Posts Tagged ‘Philippine territory’

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

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 (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.

China alarmed, angered by Philippine government, military visit to Pag-asa Island — “We are gravely concerned about and dissatisfied with this.” — South China Sea Being Run By China Upon Oral Agreement With Philippine President Duterte

April 22, 2017
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (3L) gestures as he and military chief Eduardo Ano (R) inspect the runway of the airport during a visit to Thitu island in The Spratlys on April 21, 2017. Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana flew to a disputed South China Sea island on April 21, brushing off a challenge by the Chinese military while asserting Manila’s territorial claim to the strategic region. AFP/Ted Aljibe

BEIJING (Philippines News Agency) – China has lodged representations with the Philippine side following a visit by the Filipino defense and military officials in Pag-asa Island, according to the spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry.

”Gravely concerned about and dissatisfied with this, China has lodged representations with the Philippine side,” Lu Kang said in a press statement posted on China’s Foreign Ministry Affairs website.

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 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang. File photo. Peace and Freedom screengrab

Last Friday, Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Año, along with other military officials, visited Pag-asa Island, a Philippine-occupied territory that is part of the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

Lu said the move of the Philippines defense and military officials has negated the important consensus reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

”This move runs counter to the important consensus reached between the two leadership, which is to properly deal with the South China Sea issue,” Lu said.

Lu said China is hoping that the Philippine government would continue to cherish a five-decade China-Philippines bilateral relations which rejuvenated under the leadership of Duterte.

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. The Chinese say they are enforcing fishing rules in the South China Sea now. Renato Etac

”We hope that the Philippine side could faithfully follow the consensus reached between the two leadership, maintain general peace and stability in the South China Sea, and promote the sound and steady development of China-Philippine relations,” he said.

Since Duterte’s visit in China last year, Lu said China and the Philippines have been keeping good communication to properly manage and resolve the maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

”We hope that this momentum can continue,” the Chinese foreign ministry official said.

In media reports, Lorenza described the trip to Pag-asa Island as a “normal visit within our territory”.

”We believe and we know that this is our territory and I am just visiting to look at the conditions of our people here,” the top Filipino defense official said.

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Above: While Lorenzana visited Pag-asa Island he personally witnessed the presence from a distance of four to five Chinese Coast Guard ships

Pag-asa Island was occupied by the Philippines in the late 1960s and is categorized as a fifth-class municipality of Palawan province.

Lorenza has revealed a plan to set aside at least P1.6 billion to develop Pag-asa Island and a proposal by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to build a fish port in the area.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/22/1692807/china-alarmed-philippine-military-execs-visit-pag-asa-island

Related:

 (The problem of Islamic rebels in the Philippines — Real or Not?)
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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Despite all this:

In this July 14, 2016, file photo, Marcopolo Tam, a member of a pro-China business group in Hong Kong, points to what is now known as the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on a Japanese World War II-era map purporting to support China’s claims to vast parts of the South China Sea, in Hong Kong. AP/Kin Cheung, File

South China Sea: Philippines acting like a colony or a lackey of China

April 21, 2017

Peace and Freedom Commentary

Philippine media reports today detail the level of control China has on the South China Sea.

The Philippine Defense Secretary could not fly in sovereign air space over sovereign sea toward a sovereign Philippine island without first answering a challenge from the Chinese military.

Filipino fishermen are required to follow the instructions of Chinese fishing supervisors. The Philippine Star reported on April 22, 2017 that Chinese fired warning shots near Filipino fishermen at Union Bank recently. The Filipino fishermen scurried away to save their own skins — without any fish.

From Pag-asa island, a possession of the Philippines, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana observed four to five Chinese Coast Guard ships.

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The Filipinos most knowledgeable of the situation at Pag-asa refer to one side of the island as “the dangerous side” or the “Chinese side.”

Sounds like the well know Chinese plan of salami slicing — that is, incrementally taking liberties including encroaching on sovereign territory and rights until Chinese full ownership is fait accompli — has worked wonders in the Philippines. The Chinese method of “talk and take” has worked marvelously. If Filipinos can’t fish in their own sovereign sea, what hope has the Philippines of “sharing” with China any oil and gas from beneath the sea?

Philippine news reports seem to be telling us that a large swath of the South China Sea is already turning into a Chinese lake.

And the Philippines seems to be turning into a Chinese colony or vacation destination or lackey — without any true rights or sovereignty of its own.

My family has loved the Philippines for decades. But now that rule of law is no longer honored and enforced, we’ll retreat to safer ground. Or learn to speak Chinese.

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Related:

 (The problem of Islamic rebels in the Philippines — Real or Not?)
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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Despite all this:

In this July 14, 2016, file photo, Marcopolo Tam, a member of a pro-China business group in Hong Kong, points to what is now known as the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on a Japanese World War II-era map purporting to support China’s claims to vast parts of the South China Sea, in Hong Kong. AP/Kin Cheung, File

Chinese challenge Philippines defense chief’s plane (If another sovereign power can question why you are in your own sovereign air or sea space your own sovereign power is worthless)

April 21, 2017
Chinese structures and an airstrip on Zamora or Subi Reef in the Spratly islands in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane yesterday. AP

MANILA, Philippines – A military aircraft flying Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año over the West Philippine Sea received a warning yesterday from Chinese forces to leave the airspace.

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 transport aircraft was circling over Zamora or Subi Reef for its final approach to the unpaved Rancudo airfield on Pag-Asa Island in the Spratlys when it received a radio warning from the Chinese to stay away from the area.

The PAF pilot responded that the aircraft was flying in Philippine airspace.

Lorenzana downplayed the incident. “It’s already normal because each time our planes conduct resupply operations here they are challenged (by the Chinese),” he said.

“We replied that we are flying over Philippine territory,” Lorenzana later told reporters.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the Chinese told the Filipino pilots to stay away from Subi to avoid a miscalculation.

“As before, (the pilots) were once again challenged as they made their pattern of landing,” Padilla said.

From being merely a “seabed” in “international waters” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Subi Reef has metamorphosed into a bustling artificial island, with massive structures, a 3,000-meter runway, two ports, gun emplacements, and radar domes.

There were reports the Chinese have installed a missile defense system on the reef. Based on UNCLOS, there can be no territorial waters for features built on the seabed. Subi Reef is about 40 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island.

With Lorenzana and Año on the plane were Army commanding general Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda, Western Command (Wescom) commander Lt. Gen. Raul del Rosario, and other AFP officials and members of the media. The aircraft touched down at around 8 a.m. The DND chief attended a flag ceremony along with 45 military officials and personnel stationed on the island.

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. Renato Etac

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The group, with Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez and representatives of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), toured the island.

On the West side of Pag-asa facing the West Philippine Sea, Lorenzana personally witnessed the presence from a distance of four to five Chinese Coast Guard ships.

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Above: Lorenzana personally witnessed the presence from a distance of four to five Chinese Coast Guard ships

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it welcomed efforts of the Department of National Defense and the AFP to secure Pag-asa Island.

“We defer to the DND and the Armed Forces on how best to fulfill their Constitutional mandates with respect to improving the safety, welfare, livelihood and personal security of Filipinos in the Palawan municipality of Kalayaan,” the DFA said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana touring Pag-asa Island near the reef. The visit yesterday was aimed to assert the country’s claim to the heartland of a disputed area where China is believed to have added missiles on man-made islands. A UN court has invalidated China’s territorial claim in the South China Sea. The dispute is expected to be discussed at the 20th Asean summit next week.
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‘Unsafe side’

Soldiers assigned on Pag-asa island told The STAR they call the Eastern side of the island the Philippine side and the Western part the “unsafe side” as they wouldn’t want to call it the Chinese side.

In remarks, Lorenzana assured government troops the administration of President Duterte and the AFP are looking after their welfare despite the Chinese menace.

The Chinese, he explained, “believe that this is theirs, they protest to say that they do not want what we are doing here.”

The Philippines maintains that the island group including Pag-asa is part of its territory, which Filipinos occupied as early as the late 1960s, and on which a runway was built in 1975.

“I don’t think I should give them any message. This is just a normal visit within our territory, we believe and we know that this is our territory and I am just visiting to look at the conditions of our people here,” Lorenzana said.

Reacting to China’s challenging the PAF’s flight over Subi, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the administration takes seriously the Chinese action.

