Cooperation with China boosts Philippines’ strategic initiatives



Schoolchildren wave the national flags of the Philippines and China along the route of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s convoy at the Malacanang palace grounds in Manila on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines from Tuesday to Wednesday has caught international attention.

China-Philippines relations have been one of the most vacillating connections among China and its neighboring countries. During the rule of Benigno Aquino III, bilateral relations were at a low ebb due to frictions over the South China Sea. Incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte changed the Philippines’ diplomatic course and brought ties with China back to the right track.

Last year, China surpassed Japan and became the largest trading partner of the Philippines. The two are conducting negotiations over the possible joint exploration of oil and gas in the disputed waters. If they reach an agreement, it could serve as an exemplary model for South China Sea claimant countries.

However, not everybody is happy to see Beijing and Manila set aside disputes and develop friendly ties. Besides obstruction from pro-US factions within the Philippines, some US and Western forces do not want to see rapprochement between China and the Philippines and even pressure the Duterte government to cut relations.

Recently, some Western media claimed that most of the assistance and investment that China promised to the Philippines was never fulfilled. Such tone maliciously aims to drive a wedge between Beijing and Manila.

In recent years, China has been advancing its Belt and Road initiative in Southeast Asia and has no reason to skip the Philippines when seeking investment and cooperation. In fact, relevant departments of the two countries have been working to push forward the implementation of cooperation projects.

The West has been accusing China’s Belt and Road initiative of locking some countries into a debt trap. However, when it comes to the Philippines, the West criticized China for not fulfilling its promises. Behind such hypocritical words lie the West’s deep-seated prejudice and hostility against China.

When the US strategically targets China, it is difficult for the Philippines – geographically adjacent to China while closely watched by the US – to keep independent strategic thinking and remain firm-minded.

But independent thinking and strong political determination are essential for every country. When Duterte first thought about mending ties with Beijing, independent thinking prompted Manila to face the question: What advantages can the country gain from enmity with China, if any? Will the Philippines benefit from it or will it be exploited by external forces?

The whole region should keep alert to whom will benefit from confrontation among South China Sea stakeholders. As one of the US’ allies in Southeast Asia, the Philippines will always be a tool of the West to instigate provocations in the waters. After twists and turns, Philippine society will form its own judgment.

Many Philippine elite might have thought that their country and the entirety of Southeast Asia could rely only on the US and the West before China’s rise, yet most regional countries did not achieve modernization. China offers more options for the Philippines, and because of China’s rise, the Philippines and Southeast Asia have gained more attention. Compared with the Aquino era, the Philippines under Duterte has acquired more strategic initiatives without becoming overly dependent on other countries.

China-Philippines friendly cooperation has changed the strategic position of the Philippines and brought about a new pattern for its development. It is expected that Xi’s visit will accelerate bilateral cooperation.

Newspaper headline: Xi, Duterte upgrade ties, Xi’s Philippine visit a ‘milestone’ event, Improved relations help keep stability in S.China Sea: expert

As cooperation and political trust improve, China and the Philippines agreed on Tuesday to lift ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperation relations while stressing the need to manage disputes in the South China Sea through “friendly negotiations.”

The decision was announced after visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday in Manila, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chinese experts stressed that the visit is a milestone event in the development of bilateral relations and the two countries will pursue greater cooperation under the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative (BRI) in the coming years.

As friendly neighbors across the sea, China and the Philippines enjoy geographic proximity and a strong bond that links the two peoples and cultures, Xi said, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

Since Duterte took office, China and the Philippines have reopened the door of friendship and cooperation to each other, bringing real benefits to the two peoples and making important contributions to regional peace, stability and prosperity, Xi noted.

Xi’s visit will largely promote bilateral relations as the visit shows that China values friendly relations with the Philippines, Gu Xiaosong, a research fellow on Southeast Asian studies at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

“It is a milestone event in the development of bilateral relations,” Gu remarked.

Glenn Penaranda, commercial counselor of the Philippine Embassy in China, told the Global Times on Tuesday that “Xi’s visit is vital in highlighting the significant relationship between our two countries, particularly in trade and investments. The visit will encourage more and deeper engagements.”

Improved China-Philippines relations will also play an important role in maintaining the stability of the South China Sea, experts noted.

“If China and the Philippines can reach an agreement on the exploration and development of oil and gas resources in the South China Sea, it will be a breakthrough in economic cooperation in the region and will largely promote the safety of the Asia-Pacific,” Gu said.

Growth prospects

The prospects for economic and trade relations between the two countries are very bright as Philippine priorities are aligned with the key directions for industrial capacity cooperation under BRI, in sectors such as infrastructure, construction and building materials, chemicals and manufacturing, Penaranda said.

Gu agrees, saying that bilateral economic and trade ties will be further enhanced to a higher level, and the two countries will pursue more cooperation under the BRI.

As a developing country with more than 100 million people, the Philippines needs to improve its infrastructure and enhance the growth of its industrial enterprises, Gu noted.

“We need to better understand the opportunities for bilateral cooperation through increased engagements by enterprises,” Penaranda said, noting that it is important that the frequent reciprocal visits of officials and business delegations continue.

Experts said China is committed to advancing the development with other countries and the Belt and Road initiative will bring greater growth to other developing countries and promote the economic integration of the Asia-Pacific region.

The two countries have conducted broad cooperation in transportation infrastructure and industrial parks and energy, and China is the Philippines’ largest trading partner.

Trade between China and the Philippines increased 8.5 percent year-on-year to $51.28 billion, according to information released by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Thursday.

As of the end of September, China’s investment in the Philippines was $1.25 billion and the Philippines’ investment in the Chinese market reached $3.33 billion, according to the MOFCOM.

Experts said cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries also see a huge potential.

The hospitality toward Chinese people is easily felt among the Philippine public.

The Chinese and Philippine flags were placed along Roxas Boulevard in Manila a week ago. Many Chinese who live and study in Manila waited along the boulevard on Tuesday to welcome Xi.

“We’re so excited that President Xi has come to Manila. We hope the two countries could strengthen cultural exchanges in the future,” Kui Jiangong, a PhD candidate from China who studies at Adamson University in Manila, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

“I have met many locals who like to discuss Chinese culture with me as they want to know more about China,” he said. – Global Times

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Curtain falls on S.China Sea arbitration farce; Tribunal manipulators will be revealed

Foreign ministers of ASEAN member states and China at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting in Vientiane, Laos. — VNA/VNS

The 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Monday issued a joint communiqué, which didn’t breathe a word about the South China Sea arbitration, or harbor any overt criticism against China. Although the South China Sea issue was mentioned many times in the communiqué, it only gave a general overview of principles that must be stuck to. Most foreign media view the communiqué as a triumph for China’s diplomacy.

On the same day, a joint statement on how to effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was issued.

The two statements reflect the consistent stand of ASEAN. Attempts at pressuring China through the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting have failed.

As the first foreign ministers’ meeting after the so-called South China Sea arbitration award was issued, the US and Japan hoped to use the meeting in Laos to solicit ASEAN’s collective support for the arbitration and impose unprecedented diplomatic pressure on China. But such expectations do not correspond with the realities in East Asia.

Hype was running high among American and Japanese media that only Cambodia was standing in the way of a joint statement that incorporates the South China Sea arbitration, and Laos as the host country didn’t voice any firm opposition.

From another perspective, only the Philippines wanted a joint statement with reference to the arbitration, and Vietnam was not so persistent in its demands. Most ASEAN countries have maintained a neutral attitude. They neither want to see a division within the bloc, nor to be dragged into a conflict with China over arbitration.

Manila compromised this time, giving consent to a communiqué without mention of the arbitration. It showed flexibility compared with 2012, when the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting ended with no joint statement because the Philippines’ propositions over the South China Sea issue were firmly opposed.

It’s in the common interests of China and ASEAN to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. But the US and Japan are willing to see conflicts between China and the Philippines and Vietnam escalate. If the arbitration leads to overall confrontation between ASEAN and China, it will fullfil the desires of the US and Japan.

ASEAN won’t be so silly as to head toward a confrontation with China. We have carried out construction activities on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, but with our utmost efforts to avoid confrontation.

The possibility of a military solution to the South China Sea dispute has become smaller and smaller. The arbitration has brought about new risks. Instead of a clash between China and the Philippines, or China and Vietnam, there are more worries about conflicts being sparked between China and the US.

Under such conditions, it could never be ASEAN’s desire to amplify the negative influences of the arbitration case. Two weeks after the arbitration result was announced, no other countries outside the region but the US, Japan and Australia have voiced support for it. The farce is coming to an end.- Global Times.

Political manipulation behind arbitral tribunal will be revealed

Spotlight: Chinese FM calls for end to politicization of South China Sea issue, urges parties to return to negotiations

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that the political manipulation behind the arbitral tribunal will be revealed, in response to the comments made by some foreign ministers on the South China Sea arbitration case.

Wang expounded on China’s position when attending the 6th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in the Lao capital Vientiane.

Wang said China has not participated in the arbitration case and will not accept the so-called ruling, a position that China has made clear since day one and is supported by strong legal basis.

By adopting this position, China is safeguarding the sanctity and impartiality of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), said the Chinese foreign minister.

First, the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government violated the principle of having the consent of concerned parties as the basis of arbitration and failed to meet the prerequisite of conducting full exchange of views beforehand, thus lacking the legal conditions to be initiated.

What the former Philippine government had done also abandoned bilateral agreements between China and the Philippines and violated Article 4 of the Declaration on Conducts of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) as well as the principle of estoppel prescribed in international law, according to Wang.

Second, he said, the subject matters of the arbitration, however packaged, in fact directly concern territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation which are beyond the scope of the UNCLOS and the jurisdiction of the ad hoc tribunal. It is a typical act of overstepping the power and ultra vires as well as the abuse of dispute arbitration mechanism.

Wang said by citing a prominent legal expert from Europe that the arbitration case undoubtedly touches upon territorial sovereignty which is not governed by the UNCLOS. The tribunal’s practice of separating territorial sovereignty dispute with the status of islands and reefs is unseen in international law, which is like “putting the cart before the horse.”

Third, the ruling of the ad hoc tribunal is full of obvious mistakes, Wang said. It blatantly uses its self-invented rules to negate and deprive the lawful and legitimate territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests of parties concerned. In particular, it says that Taiping Dao, the largest island in the Nansha Islands with an area of 500,000 square meters, is a rock and has no relevant maritime rights.

If such a judgment can legally stand, the sea map of the world will need to be redrawn, Wang said.

Wang stressed that this ruling runs counter to the spirit of international rule of law as well as the principle and spirit of the UNCLOS.

“This arbitration is imbued with question marks and fallacies in terms of procedure, legal application, fact finding and evidence gathering,” he said.

The so-called ruling is illegal in three aspects: the initiation of the arbitration is illegal, the set-up of the tribunal is illegal, and the result of the arbitration is illegal. Therefore, China’s stance is fully legitimate which serves the purpose of upholding international equity and justice and regional peace and stability, Wang said.

The Chinese foreign minister said more and more countries have come to see the nature and danger of the arbitration case, and understand and acknowledge China’s stance to resolve disputes through direct negotiation and consultation, calling for respect to the rights of sovereign states to independently choose dispute settlement means including respecting the declaration on optional exceptions made under Article 298 of the UNCLOS.

There are also more and more legal experts around the world questioning the legality of the arbitration case and the fairness of the ruling, Wang said, noting that the illegal nature of the so-called South China Sea arbitration case and the political manipulation hidden behind the ad hoc arbitral tribunal will be further revealed. – Global Times



China, US vow to boost trust

US agrees it’s time to ‘turn the page’ on South China Sea

US Secretary of State John Kerry says in Laos that he will encourage
Manila to pursue dialogue and negotiation with Beijing on the issue.

China-ASEAN exchanges go beyond the arbitration

The communiqué issued after the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Laos, shows the two sides want to work together for regional stability and prosperity.

 South China Sea arbitration turned a blind eye to UNCLOS, exceeded own competence and exposed tribunal’s ignorance

By now it’s a well-known fact that the South China Sea arbitration was unilaterally initiated by the[Read it]

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Dao inhabits people’s hearts: Tribunal’s dangerous precedent in international law !

Political manipulation violates combined concept of fairness, justice, rule, trend and direction.

ON July 12, the award on the South China Sea arbitration came out. This political anti-China farce in the disguise of law, manipulated by the United States, and acted by the former Philippine Government, eventually came to an awful end.

This award caused a storm of questions and negative comments in the international community. A lot of professionals are shocked, not to speak of how ridiculous it is to define Taiping Island as a “reef”.

As Professor Tom Zwart from the Netherlands said, “In the region (East Asia), the award will be widely regarded as the fruit of a poisonous tree, and it will fail, therefore, to garner the necessary support.”

Abraham Sofaer, former legal advisor to the US State Department, also pointed out that the arbitration had brought a lot of difficulties and anxiety, which were not good for any parties.

The US attempted to smear and “isolate” China with the arbitration, but unexpectedly received little response. China’s position of non-acceptance of and non-participation in the arbitration has won more and more support.

Even the Philippine people realised that the arbitration is a total conspiracy of the US for its own agenda. This proves again the age old saying, “a just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little support”.

Dao, a combined concept of fairness, justice, rule, trend and direction, and derived from ancient Chinese philosophy, inhabits people’s hearts. The Dao of the present world lies in peace, development and winwin cooperation, and the Dao of solving international disputes lies in fair, lawful and peaceful solutions. On the premise of peaceful settlement, international law provides the right of every state to choose the means of dispute settlement, which should be based on consent, used in good faith and in the spirit of cooperation.

China persists unswervingly in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace; advocates the awareness about human common destiny; and opposes the Cold War mindset and zero-sum games, and the bullying of the weak by the strong.

China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion. With regard to territorial issues and maritime delimitation disputes, China adheres to settlement through amicable consultation and negotiation by directly concerned countries, and does not accept any means of third-party dispute settlement or any solution imposed on it.

The violation of Dao by the US lies in its “imperialist mindset” and pursuit of hegemony. After World War II, the US global strategy has always been seeking the “leadership of the world”.

In 2009, the Obama administration launched the Asia Pacific Rebalance Strategy, and took the South China Sea issue as the pivot to maintain its regional hegemony and achieve strategic containment of China.

