May 22, 2021 4:13 PM HKT
The Philippines and China held “friendly and candid” talks on the South China Sea, the Philippines’ foreign ministry said on Saturday, days after the minister ordered Chinese vessels out of the disputed waterway in an expletive-laced tweet.
The presence of hundreds Chinese vessels inside the Philippines 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has been the latest source of tensions between the two countries in the South China Sea, through which $3 trillion worth of goods pass every year.
The Philippines said the encroaching vessels were manned by militia, while Beijing said they were fishing boats sheltering from bad weather.
“The two sides had friendly and candid exchanges on the general situation and specific issues of concern in the South China Sea,” under a bilateral consultation mechanism convened in 2016 to ease tensions in the strategic waterway, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.
“There was mutual recognition of the importance of dialogue in easing tensions and understanding each country’s position and intentions in the area,” the DFA said.
Earlier this month, Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin likened China to “an ugly oaf” for its behaviour in the waterway.
“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE FUCK OUT,” Locsin tweeted on his personal account.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who prefers to not provoke Beijing and wants to tap it for loans and investment, barred his ministers from talking about the South China Sea situation in public after the outburst.
Also discussed during Friday’s dialogue was the row over the June 2019 sinking of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese fishing vessel that abandoned the Filipino fishermen in the South China Sea. The Philippine justice ministry will seek compensation for the victims, the DFA said.
Despite recent tensions, ties between the Philippines and China have improved under Duterte, who described the 2016 arbitration ruling on the South China Sea that went in Philippines’ favour as just a “piece of paper” he could throw in the trash.
But the Philippines reiterated its call on Beijing to respect international law, including the arbitral ruling during the talks, the DFA said.
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
May 14, 2021 5:49 PM HKT
A screen grab from a video released by the Philippine Coast Guard shows a Philippine bureau of fisheries vessel (L) approaching another vessel believed to be manned by Chinese militia at Sabina Shoal in the South China Sea, May 7, 2021. National Task Force On The West Philippine Sea/Philippine Coast Guard/Handout via REUTERS
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the arrival ceremony for the first COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in the country, at Villamor Air Base in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, February 28, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has rebuffed a call from China to withdraw vessels from disputed areas of the South China Sea and said he would not bow to pressure, even if it jeopardises his friendship with Beijing.
The Philippines has boosted its presence in contested areas of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including Thitu island, near to Chinese military installation, in defiance of the months-long presence of hundreds of Chinese boats it believes are manned by militia.
Duterte’s remarks in a televised address aired on Friday come as pressure builds on him to abandon his pursuit of close ties with China and stand up to what his defence chiefs say are blatant provocations.
“We have a stand here and I want to state it here and now again that our ships there … we will not move an inch backward,” Duterte said.
China last month said the Philippines must “stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes” in response to a rare maritime exercise conducted by the Philippines.
“I do not want a quarrel, I do not want trouble. I respect your position, and you respect mine. But we will not go to war,” Duterte said.
“I will not withdraw. Even if you kill me. Our friendship will end here.”
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the Chinese embassy in Manila.
Duterte has been criticised for refusing to press China to abide by a 2016 arbitration ruling on the South China Sea that went in Philippines’ favour.
He drew flak last week for saying the landmark award was just a “piece of paper” he could throw in the trash. In his televised address, he said he “believes in the entirety” of that ruling.
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
For many years the Philippines has refrained from violating China’s summer fishing ban in the South China Sea, especially after it was banned fishing in areas around the Scarborough Shoal at the Scarborough Standoff.
At that time, Philippine President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino II started the standoff, mistakenly believing that the US would have given him military support as the US was adopting its policy of pivot to Asia to contain China.
Now, US President Joe Biden has been so hostile to China that many Philippine politicians believe that it is time to induce the US into Philippines’ war with China to enable them to drive China away from the disputed waters.
However, China is not afraid of military conflicts with the Philippines. SCMP’s report “South China Sea: Philippines accuses China of ‘dangerous challenges’ near Scarborough Shoal” says, “In a statement on Tuesday night, Hermogenes Esperon, a national security adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, said the China Coast Guard conducted ‘shadowing, blocking, dangerous manoeuvres and radio challenges’ to two Philippine Coast Guard vessels in the waters near the shoal late last month.
US Secretary of State Blinken has openly said US will protect the Philippines if China attacks the Philippines even its civilian. Therefore, the danger of war now will be in the South China Sea. The Philippines is now provoking China in order to have a military conflict to draw in the US. Esperon’s above statement proves that China is not scared by Blinken’s words. It is not afraid of a war with the US in the South China Sea as it has geographical advantages there.
Will the US help the Philippines fight China then?
I doubt the US is willing to incur the heavy costs of war without any economic gains. Moreover, it will not be a war out of US affection for the Philippines though the Philippines has been US subordinate ally for a long time. I believe the US still remembers well its humiliation in being driven out of its military bases in the Philippines three decades ago.
What about Blinken’s promise to perform US treaty obligations to help the Philippines counter China? Will the US be humiliated by its failure to honor its promise? The US needs only declare its long-standing position not to take side in other countries’ territorial disputes as it did during the Scarborough standoff. If the worst comes to the worst, Biden can just fire Blinken. That will be quite enough! It will be much cheaper than fighting a war with a world power.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3132333/south-china-sea-philippines-accuses-china-dangerous-challenges?utm_medium=email&utm_source=mailchimp&utm_campaign=enlz-scmp_international&utm_content=20210505&tpcc=enlz-scmp_international&MCUID=480db96a00&MCCampaignID=1c6145d274&MCAccountID=3775521f5f542047246d9c827&tc=7.
PUBLISHED MON, MAY 3 20213:50 AM EDT UPDATED MON, MAY 3 20214:23 AM EDT
Yen Nee Lee
- Teodoro Locsin Jr., Philippine secretary of foreign affairs, slammed China in a Twitter post as the two countries engage in a war of words over the South China Sea.
- Locsin asked China to “get the f— out” and accused Beijing of straining its “friendship” with the Philippines.
- The Philippines and China have for years made overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, a resource-rich waterway where trillions in dollars of global trade pass.
Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. slammed China with decidedly undiplomatic language on Twitter Monday, suggesting the Asian giant “get the f— out” as the two countries engage in a war of words over the South China Sea.
Locsin in the tweet accused China of straining its “friendship” with the Philippines. The foreign affairs secretary has been a vocal critic of China in the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who sought closer ties with Beijing after taking office in 2016.
China’s embassy in the Philippine capital of Manila did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
In response to criticism of his rhetoric made by other Twitter users, Locsin said the “usual suave diplomatic speak gets nothing done.”
The Philippines and China have for years contested overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, a resource-rich waterway with a total area of about 1.4 million square miles where trillions in dollars of global trade pass. Beijing has in the past year appeared more assertive (This reblogger’s note: It seems the Scarborough standoff has been foregotten, when China was assertive to occupy the disputed shoal and ban Philippine fishing in the area around the shoal. Was that not assertive years ago in 2012? China has always been assertive to its rights and interests includng those in the South China Sea!) in the disputed waters.
Locsin’s Monday tweet followed a statement by the Philippine foreign affairs department, which protested the “illegal presence” of Chinese vessels in parts of the South China Sea that are internationally recognized as belonging to the Philippines.
The statement lashed out at “belligerent actions” by the Chinese coast guard against their Philippine counterparts in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc. It said the Chinese had engaged in “shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges” on April 24 to 25.
It also protested the “incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence of Chinese finishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones.”
China ‘enjoys sovereignty’
Beijing last week maintained that it “enjoys sovereignty” over Bajo de Masinloc — which it calls Huangyan Island — and its surrounding waters. It urged the Philippines not to escalate disputes.
Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal, is a chain of reefs in the South China Sea that lies around 120 nautical miles from the nearest Philippine coast and 470 nautical miles from the nearest coast of China.
China claims most of the South China Sea, based on what it says are nine dashes that delineate Chinese territory in historic maps.
An international tribunal in 2016 dismissed the so-called nine-dash line as legally baseless — a ruling ignored by Beijing. (This reblogger’s note: The tribunal referred to in this report is the Court of International Arbitration at The Hague that immediately after the tribunal’s ruling UN denied US and other Western media’a allegation that it is a UN agency.)
Source: CNBC “Philippine foreign secretary directs unusually aggressive tweet at Beijing over South China Sea”
Note: This is CNBC’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views. Some of my views are expressed in this reblogger’s notes.
China’s survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 conducted geological survey in July in the disputed waters in the South China Sea that claimed by both China and Vietnam. Vietnam protested but China simply ignored that. I described it in my post “ Vietnam Merely Watched China’s Survey in Disputed Waters” on July 15.
On August 1, Reuters says in its report “Pompeo blasts Chinese ‘coercion’ in South China Sea”, “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday criticized Chinese ‘coercion’ in the disputed South China Sea, highlighting a divide with Beijing at a meeting of Southeast Asian nations with world powers. “
China’s survey ship left the disputed area on August 7 and gave the impresion that Pompeo’s intervention worked.
However, Reuters says in its report “Vietnam demands Chinese ship leaves its exclusive economic zone” on August 16 that the survey ship has returned to the disputed area.
