Trump to Replace Hague Arbitration with his Mediation or Arbitration


The US instigated the Philippines to file an arbitration case at Hague and enabled the Philippines to obtain an arbitration award to entirely deny China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea. It sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to accept the arbitration but China was not scared. It responded with the resolution to fight a war to defend its rights and interests.

The US had to give up as it does not want a war with China for others’ rights and interests.

Entirely disappointed, Philippine President Duterte sought recovery of friendship with China at the expense of the US.

To contain China with the South China Sea disputes, US hope lies on Vietnam as China has forced it to stop drilling for oil and gas in the disputed waters and thus upset it.

However, Vietnamese media’s good response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s article on Vietnamese Communist Party’s mouthpiece quashed US hope in pitting Vietnam against China.

Seeing that no countries in Southeast China support US stance on enforcing Hague arbitration, US President Trump was wise to quickly change its stance. According to Reuters’ report “Trump offers to mediate on South China Sea” yesterday, the US has now thrown Hague arbitration award to the rubbish bin and offered its mediation or arbitration to resolve South China Sea disputes specifically the disputes between Vietnam and China when Trump met with his Vietnamese counterpart.

Trump’s offer was soon indirectly rejected by Chinese and Vietnamese communist party general secretaries Xi Jinping and Nguyen Phu Trong according to Reuters’ another report “Vietnam, China avoid quarrel over South China Sea during visit” the same day. Since quarrel is to be avoided, there certainly will be no quarrel to be resolved by mediation or arbitration.

There will in fact be no quarrel on disputes in the South China Sea when US President Trump does not interfere just like the time when Trump’s predecessor had not started his interference.

Obama interfered in order to contain China. Does Trump not want to contain China?

I will give an answer in my next post “Non-Moron’s Advice to Moron: Replacing Asia-Pacific with Indo-Pacific”.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-trump-asia-vietnam/trump-offers-to-mediate-on-south-china-sea-idUSKBN1DC04H and http://www.reuters.com/article/us-vietnam-china/vietnam-china-avoid-quarrel-over-south-china-sea-during-visit-idUSKBN1DC0P7.

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The US Switches to Indo-Pacific to Contain China’s Rise


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, meets Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua

I have described in my previous posts the unqualified failure of Obama’s pivot to Asia in containing China:

Its intervention with China’s disputes with China’s neighbors resulting in China’s construction and militarization of artificial islands and winning over the Philippines. Now, the South China Sea can be regarded as China’s lake.

America’s only hope of having Vietnam confronting China has been lost as Vietnam has mended fence with China.

SCMP says in its report “Beijing and Hanoi try to ease South China Sea tensions as Xi Jinping prepares for tussle with Trump for influence in region” yesterday that China and Vietnam have reached agreement to manage their disputes in the South China Sea.

SCMP quotes China’s Assistant foreign minister Chen Xiaodong as saying, “Both sides will uphold the principle of friendly consultations and dialogue to jointly manage and control maritime disputes, and protect the bigger picture of developing Sino-Vietnam relations and stability in the South China Sea.”

What he said was confirmed by the Vietnamese side.

SCMP says, “In a meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Hanoi on Thursday (November 2), Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said both sides should avoid actions that would complicate the dispute.

It is only natural for Vietnam to do so, given its close economic relations with China.

“China’s Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said on Friday that China would seek to deepen economic cooperation with Vietnam, adding that its investments in the country had reached US$150 billion this year, ” said SCMP in the report.

Previously, Vietnam wanted to diversify its economic reliance through Obama’s TPP, but Trump has scrapped TPP and dashed Vietnam’s hope to pieces.

Judging by what White House Chief Staff John Kelly said about China in his interview with Fox’s Laura Ingraham, Trump seems to have no intention to contain China. However, lots of influential Americans are deep in Thucydides Trap and want very much to contain China.

Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has visited India to establish alliance with India to contain China, especially to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative.