It is obvious that during the whole process of the arbitration unilaterally initiated and pushed by the Aquino III administration, the US was deeply involved in every step. Although alleging “neutrality and non-involvement”, the US manipulated behind the scene, and tried to forge a “coalition” to hype up the issue, resulting in rise of tension in the South China Sea.

The US always regards itself as “judge of the world”, but history and reality have repeatedly shown that the US has always adopted double standards. In the eyes of the US, international law is only applicable to other countries rather than itself. It only applies the law when it is consistent with its own interest and resolutely abandons it otherwise.

For instance, while advocating “the rule of law on the sea”, it has not acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

While insisting that China must accept the arbitration award, it chooses to forget the Nicaragua case in which it not only withdrew from the proceedings and refused to implement the ruling, but also revoked the declaration of accepting the compulsory jurisdiction by the International Court of Justice. While opposing militarisation in the South China Sea, it has been provocatively dispatching military aircraft and warships into the area, and even deploying aircraft carrier fleets to this region.

More and more countries have found out who is the biggest “trouble-maker” in the world. It is the US intervention that makes the world worse. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have all fallen into its trap and are left with mess in the region. As the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte frankly said, the root of the bloodshed in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries lies in the intervention of the US.

Furthermore, just prior to the arbitration award, the UK Iraq Inquiry published its report, stating that the decision of the US and UK to start the Iraq War was based on “flawed” intelligence. Under such circumstance, who will follow such a “leader of the world”?

The violation of Dao by the former government of the Philippines lies in breaching previous commitment and causing a lot of trouble in the shelter of a superpower.

The Philippines and China had been friendly neighbours over a long history. However, in recent years, the bilateral ties were damaged by the Philippine policy of confrontation, especially the unilateral arbitration claim.

The government of Aquino III willingly acted as the pawn of the US Rebalance Strategy and took the road to confront China. It deliberately provoked the Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) incident, unilaterally initiated and pushed the arbitration, and tried to hijack other Asean countries to smear China and benefit from the unlawful arbitration award. Its intention is vicious, and its action illegal.

First, although fully aware that territorial issues are not subject to UNCLOS and that maritime delimitation disputes have been excluded from the UNCLOS compulsory dispute settlement procedures by China, the Philippines deliberately packaged the disputes as mere issues concerning the interpretation or application of UNCLOS.

Second, the arbitration infringes upon China’s right to choose the procedures and means for dispute settlement. In 2006, pursuant to Article 298 of UNCLOS, China declared to exclude from the compulsory procedures disputes concerning maritime delimitation, historic bays or titles, military and law enforcement activities. There are over 30 countries that have made similar declaration.

Third, the unilateral arbitration broke the bilateral agreements reached between China and the Philippines over the years to resolve relevant disputes in the South China Sea through negotiation.

Fourth, the arbitration violated the commitment jointly made by China and Asean countries, including the Philippines, in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to resolve the relevant disputes through negotiations by states directly concerned.

The Aquino III administration thought itself clever, but how can it deceive the whole world? As Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said, the arbitration is “the worst political collusion in the framework of international politics”, and “would bring negative impacts to Asean and peace in the region”.

Rod P. Kapunan, Philippine columnist of The Standard newspaper, pointed out that “after six years of hypocrisy and deceit, this shameless stooge (here refers to Aquino III) has brought us right into the doorstep of possible armed conflict with China all because it has chosen to pursue the US-designed policy of inciting hostility with our neighbour”.

Regarding the South China Sea situation, he wrote that “the lives of the Filipinos would be sacrificed to enforce a decision that if examined closely is a US proxy war which the Philippines would serve as cannon fodder in securing its interest in this part of the globe”.

The escalation in the South China Sea will bring enormous risks to the regional and even global security. The Philippines should recognise its mistakes and return to bilateral negotiation with China.

The violation of Dao by the arbitral tribunal lies in political manipulation, unfairness and unlawfulness. The arbitration is completely a political farce under legal pretext. The establishment of this tribunal lacks legitimacy.

The arbitrators it chose lack fairness. The tribunal lacks jurisdiction, and it evidently expanded, exceeded and abused its power.

The so-called “award” is even ridiculous. Experts pointed out that all the fees of the tribunal, including the huge reimbursement to the arbitrators, are borne by the Philippines alone. This has raised a lot of concerns and problems. People are asking if the Philippines “hired the judges”.

The composition of the tribunal is a result of political manipulation. Japan and Yanai Shunji, then president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, acted as the broker.

The composition of the tribunal is quite weird: four of the five arbitrators are from Europe, the fifth one is a permanent resident in Europe, and all of them lack basic understanding of Asian culture and the South China Sea issue.

One fact could better show the play under the table. When the tribunal was established in April 2013, the first president appointed by Yanai was Chris Pinto, a senior Sri Lankan diplomat. Since Pinto’s wife is Philippine, he especially asked advice from both parties to the dispute and was recognised by the Philippines.

However, when Pinto later hinted that the tribunal might not have jurisdiction over the case, it raised deep concern of the US, Japan and the Philippines. The latter asked Yanai to find somebody to replace Pinto for a so-called “just cause”. In May 2013, Pinto was forced to resign.

The tribunal abused power for its own interest. Many experts of international law believe that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation. Just as Sofaer said, this arbitration is related to sovereignty disputes. It shouldn’t have been started, especially when a state party has declared in writing that it does not accept compulsory procedures over such disputes as maritime delimitation according to Article 298 of UNCLOS. The tribunal’s ruling “will broadly undermine the potential utility of international adjudication”.

The tribunal disregarded the fact that the essence of the subject matter of the arbitration is the issue of territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation.

It erroneously interprets the common choice of means of dispute settlement already made jointly by China and the Philippines, erroneously construes the legal effect of the relevant commitment in the DOC, deliberately circumvents the optional exceptions declaration made by China, selectively takes relevant islands and reefs out of the macro-geographical framework of the South China Sea Islands, and subjectively and speculatively interprets and applies UNCLOS.

The conduct of the tribunal and its award seriously contravene the general practice of international arbitration, completely deviate from the object and purpose of UNCLOS to promote peaceful settlement of disputes, substantially impair the integrity and authority of UNCLOS, gravely infringe upon China’s legitimate rights as a sovereign state and state party to UNCLOS, and are unjust and unlawful. It has set an extremely dangerous precedent in the history of international law.

The professional ethics of the arbitrators are widely criticised. All the Western arbitrators and expert witnesses played a shameful role as though they were chameleons.

They reversed their previous position as stated in published papers and even backtracked from their long-held views to make the case for the Philippines.

Arbitrator Alfred Soons had published his opinion that the status of islands was closely associated with demarcation and sovereignty issues.

However, when the tribunal ruled on jurisdiction and admissibility, he said the tribunal had the right to decide on the Philippines’ submissions concerning legal status and maritime entitlement of certain islands including Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) and Meiji Reef (Mischief Reef ), which was entirely contradictory to his previous viewpoint.

Expert witness Clive Schofield also changed his views at the proceedings. On the same subject, using the same materials, he drew totally different conclusions in and out of the tribunal.

People must be wondering: how could they discard professional ethics to serve the interests of those who pay them?

Facts speak louder than words. The unilateral arbitration initiated by the Aquino III administration violates international law.

The tribunal has no jurisdiction over this case. The award of the tribunal is null and void. China’s position is justified and lawful.

It is time to put an end to the arbitration on the South China Sea. Consultation is the right way to settle disputes between states.

