Hague Ruling Will Trouble the Philippines Forever


FILE PHOTO: Chinese structures are pictured at the disputed Spratlys in South China Sea April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro/File Photo

In its report “Philippines, China play down Duterte’s talk of war in disputed sea” today, Reuters describes the trouble Philippine President Duterte is in as opposition denounces him for failure to impose the Hague arbitration ruling.

Whenever the Philippines tries to impose Hague ruling, it will face the question whether it wants to fight a war with China. As the US does not want to fight a war for it, it is not able to fight. However, the ruling will always be used to oppose anyone in power in the Philippines who dare not fight to impose the ruling, knowing well the war will result in massacre of Philippine troops.

For thousands of years to come, all those in power in the Philippines will have trouble due to the ruling.

How stupid it has paid millions of dollars to get the trouble!

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-philippines-china-idUSKBN18I0D1.


Can China Win over India while Helping Pakistan Grow Stronger?


Journalist take pictures outside the venue of a summit at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Compared with narrow-minded India, China seems too broad minded. Just as described in Reuters’ report “India’s ‘new Silk Road’ snub highlights gulf with China” on May 20, China has failed to attract Indian leader to attend its OBOR summit.

India will certainly be much benefited if it joins China’s Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road (One Belt, One Road or OBOR) plan by attracting Chinese investment and the establishment of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

China certainly will also be benefited by the connection to South Asia; therefore, it has tried hard to attract India into its OBOR. However, it depends on India’s willingness to put aside its disputes and conflicts with China and Pakistan and turn a new page in its relations with its two large neighbors.

India Prime Minister Norandra Modi attached great importance to India’s relations with China when he was just elected, but under the influence of popular enmity against China and fear of China’s rise, Modi has obviously changed his mind. He now seems to have regarded China as his enemy. It is certainly a stupid strategy to maintain instead of removing hostility with India’s large and strong neighbors China and Pakistan but narrow-minded India is too strategy illiterate to see the necessity in conducting friendly diplomacy with its neighbors. That is why Reuters mentions in its report some Indian experts’ view on India’s risk in being isolated, but Modi does not seem to realize that.

For China, however, winning over India serves its best interests. It has made great efforts to resolve its border disputes with India. Now, Reuters says in its report that China has tried hard in vain to have Modi and Indian high officials attend its OBOR summit.

However, supporting Pakistan has long been China’s strategy to reduce border threat from India. China loses nothing if it cannot win over India. On the contrary, India’s opposition will push Pakistan closer to China and facilitate the success of China-Pakistan win win cooperation to make both countries richer and stronger.

Perhaps, India is confident that it will grow stronger than China in the long run, but can it attain that goal in isolation?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-india-idUSKCN18H01L.


Shut out of U.N. forum, Taiwan slams China’s ‘coercion and threats’


Chen Shih-chung Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare gestures during an interview with Reuters ahead of the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

By Tom Miles | GENEVA Sat May 20, 2017 | 4:58pm EDT

Taiwan hopes its allies will stand up to China’s “coercion and threats” that have shut it out of the U.N.’s annual World Health Assembly (WHA), Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told Reuters on Saturday.

Thousands of delegates from the World Health Organization’s 194 members will attend the Geneva meeting this week, but Chen’s delegation and Taiwanese media are barred from entry.

“I have to call on China to realize the traditional wisdom of Chinese culture, which is that people are won over by goodwill instead of coercion and threats. That is how a big country should present itself to the world,” Chen said.

China views democratic Taiwan as a renegade province to be retaken with the use of force if necessary, and says other countries and international organizations should not recognize or treat it as a separate country.

Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, which recognizes the “one China” policy centered on Beijing, and it never formally takes part in U.N. meetings.

Since 2009 it has been given observer status at the WHA with Beijing’s acquiescence. But President Tsai Ing-wen has angered Beijing by refusing to recognize the “1992 consensus”, as the previous China-friendly Nationalist government did.

The “1992 consensus” acknowledges Taiwan and China are part of a single China but allows both to interpret who is the ruler.

WHO chief Margaret Chan, a Hong Kong national whose replacement will be elected on Tuesday, has the right to invite Taiwan as an observer.

“I’m not very willing to focus criticism on an individual and I believe she must be under great pressure but I believe that as the most important leader of the WHO she should be able to make judgments and uphold the principle of global health,” Chen said.
Chan’s successor will be one of three candidates – from Pakistan, Ethiopia or Britain.

“Our expectations are high and we believe that the next candidate will do better and we will give them our full support,” Chen said. “You can’t afford to exclude 23 million people from the global health network.”

Taiwan wants to be at the WHA to share its experience in national health insurance, disease prevention, and know-how in areas such as hepatitis-C treatment, AIDS, organ transplants, and craniofacial treatment, Chen said.

The WHO is also the global coordinator of responses to disease outbreaks such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which hit Asia in 2002.

“After the SARS pandemic Taiwanese people are highly concerned with the incomplete disease prevention system and the untransparent information channels of mainland China,” Chen said.

Taiwan contributes to the system, Chen said, having shared information on a mutating strain of bird flu imported from China earlier this year.

“We don’t know when things will get worse, therefore the first to see this trend has to report in time so that the world will have better and faster action in developing vaccines and medicines.”

Exclusion from the WHA follows a similar refusal from the U.N. aviation agency’s conference in Canada last September.

“I believe that the continuation of such incidents will only show that some parties of the world care more about politics and their own desires than about basic human rights,” Chen said.

He said he would be willing to take any opportunity to meet and make contact with health officials from mainland China.

“It is a must for all countries to cooperate with each other on the health of their citizens. And I also believe it is the responsibility of the world to make sure that Taiwan is not excluded from the global health system.”

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Dale Hudson)

Source: Reuters “Shut out of U.N. forum, Taiwan slams China’s ‘coercion and threats’”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China killed CIA sources, hobbled U.S. spying from 2010 to 2012: NYT


A security agent stands guard near the Great Hall of the People as the sun appears through smog ahead of the closing ceremony of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

China killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012, hobbling U.S. spying operations in a massive intelligence breach whose origin has not been identified, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Investigators remain divided over whether there was a spy within the Central Intelligence Agency who betrayed the sources or whether the Chinese hacked the CIA’s covert communications system, the newspaper reported, citing current and former U.S. officials.

The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the CIA from 2010 through 2012, dismantling a network that was years in the making, the newspaper reported.

One was shot and killed in front of a government building in China, three officials told the Times, saying that was designed as a message to others about working with Washington.

The breach was considered particularly damaging, with the number of assets lost rivaling those in the Soviet Union and Russia who perished after information passed to Moscow by spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, the report said. Ames was active as a spy in the 1980s and Hanssen from 1979 to 2001.

The CIA declined to comment when asked about the Times report on Saturday.

The Chinese activities began to emerge in 2010, when the American spy agency had been getting high quality information about the Chinese government from sources deep inside the bureaucracy, including Chinese upset by the Beijing government’s corruption, four former officials told the Times.

The information began to dry up by the end of the year and the sources began disappearing in early 2011, the report said.

As more sources were killed the FBI and the CIA began a joint investigation of the breach, examining all operations run in Beijing and every employee of the U.S. Embassy there.

The investigation ultimately centered on a former CIA operative who worked in a division overseeing China, the newspaper said, but there was not enough evidence to arrest him.

Some investigators believed the Chinese had hacked the CIA’s covert communications system.

Still others thought the breach was a result of careless spy work including traveling the same routes to the same meeting points or meeting sources at restaurants where Chinese had planted listening devices, the newspaper said.

By 2013, U.S. intelligence concluded China’s ability to identify its agents had been curtailed, the newspaper said, and the CIA has been trying to rebuild its spy network there.

(Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source: Reuters “China killed CIA sources, hobbled U.S. spying from 2010 to 2012: NYT”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China says willing to put South Korea ties back on track, urges THAAD resolution


South Korean special envoy Lee Hae-chan (L) meets China’s President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING Fri May 19, 2017 | 4:51am EDT

China wants to put ties with South Korea back on a “normal track”, President Xi Jinping said on Friday, but Beijing also urged Seoul to respect its concerns and resolve tensions over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system that it opposes.

Relations between Beijing and Seoul, strained by disagreement over South Korea’s hosting of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, have taken on a more conciliatrory tone with the election earlier this month of President Moon Jae-in.

Xi told Moon’s representative Lee Hae-chan on Friday that his visit showed the importance the new South Korean leader attached to relations with Beijing.

“China, too, pays great attention to the bilateral ties,” Xi said in comments in front of reporters in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

“We’re willing to work with South Korea to preserve the hard-won results, properly handle disputes, put China-South Korea relations back onto a normal track and benefit both peoples on the basis of mutual understanding and mutual respect,” he said.

Lee gave Xi a hand-written letter from the popular, liberal Moon, who easily won election earlier this month to replace Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in a corruption scandal.

“President Moon said he hopes I’d also pass on his gratitude to you for your message of congratulation and the telephone call after he was elected,” Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Lee: “China is willing to strengthen communication with the new South Korean government… (and) continue to push for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

In a separate meeting with Lee on Friday, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi said China “hopes that South Korea can respect China’s major concerns (and) appropriately resolve the THAAD issue,” Xinhua reported.

INFURIATED

China has been infuriated by the U.S. deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, saying it was a threat to its security and would do nothing to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

The United States and South Korea have said the deployment is aimed purely at defending against any threat from North Korea, which experts have thought for months is preparing for its sixth nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

South Korea has complained that some of its companies doing business in China have faced discrimination in retaliation for the THAAD deployment.

However, Xi’s comments helped push up the shares of several South Korean companies that rely on the spending of Chinese tourists, whose visits have fallen sharply amid the THAAD dispute.

Shares in Lotte Shopping (023530.KS) reversed earlier losses to rise 1.5 percent, while Hotel Shilla (008770.KS), South Korea’s second-largest duty free store operator, rose 2.8 percent. Shares in AmorePacific (090430.KS), its largest cosmetics firm, were up 0.9 percent.

The North has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter U.S. aggression. The threat from Pyongyang presents U.S. President Donald Trump with one of his greatest security challenges.

The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat, has called on China to do more to rein in its ally and neighbor. Trump and Moon have both also warned that a major conflict with the North is possible.

Moon sent envoys to the United States, China, Japan and the European Union this week in what the government calls “pre-emptive diplomacy”. His envoy for Russia will leave next week.

Before leaving Seoul for Beijing, Lee said Moon could meet Xi as early as July at a Group of 20 summit in Germany, while a separate meeting could also be possible in August.

(For a graphic on North Korea’s nuclear program, click tmsnrt.rs/2n0gd92 )

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Christian Shepherd in BEIJING; Writing by Tony Munroe; Editing by Stephen Coates and Paul Tait)

Source: Reuters “China says willing to put South Korea ties back on track, urges THAAD resolution”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Philippines calls for ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between ASEAN, China on sea code


By Martin Petty and Manuel Mogato | MANILA Fri May 19, 2017 | 7:58am EDT

Southeast Asian nations and China should start with a “gentleman’s agreement” on the busy South China Sea waterway because no mechanism exists to legally enforce any deal, the Philippine foreign minister said on Friday.

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China on Thursday finished a draft framework for negotiating a code of conduct, despite regional scepticism whether Beijing will commit to rules likely to restrain its maritime ambitions.

Southeast Asian nations with claims in the South China Sea have long wanted to sign China up to a legally binding and enforceable code. It was unclear if that was mentioned in the framework draft, which has not been made public.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano played down the importance of a legally binding contract.

“If it’s legally binding, which court can the parties go to? And the countries that do not comply, will they respect that court?” he asked reporters.

“Let’s start with it being binding, gentlemen’s agreement. We have a community of nations that signed it.”

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in sea-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Click tmsnrt.rs/2qyBNpf for graphic on overlapping claims in the South China Sea

Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, in a case filed on maritime boundaries filed by the previous Philippine government in 2013.

A code of conduct is the key objective of a 2002 Declaration on Conduct, large parts of which China has ignored, particularly a commitment not to occupy or reclaim uninhabited features.

China has piled sand upon reefs to build seven islands in disputed parts of the Spratly archipelago. China has unfinished business there and has been transforming three of the reefs into what experts believe could be forward operating bases.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday described them as “some kind of armed garrison.”

The code framework would envisage a round-the-clock hotline and urge defense officials to find ways to follow the code, Chee Wee Kiong of Singapore’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Some ASEAN diplomats fear China’s sudden interest in completing it could be a strategy to buy time for Beijing to wrap up construction activities.

Experts say China wants to appear to engage ASEAN or bind its claimant states to a weak code at a time when U.S. policy on the South China Sea is in a state of flux.

One ASEAN diplomat said the latest draft did not mention any dispute settlement mechanism or sanctions for violations, but focused mostly on managing tension and building trust.

“We are very realistic and practical,” said the source, who declined to be identified. “We wanted first to pick the low hanging fruit. If we went straight to the contentious issues, we would not get to where we are now.”

The framework represented progress, but expectations should be realistic, said Jay Batongbacal, a Philippine academic and expert on the South China Sea.

“Given it’s been 15 years to get to a draft, I’m not really holding my breath,” he added.

Click tmsnrt.rs/2pSNmZq for graphic on Turf war on the South China Sea

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: Reuters “Philippines calls for ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between ASEAN, China on sea code”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Duterte says China’s Xi threatened war if Philippines drills for oil


Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in Beijing. REUTERS/Etienne Oliveau/Pool

By Manuel Mogato | MANILA Fri May 19, 2017 | 9:30am EDT

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday Chinese counterpart China Xi Jinping had warned him there would be war if Manila tried to enforce an arbitration ruling and drill for oil in a disputed part of the South China Sea.

In remarks that could infuriate China, Duterte hit back at domestic critics who said he has gone soft on Beijing by refusing to push it to comply with an award last year by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled largely in favor of the Philippines.

Duterte said he discussed it with Xi when the two met in Beijing on Monday, and got a firm, but friendly warning.

“We intend to drill oil there, if it’s yours, well, that’s your view, but my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth because it is ours,” Duterte said in a speech, recalling his conversation with Xi.

“His response to me, ‘we’re friends, we don’t want to quarrel with you, we want to maintain the presence of warm relationship, but if you force the issue, we’ll go to war.”

Duterte has long expressed his admiration for Xi and said he would raise the arbitration ruling with him eventually, but needed first to strengthen relations between the two countries, which the Philippines is hoping will yield billions of dollars in Chinese loans and infrastructure investments.

The Hague award clarifies Philippine sovereign rights in its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone to access offshore oil and gas fields, including the Reed Bank, 85 nautical miles off its coast.

It also invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim on its maps denoting sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.

Duterte has a reputation for his candid, at times incendiary, remarks and his office typically backpeddles on his behalf and blames the media for distorting his most controversial comments.

Duterte recalled the same story about his discussion with Xi on oil exploration in a recorded television show aired moments after the speech.

He said Xi told him “do not touch it”.

He said Xi had promised that the arbitration ruling would be discussed in future, but not now.

Duterte said China did not want to bring up the arbitral ruling at a time when other claimant countries, like Vietnam, might also decide to file cases against it at the arbitration tribunal.

It was not the first time the firebrand leader has publicly discussed the content of private meetings with other world leaders.

His remarks came the same day that China and the Philippines held their first session in a two-way consultation process on the South China Sea.

They exchanged views on “the importance of appropriately handling concerns, incidents and disputes involving the South China Sea”, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that gave few details.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Martin Petty)

Source: Reuters “Duterte says China’s Xi threatened war if Philippines drills for oil”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.