“We mind and we respond appropriately. We have our challenges and answers where protocols to be made if it is bad enough that that could be the basis for some note verbales,” Esperon said after President Duterte’s visit to Russian ship Varyag yesterday.

“A challenge is not something that is really positive. But a challenge could be just to identify yourself but it could also mean that you’re challenging because you think that’s your territory,” he added.

Asked if Duterte would go to Pag-asa island in the future, Esperon said: “In the future? Let me answer you that in the future.”

Pressed if the President would spend a night in the island, the national security adviser replied: “Why not? But not now.”

Meanwhile, Loranzana also revealed the administration has set aside at least P1.6 billion to develop Pag-asa.

He said the building of a beaching ramp would be prioritized and hopefully done by July this year so that construction materials like gravel and cement as well as heavy equipment could be brought to the island by sea.

He told reporters in a press briefing that BFAR also intends to build a fish port in the area.

The government also wants to put up a radio station, an ice plant, water desalination facility, homes for soldiers stationed in the island, and put up a sewage system.

“We will develop this into a tourism area and marine research (facility),” Lorenzana said.

“These are our plans, the plans of the President and he said do it now and do not delay. That’s why we are here now,” he stressed.

“We’ve been here since 1971, and our flag has been planted way back in the 1970s. We were here first, the others just followed,” he said of the country’s claim on the Kalayaan Islands.

Lorenzana said the development of Pag-asa has long been delayed because of the arbitration case filed by the Philippines that resulted in a moratorium on the implementation of projects.

The DND chief said President Duterte’s treatment of China shows that he is just trying to develop friends around the neighborhood.

“China is the most powerful country in our neighborhood, economically and militarily, and we are trying to manage the issue and talk to them one-on-one bilaterally, settle this dispute in the South China Sea,” he said.

“I believe that the President is right in talking to the Chinese leadership on how to manage the issue here in South China Sea,” he added.

The second biggest island next only to the Taiwanese-occupied Itu Aba, Pag-asa is a fifth class municipality in Palawan exercising overall jurisdiction over the country’s regime of islands in the disputed Spratlys region.

Lorenzana’s trip to Pag-asa came only a day after reports came out about Chinese coast guards firing warning shots to drive a group of Bataan-based Filipino fishermen from Union Bank. The incident, which reportedly happened on March 27, involved Chinese coast guards securing the reclaimed Gaven Reef.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo confirmed receiving information about the Chinese harassment of Filipino fishermen around Union Bank.

He said a Chinese coast guard speedboat with guns and carrying seven personnel fired shots at the fishing boat Princess Johann, which is owned and operated by Dionisio Cabacungan.

The Chinese reportedly fired warning shots when the Filipino boat dropped anchor some two nautical miles from Union Bank. The crew panicked, cut off their anchor line and fled the area.

Balilo said they were not able to interview the fishermen as they had already returned to the sea. “We were only able to communicate with them via radio. But according to the boat captain, the Chinese Coast Guard did not directly fire shots at them,” he said.

Vietnamese and Chinese forces have already occupied most of the maritime features within the Union Bank, a wide body of submerged features right within the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping maritime claims in the region. Only Brunei has no military presence in the areas it claims.  – With Evelyn Macairan, Helen Flores, Alexis Romero

Related:

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/22/1692733/chinese-challenge-philippines-defense-chiefs-plane

Preace and Freedom OPINION: By disregarding human rights law and international norms, and by ignoring international law entirely in the South China Sea, the Philippines has demonstrated itself to be a lawness land — and is starting to reap what it has sown which will be its own horrific reward — a situation likely to continue until rule of law is restored — if it can be.

Related:

 (The problem of Islamic rebels in the Philippines — Real or Not?)
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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Despite all this:

In this July 14, 2016, file photo, Marcopolo Tam, a member of a pro-China business group in Hong Kong, points to what is now known as the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on a Japanese World War II-era map purporting to support China’s claims to vast parts of the South China Sea, in Hong Kong. AP/Kin Cheung, File

China challenges Philippine military aircraft over South China Sea — China rehearsing for a South China Sea ADIZ?