China will continue to work together with the Asean countries to implement the DOC comprehensively and effectively, promote the consultation on a code of conduct in the South China Sea, manage and control relevant disputes properly and explore maritime cooperation, in order to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

by Huang Huikang The Star Malaysia 20 Jul 2016

The writer is a member of the International Law Commission of the United Nations and the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.



South China Sea arbitration:

Who are the arbitrators?

The Xinhua news agency has accused the US government, the Philippines, the arbitration panel and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe of collusion in the recently concluded South China Sea arbitration case.

Four of the five arbitrators of the temporary tribunal were appointed by Shunji Yanai, the former president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The former Japanese diplomat’s political stance and speeches went against the principles of the independence of the international judiciary. Shunji Yanai served the Japanese Foreign Ministry for 40 years from 1961. He has been involved in controversial issues, including Japan’s 2015 security bill, and the Diaoyu Islands dispute with China. He has a close relationship with Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

The fairness of the tribunal’s operations was called into question by the personal wishes of Shunji Yanai. The Xinhua news agency commented that it was not surprising that Yanai generally chose arbitrators who were biased against China.

In addition, an American legal team provided help in drafting thousands of pages of legal documents, representing the Philippines presenting arguments to the tribunal. American lawyer Bernard Oxman, who represented the Philippines, had worked with most of the arbitrators and Yanai. He attended the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea as a representative for United States government. Based on the principles of independence of the international judiciary, the impartiality of a judge can be questioned if there are any links to a party involved in a case. Despite that, Oxman was still involved.

There is no doubt the close relationship between Oxman and US government, the Philippines government, arbitrators, Yanai and Abe. These links form a complex network of special political interests. The Xinhua news agency says they took advantage of legal platform and after three years they issued their pre-arranged ruling and finished their political farce. – 

The so-called award made by the South China Sea arbitral tribunal attracted wide attention.


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China hardens after illegal tribunal ruling on South China Sea

In ignoring the verdict on the South China Sea, Beijing is following precedents by great powers as no permanent member of the UN Security Council has ever complied with a ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal on an issue involving the Law of the Sea.


Arbitration award

CHINA’S resolve on its sovereign claim to most of the South China Sea appears to harden after an international tribunal ruled against this new superpower in Asia.

On Tuesday, the international arbitratry at the Hague backed the Philippines’ argument that there was no legal basis for Beijing’s maritime claims.

The tribunal dismissed China’s vast claims in the vital waters, known to have vast oil and gas deposits.

From the start, China has insisted that it will ignore the tribunal decision.

It has also warned that increasing pressure on the issue could turn the resource-rich waters into a “cradle of war”.

Three days following the tribunal’s ruling, China’s state media reported that China may build mobile nuclear power plants in the South China Sea.

“China will soon start assembling its first maritime nuclear power platform and is expected to build 20 floating nuclear power stations in the future, which will largely beef up the power and water supplies on the South China Sea islands,” reported Global Times on Friday, citing China National Nuclear Cooperation (CNNC). (

The state-owned Global Times added that “marine nuclear power platforms will be used” in the islands and reefs of the Spratly chain in the internationally contested sea.

And two days before the tribunal announcement, China had enhanced its military presence under the directive of President Xi Jinping.

Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Tokyo should stop “hyping up and interfering” in the South China Sea issue, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Li: Tokyo must respect China’s territorial sovereignty

Japan is not a state directly involved in the South China Sea issue, and thus should “exercise caution in its own words and deeds, and stop hyping up and interfering” in the issue, said Li.

Commenting on the decision of the tribunal in Hong Kong on Friday, a judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said the award on the South China Sea arbitration had the effect of “pouring fuel on the flame”.

Xue Hanqin, while addressing a colloquium in Hong Kong, said: “Anyone can easily tell that this award will certainly aggregate the dispute between China and the Philippines, aggregate the current military tension between China and the US and definitely aggregate tension in the region.”

Indeed, countries in this region are keeping a close watch on the situation – paying particular attention to the actions of the United States, Japan and China.

The ruling of the tribunal – the legality and decision which has been questioned by academics from the East and West, has indeed caused an unprecedented level of tension in this part of the world since the Second World War.

This is despite the repeated assurance by China that it still prefers to resolve the disputes in the South China Sea via consultation and peaceful talks among the parties laying claims to the islands – which include Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

To many analysts, the United States and Japan cannot turn away from the responsibility of instilling instability as both have in recent years provoked disputes with Beijing and challenged China’s sovereign claims to the South China Sea waters.

Indeed, China’s stand on not recognising the tribunal’s decision has won resounding support from commentators who know the history of the region.

China’s sovereignty over the islands and reefs in the South China Sea has been established in the course of history.

Until the 1930s, the United States had never regarded the South China Sea as part of the territory of the Philippines, according to professor of Political Science Peter Li of the University of Houston.

Li sees the tribunal’s award as “null and void”.

China’s rejection of and non-participation in the arbitration proceedings are in compliance with UNCLOS, which, adopted in the early 1980s, was not designed to settle territorial disputes.

Hence, arbitration over matters concerning the delineation of maritime boundaries is beyond the scope of the convention, Li opined.

The impartiality of the tribunal, headed by a Japanese, has also been questioned as it was biased from the start three years ago, he added.

The professor blamed the award for “putting regional peace at risk” as it will encourage other parties to the dispute to seek a similar approach to buttress their claims to the South China Sea.

“A worse scenario is that countries from outside the region (the US) shall impose themselves on the region, thus making a peaceful resolution of the dispute even more remote.”

And according to The Diplomat, in ignoring the verdict on the South China Sea, Beijing is following precedents by great powers as no permanent member of the UN Security Council has ever complied with a ruling by the Tribunal on an issue involving the Law of the Sea.

Graham Allison, director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, noted in his writing: “In fact, none of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council have ever accepted any international court’s ruling when (in their view) it infringed their sovereignty or national security interests. Thus, when China rejects the tribunal’s decision in this case, it will be doing just what the other great powers have repeatedly done.”

Amid all the tension, what is important is that China has issued a long white paper that essentially reiterates its aspiration to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. 

The United States and Britain have criticised Beijing on this issue, but they had forgotten the precedents they have set.

In the 1980s when Nicaragua sued Washington for mining its harbours, the United States argued that the ICJ did not have the authority to hear Nicaragua’s case.

When the court ruled in favour of Nicaragua and ordered the United States to pay reparations, the United States refused, and vetoed six UN Security Council resolutions ordering it to comply with the court’s ruling, according to The Diplomat.

Just last year the tribunal ruled that Britain had violated the Law of the Sea by unilaterally establishing a Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Islands. The British government disregarded the ruling, and remains in the Marine Protected Area.

In its commentary on Friday, Xinhua said the South China Sea arbitration “is just a start key for the United States having ulterior motives to agitate the South China Sea situation to reinforce its hegemony”.

“The superpower has always been trying to turn the western Pacific Ocean into its own sphere of influence, dreaming to turn the South China Sea into the Caribbean where its warships patrol at will.”

To increase its dominance in the Asia-Pacific region in the face of China’s growing economy and increasing influence, the United States has since 2009 began a rebalancing strategy to the Asia Pacific to contain China’s rise, exerts Xinhua.

