Philippines summons Chinese envoy over drug trafficking from China


A member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) investigation unit shows confiscated methamphetamine, known locally as Shabu, along with Philippines pesos seized from suspected drug pushers during an operation by the police in Quiapo city, metro Manila, Philippines July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

A member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) investigation unit shows confiscated methamphetamine, known locally as Shabu, along with Philippines pesos seized from suspected drug pushers during an operation by the police in Quiapo city, metro Manila, Philippines July 3, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

The Philippines government said on Wednesday it had summoned the Chinese ambassador earlier this week to explain reports that traffickers were bringing in narcotics from China, opening a new front in President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs.
On Tuesday, the country’s police chief told a Senate hearing that China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were major sources of illegal drugs, and Chinese triads were involved in trafficking.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the Chinese ambassador had been summoned for an explanation, and the government would also send a diplomatic communication to Beijing to “pursue this in a more aggressive note.”

Speaking to Reuters, Yasay recounted his exchange with the envoy.

“(The ambassador) said that this is not true and I told him these reports are based on intelligence information, they have been validated so far as we are concerned, so I wanted a clarification from him,” Yasay said.

More than 1,900 people have been killed in the anti-drugs campaign since Duterte, nicknamed “the Punisher”, came to office seven weeks ago, according to the police, and nearly 700,000 drug users and drug peddlers have turned themselves in to escape the crackdown.

Speaking at a military base outside Manila on Wednesday, Duterte said China has offered to build rehabilitation centers for drug addicts in military camps and has invited the Philippine police chief to visit Beijing to see what equipment Chinese police use to fight drugs.

China imposes capital punishment on drug offences.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Manolo Serapio Jr.; Writing by Karen Lema; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: Reuters “Philippines summons Chinese envoy over drug trafficking from China”

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 says sea dispute not led to shift in ties with China or U.S.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a meeting with soldiers at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal in the Philippines August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a meeting with soldiers at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal in the Philippines August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

The Philippines’ territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea has not caused Manila to rebalance diplomatic ties with either its ally, the United States, or neighboring China, Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said on Wednesday.

An arbitration court in the Hague infuriated China in July by ruling that China had no historical title over the South China Sea and that it had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights with various actions there.

“We want to make close friendship with China. It does not mean that we’ll weaken our friendship with the United States,” Yasay told Reuters during a break in a meeting of the senate foreign relations committee.

“We’re just saying that in spite of our disputes, as regards China on the South China Sea, there are other aspects of our relationship that can proceed without having to touch upon the South China Sea issue.”

On Tuesday evening, President Rodrigo Duterte said he expects talks with China over the maritime dispute within a year.

Duterte, who has been in office for seven weeks, said the Philippines will not raise the issues next month at a summit in Laos of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which the Chinese foreign ministry welcomed.

“We look forward to China and the Philippines conducting dialogue at an early date.” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Wednesday.

“We believe the two sides have the ability and the wisdom to appropriately discuss and resolve problems, promote the return of relations to a track of healthy development, and bring benefits to both countries’ people.

Speaking at an army base south of Manila on Wednesday, however, Duterte said he expected all ASEAN members to support the arbitration court’s ruling on the maritime dispute, regardless of whether the Philippines raised the matter at the summit.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea through which about $5 trillion worth of sea-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the sea believed to be rich in oil and gas.

China has made seven artificial islands in the disputed waters, three of them had airfields that can accommodate fighters, bombers and tankers to refuel aircraft.

At the senate hearing, Yasay said the United States will not allow China to reclaim Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop near its former US Navy base in the Philippines, because it will impede in the freedom of navigation.

In 2012, China seized Scarborough Shoal after a three-month standoff with the Philippines’ coast guard.

(Additional Reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING; Writing by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: Reuters “Philippines says sea dispute not led to shift in ties with China or U.S.”

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 Philippines fishermen used fire bombs in South China Sea


A Philippine flag flutters from BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated Philippine Navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and became a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea March 29, 2014.  REUTERS/Erik De Castro

A Philippine flag flutters from BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated Philippine Navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and became a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea March 29, 2014. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Philippines fishermen threw fire bombs at Chinese law enforcement vessels in the South China Sea, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, after Philippines media reported that fishermen had been struck by bottles hurled from China’s coast guard ships.

The reports said that a clash occurred at Scarborough Shoal, an area China seized control of after a three-month stand-off with the Philippine coast guard in 2012. The reports said Chinese coast guardsmen hurled bottles at the Philippines fishermen, who responded with rocks.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Scarborough Shoal – known by Beijing as Huangyan Island – was Chinese territory which Philippine fishermen had been fishing around illegally.

“Chinese official ships advised the illegally stationed Philippine trawlers to leave, in accordance with the law, but they refused to obey,” she told a daily news briefing.

“Certain people on the ships even waved around machetes and flung fire bombs, carrying out deliberate provocation, attacking the Chinese law enforcers and official boat, confronting China’s law enforcement and seriously threatening the safety and order of the waters around Huangyan Island,” Hua said.

