Tag Archives: Philippine Daily Inquirer

July 24 – A Dark Day in Philippine History

As dark days go, July 24, 2012 is akin historically to what occurred in China on February 18, 1932 when Japan proclaimed the state of Manchukuo as the governing body for the region of Manchuria which it had invaded and detached from China.  The people of China were driven to erase that infamous day from their history just as the Filipino people today are determined to do the same with their own dark day. This July 24 marks the first anniversary of China’s creation of the “Sansha City” garrison to “oversee and administer” the whole West Philippine Sea and all the islands and terrestrial features within it.  Effective January 1, 2013, Beijing announced last October, its Sansha-based naval fleet would be authorized “to board, seize and expel foreign ships” found within the 3.5 million square kilometers of water that China claims it owns. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/81103/july-24-a-dark-day-in-philippine-history#ixzz2ZpcrD1iH

Wescom chief: No standoff in Ayungin Shoal

MANILA, Philippines – The Western Command vowed that it will not abandon Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Reef) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) even as China maintained its presence there. “As far as the Wescom is concerned we are continuously monitoring our good friends in that area with what is available with my command and we provide the reports to the national leadership for their appreciation,” Wescom chief Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero told reporters in an interview after a command conference at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday. “Rest assured that we will not leave Ayungin,” he added. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/80503/wescom-chief-no-standoff-in-ayungin-shoal#ixzz2Yma7Gpcl

PH: China turning sea into its lake

MANILA, Philippines—China is turning the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) into “one country’s lake,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Tuesday, pressing Manila’s effort to roll back Beijing’s expansive claims in the strategic waterway. Speaking before an experts’ roundtable on maritime security in Brussels, Belgium, Del Rosario said China’s assertion of ownership over almost all of the sea could restrict freedom of navigation in sea-lanes critical to global trade. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/80367/ph-china-turning-sea-into-its-lake#ixzz2Z4a0hxIj

PH hails diplomatic ties with China despite row

MANILA, Philippines—Their territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) should not stop the Philippines and China from celebrating the 38th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, Malacañang said Sunday. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said relations between the two countries were multifaceted and the territorial dispute over parts of the West Philippine Sea was just one facet. After all, there were other facets of this relationship that “we continue to develop and that we continue to move forward on,” Valte said on state-run radio dzRB. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/77113/ph-hails-diplomatic-ties-with-china-despite-row#ixzz2Vnqmza1y Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

China’s cabbage strategy to recover Chinese islands, reefs illegally occupied by PH

While the attention of the Philippines has been focused on its conflict with Taiwan over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard on May 9, little notice has been given to the arrival, just the day before, of three Chinese naval ships at the Ayungin Reef (Second Thomas Shoal), the gateway to the oil and mineral rich Reed Bank, just 105 nautical miles from Palawan Island, within the 200 mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. This undated handout photo released by the Philippine Government on May 23, 2013 shows an aerial view of BRP Sierra Madre, a 100-metre (328 foot) amphibious vessel built for the US in 1944 and acquired by the Filipino navy in 1976, grounded at Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. A handful of marines living on a World War II-era ship that is grounded on a remote, tiny reef is the Philippines’ last line of defence against China’s efforts to control most of the South China Sea. The soldiers are stationed on Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands aboard a former US tank-landing vessel that was deliberately abandoned there to serve as a base, according to their former commander, Juancho Sabban. AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE PHOTO / Philippine Government Read More: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/76323/chinas-cabbage-strategy-to-recover-chinese-islands-reefs-illegally-occupied-by-ph

Justice Carpio pessimistic on PH case vs China but…

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines’ only recourse in the territorial dispute with China is to appeal to world opinion even if the country has already taken the issue to an arbitral tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), a senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court said. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, speaking before the law graduates at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, said that even if the Philippines wins its case, there is difficulty in enforcing such ruling citing a “black hole” in international rule of law “where there is a law but there is no justice.” Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/75391/justice-carpio-pessimistic-on-ph-case-vs-china-but#ixzz2USx8s1GR

Gov’t hopes to revive rare earth elements dev’t plan with China

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines will try to revive next month preparations with China for the joint development of rare earth elements (REEs) in the Philippines, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). MGB Director Leo Jasareno told reporters that Philippine representatives would fly to Naning, China, on May 8 to discuss Manila’s intention to push through with the joint development plan… Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/118121/govt-hopes-to-revive-rare-earth-elements-devt-plan-with-china    

PH urged to help China quake victims amid territorial row

MANILA, Philippines — Despite diplomatic differences, the Philippines should quickly send a humanitarian mission to China to help victims of the devastating earthquake that rocked its province over the weekend, Senator Ralph Recto said on Tuesday. “As a neighbor with deep historical and economic ties, the country should send its own humanitarian contingent and find ways to help in the rescue and even in the post-quake effort,” Recto, an administration ally, said in a statement… Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/72833/ph-urged-to-help-china-quuake-victims-amid-territorial-row#ixzz2RGlLLbVC

Chinese fishermen on front line of marine dispute

By Agence France-Presse @ http://globalnation.inquirer.net/67147/chinese-fishermen-on-front-line-of-marine-dispute TANMEN, China—The tropical waters of the West Philippine Sea are among the most contested on Earth, but Chinese fishermen who sail in them shrug off the dangers of navigating between multiple competing claimants. “It’s a little risky… but in Chinese regions we’re not afraid, we’re in sea which belongs to us, how could we be arrested?” asked Liang Min, 29, as he stood in his ship’s dank engine room, wearing yellow plastic shoes. It is a sentiment that would be disputed in several Asian capitals, and as tensions mount in the area Liang risks finding himself embroiled in an international incident on one of his regular visits. Beijing says its “historical waters” include a vast swathe of the West Philippine Sea, also known as South China Sea, detailed on a map published in the 1940s. The “nine-dash line” that marks its declared rule sweeps almost to the coast of Borneo, over 1,000 kilometers from the Chinese mainland, and provoked fury when it was included in new Chinese passports issued last year. In his address opening China’s parliament this week, Premier Wen Jiabao said Beijing should “develop the marine economy… and safeguard China’s maritime rights and interests”. As China presses its claim it has increased its naval and marine surveillance presence, as have its southeast Asian neighbors, which cite international conventions to strongly deny Beijing’s authority — raising fears of open conflict. “The sea belongs to us, our ancestors fished there,” said an elderly boat owner surnamed Wang in Tanmen, a run-down but bustling port on China’s island province of Hainan, where ships offload catches of octopus, sailfish and mackerel. His words echoed reports in Chinese state media saying Chinese fishermen have been active in the area since the Han Dynasty, which began in 206 BC. A third of the world’s seaborne trade passes through the West Philippine Sea, and it could hold enormous reserves of oil and natural gas. But for the fishermen of Tanmen, its strategic significance pales in comparison to the attraction of its rich marine stocks. So many fish shoal around the Paracel islands — which are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan — that Liang said he and his crew dive down to coral reefs at night to grab creatures as they sleep. For others the Spratlys, a motley collection of reefs and islets disputed by the three Paracel claimants plus the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, are the biggest draw. “There aren’t many people catching fish there, so fishing is much easier,” said a middle aged-woman surnamed Guo, who travels to the archipelago with her husband on a new 60 foot (18 metre) boat, bought with a loan from the local government. But trips to the islands are risky, with Beijing claiming more than 11,000 Chinese sailors have experienced attacks, robberies or detention by foreign powers since 1989. “If there are a lot of Vietnamese ships, it can be scary, but now we have more and bigger boats so we’re not afraid,” said Guo, casually tapping her foot on her vessel’s steering wheel. Last summer a naval patrol vessel accompanied 30 Chinese fishing boats to the Spratlys, prompting concerns that Beijing was using the industry to re-assert its territorial claims. Chinese maritime authorities have also stepped up their own patrols and detained fishermen from rival countries, including 21 Vietnamese sailors in one incident. M. Taylor Fravel, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, told AFP that economic factors were involved. “All states in the region have over-fished waters close to home, which means that they are more active in other areas,” he said. At the same time China is boosting its military presence in the sea, establishing a new city — Sansha — and army garrison on one of the Paracels last year. Beijing unilaterally awarded Sansha two million square kilometers of sea, creating an oddity that is by far the world’s largest city by area but has a minuscule population of around 1,000 people — little more than the planet’s smallest city, the Vatican. Officials and provincial media say they will promote tourism in the region, a move set to alarm neighboring countries. One Hainan travel company offered a four-day cruise taking in the newly created city for 7,800 yuan ($1,300) — for Chinese citizens only — but could not confirm a departure date. Beijing is in the process of expanding its maritime reach, with its first aircraft carrier entering service last year, part of a military expansion which has prompted China’s neighbors to upgrade their navies and seek closer ties with the United States. But Wu Shicun, the head of China’s state-run National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Hainan denied Beijing had become more assertive, saying that its military development in the region was “too slow.” “I hope our aircraft carrier can soon be sent to the Nansha Islands,” he said, using the Chinese term for the Spratlys. “I think that China is under pressure in the South China Sea, especially with the entrance of the US, so we need to play a more active role,” Wu said. It is a prospect Liang welcomes. “We have a lot of police boats there now,” he said. “I’m not afraid of going anywhere.”

China sends more ships to West Philippine Sea

By Tarra Quismundo Philippine Daily Inquirer @ http://globalnation.inquirer.net/66337/china-sends-more-ships-to-west-philippine-sea MANILA, Philippines—Despite the Philippines’ repeated protests and condemnation of China’s incursions into the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), a fleet of Chinese surveillance ships has again sailed into the contested waters on “regular patrol missions,” Chinese state media reported Friday. The Maritime Safety Administration of Hainan said the fleet composed of the Haixun 21, the Haixun 31 and the Haixun 166 left the province’s Sanya port on Thursday for patrols in the disputed waters, according to a report in China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. “The missions will strengthen the country’s maritime law enforcement capacity and test the patrol team’s rapid response abilities in the South China Sea,” the report said. The patrols “will monitor maritime traffic safety, investigate maritime accidents, detect pollution, and carry out search and rescue work,” it added. The patrol is China’s second known ship deployment in the West Philippine Sea. It previously dispatched two ships from the city of Guangzhou in southern China. China earlier announced fishery patrols in the West Philippine Sea, prompting “strong objection” from the Philippines. The Department of Foreign Affairs did not immediately issue any statement on Saturday but it had many times in the past condemned similar Chinese patrols as violations of the Philippines’ established maritime borders. The Philippine government in January went to a United Nations (UN) arbitral panel to put a stop to China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea. The legal action also seeks to invalidate China’s nine-dash line claim, which places almost all of the West Philippine Sea islands within Chinese territory. China has refused to participate in the compulsory process, a decision that could boost the Philippines’ case before the ad hoc tribunal, says a world expert on international law. “If China does not participate, it will not be able to submit evidence and make legal arguments. So it’s really strengthening the Philippines’ chances at the tribunal,” said Tom Ginsburg, a professor of international law at the University of Chicago. He conceded, however, that while any UN tribunal decision on the case would be binding, China’s compliance would be another matter.