Monthly Archives: August 2012

US to Asean: Come up with unified position on South China Sea issue

By Jose Katigbak, STAR Washington Bureau (The Philippine Star)  @ WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will press the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to come up with a unified position on the South China Sea controversy when she visits Asia again this week, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. At the same time, Nuland dismissed suggestions that Philippine-US relations may have been damaged by flag-carrier Philippine Airlines’ signing of a $7-billion deal to buy 54 Airbus jets, a contract that Boeing had hoped to get. “We have a very long, deep, broad relationship with the Philippines. As you know, we are doing more now in the area of security support than we’ve been able to do in a long time, and I think that relationship is extremely strong,” she said. Nuland said the US lobbied for Boeing “but nations make sovereign decisions and they make them based on their own set of criteria.” Asked at a press conference if Clinton’s latest trip was “another effort to put the squeeze on China,” Nuland said this was the secretary’s second or perhaps third trip to the region this year as she was personally very interested in emphasizing the US pivot to Asia. Clinton is also set to visit the Cook Islands, Indonesia, China, Timor-Leste, Brunei and Russia. Referring to the South China Sea dispute, Nuland said this was likely to come up on the ASEAN stops in Indonesia and Brunei, as well as China. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “We have been encouraging, as you’ll recall, ASEAN to have a unified position and to work from a position of unity with China, and obviously it will come up in China as well,” Nuland said. “We are continuing to urge a multilateral conversation about a code of conduct in the South China Sea that is in keeping with international law and the Law of the Sea Treaty. We continue to think that that’s the best way to address these disputes. So I think you will see it come up on many of these stops,” she added. Asked if the US was worried about the Chinese naval and military buildup in the area as other countries were, she said military specifics were usually the purview of the defense department but added “we don’t want to see the disputes in the South China Sea or anywhere else settled by intimidation, by force.” “We want to see them settled at the negotiating table, and we have also consistently been calling for increasing transparency in the Chinese military posture.” China has alarmed many of its neighbors by ratcheting up the rhetoric over its expansive territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. Several countries including the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping claims to some parts of the sea. Meanwhile, US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. reiterated the importance of negotiation in resolving the West Philippine Sea dispute with China. “We don’t want to further escalate tensions. We want a peaceful resolution,” Thomas said in a speech during yesterday’s joint membership meeting of the Makati Business Club and the Management Association of the Philippines. “We want all countries to live up to their agreements. We support the Code of Conduct between China and ASEAN. We think this is the best way to resolve this… countries to sit down at the table and negotiate,” he said.  – With Louella Desiderio

Bullyism: The new face of imperialism (China’s invocation of its so-called historical right)

I am writing once again to highlight to the international community and to the family of nations China’s aggressive imperialist design, to point out its continuous and hilarious invocation of its so-called historical right over the islands, shoals and islets that it is vigorously claiming ownership, not only in Southeast, but also in South Asia as against other parties-in-interests and claimants and to warn the whole world with regard to the nefarious repercussions of its rude gestures and crude behaviour! Recently, for the first time in 45 years, in the whole existence of its history, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has failed to come out with a joint statement or communiqué concerning the member states’ claim and stance in relation to China’s counterclaim. At the said regional summit, the Philippine foreign minister denounced Chinese “duplicity” and “intimidation” in the South China Sea.   Read more:

Towards a Strategic Framework for Management of the West Philippine Sea: A White Paper by the WPS Informal Expert Group

Tensions among rival claimant-states to the waters and land features of the South China Sea (SCS) – particularly China, the Phihppines and Vietnam – have escalated significantly in the last several years, bringing the Philippines to center stage as a key participant in the future of security and stability in our part of the world. While the surge in confrontational rhetoric and actions directed against the Philippines have added to the urgency of ensuring calibrated and effective responses, the territorial and resource disputes themselves are not new and have been the subject of policy action and deliberation for decades. The challenges arising therefrom are not expected to be resolved easily or soon, but will likely continue to demand the attention of government and the Filipino public for decades to come. This White Paper seeks to draw the attention of all concerned Filipino stakeholders – particularly those in government – to the urgent need for a strategic framework for the management of our territorial, maritime jurisdiction,and resource disputes in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). The authors are former or current public servants, coming from various areas of specialization, who have long been involved in past initiatives relating to Phihppine policy in the WPS. The paper is not intended to provide answers to all the policy questions, but to suggest a pohcy agenda, and to underscore the urgent need for a strategic vision, more permanent institutions, as well as for more effective arrangements for policymaking and coordination to address such agenda.