That is why according to SCMP, the US has begun to use the term “Indo-Pacific”. Yes, containing China in the South China Sea has failed but US and Indian navies can cut China’s trade lifelines in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

That will force China to conduct arms race with the US in earnest as China regard it as a threat. However, the US regards China’s efforts to make its military strong as a threat so that the two countries will be engaged in arms race in earnest. Can Xi Jinping and Trump replace the arms race with win-win cooperation?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2118315/beijing-and-hanoi-try-ease-south-china-sea-tensions-xi.


Chinese, Vietnamese Communist parties have ‘shared destiny’: Beijing


BEIJING (Reuters) – China and Vietnam’s Communist parties have a “shared destiny” and there is great potential for bilateral economic cooperation, a senior Beijing official said on Tuesday on a visit to Vietnam, which has clashed with China over the South China Sea.

Although both nations are under Communist rule, they are deeply suspicious of each other and relations have been strained over the past few years because of disputes in the strategic South China Sea.

China has appeared uneasy at Vietnamese efforts to rally Southeast Asian countries over the busy swathe of sea as well as at its neighbor’s growing defense ties with the United States, Japan and India.

In July, under pressure from Beijing, Vietnam suspended oil drilling in offshore waters that are also claimed by China.

However, Hanoi and Beijing have also tried to prevent tensions from getting out of control, and senior officials from two countries make fairly regular visits to each other.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s elite Standing Committee that runs the country, told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi, in the first such high level visit since relations deteriorated in July, that the two parties “constitute a community of shared destiny with strategic significance”, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

“The sound and stable development of the bilateral ties will help to solidify the ruling position of the two parties, which is in the interests of the two parties and people of the two nations,” Xinhua cited Liu as saying.

“The two economies are highly complementary, with huge potential for practical cooperation,” the report quoted him as saying.

Phuc told Liu that two countries should strive to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and avoid all activities that could increase tension, the Vietnamese government news website reported.

He also urged China to “have substantial discussions soon” with Southeast Asian nations to reach a code of conduct in the disputed sea, the report said.

While both the Chinese and Vietnamese reports made no direction mention of the South China Sea by Liu, they quoted him as suggesting the two countries “properly manage and control their divergences, so as to create favorable environment for bilateral cooperation”.

China claims nearly all the South China Sea, through which an estimated $3 trillion in international trade passes each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan also have claims.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Michael Perry/Mark Heinrich

Source: Reuters “Chinese, Vietnamese Communist parties have ‘shared destiny’: Beijing”

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


Vietnam protests over Chinese live-fire drills in South China Sea


HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam on Tuesday issued a strong condemnation of Chinese military live-fire exercises in the disputed South China Sea, amid rising tension between the two countries.

The Maritime Safety Administration of China’s southern province of Hainan, which oversees the South China Sea, said last month there would be live fire drills around the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam claims, until September 2.

“Vietnam strongly objects this action by China and seriously requests China to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement.

“Vietnam once again asserts that (we) will resolutely protect our sovereignty and our legitimate rights and interests in the East Sea (South China Sea) through peaceful measures that are suitable with international laws,” the statement said.

China claims nearly all the South China Sea, through which an estimated $3 trillion in international trade passes each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan also have claims.

Tension between China and neighboring Vietnam is at its highest in three years over the disputed waters.

Vietnam suspended oil drilling in offshore waters that are also claimed by China in July under pressure from Beijing.

China has appeared uneasy at Vietnam’s efforts to rally Southeast Asian countries over the South China Sea as well as at its growing defense relationships with the United States, Japan and India.

Reporting by Mai Nguyen

Source: Reuters “Vietnam protests over Chinese live-fire drills in South China Sea”

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


Does Vietnam Repent, Want to Bury Hatchet with China?


Vietnam’s General Secretary of the Communist Party and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong talks to media after he casts his vote for members of the 14th National Assembly and People’s Councils at a polling station in Hanoi, Vietnam May 22, 2016. Photo: Kham

After the Vietnam-China standoff due to the drilling of a Chinese oil rig at disputed sea, Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected as head of Vietnamese communist party and began détente with China.

However, Vietnam’s drilling in disputed waters through its joint venture with Spain and others was recently stopped by China as China put pressure on Spain. No wonder, Vietnam was upset and “has emerged as the most vocal opponent of China’s claims in the South China Sea,” says Reuters in its report “Vietnam calls for Southeast Asian unity amid South China Sea tension” yesterday.

