Posts Tagged ‘Philippine EEZ’

South China Sea: One Year After The Philippines Win At The Permanent Court of Arbitration — Brilliant Statecraft or Treason?

July 12, 2017

By Ellen Tordesillas

Posted at Jul 12 2017 02:46 AM

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One of the good things that President Duterte has done was to rekindle relations with China which reached its lowest ebb during the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

Never mind that during the election campaign, he rode on the anti-China sentiments of most Filipinos fueled by the pro-American leanings of Aquino and his Foreign Secretary, Albert del Rosario.

Remember, a standard in Duterte’s campaign speech was his boast that he will ride on a jet ski to one of the islands in the disputed Spratlys and plant the Philippine flag. He would kiss the flag to dramatize his promise. Once in Malacanang, he was asked when he was going to jetski to Spratlys and he replied it was a joke. He said he didn’t even know how to swim.

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In the guise of independent foreign policy, Duterte didn’t just cozy up to China. He attacked the United States when then President Barack Obama reminded him to respect human rights amid reports of rampant killings in connection with his anti-illegal drugs campaign.

His foreign policy moves can be likened to a pendulum that swung from extreme right to extreme left. Today marks first year anniversary of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands on the case filed by the Philippines against China on the latter’s activities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

China did not participate in the Arbitral Court proceedings.

It was a major victory for the Philippines. The Arbitral Court declared invalid China’s nine-dashed line map which covers some 85 percent of the whole South China which infringes on the economic exclusive zones of other countries namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The Arbitral Court also ruled that China’s  artificial islands – rocks that were turned into garrisons through reclamation – in the disputed South China Sea do not generate entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea such as economic exclusive zone (220 nautical miles from the shore) and extended continental shelf (350 nautical miles).

As to Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, which is within the Philippine EEZ, the Arbitral Court said it’s a traditional fishing ground of Philippine, Chinese, Vietnamese and fishermen of other nationalities and should be maintained as such.

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Filipino fishermen had been denied access to the area since April 2012 after a two-month stand off between Chinese and Philippine Coastguards following arrest by a Philippine warship of Chinese fishermen in Scarborough shoal. Two Chinese ships remained even after the Aquino government withdrew its ships.

Duterte takes pride that because of his friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Filipino fishermen are now allowed to fish in the area, which is being guarded by two Chinese ships.

It’s like a battered wife thankful that the husband has stopped beating her.

Duterte’s critics have scored his deference to China even  echoing  the position of China that historically South China Sea is theirs  as the name states.

In an ambush interview last April. Duterte said, “They really claim it as their own, noon pa iyan. Hindi lang talaga pumutok nang mainit. Ang nagpainit diyan iyong Amerikano. Noon pa iyan, kaya (It goes way back. The issue just did not erupt then. What triggered the conflict were the Americans. But it goes all the way back. That’s why it’s called) China Sea… sabi nga nila (they say) China Sea, historical na iyan. So hindi lang iyan pumuputok (It’s historical. The issue just had not erupted then) but this issue was the issue before so many generations ago.”

VERA Files fact-check about the name of South China Sea showed  that  South China Sea used to be called the Champa Sea, after the Cham people who established a great maritime kingdom in central Vietnam from the late 2nd to the 17th century.

That is contained in the book,  ‘The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” by  Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Carpio said it was the  Portuguese navigators who coined the name South China Sea.

“The ancient Malays also called this sea Laut Chidol or the South Sea, as recorded by Pigafetta in his account of Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world from 1519 to 1522. In Malay, which is likewise derived from the Austronesian language, laut means sea and kidol means south,” he further said.

“The ancient Chinese never called this sea the South China Sea. Their name for the sea was “Nan Hai” or the South Sea, he adds.

Reading Duterte’s blurting the Chinese line on the South China name, Ruben Carranza, former commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and now director of the Reparative Justice Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice, said “In football, that would be an ‘own goal.’

That’s when a player delivers the ball to the opponent’s goal.

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http://news.abs-cbn.com/blogs/opinions/07/11/17/opinion-ph-win-in-arbitral-court-one-year-after

Blog:www.ellentordesillas.com
E-mail:ellentordesillas@gmail.com

Related:

 (Contains links to information about Vietnam’s renewed efforts to extract oil and gas from the sea bed)

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Dominance of the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean would solidify China’s One Belt One Road project
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The international arbitration court in the Hague said on July 12, 2016, that China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law — making the Vietnamese and Philippine claims on South China Sea islands valid and lawful.
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China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning at Hong Kong
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China’s Threat Of War Against Philippines Is Baseless Scare Tactic — Deception, coercion, intimidation, lies and threats are to be expected. As they say in Vietnam, “This is just China.”

May 22, 2017

I cover international politics, security and political risk.

On Friday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said President Xi Jinping threatened war if Duterte started developing Philippine oil and gas resources in the South China Sea. The Philippines has every right to do so, per the award of an international arbitral tribunal in the Hague last year. After describing Xi’s threat, Duterte told his Philippine military audience, “What more could I say?” I sympathize. The Philippines is a much smaller country militarily, economically, and in diplomatic power, than is China. As Duterte points out, war with China would be a “massacre and it will destroy everything,” starting in Palawan, a long Philippine island bordering the South China Sea.

But let’s consider a few options that show this threat of war for what it is: a baseless scare tactic. First, Duterte could hang tough and seek a stronger stance on the issue by the U.S., which is a Philippine ally per the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. In his defense, Duterte and his predecessor Benigno Aquino may already have sought such help from the U.S. and gotten turned down or dissuaded. That would be a stain on U.S. honor. But redoubling his efforts, for example reaching out to Trump and bringing the threat before the United Nations General Assembly, is constitutionally required according to Philippine Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

To whomever one ascribes blame, the U.S.-Philippine alliance failed to defend the Philippine EEZ when China occupied Mischief Reef in 1995, and Scarborough Shoal in 2012. That is a fact. Every day that China continues its occupation, the alliance fails anew.

The U.S. and Philippines together, could easily have defended these locations. The Philippines tried briefly at the Scarborough standoff of 2012, but U.S. ships did not join, and then the U.S. and China brokered a deal in which the Philippines backed off, and China stayed. Why didn’t the U.S. and Philippines return in force when they realized they had been tricked? Given that we all stayed home, we cannot say that China’s willingness to fight has been tested at Scarborough.

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A China Coast Guard ship (top) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a stand off as the Philippine boat attempts to reach the Second Thomas Shoal to deliver food and supplies to Philippine Marines in Philippine waters, on March 29, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jay Directo ) Intimidation?

When I spoke to several Chinese foreign ministry officials a couple years ago, they said they would not fight back if the U.S. and Philippines removed them from Scarborough by force. It was a startling admission, one gotten when I surprised them with the question. But I bet it is true, even today. If China attacked Philippine military forces, or the island of Palawan, the U.S. would come to the aid of the Philippines militarily, and China knows this. That would be militarily and economically damaging, if not catastrophic, to both countries. Therefore a Chinese war against the Philippines is unlikely to happen as long as the alliance with the U.S. is healthy. President Duterte could make this clear to the public in both nations by visiting the White House, and inviting Trump to Malacañang Palace, rather than amplify China’s scare tactics.

More likely than war would be Chinese attempts to interdict Philippine commercial vessels trying to drill for oil, and offering to sell Philippine oil rights. China did this to Vietnam in 2012. When Vietnam tried to tow sonar in its EEZ, looking for oil and gas, a Chinese boat ran over the cables and cut them. Also in 2012, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) tried to auction blocks for oil exploration that were within Vietnam’s EEZ. The Philippines could protect its oil exploration and drilling with its own Coast Guard, perhaps accompanied by U.S., European and Japanese Coast Guard.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/anderscorr/2017/05/20/chinas-threat-of-war-against-philippines-is-baseless-scare-tactic/#3f5a045539f9

Peace and Freedom comment: For China, the effort continues to be a success as long as no shots are fired. Deception, coercion, lies and threats are to be expected. As they say in Vietnam, “This is just China.” The Philippines better wise up. 

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Related:

 (From 2014)

A Filipino protester holds placards with slogans during a rally outside the Chinese consulate at the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. The group is demanding an end to China’s alleged incursions in the South China Sea and to press the Chinese government to respect the arbitral process under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

 (China says you can trust us…)

Trust (xìn)

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China is preparing for the reclamation and construction on Scarborough Shoal

FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

 

South China Sea: China’s threat of war against the Philippines is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter — The Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ

May 21, 2017
“The threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within the Philippine EEZ (exclusive economic zone) in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, UNCLOS and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties,” Carpio said. AP/Bullit Marquez/ File
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MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has advised the Duterte government to elevate to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Chinese President Xi Jinping’s threat of war against the Philippines should the latter insist on drilling for oil in the disputed South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea.

“The threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within the Philippine EEZ (exclusive economic zone) in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, UNCLOS and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties,” Carpio said.

Since the Philippine Constitution renounces war as an instrument of national policy, one of the Duterte administration’s options is to bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal.

It could also secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared Recto (Reed) Bank part of Philippine EEZ.

Recto Bank is vital to Philippine national interest, as it is the only replacement for Malampaya, which supplies 40 percent of the energy requirement of Luzon.

The Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.

