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Thread: Tension at the Spratlys

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  1. #11
    Lawmaker urges multilateral approach to China’s latest move in sea dispute

    By Christian V. Esguerra

    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    6:08 pm | Friday, November 30th, 2012

    MANILA, Philippines–China’s announcement that it would expel all foreign ships entering disputed areas in the South China Sea, including parts known as the West Philippine Sea, gives the Philippines more reason to seek a multilateral approach to resolve the problem, former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Rodolfo Biazon said on Friday.

    Biazon, now chairman of the House committee on national defense, said China’s move was bound to affect the national interest of countries such as the United States and those in Europe, which all use the disputed waters for trade and commerce.

    He urged President Benigno Aquino to convene the National Security Council “so we will have a uniform voice” on the issue.

    “China’s move will definitely escalate the tension in the area,” he told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

    Rep. Ben Evardone, chairman of the House committee on public information, described the move as “provocative,” saying it should be “dealt with the collective action” by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, United Nations, and the US.

    “Clearly, China is trying to bully the Philippines and other countries in the region,” he said. “The Asean, UN and the US should also initiate moves to preserve peace in the area to ensure navigational freedom in the West Philippine Sea.”

    “The world economy will be adversely affected if China continues its provocative actions,” he added.

    China’s state media earlier reported that its border patrol would begin accosting foreign vessels that would enter areas in the South China Sea, which are also claimed by other countries.

    Biazon said the Department of Foreign Affairs should clarify the report directly with Beijing, and check if the order was made only by Hainan province.

    In the meantime, he said the report should boost Manila’s decision to reject China’s position the dispute should be settled bilaterally with individual claimant countries.

    “Indeed, the problem should not be limited within Asean. It should be tackled at the level of the UN and include the US,” he said.

    “Note that not only entities in Asia will be affected. You also have countries from Europe, the Middle East, and Latin and North America, which all use the areas to be policed by China,” he added.

    Biazon said the DFA should be clarified on what “particular activities” would be covered by China’s order to its border police.

    “And how would the order affect the international principle of innocent passage?” he asked.
    FRIENDS LANG KAMI

  2. #12
    Justice Carpio: appeal to world opinion vs Chinese defiance to rule of law
    By Ellen Tordesillas, Contributor | The Inbox – 9 hours ago
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    BRP Sierra Madre2
    By Ellen Tordesillas
    Here we go again. This time it’s over Ayungin Reef (Ren’ai Reef to the Chinese.)
    The Philippine Navy reported sightings of Chinese ships in the vicinity of Ayungin shoal as early as first week of May, the last stretch of the May 13 elections, and before the May 9 incident in Balintang Channel where the Philippine Coast Guard fired upon a Taiwanese fishing vessel and killed one of the fishermen.
    The Department of Foreign Affairs filed a diplomatic protest on Chinese presence near Ayungin shoal May 10.
    DFA Spokesman Raul Hernandez said in their protest, they cited “the provocative and illegal presence of the Chinese government ships around Ayungin Shoal.”
    He said that “Ayungin Shoal is an integral part of our national territory” stressing that shoal is located 105.77 nautical miles from Palawan and constitutes part of the country’s 200-nautical mile continental shelf as provided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
    China, of course, insisted that Ayungin Reef, which they call Ren ‘ai Reef, is theirs being a part of Sansha City, established last June in the southernmost province of Hainan. The Philippines had also protested the inclusion of Macclesfield Field, one of the largest underwater atolls in the world, covering an area of 6,500 square kilometers which is in Philippine territory, under Sansha city.
    An article in a Chinese online publication, Global Times, under the headline, “Ren’ai Reef under actual control of China” said, “ Wang Xiaopeng, a scholar studying issues pertinent to territorial seas at China’s Academy of Social Sciences, commented that the Chinese Foreign Ministry never made mention of the Ren’ai Reef when, back in April, it released eight Chinese islets and reefs currently seized by the Philippines, which means the Ren’ai Reef is already under China’s actual control.”
    The eight islets that the Chinese acknowledged being occupied by the Philippines are Lawak, Patag, Parola,Pag-asa,Kota, Panata,Rizal, Likas.
    The article further said:“Ren’ai Reef… is part of the Chinese territory and, an area over which China proclaims sovereignty and vows never to yield an inch to others. “
    Obviously, China ignores the fact that in Ayungin shoal, there’s BRP Sierra Madre, a Philippine Navy ship that was purposely beached in the islets following the occupation by China of the Mischief or Panganiban Reef in 1995. Ayungin Reef is 25 miles away from Mischief Reef.
    What does the Philippine government do in the face of what many fear is another expansionist act by China in the disputed waters of Spratlys.
    Not much really. The Philippines has filed a petition with the United Nations’ Artbitral Court to look, among other issues, into the legality of China’s nine-dash line map,which is the basis for its claim of the whole South China Sea including islands in the territorial waters and exclusive economic zones of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.
    But the petition has not deterred China from going into disputed areas they consider part of their territory.
    Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, in his speech before the graduating class Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Law last week, warned of the dangers of China’s 9-dashed line.
    “In the case of the Philippines, China’s 9-dashed line claim takes away our exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea beyond 30 to 50 NM from the baselines of the Philippines. That deprives the Philippines of 80% of its exclusive economic zone, and 100% of its extended continental shelf, in the West Philippine Sea.”
    But even Carpio acknowledges the difficulty of enforcing the decision of the U.N Arbitral Court if it’s adverse to China, which has refused to participate in the case.
    “So what can the Philippines do?,” Justice Carpio asked.
    Carpio said “The only remaining recourse for the Philippines is to appeal to world opinion.”
    He told the graduates: “As life-long students of the law with an abiding faith in the Rule of Law, it is your mission from now on to help shape world opinion that a nation should follow the Rule of Law if it wants to be accepted as a member and leader of the community of civilized nations. If a nation refuses to comply with the Rule of Law, then it becomes a rogue nation, an outcast in the community of civilized nations where adherence to the Rule of Law is the norm. A nation that aspires to be a world power but refuses to follow the Rule of Law is a danger to peace and stability in our world.”
    Carpio said a favorable decision from the arbitral tribunal, and world opinion also in our favor, time will be on the side of the Philippines.
    “In matters of sovereign rights among nations, our time horizon should span several decades or even longer. In the battle to defend a nation’s sovereign rights from encroachment by other states, there is no such thing as instant success. Even nations with the Rule of Law and world opinion on their side must persevere for a very long time to succeed,” he said.
    www.Gameface.ph: Changing The Face of The Game!

  3. #13
    Coast Guard insists it was not liable for death of Taiwanese fisherman

    By Tetch Torres-Tupas

    INQUIRER.net

    2:28 pm | Monday, September 30th, 2013

    MANILA, Philippines—There is no evidence to hold the Philippine Coast Guard liable for the death of a Taiwanese fisherman, according to a joint affidavit it submitted to the Department of Justice stated.

    In a counter-affidavit, Commander Arnold Dela Cruz, Seaman 1st class Edrando Aguila, Sonny Masangcay and Henry Solomon said Philippine investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were not allowed to directly examine the vessel used by the fishermen during the incident nor were they allowed to autopsy the body of Hung Shih-Cheng who was allegedly shot by the PCG crewmen on board MCS 3001.

    The NBI in their complaint alleged that the bullet from the Springfield Caliber 7.62 mm M-14 rifle killed Cheng and that SN1 Endrando Aguila was the one who fired the said firearm.

    However, in their counter-affidavit, they pointed that Hiyasmin Abarrientos, one of the NBI’s ballisticians, admitted that she was not able to conduct a proper ballistics test and cross-matching on the M-14 as well as the slugs recovered from the boat.

    While in Taiwan to examine the vessel, she said they found a bullet from a caliber 7.62 mm rifle lodged at the pipe in the ceiling of the fish storage of the vessel but she was not allowed by the Taiwanese authorities to extract the bullet.

    “In other words, Abarrientos herself admits that the correct and scientific manner by which a ballistics test is conducted is to compare the slug recovered from the crime scene with the results of the round fired from the firearm in question,” the joint counter-affidavit stated.

    “However, in order that a ballistics examination may constitute evidence, i.e., that the integrity of such an examination be above question, it is essential to show that the slug being examined was in fact taken from the crime scene…Stated otherwise, if the chain of custody is not observed, the alleged match between the firearm and the slug cannot be considered evidence.”

    The PCG further stated that the NBI’s Dr. Ruperto Sombilon Jr. admitted that he never saw Cheng’s remains and did not conduct an autopsy.

    They also insisted that they were in the exercise of their duty in protecting the Philippine territory.

    Aside from being hostile, the PCG said the Taiwanese ship was engaged in poaching.

    Both the NBI and Taiwanese government conducted investigation on the incident.

  4. #14
    US, China budge not a bit over South China Sea activity

    BEIJING — China and the United States budged not a bit Saturday over Beijing's assertive development in disputed parts of the South China Sea, with Foreign Minister Wang Ji politely but pointedly dismissing Washington's push for a diplomatic solution to ease tensions.

    Wang and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the importance of dialogue to resolve competing claims in the waterway. But neither diplomat showed any sign of giving ground over Chinese land reclamation projects that have alarmed the United States and China's smaller neighbors.

    The U.S. and most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations want a halt to the projects, which they suspect are aimed at building islands and other land features over which China can claim sovereignty.

    "We are concerned about the pace and scope of China's land reclamation in the South China Sea," Kerry said. He urged China to speed up talks with ASEAN on guidelines for handling maritime activity in disputed areas.

    The goal is to help "reduce tensions and increase the prospect of diplomatic solutions," Kerry said.

    "I think we agree that the region needs smart diplomacy in order to conclude the ASEAN-China code of conduct and not outposts and military strips," Kerry told reporters at a news conference with Wang.

    World ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
    Wang indicated that while China was prepared to talk, it would not back down on the construction that, he said, "is something that falls fully within the scope of China's sovereignty."

    "The determination of the Chinese side to safeguard our own sovereignty and territorial integrity is as firm as a rock, and it is unshakable," he said.

    "It has always been our view that we need to find appropriate solutions to the issues we have through communications and negotiations that we have among the parties directly concerned with peaceful and diplomatic means on the basis of respecting historical facts and international norms. This position will remain unchanged in the future."

    Wang added that the differences between China and the U.S. could be managed "as long as we can avoid misunderstanding and, even more importantly, avoid miscalculation."

    The Chinese claims and land reclamation projects have rattled the region where South China Sea islands and reefs are contested by China and five other Asian governments. Activities have led to clashes, accompanied by nationalistic protests and occasional serious diplomatic implications.

    The U.S. says it takes no position on the sovereignty claims but insists they must be negotiated. Washington also says ensuring maritime safety and access to some of the world's busiest commercial shipping routes is a U.S. national security priority.

    China has bristled at what it sees as U.S. interference in the region and wants to negotiate with the ASEAN countries individually, something those much smaller nations fear will not be fair.

    In one disputed area, the Spratly Islands, U.S. officials say China has reclaimed about 2,000 acres of dry land since 2014 that could be used as airstrips or for military purposes. The U.S. argues that man-made constructions cannot be used to claim sovereignty.

    Obama administration officials have declined to comment on reports that it may deploy military assets, or that it is considering a demonstration of freedom of navigation within 12 nautical miles of the islands' notional territorial zone. But they have said many of the features claimed by China in the disputed Spratlys are submerged and do not carry territorial rights, and said that China cannot "manufacture sovereignty."

    Despite the clear disagreements over the South China Sea, Kerry and Wang said they were on track to make progress in other areas, notably on climate change, the fight against violent extremism, and preparations for the next round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in June and Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Washington in September.

    They expressed pleasure with their cooperation in the Iran nuclear talks, their solidarity in trying to denuclearize North Korea and combat diseases such as the deadly Ebola virus.
    www.Gameface.ph: Changing The Face of The Game!

  5. #15
    US, China budge not a bit over South China Sea activity

    BEIJING — China and the United States budged not a bit Saturday over Beijing's assertive development in disputed parts of the South China Sea, with Foreign Minister Wang Ji politely but pointedly dismissing Washington's push for a diplomatic solution to ease tensions.

    Wang and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the importance of dialogue to resolve competing claims in the waterway. But neither diplomat showed any sign of giving ground over Chinese land reclamation projects that have alarmed the United States and China's smaller neighbors.

    The U.S. and most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations want a halt to the projects, which they suspect are aimed at building islands and other land features over which China can claim sovereignty.

    "We are concerned about the pace and scope of China's land reclamation in the South China Sea," Kerry said. He urged China to speed up talks with ASEAN on guidelines for handling maritime activity in disputed areas.

    The goal is to help "reduce tensions and increase the prospect of diplomatic solutions," Kerry said.

    "I think we agree that the region needs smart diplomacy in order to conclude the ASEAN-China code of conduct and not outposts and military strips," Kerry told reporters at a news conference with Wang.

    World ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
    Wang indicated that while China was prepared to talk, it would not back down on the construction that, he said, "is something that falls fully within the scope of China's sovereignty."

    "The determination of the Chinese side to safeguard our own sovereignty and territorial integrity is as firm as a rock, and it is unshakable," he said.

    "It has always been our view that we need to find appropriate solutions to the issues we have through communications and negotiations that we have among the parties directly concerned with peaceful and diplomatic means on the basis of respecting historical facts and international norms. This position will remain unchanged in the future."

    Wang added that the differences between China and the U.S. could be managed "as long as we can avoid misunderstanding and, even more importantly, avoid miscalculation."

    The Chinese claims and land reclamation projects have rattled the region where South China Sea islands and reefs are contested by China and five other Asian governments. Activities have led to clashes, accompanied by nationalistic protests and occasional serious diplomatic implications.

    The U.S. says it takes no position on the sovereignty claims but insists they must be negotiated. Washington also says ensuring maritime safety and access to some of the world's busiest commercial shipping routes is a U.S. national security priority.

    China has bristled at what it sees as U.S. interference in the region and wants to negotiate with the ASEAN countries individually, something those much smaller nations fear will not be fair.

    In one disputed area, the Spratly Islands, U.S. officials say China has reclaimed about 2,000 acres of dry land since 2014 that could be used as airstrips or for military purposes. The U.S. argues that man-made constructions cannot be used to claim sovereignty.

    Obama administration officials have declined to comment on reports that it may deploy military assets, or that it is considering a demonstration of freedom of navigation within 12 nautical miles of the islands' notional territorial zone. But they have said many of the features claimed by China in the disputed Spratlys are submerged and do not carry territorial rights, and said that China cannot "manufacture sovereignty."

    Despite the clear disagreements over the South China Sea, Kerry and Wang said they were on track to make progress in other areas, notably on climate change, the fight against violent extremism, and preparations for the next round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in June and Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Washington in September.

    They expressed pleasure with their cooperation in the Iran nuclear talks, their solidarity in trying to denuclearize North Korea and combat diseases such as the deadly Ebola virus.
    www.Gameface.ph: Changing The Face of The Game!


 
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