April 21, 2017
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Philippine Air Force C295 cargo plane at Clark Air Base. PAF photo
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PAGASA ISLAND, Philippines — China challenged two Philippine military planes on its way to the Philippine-claimed Pagasa Island (Thitu) on Friday here in the disputed South China Sea.

The two planes, a C-295 and a C-130 transport plane, that were warned by China to stay away were carrying Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and top military officials.

The pilots of the C-295 reported that they were challenged at the periphery of Chinese-controlled Subi Reef near landing, Armed Forces spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said. Padilla was onboard the plane with AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año.

The plane, during such incidents, is told it is entering Chinese territory and should stay away to avoid miscalculation.

Lorenzana, who was onboard the C-130, downplayed the incident, and said it is just protocol.

“Automatic yan, protocol yan. We also replied that we are flying over Philippine territory. Challenge yan, may sagutan pa rin pero wala namang untoward incident na nangyari,” he said.

(That is automatic. That is protocol. We also replied that we are flying over Philippine territory. They challenged us. There are a series of replies but no untoward incident happened.)

“Normal na yan tuwing punta (That is normal every time we visit). They always challenge and we always tell them we are flying in a Philippine territory,” he added.

Lorenzana is the first defense chief to visit the largest island claim of the Philippines in the Spratlys in the South China Sea in almost 20 years.

He toured the island to inspect the facilities that needed repair./rga

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/155151/china-warns-ph-military-planes-south-china-sea#ixzz4etGI2Pqy
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Defense experts have long said China would like to control all sea and air traffic on and over the South China Sea. This incident between China and Philippine Air Force aircraft makes one wonder if China is rehearing to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea.

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Philippines Has Big Plans for Pag-asa Island

/ 04:02 PM April 21, 2017

Photo from Frances Mangosing

PAG-ASA ISLAND, South China Sea—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana flew to Pag-asa Island (Thitu) on Friday, the first defense chief to visit the Philippine-claimed territory in the disputed sea in nearly 20 years.

He was joined by top military officials to tour the island and inspect the facilities that need to be repaired.

“Kami ay nandito para tingnan ‘yung lugar dahil maraming gustong ipagawa ang ating mahal na Presidente. Meron tayong nakalaang pera rito para maayos natin ang ating runway,” he told the military personnel deployed and residents of the island.

(We are here to inspect the place because the President wants repairs done here. We have allotted funds to fix the runway.)

READ: Duterte: Occupy PH islands in South China Sea

The Rancudo airfield is an unpaved 1.3-kilometer airstrip that is dangerous for landing big military

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/155161/coming-soon-extended-runway-better-facilities-pag-asa-island#ixzz4etHcR1x7
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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

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Philippines: President Duterte Foes Amend Impeachment Complaint, Call Duterte Stance on China ‘Dereliction of Duty’

March 20, 2017
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday. Philstar.com/File photo
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MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that his group is considering  filing a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly being subservient to China.
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Alejano’s statement came after Duterte claimed last week that he allowed China to send survey ships to Benham Rise as part of an agreement.
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The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
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In an interview on CNN’s ‘The Source,’ Alejano said that the president’s action is a matter of national security since there is a conflict of interest with China on the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims.
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“We’re talking about national interest here, we’re talking about national security here because we have a clear conflict of interest in West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
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China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
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An international tribunal however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China, saying that China’s “nine-dash line” claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has no basis.
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In a speech on Sunday, Duterte also said that he cannot stop China from setting up a reported monitoring station in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc.
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“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
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Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
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Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
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“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
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He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
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 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

Philippine President Duterte Seeking Allies For At Sea Code of Conduct

March 20, 2017
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Duterte is welcomed by his Myanmar counterpart U Htin Kyaw at the Presidential Palace in the capital Naypyitaw yesterday. Duterte flew to Bangkok, Thailand last night. AP

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to avoid tension in disputed areas in the South China Sea, President Duterte called for support for the approval of a Code of Conduct (COC) among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It’s very important for China and the rest of the nations, especially the ASEAN, to come up with a Code of Conduct,” Duterte said in a press briefing in Myanmar on Sunday night.

The President also pitched for the COC while he was in Myanmar, which was part of the last leg of his introductory tour of Southeast Asia in the run-up to the ASEAN summit this November in Manila.

