Monthly Archives: June 2013

US opposes bullying by China in disputed seas

WASHINGTON— The nominee to become the top US diplomat in East Asia delivered pointed comments about China in his confirmation hearing Thursday, saying there’s no place for “coercion and bullying” in the region’s seas. Danny Russel told a Senate panel that he will do everything in his power to “lower the temperature” in territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas and push claimants including China toward diplomacy. He also said it was “unacceptable” for China to demand only bilateral negotiations with the other claimants, and voiced strong US support for efforts by Southeast Asia to negotiate as a bloc and frame a “code of conduct” to manage the disputes — an issue to be taken up at regional security talks in Brunei later this month. Read more:

The South China Sea: A new area in Chinese-Indian rivalry

While the world focuses on rising tension between China and the Philippines and other claimants in the South China Sea, Beijing and Delhi are also engaged in a quiet struggle in the contested waters. By putting up for international bidding the same oil block that India had obtained from Vietnam for exploration, China has thrown down a gauntlet. By deciding to stay put in the assigned block, India has indicated it’s ready to take up the Chinese challenge. At stake is Chinese opposition to India’s claim to be a regional power. The conflict between India and China over the South China Sea has been building for more than a year. India signed an agreement with Vietnam in October 2011 to expand and promote oil exploration in the South China Sea and has now reconfirmed its decision to carry on despite the Chinese challenge to the legality of Indian presence. Read more:

China’s Xi tells Vietnam wants peace in South China Sea

(Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping told his visiting Vietnamese counterpart of Wednesday that maintaining peace and stability in the contested South China Sea was vital for both countries, who should remember their traditional friendship. Beijing’s assertion of sovereignty over a vast stretch of the South China Sea has set it directly against Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to other parts of the sea, making it Asia’s biggest potential military troublespot. Read more:

China’s border row with India has misfired, says regional security expert

China’s three-week border stand-off during April in Ladakh, in Indian-administered Kashmir, had misfired, an Indian security expert told a forum in Manila, saying Beijing’s move galvanised Indian leaders into finally sealing an historic security deal with Japan. The dispute strained ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours, but both sides pulled troops back ahead of a visit to New Delhi by Premier Li Keqiang, who agreed to fresh talks to settle their long-running border row. Read More:

China re-draws map; PH digs in

Amid its continuing territorial dispute with its neighbors in South East Asia, China has updated its old map by including 130 islands and islets in the South China Sea. Sinomaps Press chief editor Xu Gencai told Xinhua News Agency on Saturday that Beijing decided to come with a new official map to inform Chinese nationals on China’s territory, safeguard China’s marine rights and interests and manifest China’s political diplomatic stance. “The new vertical maps have marked clearly the major South China Sea islands and demonstrated their geographic relations with surrounding island countries as well as surrounding islands and islets,” Xu said. The new vertical-format maps of China, published by Sinomaps Press, featured more than 130 islands and islets in the South China Sea, including the islands and waters that other countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also claim. Read more:  

China needs to undo its pseudo-history

The Chinese are taught from grade school that the entire South China Sea is theirs. Textbooks carry an “ancient map” with nine dashes in a U-shape denoting the outer limits of the sea, skirting the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, some islands of Indonesia, and Vietnam. Thirteenth-century-old, the Chinese map purportedly proves that “we were there first.” Therefore, China owns the 1.35 million square miles of sea and all its rocks, reefs, and sandbars. Read more:  

Is bringing sea row to UN useless?

News reporters, sometimes, incompletely report or misinterpret statements by people they cover resulting in confusion or making their subject look like bearers of bad news. As I was reading back issues of the Standard Today, after my return from a trip abroad, a news article on May 24 caught my eye. It was titled “Bringing sea row to UN useless.” The news item quoted portions of a speech given by Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice, Antonio T. Carpio, before law graduates at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. The article said that according to Justice Carpio, a victory for the Philippines in the arbitral case it filed against China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS would result in “a black hole where there is a law but there is no justice.” The reporter went on to lift portions  from Justice Carpio’s speech creating the impression that the message being conveyed was the arbitral case filed in the UN by the Philippines against China was useless.   Read More:

Onodera to visit Philippines, Hawaii to discuss China containment steps

In a bid to keep China in check, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera is making final arrangements to visit the Philippines and Hawaii from later this month, a government source said. During his trip to Manila from June 26 and Hawaii on July 1, Onodera will stress the need to ensure maritime safety based on the rule of law amid China’s growing assertiveness in the East and South China seas, the source said. In Manila, Onodera plans to discuss with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin the current tensions in the region and to work out a coordinated response toward China, the source said. Read more:

ITLOS Tribunal Grows In International Adjudication

President Yanai gave his annual address to the twenty-third Meeting of the 165 States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on 10 June 2013. He informed the delegates that the Tribunal had worked over the last year on four complex cases related to a variety of issues, encompassing maritime delimitation, requests for the release of detained vessels, including a warship, and claims for damages arising out of the arrest of vessels. Read more:

18 Chinese maritime ships operating within Philippine territory

MANILA, Philippines – About 18 Chinese vessels are intruding into Philippine territory, raising the need to pour more resources to defense spending, a security official said Thursday. Vicente Agdamag, Deputy Director-General of the National Security Council Secretariat, said the deployment of the ships is in line with China’s aim to consolidate its control over the West Philippine Sea. “Right now, there are 18 maritime surveillance ships operating in our area,” Agdamag said during the Air Force’s Air Power Symposium 2013 in Pasay City.   Read More: