Posts Tagged ‘West Philippine Sea’

The Philippine Navy must learn to swim again before it can dive — Submarine ideas may be “premature”

August 31, 2018

As the Philippine military tries to expedite its submarine capability amid mounting security challenges, some regional security experts have expressed their views that the country may not be ready for an undersea warship yet.

The idea to acquire submarines is not new.  But Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad raised it during a Senate hearing early this year, and it has been frequently part of the news since.

But for Alexander Neill, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia Pacific Security at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in Singapore, it is important to develop a proficient surface fleet and coast guard first before shifting to submarines.

“The surface fleet could develop anti-submarine warfare capabilities using towed sonar arrays and sub-surface weapons platforms as part of a sub-surface deterrence campaign without having to spend huge amounts of money developing a submarine capability,” Neill told INQUIRER.net.

‘Overly ambitious’

Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at the Australian-based Lowy Institute, said the Navy’s top priority must be marine resource and sovereignty protection role, which surface vessels can do much better than submarines. The Philippines, after all, has one of the longest coastlines in the world.

“The Philippine Navy must learn to swim again before it can dive,” he said.

The Philippine military, seen as one of the weakest in Asia, is currently modernizing itself amid various external and internal security concerns.

Graham sees the Philippines’ urgent plans of purchasing submarines as “overly ambitious with a high opportunity cost” and could be a “wasteful diversion of resources.”

“It could suck up resources badly needed for modernization elsewhere, with the added risk that it would not end up delivering the desired deterrent capability,” he said.

On Wednesday night, the Philippine Navy’s flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15), a former US Coast Guard Cutter, ran aground while on a routine mission in the West Philippine Sea.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water

Graham said this only shows that the Navy is still learning the handling of bigger vessels.

“In my view, the onus should be on acquiring and maintaining a surface fleet to patrol within archipelagic waters, and perhaps aspire to a localized ‘sea control’ capability in surrounding seas,” he said.

One of BRP Gregorio del Pilar’s sister ship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16), is in Australia this week for the Exercise Kakadu, an international maritime exercise.

The Navy’s two warships, BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) and BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), returned home this week from Hawaii after participating at the Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac) exercise, the world’s largest maritime drills. Graham noted the training and diplomatic benefits from this kind of multilateral drills.

“I hope that trajectory can be maintained,” he said.

‘Not yet decided’

At a budget hearing at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that the purchase and maintenance of the submarines are really expensive that they have not yet decided whether to buy despite the media hype.

“I think the senior AFP officials are not yet decided on that. We’re still trying to look, canvass all the available platforms all over the world,” he said.

“A lot of people, defense attaches from the US, Australia say napaka-mahal i-maintain. It might consume the whole budget of the Philippine Navy, yung isa. So we will study all these angles before we decide to buy any of these vessels,” he added.

Lorenzana earlier said they are interested to buy at least two submarines for the Navy as a strategic deterrence to foreign navies.

Russia, South Korea, France, Japan, and India are among the possible sources of the submarines cited by the defense chief.

“It is a very good deterrent capability. If we have at least two na nagtatago sa mga kalaban, magdalawang-isip silang pumunta dito. But it’s still in the planning stage,” he said.

Aside from the two brand new missile-capable frigates the Navy is expecting in 2020, Lorenzana said they are finalizing the plans to acquire six offshore patrol vessels from an Australian company with a shipyard in Cebu.

“Babayaran muna ang dalawa, ‘yung apat (ipapautang), which is a very good deal,” he said.

While the Philippine defense establishment appears driven in getting submarines soon, it has no intention to go to an arms race with its mightier neighbors, Lorenzana explained to lawmakers.

Analysts have warned of an arms race in the region as a response to China’s increased defense spending and advancing territorial claims in the bitterly-contested South China Sea, where the Philippines is one of the claimants.

“These submarines will not be an offensive weapon. Basically, this is a defensive weapon to deter any aggressor. We are not in an arms race. We can’t have an arms race with our neighbors who are much wealthier than us like China, Japan or even Indonesia. Mas marami silang income to splurge on this kind of equipment,” he said.  /kga

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/169423/ph-cautioned-on-plans-to-buy-submarines#ixzz5PknhYpm6
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Advertisements

South China Sea: China still wants Philippines’ oil reserves, but no schedule on how, when or at what cost

August 30, 2018

The Philippines and China have agreed not to set a deadline on possible joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Thursday.

Cayetano recently met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing to discuss economic matters between the two countries.

“I was also there and had a bilateral meeting also with my counterpart State Councilor Wang Yi and we agreed not to put any deadline but to work on an ‘as soon as possible’ attitude in coming up with a legal framework,” Cayetano said in a press conference prior to the House hearing on the DFA’s proposed budget for 2019.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 22, 2018.

Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan

For Cayetano, the ideal framework on the proposed joint exploration should be amenable to both Manila and Beijing.

“It will pass with flying colors in the Supreme Court, meaning they will not strike it down and we can protect our territorial and economic rights,” he said.

The supposed framework would most likely point to commercial entities that will negotiate for both sides to make the proposal a reality.

Cayetano noted that working on the framework would be “tricky” as it would have to be in accordance woth both Philippine and Chinese laws.

‘We are not setting aside our claims’

The DFA chief clarified that the Philippines will not set aside its claims upon negotiating with China on the possible joint exploration.

“What I said was that there will be a framework (where) both sides will put in provisions that will, in effect, set aside the issue of our claims so that it will not damage,” Cayetano said.

He added that the Philippines’ initial proposition to China wasa  60-40 sharing in favor of Manila.

Cayetano added that Beijing was “open” to Manila’s starting proposition on the proposed joint exploration.

“They haven’s said ‘yes’ to it, but they’re open to it because they know that part of being a good neighbor is understanding our economic situation,” the secretary said.

The Malampaya field, which supplies 30 to 40 percent of power in Luzon, is forecasted to run out by 2024. The oil reserves in the West Philippine Sea is about 50 percent times than those of Malampaya, according to Cayetano.

Critics have warned that pursuing a joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea would be a disadvantage for the country.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the government should ensure that the country’s sovereignty would not be compromised in the proposed 60-40 sharing with China.

“As long as the joint development complies with the Philippine Constitution and there is no waiver of our sovereign rights under the arbitral ruling, I have no objection,” Carpio earlier said.

ALAN PETER CAYETANOJOINT EXPLORATIONPHILIPPINES-CHINA TIESSOUTH CHINA SEAWANG YIWEST PHILIPPINE SEA

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/08/30/1847209/cayetano-no-deadline-west-philippine-sea-joint-exploration#FfV0TGp7WLh574xC.99

Chinese President Xi Jinping to Visit Philippines, Perhaps To Sign Oil and Gas Deal — Critics Claim China “Stealing” Philippine Resources

August 9, 2018

Chinese leader likely to visit by end of year as Rodrigo Duterte’s administration looks at ways of easing tensions over disputed South China Sea

South China Morning Post

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit the Philippines before the end of the year in the latest sign of improved relations between the two sides, the foreign minister of the Southeast Asian nation said.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said also that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had approved a proposal to form a group to study plans for the two countries to conduct a joint exploration in the disputed South China Sea.

“We’re now fixing the date [of Xi’s visit]. We’re looking at the latter part of the year,” Cayetano was quoted as saying by local broadcaster GMA Network.

Both sides “wanted it to happen”, he said.

The trip would be Xi’s first visit to the Philippines since Duterte took office. The Philippine president invited his Chinese counterpart to Manila during his state visit to Beijing in October 2016.

Cayetano did not say if Xi’s trip would be a state or official visit.

“This has been an invitation from their first meeting. They accepted it right away. But we are finding the right time. When presidents at this level meet there are a lot of preparations and a lot of things that they want to announce,” he said.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano

Relations between China and the Philippines soured when Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino took their dispute over the South China Sea to an international tribunal in The Hague, which ruled against Beijing.

But Duterte has since tried to mend ties, while China has pledged to boost investment in the Philippines and donated military equipment such as guns and patrol boats.

However, a long-running dispute over the Spratly Islands, where China’s military build up has prompted frequent protests from Manila, remains unresolved.

As well as the Philippines and mainland China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have claims to the South China Sea.

On the joint exploration proposal, Cayetano said: “Our job is to provide a framework acceptable to both the Philippines and China.”

The government officials, academics and private sector representatives in the group studying the idea would have a draft ready within the next two months, he said.

Xu Liping, a professor at the Institute of Asian-Pacific Studies, which comes under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the political trust developed between China and the Philippines would help them to reach agreement on the joint exploration plan.

“Joint exploration requires political trust,” he said. “Now is the best time to do it, with the smooth progress over the negotiations for a code of conduct for the South China Sea.”

But Zhang Mingliang, a specialist on Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University, said the wariness of Manila’s elite towards Duterte’s close ties with China meant that the project could yet face opposition, as did a similar plan, which was eventually aborted, when Gloria Arroyo was president.

“It is likely that the project will be realised during Duterte’s term in office, but many challenges lie ahead,” he said.

The proposed areas for joint exploration were likely to fall within China’s nine dash line and therefore create controversy, he said.

“The project under Arroyo faced huge opposition and accusations over the lack of transparency and conflicts of interests … similar concerns may arise under Duterte.”

.
*******************************************************
.

Joint oil and gas development deal may be finalized before Xi visit – Roque

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to fly to the Philippines in late 2018, after he attends the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea November

VISITOR. President Rodrigo Duterte may soon welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping to Philippine shores. Malacañang file photo

VISITOR. President Rodrigo Duterte may soon welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping to Philippine shores. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – The framework for joint development of resources in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) between the Philippines and China may be finalized before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Manila visit later this year, Malacañang said on Thursday, August 9.

Asked at a Palace news briefing when the agreement would be “forged,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said: “No timeframe but, of course, because of the impending visit of President Xi, I would say that it is anytime between now and the visit of President Xi but it was not expressly stated as such.”

Xi is expected to visit the Philippines in the last quarter of 2018. Roque said the Chinese leader might head to Manila after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea in mid-November.

Manila and Beijing earlier held talks on a “bilateral agreement that would enable the joint exploration to happen” in the West Philippine Sea, said Roque.

The Philippines and China have agreed on a 60-40 profit-sharing arrangement in favor of the Philippines.

The bilateral framework is supposed to clear the way for private entities in the Philippines and China to enter into contracts for joint development of natural resources like oil and gas in the sea.

Working groups

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Tuesday that earlier this week, Duterte allowed him to form a working group on the proposed joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

Cayetano had said the working group will be composed of representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Energy, the Department of National Defense, and other agencies.

He said that China “is also ready with their working group.”

The working group will help the government negotiate with China, though the government will leave the contract negotiation “to the commercial entities.”

“The challenge is for us to be able to draft a framework or an agreement that the Supreme Court will have an easy time saying it’s constitutional,” Cayetano said.

‘Exclusive to Filipinos’

However, former president Benigno Aquino III earlier warned that the proposed 60-40 arrangement could end up as disadvantageous to the Philippines.

Ang bargaining position, 60-40. Baka naman sa dulo nito ay baliktad. Baka sila 60, baka 70 (Our bargaining position is 60-40. But in the end, it might be the opposite. They might get 60, maybe 70),” Aquino said.

Aquino stressed that the West Philippine Sea is covered by the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile area within which the Philippines has exclusive rights to explore and exploit marine resources.

Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, a leading expert on the West Philippine Sea, earlier said the Philippine Constitution bans joint development within the Philippines’ EEZ.

Xi in Davao City?

During the Palace briefing, Roque also said that Duterte had invited Xi to visit his home in Davao City.

Duterte had invited Xi to come to the Philippines during his past visits to China.

“I remember in China the President even invited him not just to come to the Philippines but to [have] dinner in his house in Davao,” said Roque.

The first foreign leader to visit the President’s private residence in Davao was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in January 2017– Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/209190-joint-development-deal-xi-jinping-philippines-visit

Related:

Are we China’s slaves? Filipino fishermen ask

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/167617/chinas-slaves-filipino-fishermen-ask

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

Filipino fisherman in a banca moves away from a Chinese Coast Guard vessel at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. —REM ZAMORA

Related:

Philippines: Former President Against Proposed Sharing of South China Sea Oil, Gas With China — Philippines has no obligation to share its resources

August 1, 2018

Former president Benigno Aquino III opposes the proposed 60-40 sharing of natural resources between the Philippines and China in the joint exploration of the West Philippine Sea.

Aquino said the area is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the country has no obligation to share its resources with the Asian giant.

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and closeup

Benigno Aquino III

He again shared a “joke,” China’s supposed motto, which was often used during his term. What started as a joke, he said, seems to be coming true under the Duterte administration.

“Exclusive economic zone ang pinag-uusapan eh. Parang wala tayong obligasyon na makihati sa kanila. Noong panahon ko may joke eh, sabi raw nila: ‘What is ours is ours. What is yours, we share.’ So ngayon, parang nagiging totoo na ata ito,” Aquino said.

(We’re talking about our exclusive economic zone. We have no obligation to share it with them. During my time, there was a joke. China said: “What is ours is ours. What is yours, we share.” So now, it seems this is coming true.)

“Balikan lang natin fundamental dito: exclusive ito sa atin, meron ba tayong obligasyon na bahagian sila?” he added. (Let’s just go back to the fundamental issue here: This is exclusively for us. Do we have an obligation to share it with China?)

For Aquino, who brought China to court over the disputed waters, the Asian neighbor cannot be trusted. He said the proposed 60-40 scheme favoring the Philippines could end up being disadvantageous to the country.

“Ang bargaining position, 60-40. Baka naman sa dulo nito ay baliktad, baka sila 60, baka 70… Sa halip na wala silang karapatan, biglang ngayon eh baka naman kailangang amuhin sila sa dulo. At para mapaamo, kailangang mas malaki ang parte nila,” the former president said.

(The bargaining position is 60-40. But in the end, it might become the opposite. They might get 60% of the share or 70%. Instead of them having no rights, all of a sudden we might have to woo them in the end. And to woo them, we have to give them a larger share.)

“Bantayan natin na sana ‘di maging gano’n ang mangyari (Let’s be vigilant that it won’t happen),” he added.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano previously said China is “open” to the joint exploration proposal, adding that the draft framework might be out by September.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself made the proposal in a speech last April.

“Precisely I said, with the issue of the [South] China Sea, leave it at that, it’s geopolitics. Anyway, China has offered joint exploration and joint operation. And I said, maybe, we give you a better deal, 60-40,” Duterte said.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Malacañang earlier spoke of two areas in the West Philippine Sea being considered for the joint activity – Service Contracts 57 (Calamian) and 72 (Recto Bank).

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio warned, however, that the 1987 Constitution prohibits joint development within the Philippines’ EEZ.

Maritime expert Jay Batongbacal also said allowing joint development in such an area could be seen as “inconsistent” with the arbitral ruling won by the Philippines in 2016.

In its ruling, the Permanent Court of Arbitration said “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources, in excess of the rights provided for by the Convention, within the sea areas falling within the ‘9-dash line.'” (READ: FAST FACTS: South China Sea dispute)

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

https://www.rappler.com/nation/208651-noynoy-aquino-warns-vs-west-philippine-sea-joint-exploration

Related:

 No automatic alt text available.
China has seven military bases near te Philippines
.

No automatic alt text available.

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

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

July 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No automatic alt text available.

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

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

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

CNN:

Related:

Image may contain: one or more people, sky, outdoor and nature

The Philippines has extensive defenses on its island holdings

Philippines: Duterte appears to be pro-China and “defeatist” — But that’s not true

July 28, 2018

While President Duterte appears to be pro-China and “defeatist” based on his public pronouncements on the West Philippine Sea, his administration has actually taken concrete action to protect the country’s sovereignty in disputed waters, an expert said.

Lucio Blanco Pitlo, a research fellow at the Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, cited the first high-level official visit to Philippine-claimed features, the long-delayed construction projects on the area and a record-high military budget under Duterte’s watch, among his reasons.

In this Oct. 2, 2017 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte, on his sixth visit to Marawi City, led the inauguration of the Bahay Pag-asa Project at Barangay Bito Buadi Itowa that is intended for the residents of Marawi who were internally displaced due to the conflict in the area.

Presidential photo

 

“The President has scored symbolic, actual and enduring gains in his two years in office that surpass those of his predecessors,” Pitlo said in a July 25 commentary titled “Duterte’s Underappreciated Foreign Policy Gains,” which appeared on the website of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Pitlo mentioned the visit of a high-level government delegation led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to the Kalayaan (Spratlys) Islands which, according to him, the other claimants that include Vietnam and China have yet to attempt. In April 2017, Lorenzana and other military and government officials set foot on Pag-asa (Thitu), the country’s largest occupied feature in the West Philippine Sea.

Image result for Pag-asa, photos, island

He said the Duterte administration has undertaken major improvements in facilities and structures in Kalayaan, which previous administrations wanted to do but hesitated out of concern on how other claimants would react.

Pitlo added that in May this year, construction works started on lighthouses in Pag-asa, Patag (Flat), Likas (West York) and Kota (Loatia) Islands to improve safety of navigation. Seven new buildings on Pag-asa are also being constructed to improve living conditions.

He also cited the “Second Horizon Modernization Program” (2018-2022) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as among the steps the administration has taken.

“While the President has emphasized dispute management, it is erroneous to say that he is not investing in the country’s external defense,” Pitlo pointed out, citing the Duterte government’s approved defense budget of $5.6 billion in contrast to the previous administration’s more than the $1.7 billion allotment.

Image may contain: one or more people, sky, outdoor and nature

The Philippines has extensive defenses on its island holdings

Duterte also moved the purchase of some items, including submarines, originally earmarked for the “Third Horizon” (2023-2028) to ensure these will be procured before his term ends.

The President, Pitlo said, approved the acquisition of two squadrons of multi-role fighter aircraft and a frigate and has included in the priority defense articles to be purchased long-range patrol aircraft, drones and offshore patrol vessels.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

He also said that true to its policy of being “friends to all and enemies to none,” the government is also diversifying arms suppliers and has been receiving arms donations from China, Russia, the US and South Korea.

Military exercises with the US continue despite Duterte’s anti-US tirades, he added.

“These actions show that assessing Duterte’s foreign policy by focusing on his rhetoric alone can lead to erroneous conclusions. The controversy generated by his remarks often distracts attention from meaningful and concrete measures being taken to reinforce the country’s position in the West Philippine Sea,” Pitlo concluded.

Image result for Pag-asa, photos, island
Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/28/1837541/duterte-scoring-actual-gains-philippine-sovereignty#3W0kVD7uOi12ucr4.99

Related:

No automatic alt text available.

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

 No automatic alt text available.
China has seven military bases near the Philippines

China ambassador urges Australia against ‘bias and bigotry’

.
.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.

South China Sea: Filipinos say it’s important to regain control

July 21, 2018

 

In this May 18, 2018, file photo, protesters display placards during a rally at the Chinese Consulate to protest China’s deployment of missiles on the Philippine-claimed reefs in South China Sea in the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines. Filipino officials say China’s coast guard has continued to seize the catches of Filipino fishermen at a disputed shoal.

AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo

 

Poll: Filipinos say it’s important to regain control of West Philippine Sea
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) – July 21, 2018 – 1:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — Most Filipinos believe it is highly crucial for the Philippines to regain control of islands and shoals it claims in the disputed South China Sea, where rival claimant Beijing has been increasing its power projection capabilities, a new poll showed.

The Philippines claims parts of the South China Sea within its exclusive economic zone and calls it the West Philippine Sea.

In a June 27 to 30 poll of 1,200 adults by Social Weather Stations, 87 percent of respondents said it is “important” for the Philippines to assert its sovereign rights on islands in the West Philippine Sea that China occupied.

Sixty-nine percent of Filipinos also said China is afraid to face any court.

Ties between China and the Philippines soured after the previous Aquino administration filed a case in 2013 with a United Nations-backed tribunal, which does not have an enforcement mechanism. The ruling favors Manila and was handed down a few days after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

But China vehemently rejected the landmark decision, which Duterte put on the back burner in exchange for warmer ties and Chinese funding for his administration’s ambitious infrastructure program.

Duterte has also been under fire over his apparent refusal to confront China, which recently landed nuclear-capable strategic bombers and installed missile systems on outposts in the contested waters.

It was also reported that Chinese coast guards have been forcibly taking the best catches of Filipino fishermen at the disputed Scarborough shoal, which is well within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

According to the SWS poll, 65 percent of respondents were aware of the reported Chinese confiscations of Filipino fishermen’s catch. Majority of Filipinos also knew that Philippines is unable to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in Philippine waters, and that China broke its promise not to militarize the area.

The pollster also found that the government’s seeming inaction against China eroded public satisfaction with Duterte, especially among those aware of the maritime row.

Meanwhile, 43 percent said the Duterte administration’s refusal to protest Beijing’s actions is not a form of treachery, while 29 percent thought otherwise. Twenty-eight percent were undecided.

The survey has sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/07/21/1835516/poll-filipinos-say-its-important-regain-control-west-philippine-sea#dUPhCoQQ29dWOea3.99

Related:

.
.
.
.
No automatic alt text available.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.

No automatic alt text available.

China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.

Council of nations could determine the Philippines’ territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea

July 19, 2018
 / 05:12 AM July 19, 2018

This is regarding Dr. Edilberto C. de Jesus’ piece, “Return to great power geopolitics” (6/2/18).

As an expatriate for 30 years, I sat as founding member of a public safety committee in one of the northerly territories in North America. From time to time, I had discussions with delegates of the Circumpolar Conference and Arctic Council that deals with iffy issues on what to do with the resources in the Arctic Ocean, which borders the coastlines of Russia, the Scandinavian countries, Iceland, Finland, Greenland, Canada and Alaska, without resorting to war. Emerging military and economic power China, and past imperial powers like Great Britain and Spain, have expressed their desire to be invited on observer status to such collective bodies.

De Jesus seems to be nervous of China. But, to my mind, China is not the only one that makes Filipinos nervous. The United States, the superpower that did not sign treaties they perceive would curtail their liberty to navigate around the globe, is cruising their battleships around and flying their bombers over contested sandbars and coral reefs inhabited by migrant fish.

The Philippine claim of sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea ought to be granite solid and unchallengeable. What are the basic elements, or the requirements, for establishing territorial sovereignty?

Image result for china, coast guard vessels, photos

Did we inherit those sandbars and coral reefs? Or were they ceded to us by a colonial power? Quasi purchase—and if so, from whom? Did we discover them? If we discovered West Philippine Sea, how did we exercise control over the sandbars and coral reefs?

If we view the world from a biblical perspective, no one owns a thing, even an iota of dust. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything therein.” Silver and gold “are mine,” says the Lord. Humankind is the delegated steward, but ownership belongs to Him.

To resolve the pestering issue over “ownership” of WPS, perhaps nations that claim a stake in the controversial body of water should come together and form a council of nations. Member nations must seek active partnership in the economic development of the region, rather than show their fangs and snarl at each other.

It is easy to start a war. But, how easy is it to stop a war?

Bob Gabuna, bob.gabuna@gmail.com

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/114706/council-nations-disputed-waters#ixzz5LgfU0ka8
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Image may contain: airplane and sky

Philippines Must Do More In South China Sea To Support International law

July 17, 2018

Despite the bogey of war that President Duterte has raised every time China’s transgressions in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea (WPS) is brought up, up to 8 out of 10 Filipinos still believe the government should enforce the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that favored the country’s claims over disputed territories in the area.

In two surveys conducted just weeks before the second anniversary of the Court’s decision, 73 and 80 percent of respondents asked by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations, respectively, said Mr. Duterte should assert Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

Editorial

 / 05:08 AM July 17, 2018

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water

Citing loans and investments from China, the President has set aside the ruling, while his Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has declined to show the “50 to 100” protests that he claimed the Philippines has lodged against its northern neighbor. Malacañang’s policy of appeasement appears only to have emboldened China to step up its militarization efforts in the disputed waters, where it has installed military-grade runways, hangars and retractable roofs for anticruise missiles on seized islands. It has also harassed Filipino fishermen in the country’s exclusive economic zone, destroyed reefs and corals, harvested marine resources, and even prevented the Philippine military from erecting shelter from the weather and bringing in supplies for soldiers stationed on Philippine-held shoals.

Image result for Philippine, china, flags, photos

By setting aside the ruling, the country also stands to lose 130 billion barrels of oil, gas and mineral deposits in the WPS, as well as territories three times the size of Quezon City, warned Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio. Already, “China has been taking half of the annual fish catch in the South China Sea to feed 1.4 billion people,” the magistrate added.

Based on international law, the Philippines’ failure to protest encroachment on its territory is as good as giving it up, Carpio said, adding that the government should file a protest with the United Nations or China itself.

Carpio also debunks the administration’s claim that war is the only other alternative to appeasement, citing the prohibition on war in the Philippine Constitution and the UN Charter.

Instead of playing “willing victim and abettor” to China’s aggressive moves in the WPS, as former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario put it, Carpio has suggested alternative approaches, among them arbitration which, he said, the UN Charter expressly recognizes as a peaceful means of settling disputes. Arbitration is also part and parcel of diplomacy, which the government has repeatedly invoked as the preferred response to China’s willful disregard of the ruling.

Gaining the support of the community of nations is foremost, added Del Rosario, “whether through multilateralism at the UN, or with Asean, or through our bilateral engagements with other states, or an all-out effort in pursuing all of the aforementioned.”

But with the Duterte administration’s defeatist stance over the issue, Carpio said the task of “keeping alive the [arbitral] Award within our country” has fallen on every Filipino … “[who] has a civic duty to preserve and protect the Award so that the next administration can enforce [it].”

It is also every Filipino’s duty, Carpio said, to inform the other peoples of the world “that China’s compliance with the Award is essential to the survival of Unclos as the governing law for the oceans and seas of our planet.” China’s noncompliance would mean the “collapse of the rule of law in the oceans and seas,” he warned. “What will prevail will be the rule of the naval canon.”

The administration’s passive approach to China appears to have roused dissenters to up their game. Last week, huge tarpaulins hailing the Philippines as a province of China were seen hanging from several footbridges in prominent streets in Metro Manila, and even near the airport. For maritime affairs expert Jay Batongbacal, the mocking tarpaulins mark “a turn in the intensity” of protests against Malacañang’s China policy. “It’s when the people begin to be like that—jovial and jok[ing] about the administration—that signals a loss of support and respect,” he added.

No automatic alt text available.

That notion sounds more than plausible, given the overwhelming number of Filipinos who think this administration hasn’t done enough to defend the country’s rights against its bullying neighbor. But will Malacañang even deign to take heed of that ominous public sentiment?

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/114661/do-more-to-enforce-ruling#ixzz5LUia8fDp
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Related:

73% of Filipinos want gov’t to assert South China Sea rights

July 13, 2018
To the question, “How much do you agree or disagree with the statement? The Duterte administration should assert our right and protect our territorial sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea as stipulated in the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration,” most of the 1,800 respondents agreed.

Edd Gumban
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) – July 13, 2018 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Seventy-three percent of Filipinos want the Duterte administration to assert the country’s rights in the South China Sea, according to Pulse Asia’s latest sruvey.

To the question, “How much do you agree or disagree with the statement? The Duterte administration should assert our right and protect our territorial sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea as stipulated in the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration,” most of the 1,800 respondents agreed.

Of the number, 46 percent said they “strongly agree,” while 27 percent “somewhat agree.”

Seventeen percent of the respondents said they may either agree or disagree with the question raised in the survey.

Only four percent “somewhat disagree” and three-percent “strongly disagree” or opposed the matter.

Two percent admitted they had limited knowledge about the topic, while 0.4 percent have no idea about it.

Pulse Asia released the results of the survey, conducted last June 15 to 25, on the second anniversary of the Philippines’ winning its case before the arbitral tribunal in The Hague.

On the other hand, two of 10 Pinoys “want Duterte gov’t to continue befriending China” despite disputes in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea, the survey revealed.

Of the respondents, 21 percent said the government must “continue the current action of befriending China to avoid conflict between the Philippines and China” when asked what should be the Duterte administration’s position on China’s continued militarization of territories in the West Philippine Sea, Pulse Asia noted.

On the other hand, 36 percent of the respondents believed that the Duterte administration should “file a diplomatic protest with the Chinese embassy in the Philippines and stress the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration last 2016 that the islands in the West Philippine Sea are Philippine territory,” the survey showed.

Meanwhile, 22 percent of the respondents said the government must “strengthen military alliance of the Philippines with other countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia,” while 16 percent agreed that it must “strengthen the Philippines’ military capability to protect our territories.”

Some 0.3 percent said the government must declare war on China, while four percent said they have limited idea about the topic and 0.01 percent had other things to say which the survey findings did not disclose.

Related:
.

End