Author Archives: Elma Leogardo

About Elma Leogardo

Graduated from the University of the Philippines, AB 1979 cum laude, Ll B 1984. Trustee and former President of the Maritime Lawyers Association of the Philippines ("MARLAW"), Trustee of the Legal Management Council of the Philippines ("LMCP"), Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors ("ICD"), among others. Engaged in the private practice of law, principally in corporate & business law, tourism & hospitality, maritime & international law of the sea.

Vietnam ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh flags concerns over Chinese land reclamation in South China Sea

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Xi Jinping’s Overlooked Revelation on China’s Maritime Disputes

…But Xi’s most interesting remarks have received scant attention. Under China’s system of collective leadership, speeches at Politburo meetings usually reflect the consensus of the participants – in this case, China’s top 25 leaders. Near the end of his address at the most recent study session, Xi discussed China’s ongoing maritime disputes and predictably repeated many now common talking points, such as “never giving up its legitimate rights and interests,” especially the nation’s core interests. Nevertheless, two other phrases he used may illuminate how Beijing may handle these disputes and therefore deserve greater attention. Xi’s remarks suggest that Beijing may be reconsidering the merits of its most assertive actions in the East and South China Seas—ones that have caused grave diplomatic problems with Japan and many Southeast Asian countries… Read more:Xi Jinping’s Overlooked Revelation on China’s Maritime Disputes : Xi’s remarks suggest that Beijing may be reconsidering the merits of its most assertive actions in the East and South China Seas—ones that have caused grave …

Asean agrees on South China Sea conduct

Asean foreign ministers agreed yesterday to a code of conduct (COC) to tackle conflicts in the South China Sea. The agreement was reached at an informal gathering in Hua Hin to discuss ways of strengthening… Read more using this link:

US, Philippines discuss wider US military presence

MANILA, Philippines (AP) A larger U.S. military presence in the Philippines will help the country detect and deter territorial intrusions in the South China Sea through information-sharing but American troops will still be banned from getting involved in regular security operations, the Philippine defense chief said Wednesday. The last U.S. military base in the Philippines was shut down in 1992. U.S. and Filipino officials began negotiations Wednesday in Manila on a defense agreement that would allow larger numbers of U.S. troops to have temporary access to Philippine military camps and bring in aircraft, ships and other security assets into the country. Read more: .

Conduct in territorial disputes

…..The uphill battle faced by ASEAN negotiators is revealed by recent statements made by Chinese officials. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was visiting Bangkok to attend a China-ASEAN forum to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership, on Aug. 2 said that territorial disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved through bilateral talks. Three days later, he said the attitude harbored by some ASEAN countries that seek an early agreement on the code of conduct does not seem realistic or serious. He stressed the importance of holding detailed discussions so that consensus could be reached among all the countries concerned. In 2002, ASEAN and China signed a declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea, but it had no binding power. ASEAN hopes to upgrade the declaration to a legally binding code of conduct….. Read more:Conduct in territorial disputes …

ASEAN vows unity on South China Sea – Thai official

BANGKOK – Southeast Asian nations on Wednesday vowed unity in pressing China to accept a binding code of conduct for handling disputes in the South China Sea, the Thai foreign ministry said. Competing claims to the sea have for decades stirred tension in the region and the waterway, which is believed to sit atop vast deposits of oil and natural gas, has long been seen as one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints… Read more: ASEAN vows unity on South China Sea – Thai official

Asean agrees on South China Sea

HUA HIN – Southeast Asian foreign ministers on Wednesday agreed to a code of conduct for the South China Sea, where territorial disputes have raised tensions with Beijing. Asean foreign ministers pose for a group photograph during the Asean foreign ministers meeting in Hua Hin on Wednesday. (AFP photo) Of the 10 nations in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, only Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong failed to attend the meeting in Hua Hin. The Hua Hin meeting was an informal “brain-storming” session in preparation for two meetings in China that will focus on agreeing to a Code of Conduct (COC) to manage territorial disputes in the South China Sea…  Read more:

Sea row not part of Aquino’s agenda if he pushes with China trip: Palace

… If the President decided to go to China, Lacierda ruled out that the territorial row would be discussed if he would have a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Our concern with the West Philippine Sea is already being handled in the Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) arbitral tribunal. So the discussion on that area with respect to our situation on the West Philippine Sea has been reserved to the arbitral tribunal to decide,” he said. Lacierda noted that the CAEXPO is purely economic and trade…. Read more: Sea row not part of Aquino’s agenda if he pushes with China trip …

Negotiation—Not War—Can Resolve China’s Conflict With Japan

Sino-Japanese relations do not look promising at the moment. Obviously, the Diaoyu-Senkaku dispute is not the only factor in play, but it does focus nationalist passions on both sides. Yet both countries are capable of wiser conduct if their leaders can manage to rise above the dangerous temptations to beat military drums. As China and Vietnam showed in settling their land and their Tonkin Gulf disputes, negotiation is the obvious and inevitable way out. Taiwan and Japan demonstrated this in their recent fisheries agreement over the Senkaku area. It did an end run around Beijing’s effort to monopolize “the Chinese side” of the situation, a brilliant move on Ma Ying-Jeou’s part that must have cost him dearly with Beijing even though it has been underappreciated at home and abroad. Island territorial disputes are harder to deal with, however. Read more: