Monthly Archives: April 2013

European parliament backs arbitration

MANILA, Philippines – The European parliament adopted a resolution on March 14 approving a report that included its support for the Philippines’ arbitration initiative, under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in clarifying the country’s maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced yesterday. In the report, a paragraph on the West Philippine Sea stated that the parliament “underlines the global importance of the South China Sea through which one third of the world’s trade passes; is alarmed at the escalating tension and therefore urgently appeals to all parties involved to refrain from unilateral political and military actions, to tone down statements and to settle their conflicting territorial claims in the South China Seas by means of international arbitration in accordance with international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, in order to ensure regional stability.” Read more:

Southeast Asian Nations Aim to Restore Unity at Annual Summit

BANGKOK — Leaders of Southeast Asia are gathering in Brunei this week for an annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The regional group is trying to move forward with plans for economic integration and repair divisions about disputed territory with China in the South China Sea. ASEAN has set a deadline to form an economic community, similar to the European Union, by the end of 2015… Read more:

The True Crisis in the Asia-Pacific

The Asia-Pacific’s most dangerous crisis may be going overlooked due to North Korean threats. Despite the Obama administration’s ‘pivot’ to the region, Asian allies worry that the United States will not continue to be a steadfast partner. North Korean bombast has been using up all of the oxygen in the Asia-Pacific, but what may be the region’s most dangerous crisis is raging on a few hundred miles to the south. With front pages focused on Kim Jong-un’s threats and the United States’ shows of force, the ongoing Sino-Japanese impasse has gone overlooked in recent weeks. Even so, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the latter conflict’s long-term implications for peace in Asia. As tensions in the East China Sea have heated up over the past year, analysts, journalists, and businessmen have been asking two questions: Could Japan and China really come to blows over the Senkaku (or, in Chinese, “Diaoyu”) Islands? Would the United States really allow itself to be drawn into a conflict over a handful of obscure, uninhabited rocks? These questions are based on an errant assumption that the roiling conflict is, at heart, about ownership of the Senkakus. It is not. China’s Goal: Securing CCP Leadership at Home and Abroad… Read more:

Code of conduct in west philippine sea pushed

Manila, Philippines — The Philippines will continue to advocate maritime security and cooperation, push for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and propose for the early conclusion of a substantive and legally-binding Code of Conduct (COC) when President Benigno S. Aquino III joins other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders in the 22nd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on April 24 and 25. The DOC, which was signed by China with members of ASEAN in 2002, states that relevant disputes should be solved through friendly talks and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned. President Aquino leaves for Brunei on April 24 and will be back in Manila on April 25. He will be joined by Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, and Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Raul Hernandez, in a press briefing in Malacañang yesterday, said maritime security and cooperation will be one of the agendas to be pushed by the Philippines during the ASEAN Summit… Read more: 

EU calls for high seas biodiversity protection treaty

An updated U.N. treaty governing the exploitation of deep-sea bioresources is urgently needed, EU Maritime Affairs Commissioner Maria Damanaki said on April 11 at a U.N.-sponsored conference in Paris, in an attempt to assure a rational and fair harvest of resources from in deep-sea areas. Her call came as private companies and scientific teams are stepping up “bioprospecting” in deep-sea areas, seeking sometimes rare marine organisms whose molecular compounds and unique properties can be used in anti-cancer pharmaceuticals, food and other potentially lucrative commercial fields. That has led to fears of over-harvesting, physical disruptions of fragile ecosystems and pollution in the absence of an updated convention to protect the diversity of deep-sea marine life… Read more:

China consolidates sea claims as Asian diplomacy struggles

MASINLOC, Philippines (Reuters) – For decades, fishermen along the northwestern Philippine coast treated the teeming fishing grounds of the Scarborough Shoal as their backyard, less than a day’s boat ride away. Now, they see it as a foreign country. “I lost my livelihood when we lost the Scarborough Shoal to the Chinese,” said Mario Forones, a 53-year-old who owns three fishing boats that worked the reef for about a dozen years before armed Chinese vessels arrived in force last April…. Read more:

United States must adopt the international law of the sea

Since the Obama administration’s announced “pivot” to Asia, challenges have piled up in the region. With the exception of North Korea’s nuclear brinksmanship, most of the challenges involve growing tension in the South China Sea and East China Sea. The US must devise a policy on these maritime disputes that preserves freedom of navigation and commerce, ensures regional stability and upholds treaty commitments while avoiding military entanglements. A holistic strategy is required that calibrates the first term’s diplomatic and military efforts while heeding the legal dimensions of these disputes, including the key role of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)… Read more:–30204512.html

Gov’t hopes to revive rare earth elements dev’t plan with China

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines will try to revive next month preparations with China for the joint development of rare earth elements (REEs) in the Philippines, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). MGB Director Leo Jasareno told reporters that Philippine representatives would fly to Naning, China, on May 8 to discuss Manila’s intention to push through with the joint development plan… Read more:    

PH urged to help China quake victims amid territorial row

MANILA, Philippines — Despite diplomatic differences, the Philippines should quickly send a humanitarian mission to China to help victims of the devastating earthquake that rocked its province over the weekend, Senator Ralph Recto said on Tuesday. “As a neighbor with deep historical and economic ties, the country should send its own humanitarian contingent and find ways to help in the rescue and even in the post-quake effort,” Recto, an administration ally, said in a statement… Read more:

Taiwan stages live-fire drill in contested Spratlys

TAIPEI – Taiwan’s coastguards said Monday that Taipei had staged a live-fire drill within a hotly-contested island chain in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), in a move that risks stoking regional tensions. More than 2,000 rounds of ammunition …