Malaysia-China way to South China Sea disputes: a model of amicable consultations

Taking the cue from both China’s and Malaysia’s approach to South China Sea disputes.


Dialogue 06/05/2016 South China Sea & Sino-US ties – CCTV News – English

RECENTLY, the South China Sea disputes had been hyped up as a hotspot issue in regional security and discussed in almost every regional and international forum, resulting from the high-profile interference of and the manipulation by some powers outside the region.

In fact, this issue should be solved through negotiation and consultation by parties directly concerned.

Furthermore, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which has never been affected, has been misinterpreted by some country as “freedom exclusive to its own military vessels and planes” and flexing its muscles.

The illegal arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines has been labelled as a “benchmark of law-ruling” by the West, suggesting that judicial settlement is the only way to solve disputes in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the approach of non-conflicting and friendly consultation has been overshadowed by the noise and chaos.

One day, a friend of mine asked me, is Malaysia a claimant in the South China Sea? If yes, why is the Malaysia-China and Philippines-China relations poles apart? This is indeed a good question.

There is no essential difference between the two pairs of ties.

As China’s close neighbours, Malaysia and the Philippines have enjoyed traditional friendship with China.

Both were the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with China among Asean states. However, while the Malaysia-China relationship is “at the best time of history” and on the path to a new era of “Diamond 40 Years”, the Philippines-China relationship is experiencing severe difficulties.

The reason behind such a striking contrast lies in the different ways the two claimants chose to deal with the disputes with China.

While Malaysia has consistently been committed to maintaining friendly relationship, properly handling disputes, strengthening cooperation and enhancing comprehensive strategic partnership with China, the Philippine president Benigno Aquino III, on the contrary, misjudged the international situation, acted as a pawn of an outsider’s geopolitical strategy, and chose to confront China.

China and Malaysia Set a Model of Amicable Consultations

China and Malaysia enjoy a time-honoured friendship. There are lots of historical records in China about the Malay peninsula since the Tang and Song Dynasties.

In the 15th century, the Ming Dynasty established close relations with the Sultanate of Malacca. Over 600 years ago, Admiral Zheng He stationed at Malacca five times during seven voyages.

He promoted friendship, developed trade and maintained justice in the area. From Admiral Zheng, people have learned the essence of Chinese culture where peace and good neighbourliness always come first.

They do believe that China has no gene of expansion, plunder or aggression. Instead, China can be a trustworthy friend and reliable partner of Malaysia.

Then Prime Minister Tun Razak first adjusted the policy on China 42 years ago with strategic insight among Asean leaders in the context of the Cold War.

He went to China for “an ice-breaking trip” and signed the Communiqué of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with Premier Zhou Enlai which opened a new chapter in bilateral relations. Since then, China and Malaysia have helped each other and overcome many difficulties hand in hand.

The relations between the two countries have taken a lead in China’s relations with Asean countries and set a model of friendship in the region.

After four decades, bilateral relations between China and Malaysia are full of vitality and stimulus with deeper mutual trust, frequent high-level visits, constant party-to-party and local exchanges and fruitful cooperation.

China has become Malaysia’s largest trading partner for seven years and Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner in Asean for eight years, and sixth largest in the world.

The bilateral trade volume has reached US$100bil (RM407.5bil). There are also many iconic cooperation projects.

The high-tech cooperation has reached the skies and seas. Malaysia has long been a popular destination for Chinese tourists.

Consulates-general in Kota Kinabalu and Penang and Nanning have been set up. The Malay Studies Centre was established in the Beijing Foreign Studies University and the Confucius Institutes were set up in Universiti Malaya and Segi University.

Xiamen University Malaysia Campus welcomed its first batch of students this year. Pandas Xing Xing and Liang Liang settled in Zoo Negara and gave birth to a baby panda named “Nuan Nuan”, reflecting our heartwarming bond.

Bilateral cooperation in finance, technology, defence and other fields is also striding forward. The seed sowed by the leaders has grown into a flourishing tree, blossomed and yielded fruits.

It is normal for neighbours to have differences and problems. Malaysia is one of the claimants in the South China Sea.

However, this has never hindered the development of our relations. The key is that the leaders of both countries weigh the situation in the perspective of history and experiences, recognise the trend of the world and always place cooperation and mutual development as a priority.

The leaders have frequently exchanged views on the issue of the South China Sea and reached a series of important consensus.

Both sides agree to deal with disputes through friendly consultations and dialogues, avoiding the issue of sabotaging the bilateral relations.

Furthermore, both China and Malaysia object to intervention by forces outside the region. When the Philippines was unilaterally pursuing the South China Sea arbitration case in May 2014, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib revisited China to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

During the visit, the Joint Communiqué signed by the leaders reaffirmed a series of important consensus.

Both sides emphasised that “all sovereign states directly concerned shall exercise self-restraint and settle their differences by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations, and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.”

Both sides recognised that “intervention or involvement of parties not directly concerned could be counter-productive and further complicate the aforementioned differences.”

It is based on such consensus that the two sides have properly managed their differences, pushed forward their relations, benefited the two peoples and set a good example for regional countries in dealing with disputes.

Unilateral Arbitration is a Wrong Option

The Philippines’ conduct was contrary to Malaysia’s friendly and proper handling of the disputes with China.

In recent years, President Aquino abandoned the commitment of the former government, relied on a superpower to hype up the disputes in the South China Sea, and insisted on confronting China.

He became world “famous” as the arbitration case is a farce. When his term ends, apart from the severe consequences of undermining the China-Philippines traditional friendship, his political legacy will only be piles of bills from the tribunal.

China and the Philippines have a long history of friendly exchanges. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1975, only one year after China and Malaysia.

Until 2012 when the Philippines deliberately stirred up the Huangyandao Incident and went on a path of confrontation, relations between the two countries had developed soundly and stably with fruitful cooperation in various fields which brought tangible benefits to their two peoples.

For instance, it was China and the Philippines that first launched joint maritime seismic undertaking which became a precious endeavour in the South China Sea.

The two sides launched friendly negotiations and achieved positive outcome in establishing dialogue mechanism, carrying out pragmatic cooperation and promoting joint development.

During President Arroyo’s visit to China in 2007, both sides praised the relations between two countries as a “golden era”.

It is deeply regrettable that on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-Philippines relations in 2015, the bilateral ties were upset by the arbitration case, instead of entering a “diamond era” from the “golden era” as China and Malaysia has.

Compared with the breadth, depth and warmth of the friendly interaction between China and Malaysia, shouldn’t the Philippines introspect itself?

As a Chinese old saying goes, “close neighbors are more important than remote relatives.” Forces outside the region may come and go whenever they want, but China and Philippines are neighbours that cannot move away from each other.

As a country committed to regional peace and stability as well as promoting economic development, China sincerely welcomes all the regional countries to take a ride together for deeper mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

The Philippines’ inflexibility on the arbitration case will only sacrifice its own opportunities and interest.

Amicable Consultation is the Only Way Out

People in littoral states along the South China Sea have lived for a long time in peace and harmony, ready to help each other when in need. Although in the 1960s and 1970s, some changes took place and new problems emerged, China and Asean states have consistently engaged in dialogues and communication and maintained overall peace and stability at sea without interference from powers outside the region.

The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and Asean in 2002 has played an indispensable role.

Even if the South China Sea issue heats up, China will still stick to settling disputes through negotiation and consultation in a peaceful way. China has also proposed the “Dual Track Approach”, that is, the relevant disputes should be solved by the sovereign states directly concerned through consultation and negotiation, and that peace and stability in the South China Sea should be maintained through joint efforts of China and Asean member states.

The approach is in full accordance with international laws and practices, and has been supported by most of the Asean countries including Malaysia and Brunei which are also claimants in the South China Sea.

History will prove again that friendly consultation is the right way to settle the disputes in the South China Sea.

China is strongly opposed to the unilateral action by the Philippines and China’s position of non-acceptance and non-participation in the arbitration case will not change.

The new Philippine Government should discard illusions and return to the right track. As a matter of fact, Malaysia and Brunei have already set good examples.

Just as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated, the arbitration case is a knot that has impeded the improvement and development of China-Philippines relations.

As to how to untie the knot, it depends on the Philippines. China wishes that the new Philippine Government will make a wise choice in consideration to improving the relations and enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation between the Philippines and China.

The Philippines should cease its arbitral proceedings, refuse to be a pawn anymore and return to bilateral negotiation with China.

China is standing ready to commit itself to full and effective implementation of the DOC and making continuous efforts with all relevant parties to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Dr. Huang Huikang

The writer is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Malaysia. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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MH370 may rest in Filipino jungle?

MH370 may rest in Filipino jungle: report

The missing MH370 plane may be crashed in a Philippines jungle, according to news.

KUALA LUMPUR: The police have reached out to its Filipino counterparts amidst a report claiming that an aircraft wreckage, with a Malaysian flag inside, was discovered in the jungles of a remote island in the Philippines.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Sunday that police were seeking the assistance from the Filipino authorities to validate the report, which was lodged by a 46-year-old man on behalf of his relative who allegedly found the wreckage while hunting for birds at Sugbay Island in Tawi Tawi.

In confirming the report, Khalid said: “There was no photograph to support the claim so we are relying on our counterpart to check.”

Khalid added that it would take one or two days before the claim could be verified.

On Saturday, the audiovisual technician reported to Sandakan police that a visiting relative from Sugbay Island had stumbled upon aircraft wreckage there in early September.

In the report the man said the relative and a few others were hunting for birds when they spotted the wreckage on the island.

They managed to get near the wreckage where they found human bones. They also found skeletal remains in the pilot’s chair with the seat belt fastened.

Before leaving the area, they took a flag they found in the wreckage.

The man said he informed police as the wreckage could be that of an airplane that disappeared last year.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said they were investigating the man’s claims and are still trying to verify their authenticity.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 disappeared in March last year en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board, most of them China nationals.

The incident triggered one of the largest searches for an aircraft focusing in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Anger and disbelief from MH370 China relatives over debris

Photo Source: AFP, Reuters, Reunion

5 of 42

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Last month, French authorities confirmed a piece of wing found on the shore of Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean as being from MH370.

The flaperon was found on the shore of the French-governed island on July 29 and Malaysian authorities have said paint colour and maintenance-record matches proved it came from the missing Boeing 777 aircraft.


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The truth about the South China Sea disputes: Vietnam and Philippine hyping up tensions

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (left) shakes hands with Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (right) at the Vietnamese government’s guesthouse in Hanoi on Saturday. Photo: AFP

Hanoi told to halt Xisha hype

No breakthrough was made during the Wednesday meeting of Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, but experts hope tension between the nations will at least ease up.

At Vietnam’s invitation, Yang co-hosted the chairmen’s meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation in Hanoi, an inter-governmental mechanism set up for coordinating bilateral relations.

He also met with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong later on Wednesday.

“The difficulties China and Vietnam face at the moment are because Vietnam has continually illegally harassed Chinese drilling operations in the waters near the Xisha Islands for more than a month,” Yang said during the meeting with Minh.

Vietnam ship hitting Chinese coast-g

 FM releases photos of Vietnam ship hitting Chinese patrol vessel

Yang stressed that the Xisha Islands are inherent territory of China and there are no disputes in this area. “The most urgent thing is for Vietnam to stop its interference and harassment, stop hyping up the issue and stop whipping up disagreement to create new disputes, and properly deal with the aftermath of the recent serious incidents of violence,” Yang said.

No progress was made during the discussion, as the two sides insisted on their opposing positions, an anonymous Vietnamese official familiar with the talks was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Hainan Province, told the Global Times that it is predictable that Vietnam would insist on its stance as it claimed sovereignty over the Xisha Islands in a law passed in 2012.

“This one-time meeting alone can’t solve all the problems the two countries face. However, the fact that these annual meetings have continued in spite of the South China Sea tension is already a good sign. It proves that both sides have a friendly intention to solve the dispute,” said Gu Xiaosong, an expert on Southeast Asian studies at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences.

These are the highest-level talks between China and Vietnam after relations began to sour over the vessel ramming around the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig in May.

Vietnamese protests against the oil rig worsened into violent riots against Chinese nationals and businesses in southern and central Vietnam, which led to the deaths of four Chinese nationals. China has since announced the suspension of some bilateral exchange plans.

China’s foreign ministry released substantial evidence earlier this month, including an official note from Vietnam’s then-premier Pham Van Dong in 1958, to prove that Vietnam acknowledged China’s sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and the Nansha Islands at the time. Vietnam later reneged on its words.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Dung said last month that Vietnam was considering legal action against China over the disputed waters.

“Vietnam needs to assess the impact on itself if they sue China, as the [previous] evidence will prove China’s claim. Vietnam stands more to lose in a bitter bilateral relationship with China. It should remain calm and exercise restraint to solve the disputes via negotiations,” Wu noted.  – Global Times

Vietnam says it has evidence to prove its claim in South China Sea but is ignoring own historical documents that vindicate China’s position

Vietnam has been using China-Vietnam clashes in the South China Sea, and distorting facts, fanning passions and playing up the “China threat” theory, to vilify China. Ignoring the overall development of Beijing-Hanoi relationship, Vietnam is pretending to be a “victim” in the South China Sea dispute, saying it is prepared to seek international arbitration on the issue.

Vietnamese leaders have said that they have enough historical evidence to justify Vietnam’s sovereignty over “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands, claiming that Vietnam has been the “master” of the two islands since the 17th century. It seems like they have lifted their remarks straight out of a white paper “Truth of China-Vietnam Relationship over 30 Years”, issued by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry in 1979 when bilateral ties were not normal. Worse, almost all the arguments in that 1979 document were copied from a “white paper” issued by the Saigon-based puppet South Vietnam regime (or the Republic of Vietnam) in February 1974.

Now the Vietnamese leaders, using the so-called historical documents, are trying to claim that Vietnam’s “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands are actually China’s Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands. The fact is that, the islands recorded in Vietnamese documents refer to some other islands surrounding Vietnam instead of the Xisha and Nansha islands.

To encroach on China’s territory in the 1970s, the South Vietnam regime distorted historical facts, which were adopted by later Vietnamese leaders for political purposes. This has complicated the issue and caused serious damage to Sino-Vietnamese ties.

A look at the evidence presented in China’s diplomatic documents in the late 1970s and early 1980s will reveal the truth. In fact, even some Vietnamese scholars have said that the documents cited by Vietnam to claim sovereignty over the Xisha and Nansha islands are not genuine historical records but edited versions of originals, confirming China’s sovereignty over the islands.

Vietnamese leaders said China forcibly occupied the entire “Huangsha Islands” in 1974, which were then controlled by the Saigon regime. The Saigon regime had kicked up a row over the naval battle that broke out in 1974 in the waters around China’s Xisha Islands and sought military support from its ally, the United States, and requested the UN Security Council’s intervention. But neither the US nor the UN Security Council acceded to the Saigon regime’s request. This means the international community, including the US, has never believed in Vietnam’s complaints or claims.

On Sept 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh announced the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi. In January 1950, the People’s Republic of China became the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Ho Chi Minh-led Vietnam. For China and a vast majority of the other countries, the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (later the Socialist Republic of Vietnam), was (and has been) the only legitimate government of Vietnam, and the government of South Vietnam, a puppet regime installed by French colonialists and American imperialists.

So now, about 39 years after defeating the Americans, why does the Socialist Republic of Vietnam want to use the Saigon regime’s claim to create trouble in the South China Sea? Aren’t the current Vietnamese leaders betraying Ho Chi Minh and other freedom fighters, profaning the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of their compatriots who laid down their lives to resist foreign aggressors, and negating the valued support of their allies in the battle against colonialism by citing the comprador Saigon regime’s claim?

The Vietnamese government must not violate the principle of estoppel in the Xisha and Nansha islands’ sovereignty issue. Vietnamese leaders claim that no country recognizes that the Xisha and Nansha islands belong to China. This is a brazen lie, because the Democratic Republic of Vietnam topped the list of countries that accepted China’s sovereignty over the islands.

