Tag Archives: Ayungin Shoal

Mischief Reef land reclamation to restrict PH access to Ayungin, Recto Bank

MANILA – China’s land reclamation activities at Panganiban Reef, internationally known as Mischief Reef, could be its first step in gradually restricting the Philippines’ access to Ayungin Shoal and the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea. But for one analyst, the bigger objective of China is to put in place a “strategic triangle” in the South China Sea which are anchored on three areas: the Paracel Islands, Fiery Cross Reef and Scarborough Shoal. “If China succeeds, they would control the South China Sea and devour most of the West Philippine Sea,” asserted former congressman and naval officer Roilo Golez. This, he stressed, is a “simple, plain classic power play devoid of any basis in international law.” The Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies showed the presence of several dredgers and cargo ships at Mischief Reef, engaged in massive reclamation activities. A satellite image, dated March 16, 2015, showed the creation of small artificial islands which had fortified seawalls. Another image showed the presence of a transport ship that can carry up to 800 soldiers and 20 armed amphibious vehicles. Read more: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/108570/mischief-reef-land-reclamation-to-restrict-ph-access-to-ayungin-recto-bank

China’s latest expansion to deny Philippines’ access to Ayungin

MANILA, Philippines — China has created new artificial islets in two more reefs in the disputed South China Sea, which the Philippine military fears is meant to choke off its access to Ayungin shoal, where a crumbling Philippine Navy ship is beached. In an interview, former Air Force officer Rep. Francisco Acedillo, now partylist representative of the Magdalo party, showed the latest maritime surveillance photos revealed how China’s land reclamation is expanding to cover all the seven reefs it occupies. The latest reclamation work is being done on Mischief and Subi reefs, known to the Philippines as Panganiban and Zamora, which are fast catching up with the five other reefs where China had done reclamation work early last year. Acedillo branded this move as “graver danger to the country’s national security.” Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/03/12/1432807/chinas-latest-expansion-deny-philippines-access-ayungin#ixzz3UNopiKd4

More blockades by China to follow, say experts

MANILA, Philippines—Security experts believe China is pushing the region to the “brink of miscalculations” in the South China Sea with its expansive land reclamation in disputed territories as the Philippines anticipates more blockades by the Chinese in the West Philippine Sea once their facilities become fully operational next year. “The bases are being constructed very fast, done rapidly, that it’s estimated that they would be operational by next year,” military historian Jose Antonio Custodio told the Inquirer in a recent interview. Custodio said the airfields and naval facilities built by China on reclaimed land on the reefs and atolls along the so-called nine-dash line would allow them to execute more blockades against other claimants in the South China Sea. Custodio said the Philippine military would have a more difficult time resupplying the Marine platoon posted at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal), which China also claims. Chinese coast guard vessels drive away Philippine ships dispatched on resupply missions. Last year, the Marines on the grounded ship BRP Sierra Madre, the Philippines’ symbol of ownership of the shoal, stayed at the garrison for nearly five months because the foreign vessels blocked the Philippine ships that attempted to resupply and rotate the troops. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/117954/more-blockades-by-china-to-follow-say-experts/#ixzz3QNPkBkKT

China is pushing South China Sea situation to the brink of miscalculation

Security experts believe China is pushing the region to the “brink of miscalculations” in the South China Sea with its expansive land reclamation in disputed territories as the Philippines anticipates more blockades by the Chinese in the West Philippine Sea once their facilities become fully operational next year. “The bases are being constructed very fast, done rapidly, that it’s estimated that they would be operational by next year,” military historian Jose Antonio Custodio told the Inquirer in a recent interview. Custodio said the airfields and naval facilities built by China on reclaimed land on the reefs and atolls along the so-called nine-dash line would allow them to execute more blockades against other claimants in the South China Sea. Custodio said the Philippine military would have a more difficult time resupplying the Marine platoon posted at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal), which China also claims. Chinese coast guard vessels drive away Philippine ships dispatched on resupply missions. Last year, the Marines on the grounded ship BRP Sierra Madre, the Philippines’ symbol of ownership of the shoal, stayed at the garrison for nearly five months because the foreign vessels blocked the Philippine ships that attempted to resupply and rotate the troops.   Read more: http://chinadailymail.com/2015/01/25/china-is-pushing-south-china-sea-situation-to-the-brink-of-miscalculation/

Kerry: US will defend allies in Asia-Pacific

MANILA, Philippines – The United States wants stronger ties with China but is committed to defending allies in the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Kerry said he and US President Barack Obama would be working for the interests of their allies in the South China Sea when they meet leaders of the Asia Pacific region at two summits in Beijing and Myanmar this month. Speaking before the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington last Tuesday, Kerry said one of their priorities in at the Asia Pacific meetings is to strengthen “the institutions and reinforce the norms that contribute to a rules-based, stable region.” “These are our goals for the rebalance and the objectives that we are working to pursue. We are working together with our allies and partners across Asia,” Kerry said. “These are the goals that the President will discuss with other leaders next week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing and also at the East Asia Summit that follows in Burma.” The Philippines has continued to move for a settlement of the maritime dispute over reefs and other islands within its exclusive economic zone with China through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), including its provisions on dispute settlement, particularly arbitration.   Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/11/06/1388613/kerry-us-will-defend-allies-asia-pacific

China’s Island Factory

New islands are being made in the disputed South China Sea by the might of the Chinese state. But a group of marooned Filipinos on a rusting wreck is trying to stand in the way. The boat pitches up and down and rolls from side to side in the heavy swell. The noise of the big diesel motor, just below the floor, is hammering at my head. My nose is filled with the smell of dried fish and diesel fumes, my T-shirt glued to my chest with sweat. Proper sleep is impossible. For more than 40 hours it has been like this. Our wooden fishing boat has tossed its way across the South China Sea. Most of the time we barely exceed walking pace. “Who would be a fisherman?” I wonder out loud. I stare out at the endless rolling waves. On the horizon the sky is dark and threatening. Then my eye is caught by something sticking up above the waves. It looks like an oil or gas-drilling platform. What on earth is it doing here? Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2014/newsspec_8701/index.html?OCID=twitterasia

Reed Bank: South China Sea flashpoint

The Philippines is seeking to develop the seabed hydrocarbon resources of Reed Bank in the South China Sea, an area under dispute with China. Should Manila put plan to action, Beijing is likely to dispatch enforcement vessels to disrupt such activities. Given the deteriorating bilateral relationship, tensions between the two countries are in danger of escalating to the point of brinkmanship. On May 9, amid rising tensions between China and Vietnam following China’s deployment of a deep-sea rig in disputed waters near the Paracel Islands, the Philippines’ Department of Energy launched a tender for exploration rights to 11 oil and gas blocks. Included in this tender round is “Area 7”, located in an area of the South China Sea known as Reed Bank, which China also claims. Less than two weeks later, on May 21, Philex Petroleum Corp of the Philippines announced that its London-listed unit, Forum Energy Plc, plans in early 2016 to start drilling appraisal wells in the Sampaguita gas field, also at Reed Bank.   Read more: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/SEA-01-030614.html  

Implications of the Philippines-US military deal

President Barack Obama’s visit to the Philippines, the last leg of his recent 4-nation Asian tour, produced a new bilateral defense agreement that was touted by some observers as the single most significant outcome of his regional foray. The agreement was said to contribute to his goals of reassuring allies and signaling that the United States is serious about its “rebalance” to Asia. How does the signing of the 10-year Philippines-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) help promote overall security relations between the United States and the Philippines and how might the agreement impact ongoing efforts to manage the territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea? Read more: http://www.rappler.com/world/specials/57713-implications-of-the-us-philippines-military-deal

5 Chinese vessels deployed near shoal

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan, Philippines – China has deployed five vessels – a survey ship, a frigate and three surveillance vessels – close to Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. A Philippine Air Force (PAF) Nomad plane saw the Chinese deployment while delivering provisions to the Marine troops on the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal. The STAR joined yesterday’s airdrop operations and saw several Chinese ships in the area. The Chinese vessels include two surveillance ships with Bow No. 3111 and 3102; XiangYonghong 10, a survey ship; a Jianghu-V Class frigate, and one unmarked white ship from their forward naval station at Panganiban Reef.   Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/05/04/1319161/5-chinese-vessels-deployed-near-shoal

5 Chinese vessels deployed near shoal

UERTO PRINCESA, Palawan, Philippines – China has deployed five vessels – a survey ship, a frigate and three surveillance vessels – close to Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. A Philippine Air Force (PAF) Nomad plane saw the Chinese deployment while delivering provisions to the Marine troops on the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal. The STAR joined yesterday’s airdrop operations and saw several Chinese ships in the area. The Chinese vessels include two surveillance ships with Bow No. 3111 and 3102; XiangYonghong 10, a survey ship; a Jianghu-V Class frigate, and one unmarked white ship from their forward naval station at Panganiban Reef.   Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/05/04/1319161/5-chinese-vessels-deployed-near-shoal