Another option, according to Carpio, is to report China’s threat of war before the UN General Assembly by sponsoring a resolution condemning China’s threat of war against the Philippines and demanding that China comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the 33rd National Convention of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary in Davao City, the Philippines, on Friday.  Photo: AFP

China, Carpio pointed out, has no veto in the General Assembly.

Carpio also said that the UN Charter outlaws the use or threat of force to settle disputes against states.

Since a threat has been issued, Carpio called on the Filipino people to stand united and defend the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the Constitution, international law and the UNCLOS.

“China’s threat of war against the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea reveals the aggressive design of China against the Philippines. No less than Chinese President Xi Jingping has delivered the threat personally to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte,” Carpio said.

“An arbitral tribunal…has already ruled with finality that the Reed Bank is within the EEZ of the Philippines and only the Philippines can exploit the natural resources within Philippine EEZ,” Carpio said, as he reminded the Philippine government to protect the nation’s maritime wealth in its EEZ, as mandated by the Constitution.

Since the Philippines cannot resort to war, the President has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect the country’s EEZ.

“(T)he President cannot simply do nothing, or worse, acquiesce to China’s action, for inaction is the opposite of protecting Philippine EEZ,” Carpio, an expert on the issue, said.

Under international law, acquiescence is the inaction of a state in the face of threat to its rights under circumstances calling for objection to the threat to its rights; thus, the Philippines will lose forever its EEZ in the West Philippine Sea to China.

Carpio suggested that the country strengthen its ties with its defense alliances, particularly with the United States, since it is the only country with which the Philippines has a Mutual Defense Treaty.

“The Philippines can ally with the United States because the United States does not claim the West Philippine Sea or any Philippine territory,” he said.

‘Chinese propagandist’

For Magdalo party-list group Rep. Gary Alejano, Duterte acts like a Chinese propagandist on the territorial dispute.

Alejano, author of the dismissed impeachment complaint against Duterte, yesterday said he does not believe that the President directly raised the issue on the dispute with Xi.

“We did not hear that from his Chinese counterpart,” he said, referring to Duterte’s statements made in Davao City, where the President revealed Xi’s war threat.

Alejano said Duterte raises hell whenever the US and the European Union reminds him about human rights and adherence to the rule of law.

“But he is a meek lamb in front of Chinese officials,” Alejano said, adding that Duterte’s statements “are a justification of his subservience to China.”

“He is selling us out,” he said.

Envoys divided

Former Philippine ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Wilfredo Villacorta, however, said Duterte properly handled the crafting of the chairman’s statement during the leaders’ summit of the ASEAN member-states in Manila last month.

“There was no need to mention the arbitral ruling in the sections on the South China Sea. The ruling is now part of international law and we can always invoke it as part of international law jurisprudence,” Villacorta told The STAR.

“The specific provisions on the South China Sea in the latter part of the chairman’s statement recognized the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and over-flight in and above the South China Sea,” he added.

But for former Philippine ambassador to the UN Lauro Baja Jr., Duterte could have handled the summit leaders’ meeting more aggressively.

“He is chairman and in our past experiences, it is the chairman (who) sets the tone,” he told reporters during the launch of a book on ASEAN at the University of the Philippines on Friday.

“It’s not the chairman’s statement, it’s the Chinese statement,” he added.

Baja also expressed doubts that the code of conduct that is being crafted to address the territorial dispute in the South China Sea could resolve the decades-long conflict in the region.

“If the code of conduct will not have a so-called enforcement provision and will not have a dispute mechanism, it will again be in the nature of political declaration,” he said.

Former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario said China’s threat of war is Beijing’s strong statement that it does not honor the arbitral ruling.

“The utterance…clearly demonstrates to the world China’s position regarding the arbitral tribunal outcome that is consistent with UNCLOS,” Del Rosario said.

“Contrary to our position that right is might, China has strongly declared that it is might that will triumph what is right,” Del Rosario said. “China – unless it stands to benefit – does not intend to respect the rule of law,” he added.  –  With Jess Diaz, Janvic Mateo, Pia Lee-Brago

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/21/1701973/philippines-can-bring-china-war-threat-un

Related:

 (Has links to previous articles)

South China Sea: Philippine Supreme Court Justice Says Philippines Can Bring China’s Threat of War Before the UN — Calls For Restoration of Rule of Law in the South China Sea

May 21, 2017
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Philippine President Duterte has said that China threatened the Philippines with war…
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Carpio says that the President has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect Philippine territory.
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May 20, 2017 4:24pm

The Philippines can file another case against China before a United Nations tribunal for threatening war against the country and demand that Beijing comply with an international court ruling that invalidated its massive claim over the South China Sea, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Saturday.