The Declaration on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed by all members of ASEAN and China on Nov. 4, 2002. It lists the principles of self-restraint and non-militarization.

Duterte said he would invoke the arbitral ruling favoring Philippine claims if China starts gathering mineral resources from the disputed areas.

“Kung ang China kukuha na sila ng mga oil o uranium (If China starts getting oil or uranium) or whatever that’s inside the bowels of the sea, kalabitin ko sila (I will do something). Ako man rin ang may-ari niyan (We own it). You claim it by historical right, but by judgment I won and it’s mine,” he said.

But Duterte again admitted that the Philippines cannot stop China from building a radar station at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal because the Philippine military is no match for Chinese armed forces. And he cannot allow Filipino soldiers to go to disputed areas to avoid casualties.

“First hour pa lang ubos na ‘yun (they are finished already). We are not in a position to declare war,” he said.

“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I will have to confront you about the arbitral ruling and that would be maybe, during the time when you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” he added.

Duterte also claimed that the United States is also “scared” of China.

“Hindi nga natin mapigilan kasi hindi natin kaya ang China. Hindi nga mapigilan ng Amerikano. In the first place, sa umpisa pa lang niyan, hindi na pumunta ang Amerikano, natakot na (We cannot stop China. Even the Americans cannot stop it. In the first place, from the start America did not respond, they got scared right away),” he said.

He noted that what the Philippines has right now are only entitlements.

“Just entitlement, not territory. I said repeatedly it is not within our territorial waters. But what we are trying to achieve is that we are also recognized to own the entitlements,” he said.

“The structures have nothing to do with the economic zone. It might impede but actually it’s a construction that would disturb the navigation of the sea,” he added.

Despite China’s excessive claims, Duterte said he is working to further bolster economic and trade ties between Manila and Beijing.

Defend Panatag

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded Duterte that he has the constitutional duty to defend Panatag Shoal from Chinese incursion.

Carpio also formulated a five-point strategy on how the Duterte administration can respond to China’s reported plan to install a radar station in the disputed shoal.

The magistrate explained that Panatag is part of the national territory under Republic Act No. 9522 or Philippine Baselines Law and should be defended to “preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea.”

But he stressed that since the Philippines cannot match the military power of China, Duterte may opt for other actions to defend the country’s sovereignty over the shoal and fulfill his duty as president.

First, Carpio suggested that the government should file a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

“This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels,” he added.

The PCA ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries and nullified China’s nine-dash line claim over South China Sea. The justice said the government could also send the Philippine Navy to patrol the shoal.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” he suggested.

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Philippines: Supreme Court Associate Justice reminds President Rodrigo Duterte to avoid waiving Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory

March 20, 2017
By: – Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 12:51 PM March 20, 2017
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Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
A Filipino fishing vessel ventures into the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. —REM ZAMORA

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded President Rodrigo Duterte to avoid any statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.

“This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their natural patrimony in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio said.

Carpio’s statement came after Duterte said he cannot stop China from implementing its plan to build structures on the disputed Panatag Shoal for now.

In 2012, China seized Panatag Shoal or the Scarborough Shoal after a tense standoff between Chinese and Filipino vessels. China denied Filipino fishermen access to Scarborough’s rich fish stock.

Filipinos have been able to go back to Scarborough after Duterte reached out to Beijing and restored good diplomatic ties, which were damaged when President Benigno Aquino III tried to forcefully enforce Philippine authority on the shoal.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries.

Duterte said if the US was not able to stop China, what could the Philippines do?

Carpio said Duterte was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces which is tasked by the Constitution to defend the country’s territory.

He pointed out that under Republic Act 9522 or the Philippines’ Baseline Law, Scarborough Shoal is part of the Philippine territory.

Carpio said since the Philippines was no match to China militarily, the President could fulfill his constitutional duty by doing any, some or all of the following:

  • File a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity.

“This is the least that the President should do,” Carpio said.

Carpio said that is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels.

  • Send the Philippine Navy to patrol Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio said if the Chinese attack the Philippine navy vessels, the country can invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea.

  • Ask the United States to declare that Scarborough Shoal is part of Philippine territory for purposes of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty since the shoal has been part of  Philippine territory even during the American colonial period.

The high court’s Senior magistrate and an expert in the maritime dispute with China said “the US has declared the Senkakus as part of Japanese territory for purposes of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty.”

  • Accept the standing US offer to hold joint naval patrols in the South China Sea, which includes Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio said “this will demonstrate joint Philippine and US demonstration to prevent China from building on Scarborough Shoal.”

Aquino earlier tried to use the Navy to assert the rights of the Philippines over Scarborough, but China responded by sending more of its ships to the shoal.

China also began building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, which is reportedly already being militarized by Beijing.

The US has conducted patrols and freedom of navigation exercises in the West Philippine Sea but has not stopped China from reportedly arming its artificial islands. CBB/rga

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/882226/carpio-cautions-duterte-on-statements-about-west-philippine-sea#ixzz4bqE16wZP
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No automatic alt text available.

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

Related:

China ‘blatantly disregarding’ code of conduct, agreements it made in South China Sea

March 12, 2015

 (philstar.com) |

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MANILA, Philippines – China’s reclamation in the West Philippine Sea reflects its “blatant disregard” of the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of claimants involved in the territorial row, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Thursday.

photo 1-12

DND spokesman Peter Galvez noted that the DOC signed in 2002 clearly prohibits activities that would cause tensions and change the status quo in disputed areas.

“We’re so worried. From the start, this has caused serious concern. But we are holding on to our diplomatic protest and the arbitration to address these issues,” Galvez said in an interview.

“This is an indisputable proof of blatant disregard of the agreement reached with China,” he added, referring to the DOC.

Galvez said he has seen photos showing mall-like structures being built in Burgos (Gaven) and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reefs. Both reefs are located within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines has new neighbors

“In Cuarteron, the building is as huge as MoA (Mall of Asia). They also built an airstrip. In Gaven, the structure is as huge as (SM) North Edsa,” Galvez said.

Galvez said the photos were only taken last month. He maintained that the Philippines would continue to adhere to the DOC while asserting its territorial rights through peaceful means.

China has stepped up construction projects in disputed areas to assert its territorial claim, which spans virtually the entire West Philippine Sea.

The Asian superpower is achieving significant progress in its construction projects in Kennan (Hughes), Mabini (Johnson South) and Burgos (Gaven) Reefs, areas that are within Philippine territory.

Photo: A Chinese Coast Guard ship watches over China’s oil rig HS 981 China near Vietnam in May 2014. The Vietnamese government complained that the rig was in Vietnamese waters but could nothing to chase China away in the face of hundreds of Chinese vessels.

The Philippines, one of the weakest in the region in terms of military might, has challenged China’s “excessive” territorial claim before an international arbitral tribunal.

The Chinese government has defended the reclamation in disputed areas, saying these are not directed against any country.

“We are not like some countries which have carried out ‘illegal building’ in other people’s home, and we won’t accept unwarranted remarks about work on our own home,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a recent press conference in Beijing.

Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, gives a press conference following an NPC meeting on Mar. 8. Photo by Xinhua
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The Philippines has been reporting on China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea. Here: A China Jianghu class frigate on patrol

A Chinese amphibious transport warship of the Yuting II class

China dredger Tian Jing Hao

Chinese fishermen

Related:

 (Contains links to several related articles)

 (Contains links to other related articles)

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A screenshot of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly that shows China’s reclamation work is well advanced on several reefs in the Spratly Islands in the East Sea, the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea.
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Reclamation: China has already turned a worthless piece of coral into an island big enough for an airstrip at Fiery Cross reef in the South China Sea

Screenshot of a Chinese Coast Guard vessel ramming a Vietnamese vessel in May 2014

China has already established an East China Sea ADIZ as depicted in the cart above

China says it owns all the South China Sea north of the “nine dash line” shown above

China claims ownership of about 90% of the South China Sea. Most of China’s neighbors believe otherwise.

The chart below shows the area declared by China on 1 January 2014 as “an area under China’s jurisdiction.” China says “foreign fishing vessels” can only enter and work in this area with prior approval from China. Vietnam, the Philippines and others have said they will not comply with China’s law. Experts say, this could be the geographic area that China could declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ).