Posts Tagged ‘West Philippine Sea’

South China Sea: Philippines Needs To Take Control of Its Own Fishing, Biology Professor says– “Who Cares More About Our Food, Fish and Environment?”

April 24, 2017

THE Philippines may be enjoying close relations with China, but the country must now advance its own fisheries-management policies in the disputed South China Sea (SCS), a research recommended.

In a study by the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute, Maria Carmen A. Lagman said the Philippines must reinforce the ruling of the arbitral tribunal on the country’s case against China. Lagman, who is also biology professor at the De La Salle University, said the Philippines must insist on a national and regional fisheries-management agenda in the SCS.

The advocacy, which was aimed at addressing the challenges of food security, environment protection and climate change, would require the Philippines and other countries encircling the SCS to establish transboundary marine parks or areas of joint protection, Lagman wrote in the study, titled “Converging on the Fisheries in the South China Sea”. She added the Philippines and other countries should also bring into discussions other international policy instruments and develop regional-level policies targeted toward small-scale fisheries.

Lagman said these options are becoming more than ever urgent because failure to manage the fisheries in the SCS could lead to exploitation of marine life in the area.

Citing data from another research, Lagman reported fisheries landing in the SCS in 2015 amounted to 10 million tons (MT), which was 12 percent of the total global catch.

Likely underestimated

LAGMAN said “this data is likely to be underestimated” and it might even increase to 16.6 MT if catch from subsistence, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing are included.

Fisheries-trade figures said the SCS contribute 11 MT to 17 MT in traded fisheries catch annually, with a landed value of no less than $12 billion. This translates to over 3 million jobs associated with fishing activities.

“With so much at stake,” Lagman said, “it is no wonder that control of the fisheries [in the SCS] will definitely be a source of economic and political tension.”

However, she argued that other countries with claims over the SCS should also come up with a focused set of policy instruments on small-scale fisheries, which was seen to be the practical alternative to industrial fishing.

Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, sky, outdoor and water

A Filipino fisherman wades from boat to shore with part of the crew’s catch. Fishermen who go to the South China Sea report that their catches have gotten smaller in recent years. PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM DEAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Lagman said small-scale fishers lose income when commercial vessels intrude their fishing areas, as these boats make use of abusive catching tools—trawls, ring nets and purse seines—that virtually harvest all organisms.

The unregulated business of industrial fishing in the SCS led to the collapse in a number of large predatory fish, according to the study. The latter, which include tunas and groupers, are now slowly replaced by smaller fish highly reliant on zooplankton, like the tilapia and crawfish.

Spatially explicit

LAGMAN said overfished stocks would result to the phenomenon known as “fishing down the food web”, highlighted by a reduction in the quality and size of catch.

Lagman surmised the reduction in catch quality and size were already factored in by countries surrounding the SCS, as they have seen a decrease in demersal and pelagic fish stocks over the past decades.

The maximum sustainable yield (MSY) of the Philippines, Vietnam, east Malaysia and southern China has long been exceeded since the late-1980s, the study said. The MSY is seen as the threshold, and hence, immediate and substantial action must be taken to secure the harvested stock. The study said exhaustion of the MSY is reason enough for countries contending over the SCS to discuss the convergence of the fisheries in the area.

“The fish are a common resource for the countries in the SCS,” Lagman said. “Unless effort is taken to accommodate the transboundary nature of the resources, managing them would not be effective.”

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

China:  A dock worker uses a mallet to dislodge frozen tuna aboard a Chinese cargo vessel docked at the city of General Santos in the Philippines. The cargo vessel spends up to two months at sea with a fleet of a dozen tuna boats working to fill its freezer.PHOTOGRAPH BY ADAM DEAN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

She noted that fisheries policies in many of the disputing countries were almost, if not fully, spatially-explicit.

Citing the Philippines, the country declared some of its key fishing grounds closed seasons for commercial fishing. These included the East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay to sardine fishing, selected areas of the Visayan Sea to sardines, herring and mackerels and the West Philippine Sea to Northern Sulu Sea to round scad fishing.

Strategy focus

JUDGING by the oceanographic features of the SCS, Lagman pinpointed the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal as the sources of the area’s propagules and, therefore, should be the focus of management strategies.

Lagman also raised concern over the effects of pollution, siltation, destructive fishing and eutrophication resulting from human activities on the coastline, as this would contaminate the mangroves, sea grass meadows and coral reefs in the SCS. Already threatened by coastal activities that deposit sediments, nutrients and effluents, the SCS is further jeopardized by destructive fishing practices that make use of trawls, push nets, dynamite and poison.

In addition, about $5.3 trillion of trade courses through the SCS every year, with the aspiration that no accident will occur, such as the Guimaras oil spill in 2006, when a tanker carrying 2 million liters of bunker fuel sank at the Guimaras Strait, damaging biodiversity-rich areas in the Philippines.

This is why the aggression of China on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands is a cause of concern for biologists, as Beijing was seen building seven new islands in the area by moving sediment from the seafloor to the reef.

“Reefs have been destroyed outright to serve as foundations for these new islands, causing long-term extensive damage to the environment,” Lagman added.

http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/phl-should-take-charge-of-fisheries-in-the-south-china-sea-research/

Related:

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 (Philippine Star)

 — From March 25, 2017 with links to other related articles

 

 (National Geographic on the South China Sea)

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China’s Tian Jing Hao – Cutter suction dredger — Used to destroy South China Sea coral reefs to provide dredge material for new man made- islands — an environmental disaster

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The End of an era?  Fishermen work to unload a net full of anchovies during a fishing expedition in the Pacific Ocean. Photo AP

South China Sea: Chinese warship harassed fishers from the Philippines, fired shots, lawmaker says — Philippine Government Not Being Truthful?

April 24, 2017

Magdalo Party-List Representative Gary C. AlejanoINQUIRER PHOTO / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

It was China’s Navy and not its Coast Guard that fired shots to drive away Filipino fishermen from Union Banks in the heavily disputed Spratly archipelago on April 9, making the incident more unsettling than previously thought, a lawmaker said on Sunday.

“According to the initial reports, it was the Chinese Coast Guard that was involved in the Union Banks incident. However, in our meeting with the fishermen themselves, we [learned] that it was actually a Chinese Navy ship [that was involved],” Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said in a statement.

Alejano, a former Marine officer, expressed concern that China’s aggressive action in the Spratlys was carried out by a “gray ship.”

The term “gray ship” refers to the navy of any country. “White ship” refers to the coast guard.

Different missions

Alejano emphasized the difference between the missions of the navy and coast guard.

The coast guard is tasked with enforcing maritime law and to conduct search and rescue, while the navy is tasked with fighting for the country at sea during war, he said.

Alejano warned: “The aggressive act of the Chinese Navy could trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty and there is a danger that the situation may escalate.”

Under the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States, an attack on a Philippine vessel in Philippine waters is an attack on the United States.

The United States has repeatedly said its commitment to defend the Philippines is “ironclad.”

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including waters within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) called West Philippine Sea.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims in the South China Sea, where $5 trillion in global trade passes every year and where islets, reefs and atolls are believed to be sitting atop vast energy reserves.

Union Banks is a large drowned atoll located 230 km west of Palawan, well within the Philippines’ EEZ.

According to a television report last week, the incident happened on April 9 near Gavin Reef (international name: Gaven Reef), one of the reefs in Union Banks claimed by the Philippines but occupied and had been built on by China.

Alejano traveled to Mariveles in Bataan province on Saturday to look for the fishermen and their boat, the Princess Johanna. He found them in Sisiman village, Mariveles, and they told him that a big gray ship watched as a gray speedboat came at them firing warning shots.

Alejano showed the fishermen photographs of Chinese Navy ships and the People’s Liberation Army uniform, and they told him both resembled what they had seen at Union Banks.

Orlan Dumat, 28, one of the fishermen, said seven Chinese men in gray uniforms came in a speedboat and turned back his group by firing shots in the air.

Frightened, the fishermen cut the anchor, instead of hauling it in, and ran for it.The speedboat gave chase, firing. The fishermen noticed that shots were fired near their boat’s outriggers.

Dumat said one of the outriggers was hit but no one on the boat was hurt.

“As we sailed away, the Chinese boat continued to tail us,” he said.

How the story got out

The fishermen returned to Mariveles and kept the incident to themselves, but a member of the boat owners’ association in the village told the story to a local journalist.

When their story finally reached the government’s attention, Philippine Coast Guard officers went to Mariveles to investigate, but chided the fishermen for telling their story to the press first before reporting what happened to the authorities.

The Mariveles fishermen’s experience was probably the first incident that appeared to involve the Chinese Navy. All previous incidents in the West Philippine Sea involved the Chinese Coast Guard.

Alejano last week urged the government to file a strong protest against China over the incident.

Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told reporters that the incident was under investigation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was still verifying the incident.

The Princess Johanna left Mariveles on March 25 with a crew of 25 and arrived at Union Banks on April 9.

The fishermen told Alejano that they go to Union Banks every year or whenever fish in their traditional fishing grounds in the Spratlys, among them Rizal Reef (Commodore Reef), were scarce.

They said they noticed concrete structures at Union Banks that were not there last year.

The fishermen were probably referring to the structures on the artificial islands built by China on three reefs in Union Banks, all claimed by the Philippines—Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef), Gavin Reef and McKennan Reef (Hughes Reef).

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Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/891373/chinas-navy-harassed-ph-fishers-says-lawmaker#ixzz4f94EA9VB
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China has expressed alarm over the visit of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año to Pag-Asa Island last Friday, saying it ran counter to an “important consensus” reached between the leaders of the two countries.  Photo: Lu Kang, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. File Photo 
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 (The problem of Islamic rebels in the Philippines — Real or Not?)
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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.

Despite all this:

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana Visit To South China Sea “Alarms” China — Beijing lodges protest

April 22, 2017
China has expressed alarm over the visit of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año to Pag-Asa Island last Friday, saying it ran counter to an “important consensus” reached between the leaders of the two countries. FMPRC/Released
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MANILA, Philippines – China has expressed alarm over the visit of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año to Pag-Asa Island last Friday, saying it ran counter to an “important consensus” reached between the leaders of the two countries.

“Gravely concerned about and dissatisfied with this, China has lodged representations with the Philippine side,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a press briefing before the weekend.

Lu said China’s President Xi Jinping and President Duterte had reached a consensus “to properly deal with the South China Sea issue.”

“We hope that the Philippine side could cherish the hard-won sound momentum of development the bilateral relations are experiencing, faithfully follow the consensus reached between the two leaderships, maintain general peace and stability in the South China Sea, and promote the sound and steady development of China-Philippine relations,” he added.

But Lu said they are still verifying the facts regarding the visit, and that Manila and Beijing have been in constant communication on how to manage maritime issues since Duterte’s visit to China last year.

“We hope that this momentum can continue. We hope that the Philippines can work with China to jointly maintain regional peace and stability as well as the sound momentum of moving bilateral relations forward,” said the Chinese official.

On Friday, Lorenzana and Año – along with other military officials and several members of the media – flew to Pag-Asa Island in the disputed Spratlys.

They attended a flag ceremony with the defense chief assuring government troops that the Duterte administration is looking after their welfare amid the tension over the conflicting territorial claims in the region. He also revealed the allocation of P1.6 billion for the development of the island community.

En route to Pag-Asa, the plane carrying Lorenzana and Año received a warning from Chinese forces to leave the area.

The pilot of the C-130 transport plane carrying the officials responded that they were in Philippine airspace.

Lorenzana downplayed the incident, saying Philippine aircraft in resupply operations normally receive warnings from Chinese forces.

But in a separate statement, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the administration is taking the challenge seriously.

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

Part of mandate

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), for its part, defended the Philippine officials’ visit to Pag-Asa, saying it was part of government’s mandate to ensure the welfare of citizens in the island community.

DFA spokesman Robespierre Bolivar also confirmed that Beijing has already lodged a protest against the visit.

“The Chinese have conveyed their sentiments. We have already stated our position that Pag-Asa, and the larger Kalayaan Group, is a municipality of Palawan and that our visits there are part of the government mandate to ensure the safety, well-being livelihood and personal security of our citizens there,” Bolivar said in a text message to The STAR.

Meanwhile, Año said the Chinese forces deployed near Pag-Asa were just doing their job when they challenged a military aircraft flying top defense and military officials to the island.

“They were just doing their job. If they will not, they will be answerable to their superiors,” Año said.

The Chinese forces told the pilots of the C-130 plane that they were straying into China’s airspace and that they should leave at once to avoid miscalculations.

Filipino aviators and sailors also described last Friday’s incident as routine as Chinese forces would normally communicate with any aircraft or vessels not their own, while flying or sailing over or near their occupied controlled areas in the disputed region.

Of the six claimant countries in the West Philippine Sea, only the Philippines has strictly observed a moratorium on development activities on land features in disputed waters. Brunei has no military presence in the areas it claims as its own. Aside from the Philippines, China and Brunei, the other countries with claims in the South China Sea are Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

China has already built artificial island fortresses over reefs and shoals in disputed waters.

While Beijing has kept on assuring concerned neighbors that its infrastructure development on land features in the area is for civilian purposes, it has remained mum on reports that many of them have sophisticated weapons system.

Vietnam, for its part, has been pursuing infrastructure development on all its 23 occupied outposts.

The Taiwanese, who control Itu Aba, the biggest island in the region, have also been continuously conducting developments in areas they occupy.

Developments on Itu Aba include expansion of an airfield as well as installation of water, power and communication facilities. The Taiwanese government has also set up heavy armaments in the island.

For its part, Malaysia has put up a diving resort, with hotel and swimming pool, on its Layang-Layang outposts. It has also expanded its presence in the region by occupying two more reefs nearby. – With Jaime Laude

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/23/1692913/dnd-chiefs-island-visit-alarms-china

Related:

Background:

 (From 2014)

 (From 2013)

Image result for China’s Major General Zhang Zhaozhong, photos

China’s Major General Zhang Zhaozhong talked at length in 2013 about the “Cabbage Strategy,” also called “salami slicing.” Lately it has been called “Talk and Take.” Technically, it is extralegal appropriation of land, rights, minerals and resources. The South China Sea has been taken by China from the Philippines and other claimants. But there will apparently be a “Code of Conduct” after the taking is over…

Related:

 (The problem of Islamic rebels in the Philippines — Real or Not?)
.
.

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.

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 to probe alleged harassment of Filipino fishermen

April 22, 2017

Fishermen said they were driven off by shooting. Chinese Coast Guard said they fired warning shots….

Image may contain: cloud, sky, ocean, nature, outdoor and water

South China Sea (Xinhua – MANILA BULLETIN)

 (philstar.com) |

BEIJING (Philippines News Agency) – China will also look into reports that Filipino fishermen have been driven away allegedly by the Chinese Coast Guard from Union Bank in the South China Sea, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Friday.

“I honestly do not know anything about what you said. You yourself mentioned that the vessels are unidentified, and all sides are in the process of verifying the situation. China also needs to check on that,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said during a press conference.

 Image may contain: 1 person
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was alarmed, angered by Philippine government, military visit to Pag-asa Island in the South China Sea. File photo. Peace and Freedom screengrab

The Philippines’ foreign affairs and national defense departments are still confirming media reports on the harassment of the Filipino fishermen.

Lu said China will continue to work with the Philippine side to “properly” resolve the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea maritime and territorial dispute under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Our position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear. We would go on working with the Philippine side to properly deal with relevant maritime issues and create favorable conditions for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations,” he said.

He reiterated that the bilateral relations between the Philippines and China have turned around and started to improve quickly “with all-around cooperation moving forward steadily”.

Five months after his election, Duterte visited China in October last year at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Duterte is scheduled to return to Beijing next month to participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

“Overall, both sides are able to build upon the consensus of the two leaders and manage maritime issues through negotiations and coordination,” Lu said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/22/1692803/china-probe-alleged-harassment-filipino-fishermen

Related:

 (Contains links to related articles)

Philippines- China South China Row — Talk of establishing a ‘no-take zone’ — Apparently to Counter China’s ‘Talk and Take’ Strategy — What happened to international law?

April 22, 2017
/ 04:45 AM April 22, 2017

Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane on Friday. —AP

Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane on Friday. —AP

On the heels of its victory in the arbitration case against China, the Philippines must lead the other claimant states in exploring ways to reinforce the ruling by “improving both the national and regional fisheries management agenda” in Southeast Asia, an expert said.

This agenda can include establishing transboundary marine parks, areas of joint protection, or “no-take zones,” a setup that can work in the 100 or so small islands and reefs in the hotly contested Spratly islands, said

Ma. Carmel Ablan Lagman of De La Salle University’s Center for Natural Resource and Environment Research.

The study is part of a series of special papers commissioned by think tank Stratbase ADRi.

“Doing this will preserve the living resources they harbor, hopefully so they will replenish adjacent habitats,” she said.

Based on ecological considerations, such as the duration of pelagic larvae, surface circulation patterns, and seasonability of adults and larvae, the Spratlys are among the few remaining healthy, resource-rich areas and habitats in the West Philippine Sea and can thus benefit from multistate intervention.

“There are other reef areas within the region which may serve as refuge, sources or sinks of juveniles and larvae,” Lagman said.

Other strategies that the Philippines can consider include taking advantage of other international ocean policy instruments that can encourage regional cooperation in the region and developing regional-level policies targeted toward small-scale fisheries.

“Small-scale fisheries are seen as a solution, rather than a contributor, to the problem of overfishing. Similar efforts might be due among countries in the West Philippine Sea,” Lagman said.

Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADRi,  said  the Philippines’ unique achievement in bringing China to task in the South China Sea placed the government in a position to take a more active role in advancing its own fisheries management policy.

“But more crucially, this national policy should be connected to a broader regional platform that respects mutual interests and aims for sustainability,” Manhit said.

Manhit said  Stratbase ADRi will host a forum on April 25 at the Tower Club with international relations experts to discuss the latest developments in South China Sea, the Benham Rise and the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in achieving stability in the region.

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/155193/establish-no-take-zone-spratlys-govt-urged#ixzz4eyarSkxN
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Background:

 (From 2014)

Image result for China’s Major General Zhang Zhaozhong, photos

China’s Major General Zhang Zhaozhong talked at length in 2013 about the “Cabbage Strategy,” also called “salami slicing.” Lately it has been called “Talk and Take.” Technically, it is extralegal appropriation of land, rights, minerals and resources. The South China Sea has been taken by China from the Philippines and other claimants. But there will apparently be a “Code of Conduct” after the taking is over…

Related:

 (The problem of Islamic rebels in the Philippines — Real or Not?)
.
.

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.

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 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.

Image may contain: 1 person

 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.

Image result for chinese coast guard ships, photos

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?)
.
.

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.

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 To Avoid Discussion of International Law, Hague Court Arbitration Ruling With China

April 20, 2017
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

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will not raise the ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal on the South China Sea in its bilateral talks with China, acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said Wednesday.

The Philippines’ top diplomat clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte is not setting aside the award issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in the Hague, Netherlands.

“China has disassociated itself from the arbitral ruling and the president has been quite clear that he will not be raising the arbitral ruling. He’s not setting it aside but he won’t be raising it until an appropriate time during his administration,” Manalo said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.

This does not mean that the Philippines will not be discussing issues of concern in its upcoming dialogue with China, Manalo said.

On July 2016, the arbitral tribunal ruled that Beijing’s historic nine-dash line claim over the disputed South China Sea does not have legal basis.

The arbitral tribunal also concluded that China violated its commitment under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea by building artificial islands within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

READ: How the Hague court ruled on the Philippines’s 15 arguments

Manalo, however, noted that the ruling of the arbitral tribunal is already part of international law.

“The issue now is how to address the problems which, for example, the arbitral ruling sought to address. But you see the arbitral ruling did not discuss, did not pronounce on the disputes and they did not pronounce on some other issues,” the secretary said.

The upcoming bilateral talks between the Philippines and China next month might even cover issues outside of the arbitral award.

“I would even say that the talks would be much broader than the coverage of the arbitral ruling,” Manalo said.

“We have many things to look forward to in this mechanism and the most important thing is that it could hopefully develop more trust and confidence when we dialogue with China and that could create the atmosphere to try and achieve some possible breakthroughs,” the Foreign Affairs secretary added.

The exact details of the bilateral talks are yet to be finalized. Manalo confirmed that the first session of the dialogue will be held in May in China.

China earlier invited officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs to start discussions on a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea.

Manalo said that this mechanism is an important step forward as it will focus on issues in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

“That’s not the only mechanism we have with China since President Duterte took over. We have also reestablished our ongoing political consultation mechanism which really looks at our entire relationship with China but naturally we have to discuss issues of concern there,” Manalo said.

Related:

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.

South China Sea: G7 Supports Adherence To International Law, Hague Court Ruling

April 19, 2017
Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations have issued a joint communiqué calling for the implementation of a ruling by a UN-backed arbitral court invalidating China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. File

MANILA, Philippines –  Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations have issued a joint communiqué calling for the implementation of a ruling by a UN-backed arbitral court invalidating China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.

In the communiqué, the G7 ministers also reiterated their strong opposition to the building of new military outposts in disputed waters as well as the use of threat or force in settling maritime disputes.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States comprise the G7.

“We consider the July 12, 2016 award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal under the UNCLOS as a useful basis for further efforts to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea,” the G7 joint communiqué read, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The ruling, issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, also reaffirmed the Philippines’ entitlements in the West Philippine Sea. Beijing has refused to honor the ruling.

In the communiqué, the G7 ministers reiterated their commitment to maintaining a rules-based maritime order based firmly on international law, specifically UNCLOS.

They stressed settlement of disputes should be through legal means and supported by confidence building measures.

The ministers have also expressed concern over the situation in the East and South China Seas.

“We reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions which increase tensions, such as the threat or use of force, large scale land reclamation, building of outposts, as well as their use for military purposes and urge all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features and to comply with their obligations under international law,” they said,

They maintained their commitment to freedom of navigation, over-flight and other internationally lawful uses of the seas.

In the communiqué, the G7 ministers also encouraged dialogues based on international law in pursuit of an effective Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

“We call for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety,” they said. Beijing insists it has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.

Upbeat on COC

Meanwhile, foreign affairs acting spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said Manila is hopeful that a framework of the COC for the South China Sea dispute would be completed during its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year.

Bolivar said the Philippines is upbeat about the prospects of a framework as there has been an “increasing level of trust and confidence” among ASEAN member-countries and China.

“We are more hopeful now than we were maybe a year or two years ago that we would have significant progress and there’s a commitment from ASEAN and China to complete the framework, in fact, by middle of this year,” Bolivar said in a press briefing yesterday at Malacañang.

“We hope that ASEAN and China will make more significant progress. There has been increasing level of trust and confidence among the parties. And we are very hopeful that we will complete the framework by 2017,” he added. –  With Alexis Romero

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/20/1692064/g7-urges-compliance-un-ruling-sea-row

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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.

China: Our South China Sea stations “They have been there since always.”

April 10, 2017
FILE – In this undated file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. The Philippines’ top diplomat says China remains opposed to a legally-binding code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea even as negotiations have progressed on other elements of such a code. Acting Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said Tuesday, April 4, 2017, talks between China and Southeast Asian countries on the code’s framework have made headway but have not yet touched on whether the code will be legally-binding – as the Philippines and its neighbors want. Liu Rui/Xinhua via AP, File

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing reiterated that its construction activities on several islands in the disputed South China Sea are for the benefit of its people stationed there.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, however, stressed that China has never used the term “artificial islands” where they have stationed people.

