Posts Tagged ‘West Philippine Sea’

Philippines Struggles To Cope With China’s “Duplicitous Ways” in South China Sea, Benham Rise

March 7, 2018

GOTCHA – Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) – March 7, 2018 – 12:00am

 Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water
China has militarized the South China Sea — even though they have no legal claim. This is Mischief Reef, now an extensive Chinese military base — one of seven Chinese military bases near the Philippines

The issues of the West and East Philippine Seas are joined, as far as China is concerned. As polls show, Filipinos distrust China because of its duplicitous ways. In Benham Rise east of Luzon, China conducted natural resource and military explorations without Manila’s consent. It rejected Manila’s reasonable condition of including Filipino scientists in its researches. After sneakily giving Chinese names to five undersea peaks it now wants to name 50 or so other features. It claims to a right to conduct marine scientific research (MSR) under international law.

In the West Philippine Sea, China has done worse. It grabbed the traditional Filipino fishing ground Scarborough Shoal 123 miles off Zambales, within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone but 700 miles from China’s nearest coast and beyond its own EEZ. It has concreted seven reefs and shoals in the Philippine EEZ into artificial island fortresses. It also claims reefs and rocks closer to the Philippines by imagining to be the first to name them.

Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio leads patriotic Filipinos in disputing Beijing’s illegal claims and activities. He helped in Manila’s victorious arbitration in The Hague against China’s maritime expansionism. He also debunked through ancient maps and documents Beijing’s farcical “historical rights” to the South China (West Philippine) Sea.

Here Carpio shares his thoughts on the joined east-west issues:

“(1) No Philippine law specifically regulates MSR in our extended continental shelf (beyond the 200-mile EEZ) like Benham Rise.

“(2) However, the Philippines having ratified UNCLOS, this international convention is part of the Philippine legal system. Under Article 246 of UNCLOS, the Philippines has an obligation to allow foreign states to conduct MSR in its continental shelf like Benham Rise ‘to increase scientific knowledge of the marine environment for the benefit of all mankind.’ Thus, the results of the MSR must be made known to the whole world.

“(3) MSR by foreign states in Benham Rise is purely for scientific research, and cannot be to explore the mineral resources for exploitation. Under UNCLOS, the Philippines has exclusive sovereign right to explore and exploit the mineral resources in its extended continental shelf like Benham Rise. Neither the President nor the Foreign Secretary can waive this exclusive sovereign right to a foreign state. To ensure that the foreign state conducting MSR in our extended continental shelf is not exploring for purposes of exploitation, Filipino marine scientists must be on board the foreign research vessels.

“(4) UNCLOS is a ‘package deal.’ A state that ratifies UNCLOS must accept its rights and obligations as one entire package. A ratifying state cannot cherry pick – accepting only certain provisions and rejecting others.

“(5) By refusing to accept the award of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal pursuant to the dispute settlement provisions of UNCLOS, China is not accepting its obligation under UNCLOS. China should not be allowed to enjoy its rights under UNCLOS, like conducting MSR in Benham Rise, while it refuses to accept its obligation under the arbitral award. Otherwise, China is cherry picking and not taking UNCLOS as one package deal.

“(6) Article 246 of UNCLOS states, ‘Coastal States shall, in normal circumstances, grant their consent for marine scientific research projects by other States.’ The refusal of China to comply with the arbitral award of the UNCLOS tribunal is not a ‘normal circumstance,’ and thus the Philippines should refuse China’s request for MSR in Benham Rise.

“(7) If a bully has squatted on your front yard, and requests to look at your backyard, would you grant the request of the bully? China has squatted on the West Philippine Sea and refuses to leave despite the ruling of the UNCLOS tribunal. Now, China requests to be allowed to survey the Philippine Sea on the east side of the Philippines. The Philippines would be dumb (bugok) to grant China’s request.”

*      *      *

For 14 years Harry Roque headed the Center for International Law and taught at the University of the Philippines College of Law. That was before he became party-list congressman in 2016 and presidential spokesman in 2017. Here are some of his recent statements:

On China’s naming of undersea features in Benham Rise: “Don’t let’s magnify the issue … China gave so many names – siopao, siomai, ampao, pechay, hototay – but all those don’t mean it is laying claim.”

On President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposed “joint exploration” with China of West Philippine Sea resources: “It’s a practical solution for Filipinos to utilize natural resources without having to deal with the contentious conflicting claims to territories… The existing jurisprudence is we can enter into joint exploration and joint exploitation with foreign entities provided that it complies with the Constitution among others, it be pursuant to a written agreement signed by the President and submitted to Congress.”

