May 2, 2013

China – Philippines slamming Anew over Chinese devil tongue strayed in ASEAN Shores

China slams Philippine bid to "legalize" occupation of islands

(Reuters) - China accused the Philippines on last week (April 26, 2013) of trying to legalize its occupation of islands in Kalayaan in the disputed West Philippines Sea and South China Sea, repeating that Beijing would never agree to international arbitration.

Frustrated with the slow pace of regional diplomacy, the Philippines in January angered China by asking a U.N. tribunal to order a halt to Beijing's activities that it said violated Philippine sovereignty over the islands, surrounded by potentially energy-rich waters 200 Nautical Miles Exclusive Economic Zone granted by UNCLOS..

Claims by an increasingly powerful China over most of the West Philippines Sea and South China Sea have set it directly against U.S. allies Vietnam and the Philippines. Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also claim parts of the waters and China has a separate dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.

Manila said on Thursday that a U.N. arbitration court had set up the tribunal which would hear Manila's complaint, but China said this was an attempt to steal Chinese territory.

"The Philippine side is trying to use this to negate China's territorial sovereignty and attach a veneer of 'legality' to its illegal occupation of Chinese islands and reefs," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website (

The Philippines must immediately withdraw personnel and facilities from the islands, the ministry added, listing those which it said Manila was occupying.

Manila asked the tribunal of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to order a halt to China's activities.

But the convention did not apply in this case as what the Philippines was actually asking for was a decision on sovereignty, the Chinese ministry said.

"China's refusal to accept the Philippines' request for arbitration has full grounding in international law," it said.

China had always believed that the two countries should resolve their dispute through direct talks, the ministry added.

The worry of the Philippines is china's inability to honor its word for bilateral talks as proven anew when both agreed to de-escalate the stand-off in Scarborough Shoal.

China and the Philippines agreed to remove their ships in the island which is within 200 Nautical Miles Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines to end the standoff but after Philippine Ship removal, china did not leave the island and in fact block all the passage of the Philippines and ram with Filipino fishermen killing 1.

The Philippines lost its confidence and trust to china anew after the incidents. The Scarborough Shoal now is virtually controlled by China with thousand of kilometers from its closest shore and around 2 hundred Kilometers from Luzon Island' biggest island in the Philippines.

Southeast Asian nations stepped up efforts on Thursday to engage China in talks to resolve maritime tensions, agreeing to meet to try to reach common ground on disputed waters ahead of planned discussions in Beijing later this year.

Efforts by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to craft a code of conduct to manage South China Sea tensions all but collapsed last year at a summit chaired by Cambodia, a close economic ally of China, when the group failed to issue a closing statement for the first time. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Philippine Navy chief slams Chinese maneuvers in disputed sea

Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano said Chinese naval maneuvers in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and use of non-military maritime vessels way beyond its coastlines to advance sovereignty claims to most of the sea were both "aggressive and excessive."

Alano, who was appointed Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy last December, met with Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of US Naval Operations, at the Pentagon on Thursday to discuss the security situation in the South China Sea and navy-to-navy issues.

News reports from China said the PLA Navy dispatched a large contingent of ships to circumnavigate the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea last month, a maneuver likened to marking Chinese territory.

Beijing's claim to the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea is based on its so-called nine-dash map which shows a U-shaped area encompassing most of the sea, including territories claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan which other known as "Devil's tongue strayed in the ASEAN Shore)

Alano will travel on Friday to North Charleston, South Carolina to inspect the second of two Coast Guard cutters that the Philippines has acquired from the US.

The 378-foot Hamilton-class vessel Dallas, rechristened BRP Ramon Alcaraz, is in the final stages of refurbishing and refitting and will soon join the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the first US Coast Guard cutter acquired by Manila in 2011 for duty in the West Philippine Sea.

Alcaraz was officially handed over to the Philippines in May 2012 and should have been operating in Philippine waters by now.

But unexpected technical problems and upgrades on the ship have caused some delays and Alano said he expected the Alcaraz to set sail for the Philippines around the third week of June.

He said Alcaraz has been fitted with two new secondary guns – fully automated Mk 38 25mm bushmaster cannons – and a modern radar system. The Gregorio del Pilar will be fitted with similar new cannons.

A complement of 88 Filipino officers and crew under the command of Capt. Ernesto Baldovino have been living aboard the Alcaraz while it has been undergoing repairs to familiarize themselves with all the technical, mechanical and computerized aspects of the ship.

They will be joined by a six-member technical working group including training evaluation experts scheduled to arrive from Manila next month to give the vessel and crew the final go ahead to cross the Pacific to its new home in the Philippines.

In an interview with The STAR on his arrival in Washington on Wednesday, Alano said the prestige of the Philippine Navy was on the rise because of the acquisition of new firepower and the due recognition it was receiving from the government and the public.

Morale was high, more graduates of the Philippine Military Academy were opting for naval careers and the service was attracting more interest from recruits with technical and computer skills, he said.

The Philippines last year expressed an interest in acquiring a third Hamilton class Coast Guard ship but is not now actively pursuing it.

Alano said given the current exigencies to create a credible maritime defense force, interest has shifted to purchasing new vessels and helicopters to extend the range of these vessels.

He said the Philippines was looking at proposals from several countries for two new 2,000-ton frigates with full surface and anti-air and anti-submarine capabilities.

It was also interested in acquiring strategic sealift vessels to give the Navy the capability to transport heavy cargo and large numbers of troops.

The Philippines was also in negotiations for the acquisition of three AW109 lightweight helicopters built by the Anglo-Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland which can be used for medevac (medical evacuation), search-and-rescue and military roles.

"We should receive them by next year," Alano said.

Additionally, he said the Navy has received six Philippine-made multi-purpose attack craft and more are being programmed for acquisition.

With reports from Reuters and philSTAR


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