Carpio – one of the country’s leading maritime legal experts and a member of the Philippine legal team to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands – was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s revelation that Chinese President Xi Jinping threatened to use force against the Philippines if it will extract oil in the Reed Bank.

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Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Reed Bank is an offshore area internationally recognized as part of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippines Sea but China claims as part of its territory.

Beijing says it has historic claims over nearly the entire South China Sea, including areas that are within Manila’s EEZ called the West Philippine Sea.

“China’s threat of war against the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea reveals the aggressive design of China against the Philippines,” Carpio said. “No less than Chinese President Xi Jingping has delivered the threat personally to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.”

Carpio stressed that Duterte has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect Philippine territory.

“In the face of China’s open threat of war to seize Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, an area larger than the total land area of the Philippines, the President cannot simply do nothing, or worse acquiesce to China’s action, for inaction is the opposite of protecting Philippine EEZ,” he said.

“Under international law, acquiescence is the inaction of a state in the face of threat to its rights under circumstances calling for objection to the threat to its rights. Acquiescence means the Philippines will lose forever its EEZ in the West Philippine Sea to China,” Carpio warned.

In a statement on Saturday, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippines enraged China “in a frank discussion on possible oil explorations in the WPS (West Philippine Sea).”

“President Duterte was forthright about its economic rights awarded by the Arbitral Court in the Hague, a claim the Chinese leader said they would vigorously contest given their historic claims to the area,” Abella said.

He said that because of the “complexity” of  the issue, “both parties agreed to pursue a more peaceful resolution to the matter that satisfies both our sovereign and economic rights.”

Filipinos unite

Carpio said this “extremely troubling development” calls for all Filipinos to unite to defend the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the Constitution, international law and UN Convention on the law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

As a nation that under its Constitution has renounced war as an instrument of national policy, Carpio said the Philippines’ recourse is to bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal to secure an order directing China to comply with an earlier court ruling that declared Reed Bank part of Philippines’ EEZ.

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“The threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties,” Carpio said.

Carpio reminded China that the UN Charter outlaws the use or threat of force to settle disputes between states.

Reed Bank is vital

Reed Bank is vital to Philippine national interest as it is the only replacement for Malampaya, which supplies 40 percent of the energy requirement of Luzon.

Carpio warned that Malampaya will run out of gas in less than 10 years and unless the Philippines develops Reed Bank, Luzon will suffer 10 to 12 hours of brownouts daily 10 years from now and will devastate the Philippine economy.

The Philippines, he said, can also seek damages “for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.”

Carpio also said that the Philippines can sponsor a resolution condemning China’s threat of war against the Philippines before the UN General Assembly where Beijing has no veto power.

Manila can also demand that China conform with the July 12, 2016 ruling handed down by the PCA which delivered a sweeping victory to the Philippines on the case it filed against China and declared its historic claim over nearly the entire waters as illegal.

China has ignored the arbitral decision, calling it “ill-founded” and “naturally null and void.”

While ignoring the ruling, China has pressed ahead with its construction of seven artificial islands in the South China Sea. Now completed, the islands have been equipped with military facilities, runways and surface-to-air missiles.

Such move sparked alarm among Southeast Asian nations, Japan, Australia and the United States, fearing that it would increase tensions and hinder freedom of movement in the area where a large volume if international trade passes through.

China has built islands by reclamation of sand and coral and has militarized them for People’s Liberationa Army (PLA) use. Seen here, Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratlys group of islands are shown from the Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force during the visit to the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano and other officials off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017. President Duterte on Friday, May 19, 2017, described this as “some kind of armed garrison.” Credit Francis Malasig/Pool Photo via AP

No respect of rule of law

Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who spearheaded the Philippines’ arbitration case against China, said Beijing’s threat of war against the country is an indication that it does not intend to respect the rule of law.

“Contrary to our position that right is might, China has strongly declared that it is might that will trump what is right,” Del Rosario said.

“The utterance by the leadership of China on a threat to go to war if the Philippines drills for oil within its Exclusive Economic Zone in the South China Sea clearly demonstrates to the world China’s position regarding the arbitral tribunal outcome that is consistent with UNCLOS,” he added.

Carpio explained that an arbitral tribunal created under the UNCLOS, to which China is a party, has already ruled with finality that the Reed Bank is within the EEZ of the Philippines and only the Philippines can exploit the natural resources there.

Strengthen alliances

Duterte said the threat of armed confrontation compelled him to pursue friendly ties with China, which pledged millions of dollars worth of aid and development package to the Philippines.

Carpio stressed that the President has the constitutional duty to use all legal means under international law to protect Philippine territory.

Carpio also said that China’s blatant threat of war against the Philippines demands that the Philippines strengthen its defenses and alliances, particularly with long-time treaty ally, the United States.

