Posts Tagged ‘West Philippine Sea’

Some Countries Defy China’s Ban on South China Sea Fishing

June 14, 2017

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China is enforcing new limits on fishing in the South China Sea, despite protests from countries with fishing operations in the disputed waterway.

The Chinese government said it began a new fishing moratorium last month to protect fishing stocks. The moratorium lasts for three months, 30 days longer than in previous years. It also covers more fishing operations than previous moratoriums.

Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines all claim control over waters within the area covered by the moratorium. Some fishing boat operators in those countries are defying the moratorium.

The Vietnamese government criticized the moratorium, questioning its legality.

The Philippines government has been working with China to resolve trade disputes and has not commented on the new fishing moratorium.

Taiwan’s government gives awards to fishing boat operators who set their own fishing limits. The government said it would assist fishing operators affected by the new Chinese fishing rules.

Taiwanese boats are known to follow blue-fish tuna in the South China Sea.

Chiu Chui-cheng is an official with the Taiwan government’s Mainland Affairs Council. He said Taiwan officials are ready to order rescue missions “to protect the safety of fishing crews and their vessels.”

“So we ask that our Taiwanese friends in the fishing industry relax,” he said.

Taiwanese fishing boats flying national flags prepare to leave for Taiping Island in 2016. Taiwan and China have disputing claims in the South China Sea.

Taiwanese fishing boats flying national flags prepare to leave for Taiping Island in 2016. Taiwan and China have disputing claims in the South China Sea.

China has enforced previous South China Sea fishing moratoriums by arresting fishing boat operators. But analysts said many fishing operators know the best areas to fish to avoid drawing attention of Chinese officials.

Murray Hiebert is an area expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He said China is likely to use different enforcement methods against violators of its fishing moratorium.

They include taking control of fishing boats, arresting boat operators or sinking boats whose operators do not follow orders from Chinese authorities

Hiebert said, “Some Vietnamese fishing boats will continue going out to fish and risk harassment or arrests. Others are likely to hang back to avoid trouble.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis praised China for working to limit North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. But he said the United States would not accept a Chinese military buildup on islands in the South China Sea.

Mattis made the comments while attending a recent meeting in Singapore.

Chinese Foreign Minister official Hua Chunying responded to Mattis by saying China will continue to “safeguard” its claims to the South China Sea.

But Hua said China remains ready to “peacefully” resolve disputes to uphold the “peace and stability of the South China Sea.”

Ralph Jennings reported on this story for VOA News. Bruce Alpert adapted the story for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and share your views on our Facebook Page.

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/some-countries-defy-china-ban-on-south-china-sea-fishing/3897179.html

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FILE 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 China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

Time To Take Action To Defend The Philippines

June 13, 2017
OPINION
/ 12:22 AM June 13, 2017

I meant to write on Rizal and President Duterte, but taking part in the Defend Democracy Summit at the UP School of Economics on Monday brought me face to face with the human toll of the Duterte administration’s irresolution in defending the West Philippine Sea. We must make time to understand the Duterte era from a historical perspective; on Thursday, the Inquirer and the De La Salle University seek to do just that, with a historians’ forum on Philippine independence and the rise of China. But today—today I want to talk about Norma and Ping and the fishermen in Zambales they represent.

Let me belabor the obvious: The Defend Democracy Summit was called out of the sense that democracy in the Philippines today needs to be defended. The organizers defined four areas that needed defending: national sovereignty, human rights, democratic institutions, truth.

Assigned to the first workshop, I had the chance to listen to Prof. Jay Batongbacal, one of the world’s leading experts on the South China Sea disputes. (I added a few words on the Chinese view, from confusion in the 1930s about the location of the Spratlys to allegations in the English-language Chinese press of Philippine aggression in 2016.) In the discussion that followed, the diversity of the perspectives represented was striking: women, businessmen, students, environmentalists, political activists, fisherfolk. I was especially impressed by the intensity of the intervention of the likes of Norma and Ping, who represented fishermen from Zambales whose lives and livelihood are increasingly at risk.

 

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Not for lack of trying: The fishermen are organized, conduct roundtables in their communities, connect to local and national reporters. But since the start of the Duterte administration, they have found themselves at the mercy of the Chinese—and the authorities do not seem to be of any help. One of the representatives spoke of a recent incident where Chinese fishermen were arrested while poaching in internal waters, and a Chinese Embassy official appeared to tell police officers: “Philippine law does not apply to them (the poachers).” (I will try to get to the bottom of this incident.) He also vigorously rejected media reports that Filipino fishermen can now fish inside Scarborough Shoal.