The South China Sea arbitration is another plot hatched by the US government, as Alberto Encomienda, former secretary-general of Maritime and Ocean Affairs Center of the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department, had said the United States has instigated his country to initiate the arbitration.

But to the credit of the Philippines, its government under a newly elected president is adopting a softer and conciliatory line towards China as it calls for more economic cooperation with Beijing.

This floats the prospects of cutting down conflict in future.

Amid all the tension, what is important is that China has issued a long white paper that essentially reiterates its aspiration to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, jointly with Asean member countries.

By Ho Wah Foon The Star/Asia News Network



Arbitration: More questions than answers

On July 12th, an arbitral tribunal in The Hague made anaward in the South China Sea territorial dispute case filed by the Philippines. The tribunal itself and its subsequent award, have manypoints which have raised more questions than answers.

Arbitration and award questionable

An award was made earlier this month over the South ChinaSea territorial dispute by The Hague-based arbitral tribunal consistingof five arbitrators.


China, the Philippines reached consensus on disputes

China has just released a white paper which reiterates thecountry’s position on resolving territorial disputes in the South ChinaSea through dialogue and negotiation. According to the white paper, China and the Philippines reached consensus in the past on resolving therelevant disputes that way.


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PCA clarifies role, double standards in South China Sea arbitration profane international law

Permanent Court of Arbitration clarifies role in South China Sea case

THE HAGUE, July 16 (Xinhua) — The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) said on Friday that it is not a UN organ and only provided registry services to the South China Sea arbitral tribunal.

An ad hoc tribunal, set up at the unilateral request of the former Philippine government, on Tuesday issued an ill-founded award sweepingly sided with Manila, denying China’s long-standing historic rights in the South China Sea.

Judith Levine
In an email responding to Xinhua’s request for comment on the case, Judith Levine, senior legal counsel of the PCA, said the court has served as registry in interstate disputes under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), adding that the tribunal should determine its own procedure.

Sovereignty issues, under UNCLOS is beyond the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. China has validly excluded delimitation disputes in a declaration in 2006.

The appointment of arbitrators was conducted according to UNCLOS Annex VII, she said.

Both parties of a dispute are entitled to appoint an arbitrator, she explained. In the South China Sea arbitration, which China reiterated that it would not participate in, the Philippines appointed German arbitrator Rudiger Wolfrum,

and the four other arbitrators were appointed by Japan’s Shunji Yanai, 
Japan’s Shunji Yanai

then president of the Hamburg-based International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
Yanai’s political leanings rules out the possibility of a fair judgement, as he has helped Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lift the ban on Japan’s collective self-defense right and challenge the post-WWII international order.

The South China Sea arbitral tribunal, constituted on June 21, 2013, appointed the International Bureau of the PCA to serve as registry for the proceedings.

As a registry, the PCA undertook financial management of the case, which involved collecting payment from both parties, and paying fees to arbitrator, experts, technical support, court reporters, among others.

In the South China Sea case, due to China’s firm stance of nonparticipation, the Philippines paid shares of both parties, in order for the arbitration to proceed.

According to the “Rules of Procedures” of the tribunal, the functions of the registry also included maintaining an archive of the arbitral proceedings, providing appropriate registry services as directed by the tribunal, publishing information about the arbitration and issuing press releases, and organizing hearings at the Peace Palace, the seat of the PCA.

On the PCA’s relationship to the UN, Levine confirmed that although it is housed in the same premises with the ICJ, the PCA is not a UN organ.

“The PCA is an intergovernmental organization that predates the UN and is independent of the UN,” she explained. “The PCA was established by the 1899 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. China became a member State of the PCA in 1904.”

The PCA has observer status at the UN, and PCA delegations have attend UN General Assembly meetings and UN multilateral treaty negotiations, she added.

There has been a confusion among the public that the award in the case was made by a “UN-backed tribunal,” or even “UN tribunal,” due to misleading reports by some media.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, has issued a notification on its website to clarify that it had nothing to do with the case.

According to the PCA’s 2015 annual report, it provides services for the resolution of disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.

Its International Bureau, or Secretariat, is the unit that provides registry services, ranging from secretarial support to travel arrangements.- Xinhua

Double Standards Applied in South China Sea Arbitration Profane International Law 


After the tribunal in The Hague announced its so-called verdict concerning the arbitration that the Philippines unilaterally filed despite China’s repeated objection, several countries including the US have been pressuring China to accept the void verdict under the banner of “respect for law”.

Their acts, against the rule of law and the basic principles of international law and relations, obstructed relevant sides to manage maritime tension and seek a peaceful settlement. Their blind eye to the basic facts also exposed the inglorious role played by these external powers in the entire political farce.

Ever since the administration of Benigno Aquino III filed the South China Sea arbitration, the US, Australia, Japan and some other countries accused China as a violator of international law and requested China carry out the so-called award.

But this tough talk only exposed their dirty strategic motives. Such tricks are not able to cover the legitimacy of China’s stances, nor alter the strong support to China from those international forces standing for justice.

It’s worth mentioning that the above countries adopted a completely different attitude when themselves were involved in issues related with the international rule of law. The sharp contrast speaks for their hypocrisy and arbitrariness.

For years, with double standards on international law, some Western countries have set a plate of bad precedents. They supported international judicial rules that they can benefit from, but trampled on those not in favor of them.

As the strongest maritime power in the world, the US, worried about a possible cripple of its marine hegemony, never ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). While evading its obligations, it is still enjoying the rights under the UNCLOS.

The US has never been accused under UNCLOS because the Washington has never ratified the law, one article on Foreign Affairs wrote in an ironic tone.

Back in 1980s, Nicaragua charged the US with taking military and paramilitary actions in and against Nicaragua and violating the sovereignty of Nicaragua in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The ICJ ruled in favor of Nicaragua and awarded reparations to Nicaragua. But the US, with a tough attitude, refused to participate in the proceedings and rejected the verdict delivered by the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the UN.

The US later blocked enforcement of the judgment by the UN Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation.

The US argued that the Court did not have jurisdiction, with then US ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick dismissing the Court as a semi-legal, semi-juridical, semi-political body, whose rules nations sometimes accept and sometimes don’t.

The same goes for Australia, which always wants to follow the “international police” posture. When concluding maritime rights treaties with Timor-Leste, the Australian government unilaterally rejected such articles concerning maritime delimitation and third-party dispute settlement procedure. Without any other options, Timor-Leste had to file for arbitration to overrule the validity of the treaty.

In order to stop Timor-Leste from initiating the arbitration, the Australian intelligence agency resorted to despicable actions such as searching the legal representative office of Timor-Leste in Australia, detaining documents and preventing witnesses from appearing before the tribunal.

Japan also did not wait too long before joining in the clique of violating the international law. Its whale-hunt in the Antarctica was ruled as breaching the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling by the ICJ, which ordered Japan to stop issuing whaling permits in the South Pole.

Though talking a good talk about respecting the verdict, the Japanese government did not match its actions with words. No effective measures were taken to curb domestic whaling. Even its ally Australia could not stand it and condemned Japan for violating international law.

In sharp contrast to these Western countries, China has always staunchly supported the authority of international law. At the commemoration marking the 60th anniversary of the “Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence”, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that all countries should advance the rule of law in international relations together.

“We should urge all parties to abide by international law and well-recognized basic principles governing international relations and use widely applicable rules to tell right from wrong and pursue peace and development,” Xi said in his speech.