On China’s “co-ownership” of those Philippine resources: “What the President meant was that’s exactly the kind of relationship we will have in a joint exploration and exploitation.”

*      *      *

Ten years ago when the Joint Marine Seismic Understanding was exposed, Roque called it “treasonous.” Malacañang had ordered the Philippine National Oil Co. to sign with China National Overseas Oil Corp. the secret joint exploration of the Palawan continental shelf and Recto (Reed) Bank within the Philippine EEZ and way beyond China’s.

Roque said:

“Clearly, an agreement to jointly survey for the existence of petroleum resources in the Spratlys would be a derogation of the country’s sovereign rights (because) the exploration here would cease to be exclusive.

“A Filipino GOCC could not redefine what is provided for by law.

“My position is that anyone who will give away Philippine territory is guilty of treason. Since the national territory is governed by the Constitution and by law, a President (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) who will surrender the exercise of sovereign rights is guilty of treason, an impeachable offense.”

*      *      *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ, (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2018/03/07/1794213/repel-or-yield-carpio-vs-roque#ULfo3EEeUc292FJu.99

Related:

.
No automatic alt text available.
Chinese bases near the Philippines
.

.

.
We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

.
.
.
.
.
.

.

.

No automatic alt text available.

China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

.

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.

Advertisements

Paying back Chinese loans not a problem for Philippines, says Chinese expert

March 6, 2018

 

President Rodrigo Duterte described the partnership as similar to “co-ownership” of the waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

AP, File photo

Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – March 6, 2018 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Paying back its debts to China will not be a problem for the Philippine due to its “strong debt-paying ability,” a Chinese expert said.

The Philippines had sought the support of China in its $168-billion (P8.4 trillion) infrastructure plan which includes roads, bridges, airports and ports.

Beijing has provided about $7.34 billion in loans and grants to Manila for 10 large-scale infrastructure projects, according to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Zhuang Guotu, director of the China Southeast Asian Research Association, told Chinese newspaper Global Times that the Philippines needs the infrastructure plan to boost its economy and support its fast-growing population.

Beijing has provided very low interest rates on loans that it has provided to its Southeast Asian neighbors, Zhuang said.

“And the Philippines has strong debt-paying ability. Besides, the loans are usually accompanied by repayment agreements, which use certain natural resources as collateral,” Zhuang told Global Times.

He also noted that China is willing to provide loans, labor and expertise to help the Philippines.

“China’s infrastructure capability leads the world and as a result many countries and regions are willing to cooperate with China,” Zhuang said.

The Philippine government earlier announced that there are talks with the Chinese side for a possible joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte even described this partnership as similar to “co-ownership” of the waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Zhuang said that the two countries are probably already discussing first-phase preparations over joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea.

“In fact, discussions about joint exploration started in the 1970s, but it didn’t come about for various reasons. This time, the negotiations came after the Philippines had long been troubled by energy shortages,” the expert said.

The possible joint exploration would make a “new phase” in resolving the South China Sea dispute, he added.

In July 2016, a United Nations-backed tribunal issued a landmark ruling invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea. The arbitral tribunal also concluded that Beijing violated its commitment under the Convention on the Law of the Sea when it constructed artificial islands in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

PHILIPPINES-CHINA TIES, SOUTH CHINA SEA AND WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/03/06/1794117/paying-back-chinese-loans-not-problem-philippines-says-expert#TujdMDUlHTBc1qdC.99

Related:

.
No automatic alt text available.
Chinese bases near the Philippines
.

.

.
We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

.
.
.
.
.
.

.

.

No automatic alt text available.

China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

.

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.

Philippines says in talks with China state firm on joint sea exploration

March 1, 2018

.

 Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water
China has militarized the South China Sea — even though they have no legal clame. This is Mischief Reef, now an extensive Chinese military base — one of seven Chinese military bases near the Philippines

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines said Thursday it is in talks with a Chinese state firm for joint South China Sea energy resource exploration and extraction, in a proposed deal described by President Rodrigo Duterte as akin to “co-ownership” of contested areas.

The two countries have long been embroiled in a bitter dispute over their competing claims to the region — with China claiming nearly the entire sea — but Duterte has in recent years softened his predecessors’ policy of opposing Beijing’s claims.

Duterte said Wednesday an arrangement to turn two of the rival claimants virtual joint owners of the strategic and supposedly oil and gas-rich sea was preferable to the “massacre” of Filipino troops in a war with China.

.
No automatic alt text available.
Chinese bases near the Philippines

“Now their (Beijing’s) offer is joint exploration, which is like co-ownership. It’s like the two of us would be the owners. I think that’s better than fighting,” he said during a visit to the war-torn southern city of Marawi.

Negotiations between the Philippines and China over South China Sea exploration were raised last month by Filipino Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque provided more detail Thursday, specifying that talks were underway between the Philippines’ energy department and an unnamed Chinese state firm, and that extraction of energy resources was now on the table.

He did not specify which specific area of the sea was under discussion.

Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim all or part of the sea. Proposed cooperation between Manila and Beijing has caused alarm among neighbouring Southeast Asian countries in the past.

“We might enter into an agreement with a Chinese-owned corporation, not the Chinese state itself,” Roque said in an interview aired on ABS-CBN television, adding the company he declined to name was state-owned.

“I know that they’re discussing, they’re moving forward and it’s likely to happen,” he added without giving a timetable or the exact terms of the proposed deal.

“This will now actually entail joint exploration and possible exploitation of natural resources.”

– ‘Alternative sources’ –

Duterte’s willingness to cooperate with China marks a turnaround from predecessor Benigno Aquino’s stance accusing Beijing of encroaching, occupying, and building structures on reefs and rocks that Manila claims as part of its exclusive economic zone.

Aquino won an international arbitration tribunal ruling in 2016 invalidating Beijing’s claims, but Duterte set aside the ruling while courting investments and trade from the Philippines’ giant neighbour, the world’s second-largest economy.

Cayetano said last month that Manila would consult legal experts to make sure any accord would not infringe on Philippine sovereign rights.

“It’s not that we have no choice. We can go back and say, ‘Fine, no one benefits from the resources now’. But come on, we’re trying to look for alternative sources of energy,” Roque said Thursday.

He said Filipino firms could not do it on their own and would need Chinese capital, while noting that “when a Filipino company attempted to explore on its own they were met by Chinese warboats (gunboats).”

He was referring to a 2011 incident when Manila said Chinese patrol boats harassed a seismic survey vessel chartered by a unit of a Philippine mining company at Philippine-claimed Reed Bank in the South China Sea.

© 2018 AFP

*******************************

From Rappler

Why it matters: The 1987 Constitution states that resources within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be reserved for Filipinos. The West Philippine Sea is a portion of the larger South China Sea which falls within the country’s EEZ and continental shelf.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, an expert on maritime law, has said the Constitution bans “joint development ” within the country’s EEZ.

While the government can tap a private company as a contractor to extract resources within the EEZ, there can be no state-to-state joint development, he said.

Cause for concern? Duterte’s use of the term “co-ownership” could be a cause for concern given that the West Philippine Sea and its resources are supposed to be exclusively for Filipinos.

China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea was invalidated by the Permanent Court of Aribtration in the Hague, Netherlands, back in 2016. Beijing, however, has chosen to ignore the ruling.

Duterte also used the term “co-ownership” after joking that it would be better if China declares the Philippines as one of its provinces, a remark widely condemned by lawmakers and citizens. Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/197108-duterte-likens-joint-exploration-china-co-ownership

Related:

.

.
We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

.
.
.
.
.
.

.

.

No automatic alt text available.

China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

.

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.

Global risk of conflict in the South China Sea one of the most dangerous potential global situations — The Economist Intelligence Unit says

February 28, 2018

.

Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) – February 28, 2018 – 8:40pm

 .
MANILA, Philippines — An outbreak of hostilities in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea and a military confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear and missile program are two of the biggest threats to the global economy, according to a new report.
 .
According to the The Economist Intelligence Unit, an outbreak of hostilities in the West Philippine Sea, or South China Sea, is third in terms of probability and impact on the world’s economy.

.

 Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water
Mischief Reef now an extensive Chinese military base
 .
The top two risks, according to the EIU report, are a prolonged fall in major stock markets that could destabilize the global economy and a trade war that would be provoked by American protectionism.
 .
A major cyber-attack crippling corporate and government activities is fourth on the list of threats to the global economy, EIU said.
 .
“Other key risks identified include a disorderly and prolonged Chinese slowdown, a major military confrontation on the Korean peninsula, and outright conflict in the Middle East between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” EIU said.
 .
The Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei claim either almost all or a part of the disputed waters through which $5 trillion worth of trade passes yearly.
 .
In 2016, a United Nations-backed tribunal invalidated China’s expansive claims to the region, which Beijing said were based on its so-called historical rights. China has refused to acknowledge the ruling and did not participate in the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines in 2013.
 .
Despite this, China has transformed several features in the West Philippine Sea into islands capable of hosting naval and air bases.
 .
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recently admitted before the Senate that Chinese planes from these man-made islands could reach and bomb the Philippine mainland in 15 minutes.
.
No automatic alt text available.
Chinese bases near the Philippines
 .
North Korea meanwhile has continued to develop its missile and nuclear program despite blistering international sanctions and criticism.
 .
It has recently showed capability of launching a missile capable of reaching mainland United States, a big leap in its effort to develop nuclear bomb-tipped weapons that could target many American cities.
 .
Although the world economy has experienced periods of high risk before, what is unique during this period is the risks associated with the US questioning its role in the world while China is becoming more assertive, EIU said.
 .
“Global risk is not just about the two biggest economies; risks also transcend boundaries on the political, military and financial spheres,” EIU said.
 .
There has never been a period of such robust economic growth, low inflation and high employment that has been coupled with a sense of unease over global conditions, according to Philip Walker, risk practice director for the EIU.
 .
He said that policymakers, companies and populations are facing a wide range of major threats that could upset the traditional global order in the coming years.
 .
“It is important to assess and prepare for a likely tumultuous global environment in order not just to mitigate damage, but also take advantage of opportunities that will undoubtedly arise along the way,” he said.
.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/28/1792299/south-china-sea-conflict-among-biggest-threats-world-economy-report#ZrfoVJYXI1BR10Fr.99

.

Related:

.

.

.
We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

.
.
.
.
.
.

.

.

No automatic alt text available.

China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

.

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.

China’s heavily-armed patrol ship spotted a few miles off Pag-asa (Thitu) Island near the Philippines

February 28, 2018

 

China’s CCG 46301 was seen near Sandy Cay in the West Philippine Sea. The vessel is a white-hull cutter converted from a frigate used by the Chinese military.

China Defense Forum
.

Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – February 28, 2018 – 5:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — One of China’s most heavily-armed coast guard ship was seen near Sandy Cay in the West Philippine Sea, a part of the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines.

Ryan Martinson, assistant professor at China Maritime Studies Institute, said that Beijing’s CCG 46301 appeared at the sandbar near Pag-asa Island on February 25.

“This ship is 4,000 (tons) and armed with a 76mm deck gun,” Martinson said.

In its August 2016 issue, Chinese naval magazine Naval and Merchant Ships described this type of vessels, a modified People’s Liberation Army warship, as having the capability to be configured into a frigate.

China’s CCG 46301 is armed with a 76mm main gun, two heavy 30mm machine guns, four high pressure water cannons and wields a Z-9 helicopter.

Large Chinese coast guard vessels would be strategic for patrol in the South China Sea, which is prone to “ramming contests,” said Franz Stefan Gady, a conflict zone observer and senior editor at The Diplomat.

The size of CCG 46301 would be intimidating for smaller foreign vessels in disputed waters.

Continuous presence

Chinese fishing vessels, People’s Liberation Army Navy frigates and Chinese Coast Guard vessels have maintained presence near Pag-asa Island for the past months.

Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, an opposition lawmaker, said the Chinese Coast Guard and PLA Navy vessels are regularly stationed near Sandy Cay as Subi or Zamora Reef is only 12 nautical miles away.

 No automatic alt text available.

“Just last month during the rotation, they closed in to our Navy ship,” Alejano said.

The lawmaker earlier received information that Chinese ships are taking aggressive actions against the Philippine Navy near Pag-asa Island, the largest feature in the Spratly Islands.

Chinese ships are believed to be stationed nearby, particularly Subi Reef which is being used as forward operating bases.

Subi Reef is one of China’s “big three” artificial islands in the Spratlys which have been tranformed into air and naval bases.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/28/1792229/chinas-heavily-armed-patrol-ship-spotted-few-miles-pag-asa#Kiqd5edPEPyil7LB.99

.
Related:
.
.
We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

.
.
.
.
.
.

.

.

No automatic alt text available.

China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

.

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: Philippine President says Joint exploration with China like ‘co-ownership’ — Philippines as China’s Newest Province? — What do Filipinos get?

February 28, 2018

Rappler

‘It’s like two of us own that. That’s better than fighting,’ says President Rodrigo Duterte about China’s offer for joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea

Published 5:35 PM, February 28, 2018
Updated 5:40 PM, February 28, 2018

PARTNERING WITH CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte wants to push through with joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China. Malacañang photo

PARTNERING WITH CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte wants to push through with joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte likened joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea to “co-ownership” in a speech on Wednesday, February 28, in Marawi City.

Ngayon, offer nila, eh di joint exploration. Eh di parang co-ownership, parang dalawa tayong may-ari niyan, eh di mas maganda ‘yan kaysa away,” he told an audience of Marawi residents and government officials. (They offered joint exploration. So that’s like co-ownership, it’s like two of us own that. That’s better than fighting.)

The Philippine president didn’t distinguish if he meant co-ownership of the West Philippine Sea or of the resources found in it, such as oil.

Duterte hailed China’s joint exploration offer as proof that his foreign relations strategy with them succeeded in bringing benefits to the Philippines.

Kita mo, eh kung inasar ko noon, pinagpu-putang ina ko sila, wala nangyari,” he said. (See, if I annoyed them before, called them sons of bitches, nothing would have happened.)

Why it matters: The 1987 Constitution states that resources within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be reserved for Filipinos. The West Philippine Sea is a portion of the larger South China Sea which falls within the country’s EEZ and continental shelf.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, an expert on maritime law, has said the Constitution bans “joint development ” within the country’s EEZ.

While the government can tap a private company as a contractor to extract resources within the EEZ, there can be no state-to-state joint development, he said.

Cause for concern? Duterte’s use of the term “co-ownership” could be a cause for concern given that the West Philippine Sea and its resources are supposed to be exclusively for Filipinos.

China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea was invalidated by the Permanent Court of Aribtration in the Hague, Netherlands, back in 2016. Beijing, however, has chosen to ignore the ruling.

Duterte also used the term “co-ownership” after joking that it would be better if China declares the Philippines as one of its provinces, a remark widely condemned by lawmakers and citizens. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/197108-duterte-likens-joint-exploration-china-co-ownership

Related:

We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

.
.
.
.
.
.

.

.

No automatic alt text available.

China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

.

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.

Philippines Wants Joint Sea Resource Research With China — Justice Carpio Asks “Why do you want to share what’s exclusively yours?” — Phil Constitution bans “joint development”within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone

February 16, 2018

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano says the Philippines is looking to a precedent deal from 2015, actually still being challenged before the Supreme Court

Published 5:49 PM, February 16, 2018
Updated 5:49 PM, February 16, 2018
SEA DISPUTE. The Philippines and China discuss their sea dispute in the second meeting of their bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea, held in Manila on February 13, 2018. Photo courtesy of DFA

SEA DISPUTE. The Philippines and China discuss their sea dispute in the second meeting of their bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea, held in Manila on February 13, 2018. Photo courtesy of DFA

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the Philippines is “aggressively” pursuing joint exploration of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) with China, following a 2005 “precedent” that became controversial.

“I can tell you that we’re pursuing it aggressively because we need it. It will serve no one’s good if we do not explore and eventually develop it,” Cayetano said in a press conference Friday, February 16.

Cayetano said that, on one hand, the Philippines can pursue joint exploration alone “in the undisputed areas,” even as the country needs “technical and financial support.”

“But in the disputed areas, you know, unless we can do it by ourselves without starting a war or, worse, without a massacre, it would be prudent to do it in partnership without violating our sovereignty,” he said.

Cayetano explained that joint exploration has a “precedent” – the 2005 Joint Seismic Marine Undertaking between the Philippines, China, and Vietnam.

The JMSU, however, was challenged before the Supreme Court (SC) in 2008. The case is pending with the SC.

The issue of joint exploration came up after the Philippines and China met on Tuesday, February 13, for their second bilateral consultation mechanism (BCM) on the South China Sea, where they discussed issues such as “oil and gas.” (READ: PH, China silent on artificial islands after meeting)

In his press conference on Friday, Cayetano said both the Philippines and China “want” to conduct the joint exploration, before they discuss joint development. Both sides will have working groups to study the issue.