A group of Zambales fishermen has been conducting meetings and workshops among themselves. In their last workshop, they came up with a list of five demands, in Filipino, that illustrates the immediate effect of the government’s failure to protect their way of life.

The five demands they addressed to the Duterte administration include:

Remove China’s illegal structures and stop certain practices that only favor China.

Allow fishermen to fish and to seek cover in Scarborough Shoal in times of typhoons and calamities.

Provide livelihood for fishermen’s families affected (by Chinese control of Scarborough Shoal since 2012).

Avoid classifying Scarborough as a marine sanctuary because in the end this will only become a fishing area for China.

Stop the illegal quarrying in Zambales used for the reclamation (of Chinese-occupied reefs) and the building of Chinese military structures, in the West Philippine Sea.

Another representative warned: “In five years, maybe in two years, Zambales will be out”—meaning out of fish stock, because of aggressive Chinese fishing.

Yesterday, June 12, was the 90th birthday of an extraordinary teacher who is, amazingly, still teaching. Onofre Pagsanghan, better known to generations of students at the Ateneo de Manila High School, and to thousands of students and parents who have heard his lectures in different schools across the country, as Mr. Pagsi, was—is—a spellbinding speaker. His gift is equal parts heart and craft; a lifetime of integrity and excellence becomes visible through his lectures, even his casual remarks.

What a privilege it was to study under him.

On Twitter: @jnery_newsstand

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/104727/remove-chinas-illegal-structures#ixzz4js4z0UQu
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FILE 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 China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

Winning against China

June 13, 2017

This is the final column based on Justice Antonio Carpio’s e-book The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea. I summarize here Justice Carpio’s interpretation of the decision of the arbitral tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration that upheld the Philippine positions on most issues. I also share Justice Carpio’s suggestions on how the Arbitral Award can be enforced.

On the Scarborough Shoal, the Tribunal ruled that the Shoal is a high-tide elevation entitled to a 12-nautical mile territorial sea but not to a 200-NM exclusive economic zone since obviously it is not capable of human habitation. The territorial sea of Scarborough Shoal, which includes the lagoon, is however a traditional fishing ground of Filipino, Chinese, and Vietnamese fishermen. In any case, China cannot prevent Filipino fishermen from fishing in the territorial sea of Scarborough Shoal.

China claims the Scarborough Shoal because the shoal was allegedly the observation point in the South China Sea where Guo Shoujing erected in 1279 CE an astronomical observatory. This claim is belied by the fact that China had already identified Xisha (the Paracels) as the observation point when China presented its argument against Vietnam in 1980. As clearly pointed out by Carpio: “The biggest rock on Scarborough Shoal is just 1.2 meters above water at high tide, and not more than six to 10 people can stand on it.  It is physically impossible to erect, or operate, the massive astronomical observatories of Guo Shoujing on the tiny rocks of Scarborough.”

As regard the environment, the arbitral tribunal ruled that China violated its obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to “protect and preserve the marine environment” when China: (a) Dredged and built islands on seven reefs;  (b)Failed to prevent its fishermen from harvesting endangered species like sea turtles, corals, and giant clams in the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal.

Other issues raised on which the arbitral tribunal has ruled are:

China violated the exclusive right of the Philippines to its EEZ when China: (a) Interfered with fishing activities of Filipino fishermen within Philippine EEZ, including imposing a fishing moratorium within Philippine EEZ; (b) Interfered with petroleum activities of Philippine-commissioned vessels within Philippine EEZ; (c) Failed to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing within Philippine EEZ; and (d) Constructed an artificial island and structures on an LTE (Mischief Reef) within Philippine EEZ.

China also violated its obligation not to aggravate the dispute during the arbitration when China: (a) Dredged the reefs, reclaimed and built the islands while the proceedings were ongoing, and; Destroyed the evidence of the natural condition of the geologic features at issue when China dredged and reclaimed them while the proceedings were ongoing.

Finally,  China violated its obligation to observe maritime safety when Chinese coast guard vessels crossed the path of Philippine vessels at high speed.

In conclusion, Justice Carpio suggests ways forward in the enforcement of the arbitral award, namely: (a) Enforcement of the award by the world’s naval powers with respect to freedom of navigation and overflight for military vessels and aircraft; and, (b)  Enforcement of the award by the Philippines with respect to its exclusive right to exploit the resources of its EEZ in the South China Sea.

On the first enforcement method, Justice Carpio observed that naval powers such as the United States, France and Great Britain can enforce the award by sailing and flying, and conducting military activities, in the high seas and EEZs of the South China Sea.

On the second method of enforcement, the Philippines can do several things, such as suing in a jurisdiction that ratified UNCLOS, move before the International Seabed Authority for the suspension of China’s exploration permits in the area, move before the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) for the suspension of China’s application for an ECS in the East China Sea, can negotiate its maritime boundaries with Malaysia (EEZ and ECS) and Vietnam (ECS), applying the Arbitral Tribunal’s ruling that no geologic feature in the Spratlys generates an EEZ and that the nine-dashed line has no legal effect on maritime entitlements, can delineate its ECS from Luzon and file its claim with the CLCS, there being no legal impediment from the nine-dashed line, and the Philippine navy and coast guard vessels and aircraft can continue to patrol  Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea.

As a final word, Justice Carpio emphasized that the leaders of our nation must exercise utmost deliberation, consistency, and perseverance in seeking ways to enforce what the arbitral tribunal has finally awarded to the Philippines as its own EEZ in the West Philippine Sea.  Silence or inaction is no way to go as this can be interpreted as a state’s acceptance of a factual or legal situation.

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Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

It is fitting to end this series this week, when we celebrate Independence Day of the Philippines. There can be no real independence without securing our sovereignty.  President Duterte’s approach to foreign policy, while laudable for its independence, has been reckless on its defense of national territory. Thankfully, we have Justice Antonio Carpio to remind our leaders of what needs to be done, I reiterate what I said at the beginning of this series, Justice Tony is a hero, a defender of the country’s territory and of our Constitution. Let’s be thankful for that.

Facebook: Dean Tony La Vina Twitter: tonylavs

http://thestandard.com.ph/opinion/columns/eagle-eyes-by-tony-la-vina/239177/winning-against-china.html

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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 China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines defy China fishing moratorium — Sovereignty and China’s legal rights at issue

June 10, 2017

Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines are defying a Chinese imposed fishing moratorium in the South China Sea, which includes areas embroiled in territorial disputes, VOA News reported.

The countries object to the three-month ban, which was imposed by China on May 1 without consulting them.

Chinese maritime security agencies patrol the waters and have previously arrested unlicensed vessels. However, since a United Nations tribunal declined to uphold China’s territorial claims for much of the sea last year, the legality of the country’s actions isn’t certain.

https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2017/06/09/vietnam-taiwan-and-the-philippines-defy-china-fishing-moratorium/

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VOA

Countries Defy China’s Extra-Strict Fishing Moratorium in South China Sea

June 09, 2017 2:36 AM
By Ralph Jennings
FILE - Fishing boats are docked in Tho Quang port, Danang, Vietnam, March 26, 2016. Fishermen from around the South China Sea tell stories of contending with bandits and coast guards.

FILE – Fishing boats are docked in Tho Quang port, Danang, Vietnam, March 26, 2016. Fishermen from around the South China Sea tell stories of contending with bandits and coast guards.

China’s toughest rivals in a maritime sovereignty dispute are defying an extra-strict fishing moratorium declared by Beijing this year in the contested South China Sea, putting their own trawling fleets at risk of arrest.Beijing declared the moratorium on its own from May 1 for three months, 30 days longer than in previous years and restricting more types of fishing operations. It covers the South China Sea above the 12th parallel north of the equator. Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines claim waters inside the moratorium zone but did not agree with China to pause fishing.

Vietnam has condemned the moratorium while the Philippines, which held upbeat talks with China on their maritime disputes last month, has kept quiet, analysts believe, to avoid legitimizing the ban. Taiwan gives awards to fishing boat operators who impose their own moratorium and will help anyone caught by China.

In this image taken and made available by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (center right) reviews nautical charts aboard a Taiwan Navy ship before it sets out to patrol in the South China Sea.

In this image taken and made available by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (center right) reviews nautical charts aboard a Taiwan Navy ship before it sets out to patrol in the South China Sea.

“Our fisheries agency in the past has sought fishing parties to warn them about safety matters involved with mainland China’s moratorium,” Chiu Chui-cheng, spokesman for the Taiwan government’s Mainland Affairs Council said. Taiwanese boats are known for following blue-fish tuna in the South China Sea.

“When operators encounter life safety or boat safety matter at sea, our government will immediately react and enact rescue measures to protect the safety of fishing crews and their vessels,” Chiu said. “So we ask that our Taiwanese friends in the fishing industry relax.”

The moratorium, after a world court tribunal ruled last year against Beijing’s claims much of the sea, casts new disdain on China around Asia while reminding other countries of the strength of Chinese de facto control.

“It’s no use protesting (the moratorium), because you’re acknowledging that they’re imposing the ban, but on the ground fishermen know where to avoid,” said Termsak Chalermpalanupap, a fellow with the ISEAS Yusof Ihsak Institute in Singapore.

Earlier fishing curbs

Beijing has enforced previous seasonal South China Sea fishing curbs, the first of which it declared in 1995, by arresting foreign fishing boats. After so many years, veteran boat operators know where they can safely go, analysts say.

China will check boats that it finds illegal and arrest any without a license, vessel name or port of registration, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council says.

But neither silence nor protests imply acceptance of a single country’s rule over the high seas, said Douglas Guilfoyle, associate international law professor at Monash University in Australia. High seas refers to waters outside the exclusive economic zones extending from the shores of coastal states.

“You are not obliged to contest claims without legal foundation,” Guilfoyle said. “International law requires not just that a state assert a new rule, but that other states accept it, and acceptance by acquiescence or silence isn’t a usual method of rule-making in international law. You normally need positive assent.”

South China Sea Territorial Claims

South China Sea Territorial Claims

China’s claims

China claims most of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea, citing historic records as a basis. It has alarmed the other claimants by letting coast guard vessels operate in disputed waters and by building artificial islands, some for military deployments.

The fishing moratorium violates a July world arbitration court ruling in The Hague against the legal basis for China’s claim over more than 90 percent of the South China Sea, analysts say.

China has gone easy on Philippine fishing boats over the past year as the two governments try to settle their dispute. Negotiators met last month for what the Philippine side described as a productive first meeting, according to media reports from Manila.

But Beijing routinely keeps Filipinos out of Scarborough Shoal, a prime fishing spot in Manila’s west coast exclusive economic zone, and boat operators know they can’t access it.

Vietnam, which despite a year of stepped-up dialogue with Beijing, still resents China over historical sovereignty disputes, said in March it would send ships to protect its fishing vessels from action taken under the moratorium.

The fishing boats will probably be detained, arrested or sunk as China sends its coast guard and maritime police, said Murray Hiebert, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington.

“Some Vietnamese fishing boats will continue going out to fish and risk harassment or arrest,” Hiebert said. “Others are likely to hang back to avoid trouble.”

China would arrest Vietnamese boats anyway, said Zhang Hongzhou, research fellow with the China Program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

“This is not only during the moratorium,” Zhang said. “During the fishing season as well, if they trespass into the Chinese-controlled areas, the Chinese coast guard and other law enforcement vessels will take action against them.”

Countries dissatisfied with arrests can seek international arbitration at least to get a boat released, Guilfoyle said.

The sea yields 16.6 million tons of fish every year and the fishing industry employs about 3.7 million people, a National Geographic report said last year, but fish stocks are declining. Claimant countries also prize the sea for its marine shipping lanes and reserves of gas and oil.

https://www.voanews.com/a/countries-defy-chinas-extra-strict-fishing-moratorium-in-south-china-sea/3893413.html

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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 says it is vigilant as two U.S. bombers fly over South China Sea — Plus Who Lost the West Philippine Sea?

June 9, 2017

Reuters

China said on Friday it was monitoring U.S. military activities in the South China Sea, after two U.S. bombers conducted training flights over the disputed waters.

The U.S. Pacific Command said on its website that two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew a 10-hour training mission from Guam over the South China Sea on Thursday, in conjunction with the Navy’s USS Sterett guided-missile destroyer.

The exercise comes after a U.S. warship in late May carried out a “maneuvering drill” within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea.

The U.S. military conducts such “freedom of navigation” patrols to show China it is not entitled to territorial waters there, U.S. officials said at the time.

The latest exercise was part of Pacific Command’s “continuous bomber presence” program, but it did not give details on where it was conducted, and did not refer to it as a freedom-of-navigation operation.

“China always maintains vigilance and effective monitoring of the relevant country’s military activities in the South China Sea,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the United States.

“China’s military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and regional peace and stability,” it said.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, a stance contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and build-up of military facilities there, concerned they could be used to restrict free movement and extend China’s strategic reach.

U.S. allies and partners in the region had grown anxious as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had held off on carrying out South China Sea operations during its first few months in office.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Who lost the West Philippine Sea?

/ 12:09 AM June 06, 2017

This could be the question that will haunt us in our old age. Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio asked the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum on Monday to imagine that moment, years from now, when our children and grandchildren will sit us down and ask us: “Who lost the West Philippine Sea to China?”

It is our “civic duty,” Carpio said, to raise the alarm today about the imminent loss of our territory and our waters, to forge a national consensus on what needs to be done, and to defend the West Philippine Sea.

What is at stake in the dispute with China, and in Beijing’s continuing disregard of the July 12, 2016, arbitral tribunal ruling? In his “The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” (the e-book is available online, free of charge), Carpio added up the costs: The Philippines stands to lose “about 80 percent” of its exclusive economic zone (“including the entire Reed Bank and part of the Malampaya gas field”) and “100 percent” of its extended continental shelf (about 150,000 square kilometers of maritime space). Altogether, China’s claim to most of the South China Sea “encroaches on over 531,000 sq km of Philippine EEZ and ECS, including all the fishery, oil, gas, and mineral resources found within this vast area, which is larger than the total land area of the Philippines …” Carpio does not mince words: “This Chinese aggression is the gravest external threat to the Philippines since World War II.”

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Bill Hayton, the BBC journalist who is a leading expert on the South China Sea disputes, recently tweeted a link to a new article in the “Journal of Modern Chinese History.”

“The Origins of the South China Sea issue” is by Li Guoqiang, who is identified in the journal as “vice director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.” Perhaps not coincidentally, CASS publishes the journal.

Hayton’s one-tweet review is brutal: “Li Guoqiang demonstrating the intellectual bankruptcy of official Chinese history of the South China Sea. ‘Nonsense on stilts’.”

He points to his “favorite” among Li’s “ridiculous statements”: “For example, in 1791, British Captain Henry Spratly ‘discovered’ Mischief Reef in the Nansha Islands and named it after his German crewman Mischief.”

Set aside the mention of Mischief (the claim that the reef was named after a “German” crew member named Heribert Mischief seems dubious) or of the use of “Henry” (in fact, Captain Spratly’s name was Richard). But the man who gave his name to the Spratly Islands was born in 1802.

This ridiculousness is repeated in a propaganda website like http://www.spratlys.org (“Spratly Islands—China’s precious pearls in the South Sea!”), where the “timeline” asserts that “Captain Spratle arrived in the group and named the islands by his name” in 1791—11 years before he was born!

This is the kind of thinking that supports the aggressive Chinese posturing in the South China Sea. Just imagine if, rather than merely acknowledging Chinese military might, President Duterte’s scathing tongue were directed at this and other fallacies. Mischief abroad!

 

On Twitter: @jnery_newsstand

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/104569/lost-west-philippine-sea#ixzz4jVr93U3d
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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 China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

EDITORIAL: In Our Schools, Filipinos Learn About Their Birthright — China does not own the West Philippine Sea

June 8, 2017
/ 12:30 AM June 08, 2017

“Boringly normal” was how Education Secretary Leonor Briones cheerfully described the Monday opening of public schools, perhaps to say that it went on as scheduled. But if one defines “boring” as predictable and unchanged, one captures the state of the education sector, with problems now boringly familiar: double or triple class shifts for lack of classrooms to serve a burgeoning student population, primitive or decrepit facilities, schoolchildren displaced by internal conflict or forced to work despite their tender age, teacher shortage, measly pay for teachers—and, of late, teachers displaced with the implementation of the K-to-12 program.

The continuing increase in student numbers—thanks to our young demography and unbridled population growth—could account for an educational system bursting at the seams. More than 22.8 million students were expected to troop to over 50,000 public schools last Monday.

But for all that, things are far from critical, according to the Department of Education. Indeed, with education getting a lion’s share of the 2017 national budget—P543.2 billion, or a 25-percent increase over last year’s allocation—the usual excuse of fund shortage no longer applies. The amount is seen to benefit over 21.2 million students nationwide, and will be used mainly to increase teachers’ salaries, improve basic educational facilities, purchase textbooks and instructional materials, and provide financial assistance to students.

Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo has highlighted figures showing a better classroom-student and teacher-pupil ratio over the years. As of 2016, the classroom-pupil and teacher-pupil ratio were 1:36 and 1:43, respectively in elementary schools, and 1:32 and 1:26, respectively in high schools.

But who says education is purely a government concern? A better educated citizenry would mean a more prepared and informed work force that could boost the economy. With mutual interests at stake, the public and private sectors should forge a partnership to heave the educational system out of its lethargy.

A good example of this partnership is the “Brigada Eskwela” project in the Cordillera that had members of the community, the electric companies, and private institutions working together to ensure that more schools in remote rural areas get the benefit of electrification. According to Dr. Beatrice Torno, DepEd Cordillera officer-in-charge, thanks to the community’s spirit of volunteerism, only 210 of a total of 1,346 schools in the region remain without electricity. With private firms donating solar panels as part of the project, the prospect of using clean energy for schools in off-the-grid areas is promising.

And while much remains to be sorted out in the K-to-12 program, it is seen as a strategic step to produce competent graduates who will later become the backbone of a highly skilled and employable work force. Introduced under the Aquino administration, the program lengthens basic schooling by two years, as is the world standard, and offers technical and vocational courses to students not planning to go to college, thus providing them with more chances of getting employed.

As studies have repeatedly shown, “more schooling leads to a higher income,” averaging a 10-percent increase for every additional year in school.

But the educational system should go beyond facilities, curriculum structure and teacher-generated learning. Teaching methods should include history, social studies, state affairs and burning issues taught through the refracted lens of the Philippines’ political experience and ongoing geopolitics. For example, it is imperative that young (and even not so young) Filipinos learn about the West Philippine Sea and their birthright.

It is a learning need that Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio seeks to fill with a free, downloadable e-book launched last week that he hopes would inform Filipinos on the wealth they own in the West Philippine Sea and the necessity of defending it. Once Filipinos learn and understand this, he says, they “will never allow” any administration “to give away or compromise these maritime areas or resources.”

As all educators know, learning is possible whether in or out of school.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/104615/learning#ixzz4jPI9rFW0
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Pentagon: China used coercive force to assert and maintain maritime claims

June 8, 2017
FILE – In this Friday, April 21, 2017, file photo, an airstrip, structures and buildings on China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force. Beijing says it is “firmly opposed” to a Pentagon report on the Chinese military that highlighted China’s construction of military facilities on made-made islands in the South China Sea and speculated that Beijing would likely build more military bases overseas. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing has used its growing power to assert its sovereignty claims over features in the East and South China Seas, the US Department of Defense said in its 2017 China Military Power Report.

“China has used coercive tactics, such as the use of law enforcement vessels and its maritime militia, to enforce maritime claims and advance its interests in ways that are calculated to fall below the threshold of provoking conflict,” the report read.

The Pentagon reported that for the past year, China continued construction of its military outposts in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea, part of which the Philippines claims as the West Philippine Sea.

China can now deploy military asserts to the Spratly Islands as it is nearly finished with the construction of infrastructures on Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross Reefs.

READ: China can now deploy military assets to South China Sea

The report also noted that Beijing was able to land civilian aircraft on its airfields on the “Big Three” artificial islands.

The Pentagon took note of the July 2016 of an arbitral tribunal ruling which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim in the disputed waters, which Beijing rejected.

“Among other things, the tribunal ruled that China’s ‘nine-dash line’ cannot represent a lawful maritime claim to the extent that any of the claims it reflects would exceed the limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention,” the Pentagon said.

The report added that the United Nations-backed tribunal did not rule on sovereignty claims to land features which is an issue outside the scope of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte did not attempt to advance the Philippines’ position based on the ruling, easing tensions between Beijing and Manila.

“China publicly welcomed improved relations with the Philippines, signing $24 billion in potential economic agreements and pledging to settle territorial disputes through dialogue, and it also characterized President Duterte’s approach towards China as contrasting with that of his predecessor, former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III,” the report read.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused China of using its economic power to “buy its way out” of problems including the South China Sea dispute.

In a joint statement after the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations in Sydney, Tillerson and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called for the demilitarization of disputed features in the South China Sea.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/06/08/1707979/pentagon-china-used-coercive-force-enforce-maritime-claims

RELATED: China hits Tillerson’s remarks on evading South China Sea issue

Related:

(Contains links to previous related articles)

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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 China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

South China Sea: The Facts Against China

June 6, 2017

Philippine Daily Inquirer

EDITORIAL

12:10 AM June 07, 2017

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Supreme Court says he has a “civic duty” to sound the alarm: The Philippines may lose the West Philippine Sea, including 80 percent of its exclusive economic zone and 100 percent of its extended continental shelf, if it does nothing to stop China’s creeping expansionism in the region. He told the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum on Monday: It is “the civic duty of every Filipino to defend our territory, defend our maritime entitlements in accordance with international law and our Constitution.”

To meet this civic duty, he suggested a three-anchor policy, borrowed from the Vietnamese experience: be friendly with China, defend Philippine territory, cultivate alliances. All three anchors must be in place, otherwise the ship of state will continue to be at risk.

Public opinion largely supports the legal approach that the Philippines took in its dispute with China, the same approach which led to the sweeping arbitral tribunal victory of July 12, 2016. That same public remains largely mistrustful of China.

There is a vocal segment of the public, however, which is ready to accept friendlier relations with China, including billion-dollar loans, but consider defense of territory inconvenient and stronger alliances unpatriotic or insufficiently post-ideological.

As a group, they subscribe to several untruths; we should set them right with the following facts:

The main cause of the South China Sea disputes is China’s aggressive expansionism in the region. The conflicting claims, involving not only the Philippines and China, but also Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Taiwan, are not reducible to a geopolitical power play between China and the United States. The claims are rooted in Beijing’s irresponsible and unsupported assertion—first made only in 1947, refined in 1950, and officially announced to the United Nations only in 2009—that China enjoys “indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters, and enjoys sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the relevant waters as well as the seabed and subsoil thereof.” This sweeping assertion violates both the letter and spirit of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which all disputants are signatories.

The notion that the Philippines is a mere plaything trapped in a contest of wills between two superpowers reassures those who wish to take no resolute action against China, but it is not based on reality. The United States is necessarily a factor in the disputes, in part because the biggest economy with the largest navy has a vested interest in freedom of navigation through the vital South China Sea, and in part because it has a Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines. But to assert that the United States bears equal blame for the current disputes is to engage in the worst sort of false equivalence. Since the 1980s, China has been expanding its hold on the Paracels, on the Spratly, and now even on Scarborough Shoal.

The case that the Philippines filed with the arbitral tribunal is not the cause of the current tension—and it is appalling that some Filipinos actually think this is true. The Philippines was forced to file the case after the Chinese deception in 2012, when they took control of Scarborough Shoal. That year, a standoff between Philippine and Chinese fishing vessels at the shoal led to a diplomatic initiative; the United States brokered a deal agreed to by the foreign ministries of both the Philippines and China that called for a mutual withdrawal from the shoal. The Philippines complied; China did not.

The arbitral tribunal ruling is a true landmark—a sweeping victory for the Philippines (because it invalidates the 1947/1950 “nine-dash line” which undergirds China’s expansionist claims to almost all of the South China Sea) and for other claimants as well. Contrary to the thinking of the appeasement bloc in the Philippine political class, the ruling is an enforceable decision—not because China will suddenly cave in under the weight of the legal ruling, but because China, the world’s second largest economy, is a signatory to many other international covenants and itself believes in the power of arbitration.

Defeatism is not a policy.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/104595/the-facts-against-china#ixzz4jFMum3MZ
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Related:

(Contains links to previous related articles)

No automatic alt text available.
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 China’s “nine dash line” was not recognized under international law.

Philippine President Defends His South China Sea Alliance With China, Criticizes Judge Carpio, Former President Benigno Aquino and the U.S.

May 31, 2017
Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio addresses guests during the launching of his e-book titled “The South China Sea Dispute: Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea” that questions China’s historic claim to most of the South China Sea Thursday, May 4, 2017 in the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines. Carpio said he will distribute it online to try to overcome China’s censorship and reach its people. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday criticized Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio over his remarks on the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea dispute.