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s position was unequivocal in the 1950s and 1960s. The position remained unchanged even after the death of Ho Chi Minh and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Documents with the Chinese Foreign Ministry from the 1970s and 1980s show the position of the Ho Chi Minh-led Vietnamese Communist Party on the Xisha and Nansha islands. The most important of these documents is a note given by former Vietnamese premier Pham Van Dong to Zhou Enlai and the declaration of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1965.

On Sept 4, 1958, the Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China said that the breadth of the territorial sea of the country shall be 12 nautical miles and that this provision should apply to all territories of the PRC, including all the islands in the South China Sea. On Sept 14, 1958, Pham Van Dong solemnly stated in his note to Zhou Enlai that Vietnam recognizes and supports the Declaration of the Government of the PRC on the country’s territorial sea. On Sept 22, 1958, the diplomatic note was publicly published in Nhan Dan, the official newspaper of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

On May 9, 1965, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam issued a statement on the US’ definition on the “theater of war” in Vietnam. The statement said that by defining the whole of Vietnam and the waters up to 100 nautical miles off its coast as well as part of the territorial sea of China’s Xisha Islands as the operational area of the US armed forces, Lyndon Johnson, then US president, has directly threatened the security of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and its neighbors.

In recent years, however, some Vietnamese government officials and “scholars” have tried to “reinterpret” the two government documents, only to end up making fools of themselves. And after their attempts failed, the Vietnamese government started pretending as if the two documents never existed.

Vietnam has said that it is fully prepared with historical and legal evidence to prove its claim in the South China Sea, and it is waiting for the appropriate time to take China to the international court of justice. If that is so, then Vietnam should not forget to attach Pham Van Dong’s note and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s statement, as well as the maps and textbooks published by Vietnam before 1975, with its complaint.

By Ling Dequan (China Daily), a researcher with the Research Center of World Issues, affiliated to Xinhua News Agency

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Chinese envoy rebuts Vietnamese, Philippine accusations over South China Sea

Wang Min (L Front), China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, addresses the meeting of state parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at the UN headquarters in New York June 13, 2014. Wang Min on Friday forcefully refuted accusations made by Vietnam and the Philippines against China over the South China Sea situation, holding the two countries responsible for any disputes. He slammed Vietnam and the Philippines for infringing upon Chinese territories. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)Wang Min (L Front), China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, addresses the meeting of state parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at the UN headquarters in New York June 13, 2014. Wang Min on Friday forcefully refuted accusations made by Vietnam and the Philippines against China over the South China Sea situation, holding the two countries responsible for any disputes. He slammed Vietnam and the Philippines for infringing upon Chinese territories. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 (Xinhua) — A Chinese envoy on Friday forcefully refuted accusations made by Vietnam and the Philippines against China over the South China Sea situation, holding the two countries responsible for any disputes.

At the meeting of state parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) held here, Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, slammed Vietname and the Philippines for infringing upon Chinese territory.

Wang said that on May 2, a Chinese company’s HYSY 981 drilling rig started its drilling operation inside the contiguous zone of China’s Xisha Islands for oil and gas exploration. Vietnam sent a large number of vessels, including armed ones, to the site, illegally and forcefully disrupting the Chinese operation for over 1,400 times so far.

“What Vietnam did seriously infringed upon China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, grossly violated relevant international laws, including the UNCLOS, undermined the freedom and safety of navigation in the related waters, and damaged regional peace and stability,” said Wang, who also heads the Chinese delegation to the meeting.

In mid-May, with the connivance of the Vietnamese government, thousands of Vietnamese outlaws committed sabotage against foreign companies, including Chinese ones, in Vietnam, brutally killing four Chinese nationals, injuring over 300 others and causing heavy property losses, Wang added.

“Till now, Vietnam still has not responded to our legitimate demand,” he noted.

The envoy pointed out that lies can never eclipse truth, nor can publicity stunts provide a legal cloak for illegal actions.

“What Vietnam needs to do now is to respect China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, immediately stop all forms of disruptions of the Chinese operation and withdraw all vessels and personnel from the site, so as to ease the tension and restore tranquility on the sea as early as possible,” Wang said.

He reiterated that Xisha Islands are an inherent part of China’s territory, and are under effective jurisdiction of the Chinese government.

“There’s no dispute about them,” he said, pointing to the fact that all the successive Vietnamese governments prior to 1974 had formally acknowledged Xisha islands as part of China’s territory since ancient times.

“Now the Vietnamese government is going back on its word and making territorial claims over China’s Xisha Islands,” Wang said, noting that Vietnam is reneging on its own promises, saying one thing today and denying it tomorrow.

“Our ancestors told us, trustworthiness is of paramount importance in state-to-state relations,” he quoted.

“We would like to ask: how could Vietnam be trusted by the international community and how could Vietnam’s international commitments be taken seriously in the future?” Wang said, referring to Vietnam’s action as a violation of estoppel, a basic principle in the international law.

With regard to all the false accusations made by the Philippines against China, Wang pointed out the root cause of the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea is the Philippines’ illegal occupation of some islands and reefs belonging to China’s Nansha islands.

“The Philippines attempts to legalize its infringements and provocations by dragging China into arbitral proceedings,” he said. “The Philippines is also trying to win international sympathy and support through deception. This is what the problem is in essence.”

The ambassador noted that pursuant to the provisions of UNCLOS, the Chinese government made a declaration in 2006, excluding disputes over maritime delimitation and territorial sovereignty from compulsory dispute settlement procedures.

“As a sovereign state and a state party to UNCLOS, China has the right under international law to do this. China does not accept the arbitration initiated by the Philippines,” Wang said, stressing that China’s position based on the provisions of the international law will not change.

“China appreciates the efforts made by the majority of ASEAN countries to preserve regional peace and stability,” he said. “We will continue working with ASEAN countries to strictly act on the DOC (the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea), promote practical cooperation, enhance mutual trust and jointly uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

Source: Xinhuanet


The Operation of the HYSY 981 Drilling Rig: Vietnam’s Provocation and China’s Position

BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) — China’s Foreign Ministry released an article about the HYSY 981 drilling rig in the Xisha Islands on its website on Sunday. The full text is as follows:  Full story

China sends note to UN chief to clarify Xisha situation

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 (Xinhua) — A Chinese envoy on Monday sent a note to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, presenting documents making clear Vietnam’s provocation and China’s stance regarding the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea.

In the note, Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, also asked Ban to circulate the documents, as UN General Assembly documents, among all UN member states.  Full story

America wants to preserve the status quo in which its leading position remains the keystone of the regional order, and the Chinese acceptance of US leadership is the basis of US-China relationship.

We should promote overall security in the Asia-Pacific, work tirelessly to expand the scope of security cooperation, enrich its concept, deepen its level and establish a new security cooperation mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Sultan of Sulu, who is the true and legitimate?

Sultan Muhammad Fuad A. Kiram I (The last son of HM Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I Sultan of Sulu 1947 to 1973) or Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram (son of  Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram – 34th Sultan of Sulu 1974 – 1986)

Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram 35th Sultan of Sulu Son of  Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram 34th Sultan of Sulu (1974 – 1986)

Sulu Sultan_Muedzul Lail Tan Karam 35th
Sultan of Sulu – Sultan Jamalul Kiram II (1894-1936).
Sultan of Sulu, Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Jamalul Kiram II (1893-1936) was recognized worldwide. During his long reign he signed several treaties with different nations.
 Sultan of Sulu, Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Jamalul Kiram II
Unfortunately he has no offspring of his own. He passed on his authority to his youngest brother Al-marhum Sultan Mawallil Wasit Kiram (1936).
Al-marhum Sultan Mawallil Wasit Kiram was Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram’s great grandfather and Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Jamalul Kiram II was his great grand uncle.
Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram is the grandson of the 33rd Sultan of Sulu, Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Esmail E. Kiram I (1950-1973)
Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Esmail E. Kiram I has granted authority to Philippine government under the administration of President Diosdado Macapagal on 12th of September 1962 and of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1969.
Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram‘s mother Dayang-Dayang Farida Tan-Kiram was the first wife of his father. Half tausug and half Chinese, she was commonly known as the Princess of Sulu.
Sulu Sultan_Muedzul Lail Tan Karam
His father’s second wife is Dayang-Dayang Merriam Tanglao-Kiram, commonly known as the Princess of the South.

Al-marhum Sultan Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram, 34th Sultan of Sulu had seven children:

1. Dayang-Dayang Zuharra T.Kiram
2. Dayang-Dayang Dinwasa T. Kiram Delos Santos
3. Raja Muda Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram
4. Datu Yldon Tan Kiram
5. Dayang-Dayang Nur Mahal T. Kiram
6. Dayang-Dayang Ayesha T. Kiram
7. Dayang-Dayang Tanya Rowena T. Kiram -Tahil

Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram is married with H.M. Dayang-Dayang Mellany S. Kiram. They have seven children.

1. Raja Muda Moh. Ehsn S. Kiram
2. Datu Nizamuddin S. Kiram
3. Dayang-Dayang Rahela S. Kiram
4. Datu Jihad S. Kiram
5. Datu Mujahid S. Kiram
6. Dayang-Dayang Redha S. Kiram
7. Datu Mahakuttah S. Kiram

Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram studied Islam in Lahore, Pakistan (1995-1996). He got a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from AE College, Zamboanga. He also served the local community as a government official. At present he is involved as a civil society leader in the Province of Sulu which opposes the US-RP Balikatan Exercises of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram was born in Jolo. Jolo was once the capital of a maritime empire that traded with the great  Empire of China and with other kingdoms in Southeast Asia. 

As Raja Muda of Sulu, the Sultanate is Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram birthright. There is a sacred bond between the Sultan and his people, the Rayaat, that is handed down from generation to generation between the royal family and trusted people who live in Sabah and in the Sulu Archipelago.

The Sulu Archipelago includes Palawan, Sabah, Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, the Sprately islands and the Balambagan group of islands.  Historically it was part of  Nusantara. According to oral history and traditions, Sulu has been independent and sovereign centuries before the birth of the Republic of Philippines. Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram‘s ancestors contracted treaties with powerful nations and defended Sulu rights to freedom in traditional way of life against invaders.

But from the start of the Philippine Republic which lumped Sulu with the rest of the islands under the name Philippine Archipelago, Sulu has experienced devastation, death and downfall.

The Macaski Judgment over the Sabah issue in 1939 was a blow to the Sulu Sultanate. Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram‘s grandfather, Sultan Moh. Esmail E. Kiram I was one of the recipients of that judgment. The Macaski settlement divided Sulu into divisions

Sabah became a private property and the heirs of the Sultan were divided among themselves. One group wanted Sabah for sale while another group wanted to take it back.

When Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram’s  grandfather, Sultan Moh. Esmail E. Kiram I, granted authority to the Philippine government through Pres. Diosdado Macapagal and Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, it was with the hope that the Philippine government would become a caretaker of the domain of the Sulu Sultanate to help the Muslims in this archipelago. This transfer of sovereign authority carried with these obligations and agreements.

As Sulu political power is declined, the unity of the Tausug people in the whole archipelago also has weakened. The economic life of the whole region was brought to the lowest level. Then came the Muslim rebellion and the civil war in 1974 that devastated the whole Sulu. Hundreds of thousands innocent people died.

In 1974 Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram‘s  father was installed as the Sultan of Sulu. His father’s twelve year reign started the slow but steady recovery of Sulu people.

However after his death (February 16, 1986) there were several claimants made by pretenders (royals and non-royals) to the title of Sultan.

During the coronation process of Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram as the 35th Sultan of Sulu
Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram, 35th Sultan of Sulu, together with 
Mellany S. Kiram and Crown Prince Moh. Ehsn S. Kiram.

Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram has waited  twenty-two years for the official recognition to succeed his father.

Source :Royal Sultanate of Sulu Facebook
(Joined Facebook on 12th May 2011)


Sultan Muhammad Fuad A. Kiram I
The 35th Reigning Sultan of Sulu 

The last son of HM Sultan Esmail E. Kiram I

(Sultan of Sulu 1947 to 1973)
Sultan Muhammad Fuad A. Kiram I
Indonesia Minister of Religious Affairs granted the rank and tittle of hereditary knighthood
by Sultan Fuad A. Kiram I
(2nd December 2011)
Chancellor of Al Zaytun granted the rank and tittle of hereditary knighthood
by Sultan Fuad A. Kiram I
(Al Zaytun is the biggest Islamic boarding school in Indonesia)
  ( 27th November 2011)

Source :

The Royal Hashemite Sultanate of Sulu & Sabah Facebook
(joined Facebook on 7th May 2011)

By Hamidah Dod

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Pitching for the Asean 10

Asean countries are still developing because there is still much to do, and much to learn about how to do it.

IF Asean is sometimes accused of being a talking shop, it also vividly demonstrates the value and virtues of some talking shops.

Officials’ meetings at various levels are legion, growing in number and scope over half a century until they average a few a day for every day of the year.

Between these are the summits, being more prominent in comprising heads of governments. Besides the content of the proceedings, the frequency of the summits themselves may indicate the state of the South-East Asian region.

When leaders from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand met in Bangkok in 1967 to found Asean, that was somehow not considered a summit. So the “first” summit came only in 1976 in Bali, with the “Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South-East Asia” and the “Declaration of Asean Concord.”

The second summit came the following year in Kuala Lumpur, coinciding with an Asean-Japan dialogue. Although this was only one year after the first, it was a whole decade after Asean’s founding and would be another full decade before the next.

The third summit (Manila, 1987) decided to hold summits every five years. By the seventh (Bandar Seri Begawan) it would be every year, then after skipping 2006 the Philippines hosted the 12th in Cebu amid local protests.

The 14th summit slated for 2008 in Thailand was postponed to early 2009 over domestic disturbances, then put off for another two months in the broken Pattaya gathering. From then on, summits would be biannual affairs.

Between and beyond the summits, whether or not local scandals and protests add to the news value of Asean gatherings, the original five member nations seem to attract more attention if not also more interest. This is anomalous since Asean membership confers equal status on all members regardless of size, age, clout or political system.

The newer members can actually be quite pivotal in their own way, as Vietnam and then Cambodia had been, and as Myanmar may be now. And several of the older members need not be particularly significant to the Asean 10 as a whole, much less beyond.

With such issues in mind, Malaysia’s Foreign Policy Studies Group last week held another roundtable conference in Kuala Lumpur on how relations between Malaysia and the CLM countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar) can contribute to Asean consolidation.

An earlier roundtable comprised delegates from Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam in assessing how their countries’ relations with Malaysia could progress in the same vein. Vietnam, as the largest and most developed of Asean’s newer CLMV members, had also introduced reforms earliest to qualify to join the earlier dialogue with some of the original members.

Other CLMV countries have progressed on other fronts on their own. It is now 20 years since Cambodia, for example, reached agreement with Malaysia on visa-free travel.

Laos is another country that Malaysia has assisted, with the establishment of bilateral relations (in 1966) even before Asean was founded. Since then, relations have flourished, particularly after Malaysia worked to welcome Vientiane into Asean.

Myanmar today is still undergoing a transition, and therefore also very much a focus of world media attention. Its people now have a greater sense of nationhood following a raft of reforms, mindful of the national interest from economic priorities to the prerogative of rejecting foreign military bases on its soil.

A Malaysian delegate said that the US, following news reports last Sunday, was now looking for a suitable site for a new “missile shield” system in the region. The US and China were the two proverbial “elephants in the room”, and the geopolitical rivalry between them very much an issue for all delegates.

No individual, organisation or country at the roundtable, whether officially or unofficially, was left undisturbed by major power rivalry contaminating the Asean region. This was the more so when preparations abroad tended to centre around a military build-up, with the US “pivot to Asia” involving stationing 60% of its military assets in the Asia-Pacific.

According to one recent analysis, at current and anticipated rates China’s economy could surpass the US’ as early as 2016, and US overall decline could become evident by 2020. Ironically, as with its former Soviet adversary before it, the decline would be underscored by excessive military expenditure and a warlike mindset.

Given these scenarios, it is important to be reminded of some pertinent underlying issues. These may be framed by some telling questions that must be asked, for which answers are vitally needed.

First, are the CLM countries necessarily more dependent on a regional superpower-as-benefactor like China economically, compared to Asean’s older and more developed members. Not so, especially when considering that the latter, with larger economies, have more at stake in dealing with a rising China.

Second, is China even likely to consider challenging US dominance in the region? Despite occasionally dire pronouncements by some there is no evidence of that, indeed quite the reverse: beyond assertions of its old maritime claims, Beijing’s relations with all countries in the region have been progressing and progressive.

US military dominance in the Asia-Pacific is often credited with keeping the regional peace, particularly in the high seas. Is this assumption merited if piracy and terrorism are not included in the calculus, since there may not be any other military force out to wreak havoc in the region post-1945?

Fourth, how much value is there still in the assumption that the US military posture is and will remain the status quo entity in the region? The status quo is helping China’s economy grow, with secure shipping and harmonious development, while the US economy is continually taxed by its large and growing military presence.

Fifth, and by extension, how much pulling power is there today in US efforts at soliciting allies? The problem with enlisting in an alliance for other countries is that to be identified as an ally of a major power is also to identify as an ally against another major power.

Dividing the region in Cold War fashion does not help anyone, and never did. To enlist with a (relatively) declining superpower creates further problems of its own for such allies.

Sixth, can China’s reported flexing of its muscles in the South China Sea and the East China Sea in any way be a show of strength? Since it only gives Beijing a negative image just as it needs to look good, without any gain in return, it is instead a point of weakness.

Seventh, can US efforts to contain China ever work? There is no shortage of instances that verify containment, a situation confirmed by official denials.

So, eighth, why try to contain China at all when in the process the US only loses goodwill before losing face? Perhaps old habits die hard, but more likely the military-industrial complex dies harder.

Smaller countries in Asean and elsewhere have much to learn from the major powers, notably the US and China. Sadly, the lessons are just as much what not to do as they are about what to do.


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China pledges to work with ASEAN to safeguard peace in South China Sea

BEIJING: China pledged Friday to make joint efforts with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to safeguard regional peace and stability after the 10-member bloc issued a six-point statement on the South China Sea.

“The Chinese side is willing to work together with the ASEAN members to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) comprehensively and effectively,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in response to a question on the ASEAN statement.

In the statement issued earlier on Friday, the ASEAN members reaffirmed their commitment to the “peaceful resolution of disputes” in the South China Sea. Analysts said the six-point principles were reached to make up for the lack of a customary communique after a foreign ministers’ meeting last week.

In an unprecedented development, the 45th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the ASEAN was not wrapped up with the release of a communique showcasing common ground.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Qu Xing, head of the China Institute of International Studies, told Xinhua that it was Vietnam and the Philippines that should be blamed for the failure to pass a communique last week.

“The two countries attempted to turn the disputes between them and China into a problem between China and ASEAN as a whole,” he said, “which was unacceptable for the other members of the bloc.”

“The Chinese side has noticed the ASEAN’s statement on the South China Sea (on Friday),” Hong said, adding that the core problem of the South China Sea was the disputes over the sovereignty of the Nansha islands and the demarcation of the islands’ adjacent waters.

“China has sufficient historical and jurisprudential evidence for its sovereignty over the Nansha islands and the adjacent waters,” he added.

However, Hong said China is open to consultations with the ASEAN on the conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

“(We) hope that all the parties will strictly abide by the DOC and create necessary conditions and atmosphere for the consultations,” he said.

As a signatory to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China attaches importance to safeguarding the principles and mission of the Convention, said the spokesman.

Hong said UNCLOS is aimed to establish a legal order for the seas and oceans “with due regard for the sovereignty of all States,” and it does neither serve as an international treaty to address disputes over territorial sovereignty between states nor as evidence used to judge over the disputes.

The countries concerned should address the disputes over the maritime demarcation in the South China Sea, after the land disputes have been resolved, in accordance with historical facts and all international laws including UNCLOS, he added.

“China attaches importance to its ties with the ASEAN,” Hong said, adding the country is committed to promoting friendly neighborhood and reciprocal cooperation with the ASEAN to push ahead with the cooperation in East Asia with joint efforts.

The spokesman said China and ASEAN share common interests and responsibilities in keeping Asia’s development and maintaining regional peace and stability against the backdrop of the ongoing international financial crisis.

“The two sides should continue to promote their strategic communication in pursuit of a reciprocal and win-win situation, with mutual respect and trust in mind as well as handle the relationship between the two sides from strategic and long-term perspective,” he added.


China to deploy military garrison in South China Sea

GUANGZHOU, July 20 (Xinhua) — China’s central military authority has approved to form and deploy a military garrison in the newly established city of Sansha.

Sources with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Guangzhou Military Command said Friday that the Central Military Commission (CMC) had authorized it to form a garrison command in the city.Full story

ASEAN forum not proper platform to discuss South China Sea issue

BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhua) — As the foreign ministers of the 27 participating parties of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meet in Phnom Penh on Thursday, many eye the talks as a platform to ease the tension over the South China Sea, which has flared up in recent months.

However, analysts say the attending parties are likely to be more interested in forging closer ties than focusing on differences that concern only a few members.Full story

Editor: Chen Zhi, Xinhua

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Asean has no reason to panic

Asean has no reason to panic

Asean is younger than its member nations, so teething problems as it continues to mature are no cause for alarm

ASEAN’S set pieces following its meetings have become so predictable as to provoke panic when a blip in the set routine appears unexpectedly.

That happened with the anticipated joint communique following the ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh a week ago. This was the first time a communique was not issued, after disagreement over the text between the Philippines and host Cambodia on Manila’s territorial squabble with Beijing.