This not only is a solemn commitment of China to the global community in safeguarding and building the international rule of law, but also expounds that the fundamental key to build international rule of law is to tell right from wrong, stop disputes and uphold win-win collaboration by adopting widely-applicable rules, instead of encouraging hegemony in the name of the international law and stirring up conflicts to stray away the international rule of law.

The law cannot execute itself. Unlike Western countries who selectively apply international law, China always applies the spirit of the international rule of law in its diplomatic practice. So far, China has established over 23,000 bilateral agreements and joined more than 400 multilateral treaties.

Moreover, China has participated in almost all inter-governmental organizations and demarcated nearly 90 percent of land borderlines with 12 out of its 14 land neighbors through negotiation and consultation.

For China, equal treatment is the cornerstone in its diplomacy regardless of the territorial size and national strength of the other country. China will never bully any state.

Regarding the international rule of law, the US and some other countries can hardly qualify as a “teacher” to China. In addition, they should look back to their past mistakes, abandon their long-upheld hegemony, egoism, hypocrisy and double standard and implement the basic norms of the international law and international relations through practical actions. – (People’s Daily)


Interview with Prof. Tony Carty: China has historical rights in S. China Sea

 CCTV reporter Li Jiejun spoke with Professor Tony Carty from Tsinghua University on the South China Sea arbitration. He believesChina has historical rights in the South China Sea, and maintained thatthere are records pointing to the economic use of islands in the regionby Chinese fishermen.

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China issues white paper on settling disputes with Philippines in South China Sea

China is committed to upholding int’l rule of law

The Chinese government has issued a white paper on the arbitration ruling. It contains more than 20,000 Chinese characters and says the Philippines’ territorial claim over part of the Nansha Islands, is groundless from the perspective of either history or international law.

Full Text: Chinese version;English version;French version 

BEIJING, July 13, 2016 (Xinhua) — Photo taken on July 13, 2016 shows the white paper titled “China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea” issued by Chinese government in Beijing, capital of China. “The Philippines’ territorial claim over part of Nansha Qundao is groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law,” said the document issued by the State Council Information Office on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Chen Yehua)

BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) — The Chinese government on Wednesday issued a white paper to expound on its position, which calls for settling relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea through negotiation.

“It is the Philippines that has created and stirred up trouble,” said Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin at a press conference held Wednesday to introduce the white paper.

“Violating bilateral consensus in recent years, the Philippines has repeatedly taken moves that complicate and intensify relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea,” he said.

The white paper, titled “China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea,” was published one day after an award was issued in arbitration unilaterally initiated by the previous Philippine government.

Describing the award as “a piece of waste paper,” Liu urged other countries not to “take the opportunity to threaten China.”

China hopes other countries can work with it to protect the peace and stability of the South China Sea and “not let the South China Sea become the origin of a war,” he said.

The vice minister also said China reserves the right to declare an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea in accordance with the extent of the threat.

The white paper issued by the State Council Information Office stated that the core of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea lies in the territorial issues caused by the Philippines’ invasion and illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands).

As the international law of the sea developed, a maritime delimitation dispute also arose between the two states regarding certain areas of the South China Sea, it added.

“The Philippines’ territorial claim over part of Nansha Qundao is groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law,” it said.

The two countries held multiple rounds of consultations on the proper management of disputes at sea and reached consensus on resolving relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation, which has been repeatedly reaffirmed in a number of bilateral documents, according to the white paper.

In 2013, the then-government of the Republic of the Philippines unilaterally initiated the South China Sea arbitration.

By doing so, the Philippines has violated its standing agreement with China to settle relevant disputes through bilateral negotiation, violated China’s right to choose means of dispute settlement of its own will as a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and abused the UNCLOS dispute settlement procedures, it said.

“The Arbitral Tribunal established at the Philippines’ unilateral request has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and awards rendered by it are null and void and have no binding force,” said the document.

“China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards. China does not accept or recognize those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards,” it added.

The white paper also explained that Nanhai Zhudao (the South China Sea Islands) are China’s inherent territory, saying the activities of the Chinese people in the South China Sea date back more than 2,000 years.

China is the first to have discovered, named, explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and the first to have continuously, peacefully and effectively exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them.

“China’s sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established in the long course of history, and are solidly grounded in history and law,” it said.

China abides by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and is committed to upholding and promoting international rule of law. It respects and acts in accordance with international law, the white paper said.

While firmly safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China adheres to the position of settling disputes through negotiation and consultation and managing differences through rules and mechanisms, it added.

“China endeavors to achieve win-win outcomes through mutually beneficial cooperation, and is committed to making the South China Sea a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship,” it said.

In the white paper, China urges countries outside the region to respect the efforts by countries in the region and to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.

During the press conference, Liu reiterated that settling relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea through negotiation is the theme of Wednesday’s white paper, as well as the policy of the Chinese government.

“We hope to work with countries surrounding the South China Sea, including ASEAN members, abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and maintain peace and stability as well as the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea,” Liu said.

Liu noted that this policy has not changed and will not change. He called on the Philippines to return to the track of negotiation, saying it is the only solution to resolve disputes. – Xinhua

China issues white paper on settling disputes with the Philippines


Manila wants to illegal occupation of islands and reefs

Beijing: The Philippines has repeatedly taken moves that have complicated the maritime disputes in an attempt to “entrench its illegal occupation of some islands and reefs” of the South China Sea, said a whitepaper issued by China.

The whitepaper, released yesterday by China’s State Council Information Office, accused the Philippines of “having increasingly intensified its infringement of China’s maritime and interests”.

“The Philippines also has territorial pretensions on China’s Huangyan Dao and attempted to occupy it illegally,” said the whitepaper, which has elaborated the current situation and China’s policy on the South China Sea issue.

The five-chapter whitepaper was released after the Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) in The Hague, announced on Tuesday that China has no “historic title” over the South China Sea.

The Philippines’ unilateral initiation of arbitration is “an act of bad faith”, said the whitepaper.

China maintains that peace and stability in the South China Sea should be jointly upheld by China and Asean member states, said the whitepaper.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday that the ruling “is null and void and has no binding force”.

Beijing issued two statements immediately after the arbitration ruling was announced. Noting that Chinese activities in the South China Sea date back more than 2,000 years, one statement pointed out that China is the first to have disco­vered, named, explored and exploited the South China Sea Islands and surrounding waters.

President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that China is committed to resolving disputes through direct negotiations, but its national sove­reignty and maritime interests will not be influenced under any circumstances by the South China Sea ruling.

The South China Sea Islands have been China’s territory since ancient times, and China refuses to accept any claims or activities based on the arbitral ruling, Xi said while meeting in Beijing with European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that China must accept a verdict declaring its South China Sea claims are invalid that the go­vernment and needs to halt its artificial island building in the disputed waters.

She added that Beijing risked re­putational harm if it ignored the ruling.

“We call on both the Philippines and China to respect the ruling, to abide by it. It is final and legally binding on both of them,” Bishop told national broadcaster ABC.

“This treaty, the Law of the Sea, codifies pre-existing international custom. It’s a foundation to maritime trade and commerce globally, and so to ignore it would be a se­­rious international transgression.