“Si Carpio, daldal nang daldal [expletive] wala namang ginagawa noon, so gusto nito punta ako doon sa UN for the enforcement,” Duterte said in a speech during the 119th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy.

Carpio, one of those who defended the Philippines against China’s extensive claims on the South China Sea, had been urging the president to enforce the ruling of an international arbitral tribunal on the maritime dispute.

The senior associate justice gave lectures in the Philippines and abroad casting doubt on China’s vast historic claim over a large part of the South China Sea, which includes a portion that is within the Philippines’ exclusive ecnomic zone.

On July 12, 2016, the United Nations-backed tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China’s historic claims over the contested waters.

Duterte said that Carpio and President Benigno Aquino III should have acted upon receiving information that China has been building facilities in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Carpio, a justice, is not part of the executive branch.

“Ang problema nito, when it was being constructed seven years ago, the newspapers in the Philippines, Time magazine, were awash with pictures that there was something abrewing there… Nandyan yung ating navy bakit hindi sinabi ni Carpio pati ni Noynoy ‘Sige, puntahan ninyo, pigilan ninyo,'” the president said.

The president has previously also blamed the US for allegedly not acting to stop China from militarizing and conducting reclamation work in the disputed waters. The US is not a claimant state in the South China Sea but is concerned about freedom of navigation through the vital sea lane.

The president also stressed pushing for the arbitral ruling would lead to a war against China.

“Sabi ko sa kanila, I will dig oil there. Sabi niya (Chinese President Xi Jinping) ‘No, no, no, do not do that.’ No sabi ko, ‘It’s ours.’ Wala nang padaloy-daloy ‘yang arbitral, diretso,” Duterte said. “Sabi dialogue, peaceful resolution… When will it end? Hanggang kailan ako makikipag-usap?”

The Chinese president earlier warned that they would go to war when Duterte raised the ruling of the international tribunal during their meeting in Beijing a few weeks ago.

Following the threat from China, Carpio said that such warning is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, UNCLOS and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.

The Xi Jinping may bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal as the 1987 Constitution renounces war as an instrument of national policy.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/31/1705408/duterte-hits-carpio-pushing-philippine-claim-south-china-sea

Related:

 (The “Project of the Century” is, at heart, an imperial venture.)

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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.

John McCain calls for joint exercises to challenge ‘bully’ China

May 31, 2017
U.S. Sen. John McCain delivers a speech at the invitation of the United States Studies Centre in Sydney, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. In February, the Republican senator leaped to Australia’s defense after President Donald Trump got into a heated discussion with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over an Obama-era agreement on the resettlement of refugees. AP/Rick Rycroft

MANILA, Philippines — An American senator suggested that United States-led multilateral exercises could be a good way to push back against Beijing’s excessive claims in the disputed South China Sea.

“If the Chinese are able to prevent us from exercising freedom of navigation then I think that has a profound consequences for the entire region,” Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said in a speech in Sydney.

McCain, chair of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, stressed that China’s vast territorial claims have no basis in international law.

“The challenge is that as China has grown wealthier and stronger, it seems to be acting more and more like a bully,” McCain said.

McCain’s remarks in Australia comes days before delegates from the US and China are scheduled to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue or the 16th Asia Security Summit in Singapore.

The US senator noted that Australia has become entangled in a strategic competition between America and China.

The senator, however, did not directly urge Sydney to take part in freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

“I would not try to tell the Australians what they need to do, but there are exercises where a number of nations join together — we call it RIMPAC [Rim of the Pacific Exercise]— that the Australians participate in. They’re broad naval exercises,” McCain said.

Hosted by the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, the RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise.

Countries that participated in maritime exercises last year were Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, China, Peru, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the US.

McCain added that the joint naval exercises would be an opportunity to exercise freedom of navigation.

“But I also wanna emphasize I understand the importance of trade with China and Australia. I understand the importance of their relationship,” the American senator said.

Washington recently launched its first freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea under the Trump administration.

Irking Beijing, a US Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, one of China’s artificial islands in the Spratly Islands.

Mischief or Panganiban Reef, also being claimed by the Philippines, is included in the ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands.

The tribunal considered Mischief Reef as a low-tide elevation, which gives no entitlement to any exclusive maritime zone under international law.

RELATED: Analyst: US South China Sea operation a sign of support to Philippines

Related:

 (The “Project of the Century” is, at heart, an imperial venture.)

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No automatic alt text available.
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.