Trump offers to mediate in South China Sea dispute


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  U.S. President Donald Trump said on a visit to Vietnam on Sunday he was prepared to mediate between claimants to the South China Sea, where five countries contest China’s sweeping claims to the busy waterway. Vietnam has become the most vocal opponent of China’s claims and its construction and militarisation of artificial islands in the sea, through which about $3-trillion in goods pass each year. “If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know,” Trump said in comments ..  


Japan May Face a New Chinese Onslaught in Dispute Over East China Sea Islets

It may be time to pay more attention to Beijing’s moves against Japan in the East China Sea. Experts say that with China’s Communist Party Congress now concluded and perhaps after President Trump’s trip to Asia in early November, Beijing may escalate the moves it’s made near disputed territories in the strategic sea. Japanese analysts fear that China might send maritime militia vessels backed by the Chinese Coast Guard in a show of force directed at the disputed Senkaku Islands. This could include a landing on one of the eight uninhabited islands. “That’s a very legitimate concern,” said Ryan Martinson, a researcher at the U.S. Navy War College’s Maritime Studies Institute, in a reference to Japanese fears.


Taiwan could play role in resolving S. China Sea dispute: expert

Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA) The Republic of China (Taiwan) could play an important role in resolving the South China Sea dispute as it was the ROC that first claimed sovereignty over the region and it still has many historic documents on the issue, a visiting UK expert said on Friday. “I think Taiwan could play a really important role in resolving the dispute. Because of course the claim really started with the ROC in the early 20th century,” said Bill Hayton, an associate fellow at Chatham House, an international policy institute based in London. In addition, many of the historic archives are still stored in Taiwan, where political openness makes it easier to discuss sovereignty claims than in China or Vietnam, he noted. By presenting its historic documents on the South China Sea, Hayton said Taipei could demonstrate that the more exaggerated claims made by Beijing are not supported by the historical evidence. Such an approach could take some of the heat out of the dispute, he told the Central News Agency on Friday. Hayton also said it is clear Taiwan has occupied Taiping Island or Itu Aba for 70 years, noting “clearly you have the best claim to that feature.”


Cooperation in Disputed Asian Sea Fails Despite 2 Decades of Discussion

  TAIPEI — Countries with competing claims to the South China Sea have failed to start joint resource projects with the strongest one, China, despite discussions over the past two decades, as they fear unequal results or a loss of sovereignty.   Front-line countries in Southeast Asia worry they would take a minor role compared to China or end up ceding marine resources because China is bigger and more advanced.   “Other countries are still expecting Beijing to be more of a responsible stakeholder in terms of their performance and behavior in the South China Sea,” said Andrew Yang, secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies think tank in Taiwan.   China in turn may suspect that domestic politics in a democratic country such as the Philippines could disrupt a deal, experts say.   The prospects of working together for oil, gas, fish, scientific research or environmental protection in the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea have come and gone from discussions since the 1990s, when claimant governments held workshops on maritime cooperation. The sea is rich in fisheries as well as fossil fuels.   China and Taiwan claim nearly the whole sea. Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines call as their own, parts of the sea, extending from their coastlines. Over the past decade China has upset other countries by building artificial islands for military use and passing coast guard vessels through contested tracts of the sea.    


US will send more navy patrols to disputed South China Sea amid tensions with Beijing

THE US will be increasing its navy patrols in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, the Pentagon has confirmed – a decision that is likely to outrage Beijing.   Pentagon officials have confirmed that US Pacific Command will be executing “freedom-of-navigation operations” approximately two or three times each month in a bid to Beijing’s claims over the South China Sea.   China has previously accused the US of trying to militarise the region as escalation continue to mount over Beijing’s ally North Korea.   Since Donald Trump has taken office, a total of three navigations patrols have occurred, while in contrast, only four were conducted during the entire Obama administration.   Earlier this year satellite images revealed that China had deployed its newest Y-8X maritime patrol aircraft to the fringes of the South China Sea.   China declares it would ‘STOP US attack on North Korea’ And in August the American Navy sent the USS John S McCain within 12 nautical miles of the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, sparking outrage from China.   The nation’s Foreign Ministry accused the US Navy of breaking “international laws” following similar incidents in May and July.   A spokesman for the ministry said: “The US destroyer’s actions have violated Chinese and international laws, as well as severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security.   “China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the US side.”  


US sets more patrols in waters disputed with China: report

  U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is gearing up for more regular naval patrols in the South China Sea, a move that is likely to further complicate relations between the U.S. and China.   The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Pentagon has set a schedule for freedom of navigation operations to challenge Chinese maritime claims in the sea.   PACOM is planning to conduct two or three patrols over the next few months, according to the Journal.   In the past, such operations, referred to as “fonops” in the military, have been conducted more sporadically, and have faced accusations by China of being provocations by the U.S.   By establishing a more regular regime of patrols in the sea, U.S. officials are hoping to dull China’s claims that operations are destabilizing, according to the Journal.   Since President Trump took office in January, he U.S. has conducted three “fonops” in the South China Sea, compared to four across former President Barack Obama’s two terms in office.  


To be relevant, let Asean use S. China Sea dispute ruling

  The Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean), which marks its 50th anniversary on Aug 8, finds itself at a crossroads: How can it continue to be relevant as a regional bloc, in the light of its inability to counter, or even merely criticise, expansive Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea? One possibility is for individual members to separately invoke last year’s arbitral tribunal ruling.   That landmark ruling in international law, which the Philippines sought and which benefits both individual member-states and the Asean as a regional association, has been temporarily set aside by the Philippines.   The “award”- decided by the arbitral tribunal convened under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – was released on July 12, 2016, a mere 12 days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.  


Repsol says drilling suspended on Vietnam oil block disputed by China

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Repsol said it had suspended oil drilling in a block off Vietnam, where the prospecting in South China Sea waters claimed by China had infuriated Beijing and brought Chinese pressure on Vietnam to stop. Tension has been growing between Vietnam and China over energy development in the waterway, where extensive Chinese claims are challenged by five Southeast Asian countries and disputed by the United States. Repsol’s chief financial officer, Miguel Martinez, said work had been suspended off Vietnam, according to the transcript of a conference call with analysts last week. “We are working with the PetroVietnam and with the Vietnamese authorities and the only comment is that right now, operations have been suspended,” he said.


Japan, Vietnam protest against China’s gasfield activity, cinema in disputed seas

  TOKYO/HANOI (AFP, REUTERS) – Japan has lodged a protest with China over what it described as suspicious activity in a maritime area rich in gas deposits in the East China Sea, officials said Tuesday (Aug 1), while Vietnam condemned China’s construction and operation of a movie theatre on the Paracel islands in the disputed South China Sea.   China and Japan have a longstanding dispute over islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan, which knows them as Senkaku, and claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.   Tokyo and Beijing agreed in June 2008 to cooperate over oil and gas resources in the area, but negotiations stopped two years later amid rising tensions and have not resumed.