on the contentious South China Sea issue, according to diplomats of both sides.

Activists hold placards during a protest in front of the Chinese Consular Office in Manila on June 11. //AFP
Activists hold placards during a protest in front of the Chinese Consular Office in Manila on June 11. //AFP

 

Members of Asean have been at loggerheads with China over the territorial rights in the South China Sea. Tensions and clashes have occurred in recent years after China began militarisation of the sea, notably in the Spratly Islands.

Some ministers – at their recent annual meeting in Singapore – raised concerns about the issue, notably the militarisation, Thailand’s Asean Affairs Departments director-general Suriya Chindawongse said.

The Philippines and Vietnam are at the forefront of the conflict and have occasionally faced up to their giant neighbour. In 2013 the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines, rejecting China’s claim of historical rights over the territories in the sea. Beijing dismissed the ruling, but showed an intention to solve the issue with Manila on a bilateral basis.

Asean and China signed a non-binding Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002 but the document failed to prevent conflict and tension. Both sides are in the process of drawing up a code of conduct (COC) as a legally binding instrument to control the behaviour of countries in the contentious sea.

No tangible results

While Beijing wants to see the effective and full implementation of the DOC, significant progress to establish negotiation ground-rules for the COC has been made in recent years.

“For the first time both sides have agreed to have a single negotiation text,” Suriya said, noting that previously every stakeholder had their own text for negotiation.

He said that the process would take time to reach a conclusion and the COC is not an instrument to settle the territorial dispute. That issue would be settled on a bilateral basis.

Since the COC has not yet materialised, China and Asean countries will continue to fully and effectively implement the DOC and endeavour to reach a COC at an early date, said China’s Ambassador to Asean, Huang Xilian.

“We also hope that countries outside the region could play a constructive role in this process and contribute to peace and stability in the region,” Huang said in an interview with The Nation.

The Chinese diplomat appeared to be referring to the United States, which closely monitors militarisation in the area and has called for continued freedom of navigation.

Implementing the DOC while negotiating the COC is an effective platform to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea through enhanced dialogue and cooperation, Huang said.

“It is a testament that China and Asean have the wisdom and ability to draft rules and properly manage the disputes for the sake of peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Huang said.

With such spirit, maritime cooperation in the region is possible and could yield a good result, he said. To prevent incidents and manage the situation, China and Asean issued the Joint Statement on the Application of the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea and launched a hotline for senior officials of both sides to respond to maritime emergencies.

To strengthen maritime rescues, China and Asean have begun building a hotline platform for maritime search and rescue and plan to hold the first ever large-scale joint exercise on maritime search and rescue, he said.

“These measures have played important roles in maintaining safety and stability in the sea, and formed a sound interaction … as the two simultaneously rotating wheels,” Huang said.

China plans to conduct more maritime cooperation programs with Asean. They include the first China-Asean joint maritime drill, the China-Asean marine information technology cooperative research project, a workshop on cooperation on coastal ecosystem health assessment and conservation strategy in the South China Sea, a workshop on ocean acidification training, training on satellite remote sensing of the marine ecological environment, and a workshop on safety of navigation and communication on the South China Sea, he said.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30351090

Breaking News July 31, 2018 01:00

By WASAMON AUDJARINT,
SUPALAK GANJANAKHUNDEE
THE NATION

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

South China Sea: Philippines Defense Secretary Calls International Court Ruling “Empty Victory” — The Rule of Law Administration of Rodrigo Duterte

July 28, 2018

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana apologized for saying the ruling favoring the Philippines over disputes in the West Philippine Sea is an “empty victory.”

He extended his apologies to former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio. The two helped argue the Philippines’ case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

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

CNN

“I sincerely apologize to these two great gentlemen for ruffling their feelings when I said that the PCA ruling in our favor is an empty victory. Both have reasons to be miffed for they worked hard to win our case before the PCA. It was not my intention to denigrate their achievement,” Lorenzana said in a message to reporters Friday.

Earlier media reports claimed Carpio and Del Rosario did not take Lorenzana’s statements well.

But Lorenzana then said that with current realities, the victory claimed is premature and incomplete.

“The phrase ’empty victory’ does not pertain to the efforts of Mssrs. Carpio and del Rosario in successfully winning our case in the PCA but rather, to the outcome of the ruling. With the realities on the ground, the victory being claimed is premature and incomplete since the ruling has no enforcement mechanism,” he added.

The Defense chief explained that until our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is under the country’s complete control, and until the ruling is fully enforced, it remains just “a piece of paper.”

“If it is a victory, then why is the (West Philippine Sea) not under our complete control? If we are victorious, why are the Chinese still in the (West Philippine Sea)? Lest we forget, the Malaysians and Vietnamese are also within our exclusive economic zone, occupying many islands which they have improved through the years,” he said.

Lorenzana’s remark came Monday, after the Social Weather Stations’ latest survey showed that 9 of 10 Filipinos deemed important that the Philippines to regain control over island occupied by China in the contested waters.

“We won, but it is an empty victory. The Chinese won’t leave our EEZ  and instead it continues to assert its historical rights over the areas within the nine-dash line,” he earlier said.

But Lorenzana said how the survey questions were framed might be wrong.

“Many people also need to understand that the PCA ruling was about ‘sovereign rights’ and not ‘sovereignty,’ which are two different things,” Lorenzana added.

The 2016 ruling junked China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, which overlaps with parts of the country’s 200-nautical mile (EEZ). China has refused to observe the international tribunal’s ruling.

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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.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been criticized for his warmer ties with China, but he vowed to protect the country’s sovereign rights in his third State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“Our improved relationship  with China does not mean we will waver to defend our interest in the West Philippine Sea,” Duterte had said. 

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The Philippines has extensive defenses on its island holdings