“There would be strong reputational costs. China seeks to be a regional and global leader and requires friendly relations with its neighbours. That’s crucial to its rise.”

China warned other countries yesterday against threatening its security in the South China Sea.

Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said while introducing the policy paper that Beijing could declare an air defence identification zone over the waters if it felt threatened, a move that would sharply escalate tensions.

But Beijing also extended an olive branch to the new Philippine go­vernment, saying the South-East Asian nation would benefit from cooperating with China. — China Daily/Asia News Network/Agencies

South China Sea ruling angers Republic of China, Taiwan


TAIPEI: President Tsai Ing-wen vows to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty after the ruling from The Hague.

Tsai boarded a South China Sea-bound warship and addressed its crew while touring a naval base yesterday morning, less than a day after a controversial international ruling on the area.

“This vessel represents the Republic of China and the uniform that you are wearing represents what Taiwanese citizens have entrusted to you,” Tsai told crew members on the deck of the Kang Ding-class frigate, which departed on the routine patrol mission soon afterwards.

In addition, Tsai said, the patrol represents Taiwanese citizens’ determination to safeguard the country’s interests.

The rare presidential tour of a warship came after an arbitral tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday deemed South China Sea formations that are key to Chinese territorial claims to be rocks, rather than islands.

While Taiwan was not a party to the case, the ruling is problematic as it included Taiping Island (also known as Itu Aba) and other locations claimed by the government.

Tsai noted that the routine patrol was being launched a day ahead of schedule and said that its significance was unlike that of any previous mission, saying the situation in the South China Sea had changed on Tuesday.

“We have always sought to see the disputes in the South China Sea be settled peacefully through multilateral negotiations,” she said.

“We are also willing, through negotiations conducted on the basis of equality, to work with all states concerned to advance peace and stability in the South China Sea.” — The China Post/Asia News Network

China’s Response to the South China Sea Arbitration Ruling

Center for Strategic & International Studies


Arbitral court not a UN agency

Arbitration tribunal not linked to UN

 Arbitral Tribunal on South China Sea Disputes not Primary Judicial Branch of UN: Former ICJ Judge


Earlier we spoke to Professor Zhu Feng, executive director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea at
Nanjing University. He explained more about the legitimacy of the tribunal in the Hague to issue the award in the South China Sea case.

The United Nations said on Wednesday it has nothing to do with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which set up a tribunal that handled the South China Sea arbitration case the Philippines filed unilaterally in 2013.

In a post on its Sina Weibo micro blog, the UN said the PCA is a “tenant” of the Peace Palace in The Hague, “but has nothing to do with the UN”.

The UN said the International Court of Justice, its principal judicial organ set up according to the Charter of the UN, is also located in the Peace Palace.

The construction of the palace was managed by the Carnegie Foundation, which is still the building’s owner and manager, according to the Peace Palace website.

The UN said it makes an annual donation to the foundation for using the Peace Palace.

When asked about the Arbitral Tribunal’s case’s ruling on Tuesday, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday “The UN doesn’t have a position on the legal and procedural merits” of the South China Sea arbitration case.

In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China will, as always, observe the goals and principles set up by the Charter of the UN, and solve maritime disputes peacefully by having talks with countries directly involved, “on the basis of firmly guarding China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests”.

Lu said: “China is a responsible member of the international community. It’s an important advocate and loyal implementer of the UN’s cause to push forward the international rule of law.”

Li Jinming, a professor of international maritime law at Xiamen University, pointed out that the use of terms such “UN tribunal” or “UN-backed tribunal”-frequently reported by Western media-is incorrect, as they confuse the PCA with the UN’s ICJ.

Wang Hanling, a maritime law researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said some countries and news media are “deliberately” confusing the tribunal with the ICJ.

China questions neutrality of judges

PETALING JAYA: China has questioned the neutrality and appointment of judges of an arbitral tribunal in The Hague which ruled in favour of the Philippines over their Spratly Islands dispute.

Selection Dispute: China is crying foul over appointments made by Shunji Yanai.

China Foreign vice-minister Liu Zhenmin questioned the “procedural justice” of the appointment and the operation of the tribunal, South China Morning Post reported.

The tribunal was formed after the Philippines filed a case with the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITCLOS) in 2013 after a stand-off with China at the Scarborough Shoal the previous year.

Of the five judges, one was selected by the Philippines and the rest by Shunji Yanai (pic), the then president of ITCLOS, which was established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This was reportedly due to China’s refusal to take part or recognise the tribunal.

Yanai was not among the panel of arbitrators.

“Leaving aside the obvious violation of procedural justice, we can hardly make a better explanation of judge Yanai’s motivation and purpose other than that he did it on purpose,” Liu said.

Born in Tokyo on Jan 15, 1937, Yanai read law at the University of Tokyo.

He served in the foreign ministry and was Japan’s ambassador to Washington.

He was also chairman of a panel which advised Japan’s government to revise its constitution to allow military action overseas.

The arbitral tribunal on Tuesday ruled that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone through its large-scale activities in the South China Sea.

The tribunal arbitrators included Thomas A. Mensah of Ghana, Jean-Pierre Cot of France, Stanislaw Pawlak of Poland, Prof Alfred H.A. Soons from Holland and Rüdiger Wolfrum from Germany. – By Wang Qingyun (China Daily)

Who is Shunji Yanai?

Fire has been focused on the person who picked the arbitrators – Japanese judge Shunji Yanai, who has been branded a “rightist” and “unfriendly to China”.

Foreign Vice-minister Liu Zhenmin questioned the “procedural justice” of the appointment

China has refused to take part in the proceedings, and in its absence, four of the five arbitrators were appointed by Yanai, who at the time the case was filed in 2013 was president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The other one was named by the Philippines.

Yanai should have avoided involvement given the territorial and maritime disputes between China and Japan in the East China Sea, and Tokyo’s attempts to involve itself in the South China Sea issue.

Yanai has long been a figure of scorn among nationalist Chinese. A commentary by Xinhua described Yanai, a former senior Japanese foreign ministry official who also served as the country’s ambassador to Washington, as a “typical rightist, hawkish figure”.

In 2007, during Shinzo Abe’s first term as Japanese prime minister, Yanai served as chairman of a panel set up to advise Abe on his plan to revise the constitution to allow military action overseas. “South Korea also expressed its concerns over Yanai’s presidency of ITLOS as it also has territorial disputes with Japan,” Xinhua said.

Soon after the appointment of the tribunal, Yanai told Japanese broadcaster NHK that the islands of Japan were under enemy threat, according to a research report by the Chinese Initiative on International Law, a Hong Kong and Hague-registered NGO whose members are legal professionals and academics.

Although Yanai did not explicitly name the “enemy”, such a statement was clear enough for China to raise concerns over his impartiality in the case, the report said.

In his article in Qiushi, Liu also cast doubt on the make-up of the tribunal, saying none of the five judges – one African and four Europeans – had knowledge of the history and international order of ancient East Asia.

But Yanai’s involvement could have been avoided. If China had decided to take part in the proceedings, it could have named one of the tribunal’s arbitrators and jointly appointed three others in agreement with the Philippines.

Blustering US a paper tiger in S.China Sea

After the illegally organized arbitration tribunal issued the award in the South China Sea arbitration Tuesday, the US voiced the strongest support for it. Spokespersons from both the US Department of State and the White House successively claimed that the award was legally binding. More politicians and congressmen from the House and Senate have also made fiercer remarks, demanding regular challenges to China’s excessive maritime claims through naval and air patrols. Japan’s stance is precisely the same as that of the US, as if they have discussed their lines.