Pompeo’s intervention has simply been ignored.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters reports full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asean-thailand-pompeo/pompeo-blasts-chinese-coercion-in-south-china-sea-idUSKCN1UR4D2 and https://www.reuters.com/article/us-vietnam-china-southchinasea/vietnam-demands-chinese-ship-leaves-its-exclusive-economic-zone-idUSKCN1V61CO
PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has warned China of “suicide missions” in the South China Sea.
By Claire Anderson
PUBLISHED: 00:56, Mon, Apr 15, 2019
UPDATED: 07:24, Mon, Apr 15, 2019
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Mr Duterte’s warning followed China’s increased presence around Pag-asa island, also known as Thitu. The island has reportedly been swarmed by hundreds of Chinese vessels. Mr Duterte said at a press conference: “I will not plead or beg, but I am just telling you that lay off the Pag-asa because I have soldiers there.
South China Sea: Philippines order Beijing to STOP endangering fisherm
“If you touch it, that’s another story.
“Then I will tell my soldiers ‘prepare for suicide missions’.”
The Philippines President has previously kept China as a close ally in the hope to attract trade and investment.
But he has called on the Chinese ships’ presence an “illegal” violation of Philippine sovereignty.
The country’s warning to China has reportedly strengthened the Philippine’s alliance with the US who are fighting to push back China’s hold on the disputed waters.
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “China’s island building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten Philippine sovereignty, security and therefore economic livelihood, as well as that of the United States.
“As the South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defence obligations under Article 4 of our mutual defence treaty.”
The US Navy and participated in drills alongside the Philippines to practice recapturing small islands seized by a hypothetical foreign military force.
In the exercises, the US also tested a new application for its amphibious assault ships.
The waters are the world’s busiest trade route is also claimed by the likes of Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei.
So far, the US has conducted 15 freedom of navigation operations in the area since 2015.
The US also want allies to consider similar manoeuvres.
Source: Express “South China Sea: Philippines WARNS China of ‘suicide missions’ as alliance weakens”
Note: This is Express’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Thousands of Philippine and U.S. soldiers began annual war games on Monday, the first under a new security pact with the United States, focusing on maritime security in the face of China’s growing naval presence in the disputed South China Sea.
The joint exercises “Balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) would test the combat readiness of the two oldest allies in this part of the world to respond to any maritime threats, including piracy and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
The new security pact was signed last week just hours before U.S. President Barack Obama visited. Obama said the agreement was a testament to Washington’s “pivot” to Asia and was an “ironclad” commitment to defend the Philippines.
The Philippines has territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea, which is said to be rich in energy deposits and carries about $5 billion in ship-borne trade every year. The Spratlys in the South China Sea are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
“Tensions in the Asia-Pacific region have increased due to excessive and expansive maritime and territorial claims, undermining the rule of law,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said at the opening ceremony at the main army base in Manila.
“The aggressive patterns of behavior aimed at changing the status quo threaten peace and stability in the region. Balikatan 2014, with its focus on maritime security, strongly supports our capabilities to address these challenges.”
Asked about the exercises, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said all sides needed to work “constructively” to maintain peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region.
“We hope that the relevant U.S.-Philippines drills can work in this direction,” she told a daily news briefing.
On Saturday, a navy plane dropped food and water to troops stationed on a transport ship that ran aground on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. Chinese coast guard ships have set up a blockade around the shoal.
Nearly 5,500 American and Filipino troops are taking part in the two-week drills in different parts of the main island of Luzon. The war games will see U.S. F-18 fighters rehearse bombing runs and troops involved in live fire drills.
Under a new security pact, the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement, signed last week during Obama’s visit, the U.S. will have wider access to local bases and construct facilities to store supplies and equipment for 10 years in exchange for increased support on maritime security and humanitarian assistance.
The annual war games come under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, part of a web of security alliances the United States built in the Asia-Pacific region during the Cold War.
Dozens of leftwing activists protested outside the main army base in Manila, saying the Americans were using China as a bogeyman to gain a forward base in the Philippines.
“Our armed forces will not modernize just because we conduct war games with U.S. forces,” said Renato Reyes, secretary-general of leftwing group Bayan (Nation).
“Our capacity to defend our territory against China will not be improved just because there are training exercises.”
Source: Reuters “Philippines, U.S. begin war games focusing on maritime threats”
- Philippines says US obligated to help in case of attack dated May 1, 2014
- Philippines’ Tremendous Contributions to Human Race March 15, 2014
- South China Sea Disputes: US Pivot to Asia Has Zero Effect dated February 19, 2014
- US Not Willing to Be Drawn into War by Japan or Philippines dated February 11, 2014
- South China Sea Dispute: Lucky China; Unlucky the Philippines dated June 21, 2013
- South China Sea Dispute: Encirclement of China dated July 6
- South China Sea Disputes: Chinese Strategy dated July 10, 2013