China had strengthened its “management” around the shoal, she added, without elaborating.

A spokesman for the Philippines Foreign Ministry declined to comment, pending an official report “from our concerned agencies”.

China and the Philippines have long exchanged accusations about each other’s behavior in the disputed South China Sea.

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

A spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department, Commander Bill Urban, said Chinese Coastguard vessels had sought since 2012 to block fishing access to the area, “restricting the long-standing commercial practices of others”.

“We are concerned that such actions exacerbate tensions in the region and are counterproductive,” Urban said. He said that the United States, which is a treaty ally of the Philippines, wanted to see claims resolved peacefully in accordance with international law or arbitration.

Last week, the U.S. Navy said it had seen activity around Scarborough Shoal that could be a precursor to more Chinese land reclamation, which China has conducted on a large scale elsewhere in the South China Sea to back its territorial claims.

Navy chief Admiral John Richardson also told Reuters that a ruling expected in late May or early June in a case the Philippines has brought against China over its claims in the International Court of Arbitration in the Hague, could prompt Beijing to declare a South China Sea exclusion zone.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema in MANILA and Andrea Shalal and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie and Grant McCool)

Source: Reuters “China says Philippines fishermen used fire bombs in South China Sea”


China Shall Be Wise Not to Militarize Its Artificial Islands


Dredgers reinforce a site being constructed on the westernmost part of Mischief Reef, located 216 km (135 miles) west of the Philippine island of Palawan, in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative satellite image taken on March 16, 2015 and released to Reuters on April 9, 2015. REUTERS/CSIS's Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe/Handout

Dredgers reinforce a site being constructed on the westernmost part of Mischief Reef, located 216 km (135 miles) west of the Philippine island of Palawan, in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative satellite image taken on March 16, 2015. REUTERS/CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe/Handout

Instead of protesting against China’s large-scale land reclamation in the South China Sea as requested by the Philippines, ASEAN leaders have expressed in their chairman’s summit statement their “serious concerns” on China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea though refrained from naming China. They worry that it “may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea” and be detrimental to “freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the South China Sea”.

They certainly referred to the military threat those artificial islands may constitute to neighboring states but did not say so directly.

Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of US Pacific Fleet, however, made it very direct and clear. Washing Post quoted him in its report “U.S. Navy alarmed at Beijing’s ‘Great Wall of sand’ in South China Sea” on April 1 as saying, “China is creating a Great Wall of sand with dredges and bulldozers over the course of months.”

In my post “China’s Economic v. US Military Approach Regarding Artificial Islands” on April 16, I said, “China must use the vast sea areas it claims in the South China Sea for economic development instead of military purpose.

“That is very important because if China is so stupid as to use those islands for military purpose now, it will make its repeated statements on its pursuit of peaceful rise a 100% lie.”

Moreover, there is no need for China to militarize those islands now, therefore, China will not be so stupid now to turn any of the artificial islands into its military base.

If the US and Japan really begin to patrol the areas near those artificial islands or conduct military provocation in any other manner, it will be a favorable timing for China to militarize those islands.

For now, it is very good timing for China to conduct large-scale land reclamation as the US attention has now been diverted to the ISIS in the Middle East and Ukraine in Europe.

At the end of the day, what counts is the exploitation of the energy and other natural resources, fishery, fish farming and tourism potential there. Only by such exploitation can China really be benefited from its sovereignty over the vast sea area there.

China’s military development and the potential militarization of the artificial islands will cause the US, Japan and China’s other neighboring countries to devote most of their available resources to acquisition of military hardware while neglecting the development of economic exploitation of the islands and areas. Commercial enterprises certainly think it too risky in investing in land reclamation there. As a result, this is the best timing for China to conduct large-scale land reclamation.

The US and China’s contending claimants will realize their error in neglecting the economic exploitation there when China has obtained substantial economic benefits from its artificial islands, but it will be too late for them.

I have mentioned several times in my posts Chinese Confucian Sage Mencius’ well-known saying “favorable timing is not as good as geographical advantage; while geographical advantage is not as good as popular support.”

I have described the favorable timing. The geographical advantage of the artificial islands for control of the vast sea area claimed by China is obvious.

As for popular support, as China lost substantial territories in the century it was weak, Chinese people certainly support their government in maintaining China’s sovereignty over the vast sea areas and the small islands and reefs there as those are the legacy left behind by their ancestors. However, those areas, islands and reefs are remote from Chinese mainland and Chinese people can see them only on the map.

However, if popular holiday resorts have been built on those artificial islands, lots of Chinese tourists will enjoy the blue sky and beautiful clouds in the day and bright stars at night and swim in the crystal clear water there. Chinese people will have a physical sense to love the Chinese territories that they formerly could only see on the map.

That will be the best education of patriotism to gain great popular support for China’s fight in defending its sovereignty over the areas, islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

Source: ASEAN website “Chairman’s Statement of The 26th ASEAN Summit Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi, 27 April 2015”

Source: Washington Post “U.S. Navy alarmed at Beijing’s ‘Great Wall of sand’ in South China Sea”