Monthly Archives: April 2015

AFP chief dares China to prove PHL’s alleged reclamation in disputed territories

Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. on Thursday dared China to prove its allegation that the Philippines has reclamation activities in some areas in the West Philippine Sea. In an interview with reporters after the Balikatan Exercises closing ceremony, Catapang denied China’s allegations, saying the Philippine government respects the rule set by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). “We are not doing anything inside the areas that we control,” he said. “We are just maintaining the area and we could have easily repaired our runway but we await for the decision of the ITLOS before we can decide what the next move will be or develop our controlled areas in the West Philippine Sea.” He said to prove its allegation, China should show photos of the areas where it claims the Philippines has been conducting reclamation activities. “If the Chinese can show pictures that we are also developing our area, they can show it,” he said. “But as of now, I’m sure we are not doing anything in the area, we are just maintaining our presence.” Last April 20, Catapang showed pictures of Chinese reclamation in disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea. An earlier Reuters report quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying Philippines and other claimant countries in the South China Sea have been doing reclamation work in the disputed areas. More from: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/479286/news/nation/afp-chief-dares-china-to-prove-phl-s-alleged-reclamation-in-disputed-territories

Vietnam Buys Deadly New Missiles Capable of Hitting China

Vietnam is in the process of acquiring 50 anti-ship and land attack 3M-14E Klub supersonic cruise missiles for its burgeoning fleet of SSK Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, Der Spiegel Online reports. According to the article, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently updated data on its website, based on information obtained from the United Nations’ register of conventional arms, indicating that Russia has already delivered 28 missiles over the last two years to Hanoi, although the precise number remains unknown. The Klub is a Russian-made conventional supersonic cruise missile, “designed to destroy targets protected by sophisticated active air defenses and countermeasures,” deagel.com explains. It is an export variant of Russia’s “carrier killer” 3M-54 (NATO designation: SS-N-27A “Sizzler”) and capable of long-range precision strikes. While it is unknown whether the anti-ship variant of the weapon sold to Vietnam is the 3M-54E Klub-S (range 220km) or 3M-54E1 (range 300km) – both of which can be launched from submarines –  the land-attack variant is almost certainly the 3M-14E (range 300km), capable of carrying a 450kg warhead. Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/vietnam-buys-deadly-new-missiles-capable-of-hitting-china/

China says U.S. welcome to use civilian facilities in South China Sea

(Reuters) – The United States and other countries will be welcome to use civilian facilities China is building in the South China Sea for search and rescue and weather forecasting “when conditions are right”, China’s navy chief has told a senior U.S. officer. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images show China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in the disputed Spratly Islands and may be planning another. Those moves, along with other reclamations, have caused alarm around the region and in Washington too, with the issue dominating a summit of Southeast Asian leaders this week, to China’s displeasure. In a teleconference with the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert, China’s navy chief Wu Shengli said China’s building work in the South China Sea would not affect freedom of navigation or overflight. Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/01/us-china-usa-southchinasea-idUSKBN0NM31620150501

Beyond the territorial dispute in the South China Sea

THEY are some of the most destructive land reclamation projects in the country. But unlike other planned developments that have become controversial because of their adverse impact on the environment, these are all taking place almost under the radar. China’s land reclamation projects on reefs, islets and rocks in the Spratly Islands—and their impact not just on the country’s national, but more significantly, food security—are hardly catching the public’s attention. Yet, China’s aggressive action in the disputed areas in the South China Sea may lead to a catastrophic collapse of marine biodiversity and fishery in this part of the globe. “This issue goes beyond territorial dispute,” says Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace. “Reclamation projects in biodiversity impact areas are irresponsible.” Cinches says that China’s reclamation in the South China Sea, now estimated to have reached 311 hectares, are destroying some US$100 million a year of what is called the Coral Reef Ecosystem Services, quoting a study conducted by Emeritus Prof. Edgardo D. Gomez of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute. Read more: http://pcij.org/blog/2015/04/29/beyond-the-territorial-dispute-in-the-south-china-sea

China’s South China Sea Strategy Is Asia’s Worst Nightmare

In a remarkable public speech at ASPI’s Future Surface Fleet conference last month, the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet—Admiral Harry B. Harris—criticized China for engaging in an “unprecedented land reclamation” effort, creating a “great wall of sand” in the South China Sea (SCS). He went on to point out: “When one looks at China’s pattern of provocative actions towards smaller claimant states – the lack of clarity on its sweeping nine-dash line claim that is inconsistent with international law and the deep asymmetry between China’s capabilities and those of its smaller neighbors – well it’s no surprise that the scope and pace of building man-made islands raise serious questions about Chinese intentions.”   Read more: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-south-china-sea-strategy-asias-worst-nightmare-12766

ASEAN summit: Vietnam, Singapore call for COC by China on South China Sea issue

NEW DELHI: With China showing no signs of climbing down from its claim in the South China Sea region and continuing with building artificial islands including airstrips in the region, some members of the ASEAN including Vietnam and Singapore at their just concluded summit have called for immediate Code of Conduct (COC) by Beijing and the regional grouping to manage rising tensions. ASEAN summit hosts Malaysia too joined the demand for early COC. Malaysian Prime Minister Nazib Razak .. Read more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/47091822.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

PNoy reports ‘substantial’ progress in pushing united ASEAN stand on South China Sea