The US is the only country with whom the Philippines has a mutual defense treaty.

“The United Nations Charter recognizes the right of states to mutual self-defense against armed aggression.  The Philippines can ally with the United States because the United States does not claim the West Philippine Sea or any Philippine territory,” he said.

He said the country cannot ally with China because it wants to “grab for itself” the West Philippine Sea and the southern part of the South China Sea, called the Spratlys.

“Among all the countries in the world, only China has threatened the Philippines with war over Philippine EEZ in the West Philippines Sea,” Carpio said, adding other claimant states – Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei – recognize Philippine EEZ, including Reed Bank. —ALG, GMA News

– See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/611540/carpio-phl-can-bring-china-war-threat-before-the-un/story/#sthash.avCqqa9t.dpuf

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China is preparing for the reclamation and construction on Scarborough Shoal

FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

Is U.S. Policy in Asia All Washed Up? Can we predict Donald Trump’s policy toward China? — Where is the U.S resolve, U.S. allies wonder?

December 19, 2016

By Tao Wenzhao

It is very difficult to predict Donald Trump’s policy, especially his foreign policy. The president-elect never systematically elaborated it. His speeches were made on the spot. His statements often contradicted each other. As a businessman, he is not familiar with diplomacy. According to his White House chief of staff, getting familiar with diplomacy will be one of four priorities in his first hundred days in office. And we still know little about his aides and staff. But I would like to attempt a prediction of Trump’s China policy on the basis of his few words and ‘first 100 days’ agenda plus the Republican Party’s program and statements and articles of Trump’s advisers.
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It has been 37 years since China and the US normalized their relations. In those years, major changes have taken place in both the international and domestic situations of both countries. However, no matter how the situation changes, the two countries need each other. Cooperation benefits both while fighting harms both. Cooperation has thus been the mainstream of China-US relations. Given the state of the bilateral relationship in the past 37 years and the extensive cooperation between them, we have confidence on this point.
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Trump stresses ‘America first’ and prioritizes defense of American interests. He will not seek strategic expansion and may even engage in certain strategic contraction. Actually Obama also practiced strategic contraction globally and expanded only in a priority region (Asia Pacific). Trump is not an ‘isolationist’. We must not magnify some of his more inward-looking statements. Henry Kissinger categorically said that isolationism is not an option for the US. Trump may make some readjustment to America’s alliance relations but he will not fundamentally change the alliance system, which is an all-too-important strategic asset for the US.
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In Asia, America’s alliances with Japan and the ROK have existed for over 60 years and are essential to America’s status in the Asia Pacific region, the US-Japan alliance in particular. Strengthening US-Japan relations has been a consistent bipartisan policy of three presidents since the end of the Cold War (Clinton, Bush and Obama). It’s impossible for the alliance relationship to experience drastic changes in Trump’s term. But what Trump often says is to the effect that nobody can take advantage of America. It is completely possible that he may bargain with allies for them to bear more costs. Such a policy will have a direct bearing on China’s surrounding environment. He will not use the Obama administration’s term of ‘rebalancing’ Asia Pacific but may not necessarily reduce American military presence in the region. Trump’s doctrine is ‘peace through strength’. Not satisfied with Obama cutting military expenditure, he said he would rebuild American military, increase naval ships to 350 from the current 274 and make America strong to the extent no one dares to make trouble for the US. In this connection, we must not let down our guard.
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However, Trump can also not afford the risk of worsened relations with China. In particular, the US is now experiencing fiscal difficulty and internal division. There is no basis for a policy that would worsen US-China relations.
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During the campaign, Trump talked more about trade and about the loss of jobs in the US, sometime using rather high-sounding words. Will a trade war break out between China and the US during Trump’s term? Not very likely. Economic interdependence between the two countries is already rather deep. Last year, two-way trade was over $558 billion. Direct American investment in China was over $70 billion and China has become some companies’ main source of revenue. Chinese investment in the US has also increased rapidly in the past two years, accumulating to more than $46 billion by the end of 2015. Over 70% of China’s 3.1 trillion foreign exchange reserve was in US dollars. China has been the largest overseas holder of US Treasury Bonds for many years and still holds $1.22 trillion. These figures suggest that neither country may do without the other. It is quite impossible for Trump to levy a 45% import tariff on commodities imported from China. As a shrewd businessman, he knows too well that both sides will sustain great losses in a trade war. He has said as much after all. So it will be unlikely for him to do such a thing. Hence economic and trade frictions between the two countries may increase. Levying anti-dumping and countervailing duty over some imports from China is possible, as the Obama Administration has already done. But that will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis. China and the US are both WTO members. If the US imposes high duties on China, China may use legal means and complain at WTO. China has gathered some experience in this regard in recent years and many complaints have been successful. Of course we hope to see less friction but it’s only natural to have some friction.
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Trump promised in the campaign to rebuild America by constructing infrastructure on a large scale, including airports, railways, bridges and highways, so as to revitalize the economy and create jobs. This actually will produce opportunities for China-US cooperation. China has money, technology and talented people in infrastructure construction. The two countries may well cooperate through some commercial arrangement. Naturally there is a need to exclude political interference.
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Trump is a businessman, who values solid interests. He will also focus his attention on domestic affairs rather than having a strong impulse to expand American-style democracy overseas. Human rights pressure on China is likely to decrease.
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The Taiwan question remains very sensitive. Trump rarely talked about Taiwan in his campaign except for some casual references to job losses. But Taiwan occurred more prominently in the Republican Party’s campaign program and the basic tone was to upgrade the US-Taiwan relationship. It is hoped that Trump will get familiar with the Taiwan question quickly, understand its ins and outs and its significance to US-China relations and cautiously handle related issues such as arms sales to Taiwan, Taiwan’s international participation and Taiwan officials’ visits to the US. He should not make hasty moves, and should not take detours like the George W. Bush administration, which came to opposing ‘immediate independence’ only after several years of conniving by the DPP authorities.
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America is now in transition, not only from the Democratic Obama administration to the Republican administration of Trump. It is also for Trump a period of transition from being a ‘rebel’ to being the ‘authority’. During the campaign, to win votes, he delivered some radical rhetoric and made some obviously unachievable promises. When in power, he will have to face reality. He will need time to familiarize himself with and understand China-US relations before truly exercising his policies. It is hoped that during Trump’s term the relationship will continue moving forward.
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http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/a-prediction-of-donald-trumps-china-policy
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Muted U.S. Response to China’s Seizure of Drone Worries Asian Allies

