Monthly Archives: October 2016

Duterte wrong on China non-invasion – Carpio

President Rodrigo Duterte misstated in Beijing that China never has invaded any part of Philippine territory. This was pointed out last week by Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio. For, China did grab Scarborough Shoal in 2012. Expert in international law, Carpio called on the government immediately to correct Duterte’s history lapse, lest it be taken against the Philippines. The jurist extensively has researched the South China Sea dispute, and was among those who brought the Philippine case for UN arbitration. The UN court has rubbished China’s alleged right to occupy Scarborough, off the coast of Luzon and well outside China’s territorial or economic zone waters. Following is Carpio’s lament: “President Duterte is quoted in the Channel News Asia’s article, “Philippines’ Duterte Praises China on Beijing Visit,” posted in its website on 19 October 2016. The statements of President Duterte as quoted in the article must be corrected to avoid serious damage to the Philippines. Close ad X “In referring to China’s relation with the Philippines, President Duterte is quoted in the article as saying: ‘It (China) has never invaded a piece of my country all these generations.’ This is incorrect. In 2012 China physically seized and in effect invaded Scarborough Shoal, which is defined as Philippine Territory under Republic Act No. 9522 (Amended Definitions of the Archipelagic Baseline of the Philippines). RA 9522 states that the Philippines has ‘sovereignty and jurisdiction’ over Scarborough Shoal. In 1995 China seized from the Philippines Mischief Reef, which is part of the submerged continental shelf of the Philippines as affirmed by the Tribunal’s Final Award of July 12, 2016. “All ancient maps of the Chinese dynasties show Hainan Island as the southernmost territory of China. There is no ancient Chinese map showing Scarborough Shoal or the Spratlys as part of Chinese territory. Ancient maps of the Philippines show that Scarborough Shoal has been Philippine territory since 1636, and the Spratlys were part of the Philippines since at least 1690. On 29 September 1932, China officially declared to the world, in a Note Verbale to France, that China’s southernmost territory were the Paracels, moving a little further south its southernmost border. Even then, it meant that Chinese territory never included Scarborough Shoal or the Spratlys. “Regarding the Tribunal’s Final Award, President Duterte is quoted in the article as saying: ‘The arbitral award gives us the right; China has the historical right.’ That is incorrect. The UNCLOS Tribunal at The Hague concluded: ‘The Tribunal sees no evidence that, prior to the Convention, China ever established a historic right to the exclusive use of the living and nonliving resources of the waters of the South China Sea, whatever use it may historically have made of the Spratlys Islands themselves.’ The Tribunal explained that China’s uses in the past of the South China Sea beyond its territorial seas, through fishing by Chinese fishermen and sailing by its merchant ships and navy, were uses of high seas freedom, just like the uses of the South China Sea by other states. The South China Sea was never exclusively used by China, in the past or now. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2016/10/24/1636757/duterte-wrong-china-non-invasion-carpio

US on edge over new powder keg in the South China Sea

China and the Philippines could begin exploiting long-untapped energy reserves in the South China Sea, according to reports coming out of this week’s meeting between Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and high-ranking Chinese officials — including a Thursday sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping — in Beijing. How soon that may happen remains unclear, however, as Duterte cautioned reporters that he has not been empowered by his Congress to finalize any energy exploration deal with his Chinese counterparts. Earlier reports by Philippine newspaper the “Inquirer” suggested that Beijing and Duterte were set to enter into an agreement to explore for energy sources in a part of the South China Sea close to the Philippine coastline. China has long sought to exploit what it believes could be more than 100 billion barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of natural gas lurking beneath the South China Sea. However, a litany of overlapping territorial claims in the region by the more than half-dozen nations rimming the South China Sea has rendered broad energy development there a nonstarter. The fact that potential joint development of offshore energy deposits in the region is even being discussed underscores the tectonic shift in regional foreign policy undertaken by Duterte since winning the Filipino presidency in May. The Philippines, long a U.S. ally in the region, has moved away from its bilateral ties and military entanglements with the United States and instead embraced a budding new friendship with China, long a regional rival. A joint energy-exploration deal between China and the Philippines could serve as a way to dodge thorny questions of national sovereignty and begin extracting energy wealth from the South China Sea, potentially setting a precedent for future energy development deals. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the South China Sea region holds reserves of some 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. China National Offshore Oil — the state-owned energy company responsible for offshore energy exploitation — provides a much rosier estimate, predicting the region holds some 125 billion barrels of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Neither estimate is insignificant for a region woefully dependent on imported oil and natural gas. China is the second-largest consumer of oil after the United States and critically dependent on imports to feed its energy demands. Japan and South Korea are likewise dependent on foreign oil to keep their economies humming. Booming growth in Southeast Asia has pushed the region to emerge as a net oil and gas importer as well. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/21/china-and-the-philippines-could-ink-oil-exploration-deal-in-south-china-sea.html

Rodrigo Duterte may hand China the strategic piece it needs to take control of the South China Sea

Next week Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who took power in late June, will make his first state visit to China. Of course he’s hoping for a bonanza of loans and trade deals. What he’s not expecting or demanding: the return of Scarborough Shoal, which China seized from the Philippines in 2012, sparking demonstrations by Filipinos around the world. “We cannot win that,” he said during a speech this week. “Even if we get angry, we’ll just be putting on airs. We can’t beat [China].” A large coral atoll with a reef-rimmed lagoon, Scarborough Shoal lies about 120 nautical miles (222 km, 138 miles) from the Philippines’ coast. Filipino fishermen have relied on the atoll’s rich fishing grounds for generations. China has blocked their access to it since the takeover. But China didn’t seize Scarborough Shoal just for the fish. It took it for control of the South China Sea. Rodrigo Duterte may hand China the strategic piece it needs to take control of the South China Sea

The Philippines Is About to Give Up the South China Sea to China

‘We cannot win that,’ President Rodrigo Duterte said of Scarborough Shoal this week. ‘We can’t beat” China. Next week Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who took power in late June, will make his first state visit to China. Of course he’s hoping for a bonanza of loans and trade deals. What he’s not expecting or demanding: the return of Scarborough Shoal, which China seized from the Philippines in 2012, sparking demonstrations by Filipinos around the world. “We cannot win that,” he said during a speech this week. “Even if we get angry, we’ll just be putting on airs. We can’t beat [China].” A large coral atoll with a reef-rimmed lagoon, Scarborough Shoal lies about 120 nautical miles (222 km, 138 miles) from the Philippines’ coast. Filipino fishermen have relied on the atoll’s rich fishing grounds for generations. China has blocked their access to it since the takeover. http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2016/10/philippines-about-give-south-china-sea-china/132319/?oref=d-channeltop

Philippine Leader Rodrigo Duterte Rolls Dice With Embrace of China

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte aims to upend the delicate geopolitics of the South China Sea during a state visit to Beijing this week, gambling that pulling away from the U.S.—the Philippines’ longtime military ally—will reset the strategic calculus in Southeast Asia in his poor country’s favor. http://www.wsj.com/articles/philippine-leader-rodrigo-duterte-rolls-dice-with-embrace-of-china-1476639455

Najib: South China Sea dispute should be resolved through dialogue

The government will not compromise on the sovereignty of the country in light of the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today. He also said Malaysia’s stand on the disputes is that problems, differences and rows should be handled and resolved through dialogue and peaceful negotiations. Najib pointed out that to that end, Asean and China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) on Nov 4, 2002. “At this moment, Asean and China are engaged in efforts to create the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). “However, I would like to state that the DOC and COC are not instruments to resolve the issue of overlapping claims in the South China Sea,” he said in an oral reply to a question by Datuk Hasan Arifin (BN-Rompin) in Parliament today. Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/10/180850/najib-south-china-sea-dispute-should-be-resolved-through-dialogue

China’s tripod art of war

VietNamNet Bridge – Two months before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) made its statement on the case between the Philippines and China, China launched a global media campaign. The illegal deployment of HD-981 oil rig deep in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of Vietnam in 2014 is a “daring test” of China in the face of response of related countries as well as international public opinion. As China announced the unjustified nine-dotted line in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea) in 2009, China has been under pressure from public opinion throughout the world. It, thus, launched the so-called tripod art of war on the fronts of information. This strategy is close collaboration between the psychological, legal and media fronts. Simply, this is a strategy to create beneficial information for China, at a similar frequency to unfavorable information to China. The core of the information is the ability to impose national rules on the “disputed territory” and interpretation of international law “Chinese-style” to legalize all field of actions of China on the legal front. The next is a series of diplomatic – economic – military measures with other countries. China will pour huge investment capital in return for the support of other countries to its East Sea issue. And finally, on the media front, China will take full advantage of its national media to disseminate information that is beneficial to China to the outside world at the highest frequency. The tripod art of war was used by China in many important international issues and has been strongly deployed to support China’s East Sea dispute since 2009. The launch of the “U-shaped line” in 2009, a ban on annual fishing in the East Sea since 2010, the establishment of the illegal “Sansha city” in 2012, and unilateral military exercises in the East Sea were the first moves on the legal front. The illegal deployment of HD-981 oil rig deep in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of Vietnam in 2014 is a “daring test” of China in the face of response of related countries as well as international public opinion. In this event, China initially utilized its embassies in several countries (Indonesia, USA, Australia, Japan, Thailand …) to publish publications about the East Sea under Chinese view. This is an important variation of the approach of the Chinese on the media front: using a team of ambassadors to attack in Western and international media. http://m.english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/marine-sovereignty/165363/china-s-tripod-art-of-war.html#

‘TWAS A HYPERBOLE’ You can’t expect me to jet ski to disputed territories —Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has said there was no way he would have ridden a jet ski to the disputed Scarborough Shoal as he proclaimed in a debate during the presidential campaign earlier this year. In an interview with Al Jazeera that aired over the weekend, Duterte said it was a hyperbole to drive home the point that he would not give up any of the country’s claims in the South China Sea. “It was a hyperbole… You cannot expect me to ride (a jet ski), I don’t even know how to swim,” Duterte said when asked why he has yet to deliver on the campaign promise to ride out in a jet ski to the disputed territories and plant the Philippine flag there. “If it overturns you lose a president,” he added. Duterte’s remarks came a few days before he was to hold bilateral talks with China in Beijing. Asked why he made the remark in the first place, Duterte said, “It was a hyperbole to stress a point that we will not, we will not give up anything there.” “Nobody’s going to give up anything,” Duterte said. Duterte said he was not turning his back on the country’s claims and the favorable Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that found China’s nine-dash-line theory invalid. “Nobody in the constitution allows anybody to give it up. Even the President cannot give it up. Those are our entitlements,” Duterte said referring to the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone guaranteed by the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/585324/news/nation/you-can-t-expect-me-to-jet-ski-to-disputed-territories-duterte

Beijing ‘aid’ always has strings attached

Admitting to be a tyro in diplomacy, President Rodrigo Duterte is to square off with a 4,000-year master of the craft: China. His visit to the giant neighbor this week aims for some economic favors. Bulging in his coat pocket would be an international court ruling favoring Manila against Beijing’s spurious ownership claim over the entire South China Sea. The plan is to refrain from discussing the document in scheduled talks with President Xi Jinping. Only $3 billion worth of investments reportedly will be on the table. Would Duterte get it? A lot would depend on his understanding of China’s diplomatese. China knows that Duterte would want to hear about train projects in Mindanao, where he was a city mayor for two decades. Beijing may offer it to him as “aid.” But China’s concept of aid is different from other “donor nations.” It is actually loans, with trade concessions attached. President Xi’s declared policy in Africa, Central Asia, and South America has been to mix three terms – loans, trade, investments – rolled in as aid. The end is to spur Chinese employment through state enterprises. Xi’s predecessors had done it too. Loans and investments packaged as aid were dangled to Manila in 2006. Then-trade minister Bo Xilai pledged $2 billion a year for five years for various projects. Leaders in other Third World countries were so envious. Bo’s loans were noted to be liberal not so much in repayment conditions than in allowing corrupt presidents to skim commissions. Among the loans granted to the Philippines were for the North and South railways, and the National Broadband Network. The NBN, worth $329 million, had a 60-percent kickback of $200 million built into it. Exposure of the sleaze behind the Chinese-financed projects prevented the hatch-up of any more. But not before “aid” also was used by Beijing to weaken the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN in 2002 solidly was opposing China’s claim over the surrounding sea. As a bloc it got Beijing to sign a Declaration of Conduct to avoid provocations and confrontations. Two years after China offered aid to Vietnam and Malaysia in exchange for acceptance of its sea claims. The former didn’t budge; the latter was tantalized. Bait was dropped in Manila too, and it bit it, hook, line, and sinker. It came in the form of the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking. Under the JMSU, China and the Philippines were to explore their “disputed waters” for potential “joint use,” Manila was to contribute $5 million, while Beijing was to conduct most of the work worth more than that, to plot fisheries and oil reserves. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2016/10/17/1634347/beijing-aid-always-has-strings-attached

Duterte to raise South China Sea ruling with Beijing, says won’t ‘barter away’ territory

MANILA, Phililppines – (UPDATE, 8:04 P.M) President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he would raise a controversial arbitral ruling on the South China Sea with China’s leaders, and vowed not to surrender any sovereignty or deviate from the July award by the tribunal in The Hague. Duterte said his trip to China this week represented a turning point in bilateral ties, but he acknowledged there was some public concern about his rapid rapprochement moves and reassured Filipinos that would not impact on the country’s maritime sovereignty. In comments that will not sit comfortably with the Chinese leadership, Duterte said the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration would be talked about and the parameters of the award would be discussed, but there would be no “hard imposition” of it. The ruling dealt a blow to China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea. Beijing has refused to recognize the case and has chided any country telling it to abide by the ruling. “I will not bargain anywhere, we will continue to insist that is ours,” he told a news conference in his home city of Davao. “The international tribunal decision will be taken up.” http://interaksyon.com/article/133388/duterte-to-raise-south-china-sea-ruling-with-beijing-says-wont-barter-away-territory