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday he sees “very, very substantial progress” in discussions within ASEAN of the South China Sea issues. Arriving in Manila from Malaysia, where he attended the 26th ASEAN Summit and pushed for asserting ASEAN centrality in facing China’s increasingly aggressive moves to control the strategic waters, Aquino said he was satisfied with the outcome of the regional meet. And he seemed pleased that other ASEAN members besides the Philippines and Vietnam — two of the four Spratlys claimants in the regional bloc — were speaking up, although in varying degrees, to express concern over China’s reclamation spree, which affects the Kalayaan Island Group. He noted that in his opening statement, Prime Minister Najib Razak of host Malaysia “also did talk about all of the reclamation activities. I’m sure … I didn’t hear anybody say that this isn’t a problem,” adding that in terms of degrees Manila’s was “the strongest statement” in terms of “reaffirmation of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), the DOC (Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea)” and “expeditious formulation” of the COC (Code of Conduct). He noted that the UNCLOS came into being in 1982, “but it took up to 2002 to try and come up with a Code of Conduct to manage the tensions, as far as this issue is concerned. Failing the creation or the formulation of the COC, they came up with a DOC.” And yet, he added, even just that declaration has not been honored by China with its reclamation spree. He reiterated Manila’s strong condemnation of China’s reclamation activities, as embodied in the Intervention statement issued by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario on Sunday at the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Del Rosario warned that unless China, unless stopped in its reclamation spree, was quickly moving towards “de facto control” of the South China Sea, which it claims in near entirety based on its “nine-dash-line” claim for which Manila sued it in a UN court. Aquino summed up the grave implications of China’s reclamation: it was putting regional stability in peril, threatening freedom of navigation in seas where 40 percent of the world’s commerce passes through, damaging precious marine resources and Philippine biodiversity, and economically displacing Filipinos who are now being routinely harassed by Chinese vessels to prevent them from fishing. Noting that the “DOC is an agreement between ASEAN and China, Aquino said he had emphasized “there is an ASEAN centrality, that China [should] talk to us as a group and this is how we should behave.” Read more: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/109611/pnoy-reports-substantial-progress-in-pushing-united-asean-stand-on-south-china-sea

ASEAN leaders voice ‘serious’ concern over China’s reclamation activities

LANGKAWI, Malaysia — Southeast Asian leaders on Tuesday expressed “serious concerns” over China’s land reclamation activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, which they said could undermine peace, security and stability in the region. The stand was taken in the form of a “chairman’s statement” released by Malaysia one day after it hosted an annual summit of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is a moral boost to the campaign by the Philippines and Vietnam for the 10-member grouping to take a stronger stand against China for allegedly violating the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by China and ASEAN in 2002. “We share the serious concerns expressed by some leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea, which has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea,” the statement says. “In this regard, we instructed our foreign ministers to urgently address this matter constructively including under the various ASEAN frameworks such as ASEAN-China relations as well as the principle of peaceful coexistence.”   Read more: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/04/28/15/asean-leaders-voice-serious-concern-over-chinas-reclamation-activities

China ‘extremely concerned’ by ASEAN statement on disputed sea

BEIJING – China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was “extremely concerned” after leaders of Southeast Asian countries expressed worry about land reclamation and navigational freedom in the disputed South China Sea. China’s reclamation work in the South China Sea has become the latest source of tension with some of its smaller neighbours, several of whom have competing territorial claims in the waters. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said after a summit this week in Kuala Lumpur that reclamation work had “eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea”. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that China was “extremely concerned” that the closing statement addressed the South China Sea issue, which he said was not a problem between China and ASEAN. “On this issue China has exercised extreme restraint,” he said, repeating that China believed the dispute should be resolved via direct talks between the claimants. There were no problems with freedom of navigation in the waters, Hong told a daily news briefing. Read more: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/world/04/28/15/china-extremely-concerned-asean-statement-disputed-sea

PNoy reports ‘substantial’ progress in pushing united ASEAN stand on South China Sea

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday he sees “very, very substantial progress” in discussions within ASEAN of the South China Sea issues. Arriving in Manila from Malaysia, where he attended the 26th ASEAN Summit and pushed for asserting ASEAN centrality in facing China’s increasingly aggressive moves to control the strategic waters, Aquino said he was satisfied with the outcome of the regional meet. And he seemed pleased that other ASEAN members besides the Philippines and Vietnam — two of the four Spratlys claimants in the regional bloc — were speaking up, although in varying degrees, to express concern over China’s reclamation spree, which affects the Kalayaan Island Group. He noted that in his opening statement, Prime Minister Najib Razak of host Malaysia “also did talk about all of the reclamation activities. I’m sure … I didn’t hear anybody say that this isn’t a problem,” adding that in terms of degrees Manila’s was “the strongest statement” in terms of “reaffirmation of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), the DOC (Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea)” and “expeditious formulation” of the COC (Code of Conduct). He noted that the UNCLOS came into being in 1982, “but it took up to 2002 to try and come up with a Code of Conduct to manage the tensions, as far as this issue is concerned. Failing the creation or the formulation of the COC, they came up with a DOC.” And yet, he added, even just that declaration has not been honored by China with its reclamation spree. He reiterated Manila’s strong condemnation of China’s reclamation activities, as embodied in the Intervention statement issued by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario on Sunday at the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kuala Lumpur.   Read more: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/109611/pnoy-reports-substantial-progress-in-pushing-united-asean-stand-on-south-china-sea