“Then we will find a legal framework if it’s possible under the Constitution that we’ll allow a joint exploration,” Cayetano said.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier said, however, that the Philippine Constitution bans “joint development”within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Carpio asked, “Why do you want to share what’s exclusively yours?” – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/196217-ph-aggressively-pursuing-joint-exploration-with-china

Related:

.
.
.

.
.
.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

No automatic alt text available.

Chinese military bases near the Philippines

No automatic alt text available.

China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. 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.

Harry Roque pirouettes for Duterte

February 15, 2018
The Presidential Spokesman changes his tune on at least 3 issues he championed as private lawyer – the West Philippine Sea, extrajudicial killings, and press freedom
.
BY CARMELA FONBUENA | FEBRUARY 14, 2018

China seeks to name sea features in Philippine Rise — Did China Swindle The Philippines?

February 7, 2018
 
The official names will be part of the internationally recognized official bathymetric chart of the oceans, which aims to provide an accurate map of the sea floor. Namria graphic

MANILA, Philippines — Why is China interested in conducting research in the Philippine Rise, an area in the Western Pacific where it has no maritime territorial claim?

One possible answer, according to official sources: Beijing is seeking naming rights for seven or eight submarine mountains or seamounts and ridges in Benham or Philippine Rise and the surrounding Philippine Sea.

Image may contain: text

The official names will be part of the internationally recognized official bathymetric chart of the oceans, which aims to provide an accurate map of the sea floor.

The first edition of the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, based on about 20,000 soundings, came out in 1904, but the map is a work in progress. A GEBCO Digital Atlas was published in 1994.

Experts estimate that it will take 200 years to complete mapping of the planet’s entire ocean floor, so research contributions from various countries are accepted by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UNESCO.

Those who “discover” ocean features with the required supporting research get to name them.

The Chinese Navy Hydrographic Office submitted to the GEBCO Sub-committee on Undersea Feature Names proposed names for undersea features including a seamount that it wants to call Jujiu in Benham Rise and other parts of the Philippine Sea in the Western Pacific.

All are in the Philippine Basin and within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone, as defined under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The IHO-IOC website, in its record of China’s undersea feature name proposals, shows one filed for a ridge in the Philippine Basin that Beijing says a Chinese vessel called Li Siguang Hao “discovered” in September 2004 following a survey from July to September of the same year.

Beijing reportedly converted the naval vessel into a fishery law enforcement ship called Yuzheng 203 sometime in 2012.

The China Navy Hydrographic Office submitted the undersea feature name proposal, together with bathymetric maps, to the IHO-IOC on April 17 last year, seeking to name the feature Shouyang Ridge.

“Shouyang,” according to the application, is “another name for Chinese lunar January, i.e. the beginning of the spring when the grim cold air gives way to the all encompassing warmth imperceptibly. The poetic and pictorial inspiring appellation, created by associating month, climate and the changes of great nature, manifests the wisdom and temperament of people living in the ancient world.”

China’s so-called nine-dash-line claim over nearly all of the South China Sea does not extend to the Pacific Ocean. The entire Chinese maritime claim was invalidated by the UN-backed Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague in 2016.

President Duterte ordered all foreign research activities in the area stopped the other day, for still unspecified reasons. A Chinese vessel, however, has completed its research in the area.

Explaining the President’s order, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said “we simply have to regulate what is within our sovereign rights” even if “we have to share with humanity, with other nations what is in there.” Foreign groups wishing to conduct research or exploration in Philippine Rise are required to get clearance from Esperon.

He stressed the Philippines would like to assert its sovereign rights over waters within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone. “It simply means that we value also what we have,” he said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/08/1785645/china-seeks-name-sea-features-philippine-rise

Related:

Image may contain: sky, ocean, outdoor and water

Chinese Ocean Research Ship

Image may contain: sky

Chinese bomber over Scarborough Shoal

Related:

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

No automatic alt text available.

China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. 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.

History lessons for Duterte and Cayetano on China’s respect for Philippine waters

February 7, 2018

With 20 years of experience dealing with China behind us, the Philippines should not let its guard down

By Marites Dañguilan Vitug

Two decades of bilateral talks, negotiations, and deadends, starting from 1995. Then, in 2016, an overwhelming legal victory for the Philippines in an arbitration case that was novel and historic in a number of ways—but a decision that China refuses to abide by. In sum, that’s our country’s difficult relationship with the regional hegemon in resolving our dispute over parts of the South China Sea.

All these happened not so far back in our history, while President Rodrigo Duterte was Davao City mayor and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano a local politician who later became congressman and senator. Tensions with China over scattered rocks, reefs, and islands in what is now called the West Philippine Sea may have been far removed from these two men’s consciousness. But as the country’s leaders, they have a responsibility to protect the national interest, with history as their guide.

 Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water
Mischief Reef now an extensive Chinese military base

Sure, Benham Rise is not disputed territory. The 13-million-hectare area off the coasts of the provinces of Aurora and Isabela, larger than Luzon, is unambiguously part of the Philippines’ continental shelf, as declared by the United Nations in 2012.

But letting China conduct maritime research there, while allowing it to ignore our country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea and militarily dominate the area, is deplorable. It is Stockholm Syndrome at its fullest: the more the Philippines is abused, the more it gives in to China.

Image may contain: sky

China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea, shows Chinese military construction

To refresh the memories of our leaders, here’s a short timeline:

  • 1988 – China occupied Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan Reef), Cuarteron Reef (Calderon Reef), and Subi Reef (Zamora Reef). Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef have been transformed into military bases, while a high-frequency radar installation was built on Cuarteron Reef.
  • 1995 – China grabbed Mischief Reef (Panganiban Reef) and built certain structures which, they said, were shelters for their fishermen. Look how Mischief Reef is today: it is a military base complete with underground storage for ammunition.
  • 2004-2005 – The Philippines and China entered into a Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) to do a 3-year research of petroleum resources in parts of the South China Sea. Vietnam protested this controversial deal so it became a trilateral agreement. China, which used its ship, collected the data, and Vietnam supposedly processed it, and the Philippines interpreted it. The survey results, some of which were blurred, have remained confidential. China, it is said, controlled the process. A case questioning the constitutionality of the JMSU is pending with the Supreme Court.
  • 2011 – China stopped the Philippines from exploring for oil and gas in Reed Bank.
  • 2012 – China took control of Scarborough Shoal.
  • 2013-2014 – China attempted to prevent Philippine ships from delivering supplies to and rotating personnel in Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin Shoal).

No automatic alt text available.

Chinese military bases near the Philippines as of February 2018

Sneaking into Benham Rise

Recently, in another part of the Philippines, a Chinese survey vessel hovered in Benham Rise for 3 months, a fact Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed last year. The DFA, then under Secretary Enrique Manalo, said China had not been issued any permit to research. Why then was China there and what was it doing?

Despite this breach, which happened on Duterte’s watch, Cayetano has blithely given the go signal to China to survey the country’s coral-rich eastern seaboard. The DFA, however, has not released details of the permit given to the Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Image may contain: text

The approval process was likewise not transparent. Usually, it is a multi-agency team – including the DFA, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture (particularly the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) – that reviews research requests such as this.

Damage to coral reefs

Forgotten is this race to study Benham Rise is China’s plunder of the coral reefs in the West Philippine Sea and the massive damage it has done to the marine biodiversity of the area. The construction of artificial islands in features that China had occupied, turning these into fortified military bases, had impacted reefs on a “scale unprecedented in the region” and which will take decades to centuries to recover.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

The international tribunal that heard the Philippine maritime case versus China ruled overwhelmingly against China on environmental issues. Among others, the judges said China engaged in – and tolerated – the harvesting of endangered species on a significant scale and in a manner that was destructive of the coral reefs. Its land reclamation has caused irreparable harm to the environment. Studies by experts proved this.

While China’s intentions in Benham Rise, as the scientists from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) explain, has everything to do with ocean currents and understanding climate change, there is concern that China will collect information on the marine wealth and eventually use it to exploit the area, just like it did in the West Philippine Sea.

Filipino scientists from UP-MSI are reportedly on board China’s ship, Ke Xue Hao, to participate in the research, a requirement for any foreign country doing marine scientific research in Philippine waters. Their presence may serve as check on the Chinese.

Image may contain: sky, ocean, outdoor and water

Chinese Ocean Research Ship

But with 20 years of experience dealing with China behind us, the Philippines should not let its guard down. This is not just about science. It is also about trust. – Rappler.com

The author, editor at large of Rappler, is writing a book on how the Philippines won its maritime case versus China.

https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/195289-benham-rise-history-lessons-duterte-cayetano

Image may contain: sky

Chinese bomber over Scarborough Shoal

More Photos:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5360751/Chinas-militarisation-South-China-Sea-revealed.html

Related:

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

No automatic alt text available.

China has no greater rights than any other in the sea. 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.