BEIJING — Only a day before a small Chinese boat sidled up to a United States Navy research vessel in waters off the Philippines and audaciously seized an underwater drone from American sailors, the commander of United States military operations in the region told an audience in Australia that America had a winning military formula.

Image may contain: one or more people

“Capability times resolve times signaling equals deterrence,” Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. told a blue-chip crowd of diplomats and analysts at the prestigious Lowy Institute in Sydney, the leading city in America’s closest ally in the region.

In the eyes of America’s friends in Asia, the brazen maneuver to launch an operation against an American Navy vessel in international waters in the South China Sea about 50 miles from the Philippines, another close American ally, has raised questions about one of the admiral’s crucial words. It was also seen by some as a taunt to President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has challenged the One China policy on Taiwan and has vowed to deal forcefully with Beijing in trade and other issues.

“The weak link is the resolve, and the Chinese are testing that, as well as baiting Trump,” said Euan Graham, the director of international security at the Lowy Institute. “Capability, yes. Signaling, yes, with sending F-22 fighter jets to Australia. But the very muted response means the equation falls down on resolve.”

Across Asia, diplomats and analysts said they were perplexed at the inability of the Obama administration to devise a strong response to China’s challenge. It did not even dispatch an American destroyer to the spot near Subic Bay, a former American Navy base that is still frequented by American ships, some noted.

After discussions at the National Security Council on how to deal with the issue, the Obama administration demanded the return of the drone. On Saturday, China said it would comply with the request but did not indicate when or how the equipment would be sent back.

The end result, analysts said, is that China will be emboldened by having carried out an act that amounted to hybrid warfare, falling just short of provoking conflict, and suffering few noticeable consequences.

“Allies and observers will find it hard not to conclude this represents another diminishment of American authority in the region,” said Douglas H. Paal, the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Significantly, the Chinese grabbed the drone not only in international waters but outside even the “nine-dash line” that China uses as a marker for its claims in the South China Sea. In so doing, analysts said, Beijing was making the point that the entire sea was its preserve, even though it is entirely legal for the United States to conduct military operations in waters within 200 miles of the Philippines, an area known as an exclusive economic zone.

In the last dozen years, China has steadily showed off its growing military prowess to the countries around the South China Sea, which carries trillions of dollars of world trade and which China values for its strategic access to the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

As China has built up its navy and its submarine fleet in the last decade, it has also emphasized what it calls its “inherent” right to dominate the regional seas, and to challenge the presence of the United States, its allies and partners in Asia.

Read the rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/18/world/asia/muted-us-response-to-chinas-seizure-of-drone-worries-asian-allies.html?_r=0

Philippines: Why is President Duterte bent on sleeping with the wrong “enemy” (China), and insulting an old ally (America)

October 3, 2016

By 

12:09 AM October 4th, 2016

Opinion

WHY IS President Duterte bent on sleeping with the wrong “enemy” (China), and insulting an old ally (America) which can help us deal more effectively with our big northern neighbor that reportedly undermines human societies through the dangerous drugs it manufactures and smuggles worldwide?

He himself has told the media a number of times that “the real drug lords are not here—they are in China.”

An exposé of the extent of China’s global “drug war” (read: part of Beijing’s asymmetric warfare against America) was highlighted by the New York-based Epoch Times last month. In what is tantamount to a reverse “opium war” which rapacious Western nations waged against China in the 19th century to soften up its people by weakening its moral fiber through the highly profitable opium trade, Beijing “has been illicitly supplying huge amounts of synthetic drugs and methamphetamine (shabu) to Mexican and Latin American drug cartels,” the journal said.

The centrality of Mr. Duterte’s peace and order campaign is his war on the illegal drugs that he perceives as an existential threat to our society. He reasons that his draconian means will prevent the Philippines from becoming another narcostate.

People close to Mr. Duterte, such as Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, say that behind his folksy persona and incendiary rhetoric lies a deep “strategic thinker.” Academics like Clarita Carlos and Richard Heydarian commend his strong, savvy leadership.

If they are right, why is there a glaring disconnect between certain aspects of the President’s domestic and foreign policies? Briefly, why is he a roaring lion against those who oppose him (here and abroad) and a surprisingly quiet lamb toward China, where the drugs originate, and which continues to squat on vast areas of our 200-mile exclusive economic zone, despite the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that invalidates Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea?

The disconnect is crystal when one considers the following:

While the President obviously sees China as a great power destined to replace America’s declining superpower status, the realities on the ground say otherwise. China’s gleaming cities, high-end industries, ports, and First-World infrastructures are located on its narrow prosperous coasts. What few see is the other side of China beyond that crescent of prosperity, where a billion people still live in impoverished conditions and have to make do with less than $3.50 a day.

With the European Union shattering, triggered by the terrorist threat and the exodus of refugees from war-torn Middle Eastern countries, combined with a stagnant US economy still recovering from the 2008 crash of Wall Street, China, whose export-driven economy depends largely on the EU and US markets, has been hit very hard. The result? Economic dislocations such as stocks and real estate bubbles, ghost towns, shuttered malls, rising social unrest, resurfacing regional animosities, and soaring debt caused by stimulus packages to perk up the economy. The marked slowdown in the economy prompted even China’s second richest man, real-estate billionaire Wang Jianlin, to warn of the “biggest bubble in history.”

Such gloomy developments are bound to undermine China’s ambitious economic diplomacy, led by its multibillion-dollar “One Belt, One Road” projects.

So, is it really worth it to cozy up to China at the expense of our deep ties with America, which also happens to be our second largest export market? And which helps keep our economy afloat through the remittances of three million Filipinos living there? The mandarins are masters in strategy and tactics, and their hallmarks are stealth and illusion. The most President Xi Jinping will do—and appear generous in the process—is to allow Filipinos to fish again at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal. China will never give up its illegal occupation of areas within its “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea because it considers it vital to its national security.

And what is the heavy price we have to pay for getting a few Chinese-funded projects and being allowed to fish again in our traditional fishing grounds? Not to venture beyond our 12-mile territorial sea and thus violate our Constitution’s mandate to protect the Philippine EEZ, which is far larger than our land area (and may contain immense riches in energy, food, and minerals)? Downgrade our military ties with America?

Consider the dark clouds now hovering over Europe and Asia, reminiscent of conditions that preceded World War II: the Eurasian landmass seething in a cauldron of interacting crises. Even a layman could argue convincingly that the United States would be the least affected by this gathering global storm and thus remain, in the foreseeable decades, the most stable and powerful country in the world because its diversified, resilient economy has only 13 percent exports vis-à-vis GDP, and two of its largest trading partners are its neighbors, Canada and Mexico.

America is also geographically blessed, having two of the world’s largest oceans as buffers from invaders—barriers that have shielded it from the two global land conflicts that ravaged Europe and Asia.

If the future will shine much brighter on America than on China, why should Mr. Duterte jeopardize our relations with it? Isn’t it far better for our country’s wellbeing and future to improve our relations with China without losing our old friends?

Narciso Reyes Jr. (ngreyes1640@hotmail.com) is an international book author and former diplomat. He lived in Beijing in 1978-81 as bureau chief of the Philippine News Agency.

VIDEO : Duterte eyes cooperation with Vietnam in sea row, war on drugs
Duterte eyes cooperation with Vietnam in sea row, war on drugs
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 (Who Knows More on Extrajudicial Killings and Torture than China?)

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ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Funeral parlor workers lift the body of one of the two drug suspects who were killed in an alleged shootout with police in Barangay Bonuan Tondaligan in Dagupan City on Monday. RAY B.ZAMBRANO/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

 

PO3 Michael Manalad was wearing his uniform when he was found dead in Barangay Ubihan, Meycauayan in Bulacan yesterday morning. BOY CRUZ
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Photo: Philippines — Dead bodies pile up after President Duterte Calls For Open Season On Drug Criminals

 

Philippines accuses Beijing of secret island building, releases photos of Chinese boats at disputed Scarborough Shoal

September 8, 2016

The Philippines released photos Wednesday to back its claims that China had secretly begun work to cement control over a crucial shoal in the hotly contested South China Sea.

The release of the images, which claimed to show Chinese ships preparing to build an artificial island on Scarborough Shoal, came hours ahead of a meeting between Southeast Asian leaders and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Laos.

China this week insisted it had not launched any efforts to begin construction at the shoal, which has enormous strategic importance for Beijing’s ambitions to control the sea and weaken US military influence in the region.

 A photo one of the 10 Chinese ships spotted around Scarborough Shoal. Photo: Department of National Defence

But the Philippines said the images showed Chinese ships at the shoal last weekend that were capable of dredging sand and other activities required to build an artificial island.

“We have reason to believe that their presence is a precursor to building activities on the shoal,” defence department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said in a text message.

“We are continuing our surveillance and monitoring of their presence and activities, which are disturbing.”

China claims nearly all of the sea, through which $5 trillion in shipping trade passes annually, even waters approaching the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

The competing territorial claims have long been a major source of tension in the region, with China using deadly force twice to seize control of islands from Vietnam.

 Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, who is in Laos for a major regional summit. Photo: AP

Concerns have escalated sharply in recent years as China has built artificial islands on reefs and islets in the Spratlys archipelago – another strategically important location – that are capable of supporting military operations.

An artificial island at Scarborough Shoal would potentially give China a military base close to where US forces regularly operate on the Philippine main island of Luzon, which is just 230 kilometres away.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had said he did not want to anger China by highlighting the territorial row at the summit of regional leaders in Laos this week.

 Boats at Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea are shown in this handout photo provided by Planet Labs, and captured on March 12, 2016. Photo: Reuters

But the release of the photos came just a few hours before Duterte and other leaders from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations met China’s Li.

A UN-backed tribunal ruled in July that China’s claims to almost all of the sea had no legal basis and its construction of artificial islands in disputed waters was illegal.

China has vowed to ignore the ruling.

US President Barack Obama is also in Laos for the regional meetings, which will conclude on Thursday with an East Asia summit.

 A US Air Force Short C-23A Sherpa C-23A Sherpa aircraft. The United States is giving the Philippines two used military aircraft to help Manila expand sea patrols. Photo: Wikipedia

The United States is giving the Philippines two used military aircraft, the coast guard said Wednesday, to help Manila expand sea patrols in the face of territorial disputes with China.

The two Sherpa 30-seater aircraft will be delivered in December, Philippine coast guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said.

“It will help us in the movements of the Philippine Coast Guard like patrol missions,” Balilo added.

The announcement came days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday sparked a major diplomatic row with Manila’s longtime treaty ally the United States by branding President Barack Obama a “son of a whore”.

Duterte said Tuesday he regretted the tirade, sparked by the US leader’s plan to raise the issue of extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s war on crime.

Manila, which has one of Asia’s weakest militaries, has been trying to improve defence ties with its former colonial ruler Washington and other allies.

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2017130/philippines-accuses-beijing-secret-island-building-releases

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On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid.On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China’s nine dash line claim was not valid.

Duterte, Obama briefly talk before ASEAN dinner

September 7, 2016

By Marlon Ramos
Philippine Inquirer

12:06 AM September 8th, 2016

 

 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Barack Obama, right, during the gala dinner of ASEAN leaders and its Dialogue Partners in the ongoing 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and other related summits at the National Convention Center Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 in Vientiane, Laos.

VIENTIANE — President Duterte briefly spoke with US President Barack Obama ahead of the gala dinner for state leaders attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit on Wednesday night.

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Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the two leaders met at the holding room of the National Convention Center.
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“I think they were able to iron out the issue,” Jose told reporters without elaborating.
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An Associated Press report said that Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay has told reporters, “I am confirming that they met.”
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Yasay said: “I am happy. This shows that the relationship between the two allies is strong.”
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Before flying here on Monday, Mr. Duterte lashed out at Obama with profanities over the American president’s plan to bring up the issue over the rising drug-related killings in the Philippines since he took office on June 30.
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Mr. Duterte’s outburst prompted Washington to cancel the bilateral meeting between the two leaders on Tuesday. SFM

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http://globalnation.inquirer.net/144240/duterte-obama-briefly-talk-before-asean-dinner#ixzz4JavhApbS

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