That was enough to set tongues wagging, pens wriggling and keyboards clacking about a presumed “turning point” in Asean and even speculation about its imminent demise.

Asean proceedings have traditionally been weighed down by diplomatic gobbledygook just because everyone expects such statements to be issued. What later happens in the conduct of member states, however removed from the spirit and content of the communiques, then becomes quite irrelevant.

Yet the substance of statements issued should be more important than the fact of issuing just any statement. After all, Asean is supposed to be more about political process than mere diplomatic procedure.

Therefore, not issuing a collective statement after this month’s pow wow among foreign ministers is better than issuing a meaningless statement just for the sake of issuing something. It makes no sense to produce a statement in the absence of a joint agreement about what it would say.

As it happened, not issuing a joint communique amounts to an indirect statement on the different positions taken by some members, in this case the hotly disputed claims on island territory between the Philippines (and to some extent Vietnam) and China.

Ironically, the Phnom Penh meeting was supposed to consolidate efforts at establishing an Asean community by 2015, as well as to reaffirm blossoming relations between Asean and China.

It may have failed at delivering either, but simply deviating from the norm by not perpetuating a scripted, choreographed and rehearsed custom regardless of circumstances is not a failure of Asean. Nonetheless, the apparent detour from the objectives of this year’s ministerial meeting was enough to turn surprise into shock for many.

Traditionally criticised for saying little and doing even less with boring predictability, Asean is suddenly seen as risking the unprecedented. Its critics should now make up their mind about the nature of their criticism, because they are beginning to contradict themselves.

The other irony concerns the Asean style itself. The regional organisation has long been assessed less by what it says in communiques than what it leaves unsaid, and understood less by what it does than what it obliquely skirts doing.

Thus going by its record, the decision not to issue a communique may be deemed doubly and traditionally Asean. Yet it was taken to be untypical of Asean.

Cynics predicting doom-and-gloom scenarios for Asean forget that its watchword has always been “resilience”, as supported by its near-half-century record. Asean is made of sterner stuff, to which its experience testifies.

But Asean is also not immune to the pitfalls of complacency. Failure to do what is needed now can escalate current challenges and lead to more problems in the future.

For what it is worth, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono swiftly dispatched Foreign Minister Dr Marty Natalegawa to four Asean capitals, including Kuala Lumpur, to try to cobble together some kind of a belated joint communique.

That may be possible but unlikely, since foreign ministers who refused to be accommodating while together at an official meeting would be even less inclined to compromise when back home. Even if such a statement materialises, it would just be “in absentia” of the assembled ministers, now dispersed, and not a statement “posthumous” of Asean.

Meanwhile, news and commentary about the lack of a communique have overshadowed the issues behind it. And it is not only the absence of a communique that can be seen as untypical of Asean.

Manila and Hanoi had come into the meeting room after a recent diplomatic spat with China over competing territorial claims. Despite the ministerial meeting covering various other matters, the Philippines and Vietnam insisted that their problems with China be included in the text of the joint communique.

Cambodia, as host, refused as it saw this as unbecoming and inappropriate. Only half of the 10 Asean members have disputes over island territory with China, with the dispute in question over Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island involving only one Asean country, the Philippines.

Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario then openly accused his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong of “consistently defending China’s interest.” Point number two in being untypically Asean.

The ill will created extends beyond the scope of any Asean conference. Its import and impact have already spread beyond the few countries involved.

No country can claim victory or savour any sense of satisfaction from these developments, because they work to the detriment of all. There is also the additional risk of some countries misreading the situation to even worse effect.

China had a pie in the face when it began the conference, as an Asean dialogue partner, by celebrating the new priority of taking relations with Asean to greater heights. If it is seeking any consolation from a divided Asean, it will find itself gravely mistaken.

The Philippines is also finding that it has fewer “allies” in this imbroglio than it would have liked. Thailand had already warned it would not let bilateral differences with China upset regional ties with Beijing, while a caucus of retired diplomats in Indonesia criticised the Philippines for being “blunt” and “very un-Asean.”

The other Asean countries are not exactly behind Manila, and likewise some Filipino commentators. Even Vietnam, despite its inter-state disputes with China, has always had quieter, positive inter-party ties as fellow communist nations.

In contrast, the Philippines has only a treaty with the US. That can make matters worse through emboldening Manila in rash actions, or initiating major power conflict in the region.

Now President Benigno Aquino III has passed the handling of the issue from del Rosario to Ambassador Sonia Brady in Beijing to handle more diplomatically. A sense of realism may yet dawn after all.

In the meantime, changes in the region include some that question old ideological allegiances. Diplomats and policymakers need to be sensitive to such developments to respond accordingly.

Not only does Vietnam have serious differences with China, Myanmar may also begin to do so on separate bilateral matters. At the same time, Taiwan increasingly feels at one with China over claims on territory disputed by other countries, such as the one with the Philippines.

Beyond all the conflicting claims, some realities remain.

Asean is only 45 years old as a regional organisation in the global community of nations, so more differences between members are likely to appear in future. These should not be a problem as long as they are manageable.

Disputes are also best settled, or can only be settled, through negotiations or arbitration. Souring the atmosphere by making diplomacy difficult only makes things worse for everyone.

With China, it has been said that upping the ante only strengthens the hand of hardliners in Beijing. Most Asean countries are wise enough to steer clear of that approach, however much of a rush it may give some politicians playing to the gallery at home.

Behind The Headlines By BUNN NAGARA

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