“Relevant islands where we station our personnel are not created by magic tricks. They have been there since always,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press briefing last Friday.

Hua added that the construction on islands in the South China Sea is to improve the working and living conditions of people stationed in the region.

The statement was made in response to a report that the Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson said that there is no such issue of artificial islands amid Beijing’s construction and deployment of radars on islands and reefs in the disputed waters.

“The Chinese side has repeatedly expressed its position on construction in the South China Sea. Necessary construction by the Chinese side on some of its islands is to improve the working and living conditions of people stationed there, and better its public services for international vessels passing by,” Hua said.

Hua added that the deployment of defense facilities in the region is part of China’s safeguarding of its own territory.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to occupy the country’s claimed islands in the South China Sea following reports that Beijing’s facilities in the disputed region are early finished. The AFP has since clarified that it will focus on improving the living conditions of troops in established outposts.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had expressed concern over Duterte’s order to occupy Manila-claimed islets in the South China Sea.

“Having noted the report, the Chinese side is concerned about it. We hope the Philippine side will continue to properly manage maritime disputes with China and work with us to maintain the sound and steady growth of China-Philippines relations,” Hua said.

The Philippines controls nine islets in the Spratly Islands: Pag-asa Island, Ayungin Shoal, Lawak Island, Parola Island, Patag Island, Kota Island, Rizal Reef, Likas Island and Panata Island.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/10/1689545/china-south-china-sea-stations-have-always-been-there

Related:

  (November 24, 2015)

 (December 28, 2015)

Chinese J-11 Fighters Deployed To Woody Island In South China Sea

China posted pictures of an armed J-11 Flanker fighter

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 (Philippine Star)

Image may contain: ocean, outdoor, water and nature

 

Related:

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 — From March 25, 2017 with links to other related articles

 (Contains links to several previous articles on the South China Sea)

 

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A combined task force of Chinese and Russian warships trained together in the western Pacific in 2016 and 2014. Reuters photo

Students burn a replica of Chinese surveillance ships in Manila in March 2016.

Students burn a replica of Chinese surveillance ships in Manila in March 2016. Photographer: Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Philippine Defense Secretary: China has no reason to fear that tension could ignite between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea — After Chinese foreign ministry warned the Philippines to behave

April 8, 2017
By: – Reporter / @LeilasINQ
/ 12:46 PM April 08, 2017
Delfin Lorenzana

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. AP File Photo

There is no reason to fear that tension could ignite between China and the Philippines because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for the military to occupy and develop the structures in the Philippine-held islands in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea (WPS)), according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

READ: Duterte: Occupy PH islands in South China Sea

Lorenzana noted that the Philippines has long had possession of the islands in the Kalayaan group off Palawan.

“I don’t think there is any cause for concern. Those islands (Pagasa is the biggest) have been in our possession since the 1980s when then President (Ferdinand) Marcos declared the Kalayaan Island Group as a municipality of Palawan,” Lorenzana said in a text message.

“We have continuous presence there since then,” he added.

He also said that what Mr. Duterte had ordered was the putting up of facilities, such as living accommodations, a water and sewerage system, electricity, a lighthouse, and sanctuaries for fishermen.

Reports said China had expressed concern over Mr. Duterte’s directive to occupy Philippine-claimed islands in the South China Sea.

“We hope the Philippine side will continue to properly manage maritime disputes with China and work with us to maintain the sound and steady growth of China-Philippines relations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press briefing.

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Chinese foreign ministry warned the Philippines to behave. Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry.

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/154542/lorenzana-china-shouldnt-be-bothered-by-duterte-order#ixzz4deHruQsj
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Related:

  (November 24, 2015)

 (December 28, 2015)

Chinese J-11 Fighters Deployed To Woody Island In South China Sea

China posted pictures of an armed J-11 Flanker fighter

.

 (Philippine Star)

Image may contain: ocean, outdoor, water and nature

 

Related:

.
.

 — From March 25, 2017 with links to other related articles