Unfortunately, according to Reuters, Vietnam “has appeared increasingly isolated (in ASEAN) in challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea”.

Now, in Trong’s first visit to Indonesia, he made a speech on the necessity for ASEAN to be unified in resolving territorial disputes.

Did he mean unity against China? Not likely, Reuters says in its report Vietnam is isolated in challenging China in its disputes with China. It means ASEAN’s other members oppose Vietnam’s challenge.

Reuters quotes Trong as saying, “Do not let ASEAN become a playing card for the competition among major countries”. Trong did not identify the major countries but it is very clear Trong meant China and the United States.

It seems that Trong wanted to explain that though Vietnam is improving relations with the US, it does not want to become a playing card of the United States.

Does Trong want to resume détente with China?

Will Vietnam cooperate with China in exploiting the oil and gas resources in the South China Sea like the Philippines?

Those are very interesting questions that we may soon find answers.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be found at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-vietnam-idUSKCN1B4099


Drilling ship leaves Vietnam oil block after China row


Matthew Tostevin August 14, 2017 / 11:20 AM

HANOI (Reuters) – The drilling ship at the center of a row between Vietnam and China over oil prospecting in disputed waters in the South China Sea has arrived in waters off the Malaysian port of Labuan, shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon showed on Monday.

Drilling by the Deepsea Metro I ship was suspended in Vietnam’s Block 136/3 last month after pressure from China, which says the concession operated by Spain’s Repsol overlaps the vast majority of the waterway that it claims as its own.

The ship, used by Norway’s Odfjell Drilling Ltd., was reported to be in Labuan at 9.17 a.m. (0117 GMT), according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon. It was last recorded at the drilling site on July 30.

Odfjell Drilling did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The row over the drilling inflamed tensions between Vietnam and China, whose claims in the South China Sea are disputed by five Southeast Asian countries.

Repsol said last month that drilling had been suspended after the company spent $27 million on the well. Co-owners of the block are Vietnam’s state oil firm and Mubadala Development Co of the United Arab Emirates.

The block lies inside the U-shaped “nine-dash line” that marks the area that China claims in the sea.

China had urged a halt to the exploration work and a diplomatic source with direct knowledge of the situation said that the decision to suspend drilling was taken after a Vietnamese delegation visited Beijing.

Vietnam has never confirmed that drilling started or that it was suspended, but last month defended its right to explore in the area.

Vietnam has emerged as the most vocal opponent of Chinese claims in the South China Sea, where more than $3 trillion in cargo passes every year, and China was also angered by Vietnam’s stand at a regional meeting last week.

Vietnam held out for language that noted concern about island-building and criticized militarization in South China Sea in the communique from foreign ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Reporting by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Richard Pullin

Source: Reuters “Drilling ship leaves Vietnam oil block after China row”

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


Vietnam says others should respect its right to drill for South China Sea oil


HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam on Friday said other countries should respect its legitimate right to drill for oil in its waters amid growing tension with China over energy development in the South China Sea.

The drilling began in mid-June in Vietnam’s Block 136/3, which is licensed to Vietnam’s state oil firm, Spain’s Repsol and Mubadala Development Co [MUDEV.UL] of the United Arab Emirates.

The block lies inside the U-shaped “nine-dash line” that marks the vast area that China claims in the sea and overlaps what it says are its own oil concessions.

China on Tuesday urged a halt to the drilling.

“Vietnam’s petroleum-related activities take place in the sea entirely under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of Vietnam established in accordance with international law,” Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement sent to Reuters.

“Vietnam proposes all concerned parties to respect the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnam.”

This week, the BBC reported that Vietnam had halted drilling there after Chinese threats, but there was no independent confirmation and neither Vietnamese officials nor Repsol made any comment on the report.

Thomson Reuters data showed the drilling ship Deepsea Metro I was in the same position on Friday as it had been since drilling began on the block in the middle of June.

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

Reporting by My Pham; Editing by Nick Macfie

Source: Reuters “Vietnam says others should respect its right to drill for South China Sea 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.