On the contrary, the Philippines’ attitude is relatively mild. It described the award as a “milestone decision” and called for restraint. An old Chinese saying goes “The emperor doesn’t worry but his eunuch does,” meaning the outsider is more anxious than the player. In this case, Washington and Tokyo are the worrying eunuchs. But so far, there is no US rhetoric demanding the White House and Pentagon bludgeon China to suspend construction activities on some islands and reefs in the South China Sea. The calls for the use of force have only been heard when the US clamored to safeguard the “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea, which mirrors that the US hasn’t made the determination to use the arbitration for a showdown with China in the waters.

It should be noticed that the arbitration tribunal is not a permanent court for arbitration, but a temporary institution for the South China Sea case established against the spirit of international law. It also has nothing to do with the UN. Many Chinese scholars believe that after the final award, the issue will gradually cool down. If there are no big moves from Manila, Washington and Tokyo, the case will literally become nothing but a piece of paper.

The new Philippine government has more than once showed its hope of resolving the disputes with China through peaceful negotiations. In fact, it has no strength to take risky measures. The US and Japan might want to encourage Manila to take a tougher stance against Beijing, yet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not necessarily willing to be their pawn.

It seems that the US will have to go it alone if it wants to escalate tensions in the South China Sea. Japan wants to step in, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe does not have the nerve.

It is possible that the White House might conduct more proactive actions more frequently under the name of freedom of navigation. It might try to sail its warships to get increasingly closer, or even exercises within 12 nautical miles of the islands claimed and constructed by China.

China will never indulge the US military to do so. The People’s Liberation Army should enhance its military deployment in the waters of the Nansha Islands and be fully prepared to counterattack if the US makes further provocations. Some say that the US is taking China’s response over the arbitration award as a touchstone of Beijing’s willingness to follow Washington’s instruction to abide by international rules. For China, however, whether the US refrains from clashes and hostility in the waters will tell whether it respects China genuinely. We do not wish for any direct confrontation or friction between the military powers from the two countries. But if Washington insists on doing so, we will never flinch.- Global Times.


The South China Sea arbitration unilaterally submitted by the Philippines is a political farce under[Read it]

 South China Sea arbitration tribunal for being political tool

The award on the South China Sea dispute has proven that the arbitration tribunal has degenerated in[Read it]

Arbitration award more shameless than worst prediction

The Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague announced its award over the South China Sea disputes on Tuesday, with the final verdict
more radical and shameless than many people had ever expected. All Chinese people are outraged by this illegal verdict and the world’s peace-loving public is astonished by the biased decision that may escalate regional tensions.

Stay sober-minded in face of manipulated ruling

The arbitral tribunal’s award on Tuesday, which tries to deny China’s
historic claims in the South China Sea and wipe out its rights to
resources there, marked an end to the farce disguised as law.


Inherently biased and unjust ‘piece of paper’

Just as anticipated, the South China Sea arbitral tribunal in The
Hague delivered an outrageously one-sided ruling in the case initiated
by the Philippines.

China’s reaction to arbitration depends on provocation

The award of the South China Sea arbitration will be issued at 5 pm Beijing time Tuesday. The US and Japan have claimed that relevant countries, including China, should comply with the arbitration result. They stand in sharp confrontation with China, which has announced that the award would be “nothing but a piece of paper.” Whether the arbitration will lead to a severe geopolitical crisis has come under the global spotlight.

The Western media is analyzing how China will respond to the award. Bloomberg posited three scenarios from Beijing, from benign to moderately aggressive or aggressive. It considers that China establishing an South China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) would be moderately aggressive and towing away the Philippine warship grounded at Ren’ai Reef and construction on Huangyan Island as aggressive.

We believe the Chinese government must have made a series of contingency plans to deal with subsequent actions. What actions China may take on Huangyan and Ren’ai, and whether China will announce a South China Sea ADIZ depends on the reactions of the Philippines to the arbitration result and the degree of US and Japanese provocations.

So far, none of the concerned parties want military confrontation. But all are ratcheting up military preparations. The South China Sea has been clouded by unprecedented tensions. It’s uncertain where the situation will head to.

Chinese society pays close attention to the South China Sea situation. After the the post-arbitration wrestling begins, the most important thing for China is to show the outside world the solidarity of its society. For one thing, Chinese society has full confidence in the country’s diplomatic and maritime strength; for another, no matter what price China has to pay for the wrangling, all the Chinese will squarely accept it.

The Chinese people and government share the same interests and responsibilities. We should not only safeguard territorial sovereignty, but also make the utmost efforts to maintain peace in China’s periphery, prolonging China’s strategic opportunities for China’s rise.

The South China Sea is a big arena. China will devote its varied resources there. China in the past was weak. It could only express determinations through demonstrations or a few activists visiting its own islands in the South China Sea. But now it has multiple means at its disposal. It has become a formidable competitor that deserves respect. No power in the world could split a united China. As long as we stick together, provocateurs are doomed to fail.

Source:Global Times


China calls for dialogues to resolve disagreement – CCTV News – English


Unlawful arbitration cannot negate China’s sovereignty over South China Sea: People’s Daily

The arbitration case is actually a trap set by the US and the Philippines in which the arbitral tribunal has played the role of an accomplice.


South China Sea arbitration invalid, law experts say

The tribunal has explained the case in an irresponsible way and set a bad precedent, according to experts and scholars from around the world.
Washington’s outsider position undercuts its message as it urges China to respect global maritime no[Read it]
Quotable quotes on S. China Sea arbitration: tribunal’s arbitration is unlawful

Western media have hyped up the South China Sea issue for a long time, with reports full of prejudice and distortion. They have purposely created rumors, smeared China and deliberately
overlooked voices of justice.

More countries voice support for China’s stance


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不合法的裁决不过废纸一张, Illegal ruling but a waste paper

Video: Dialogue 07/10/2016 Differing views on South China Sea

China enhances maritime law enforcement

China established Sansha City four years ago to strengthen its maritime law enforcement.


Chinese navy conducted annual combat drill near Hainan Island & Xisha Islands in #SouthChinaSea

Over 100 vessels and dozens of fighter jets participated in the annual combat drill held on July 8 in South China Sea.



















































编辑:刘雅萱, 来源:人民日报


U.S. should stop treating South China Sea as next Caribbea

The United States should stay away from the South China Sea issue and avoid repeating its history of military intervention
and political manipulation in the Caribbean in the past century.

Commentary: U.S. cold-war mentality not solution to South China Sea issue

Denouncing UNCLOS remains option for China after tribunal ruling

For many years, the People’s Republic of China has been a strong supporte[Read it]

Western countries should stop playing international law as political card: People’s Daily 

Although Western countries always label themselves as defenders of international law, historic facts[Read it]

Think twice before taking law-abusing arbitration as South China Sea solution

BEIJING, July 8 — Launching a legal action is not always the best way to solve a dispute, and it is[Read it]


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South China Sea arbitration abuses international law, threatens world order

A seminar on the South China Sea Arbitration and International Rule of Law was held on Sunday in the Hague, the location of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s arbitral tribunal. At the seminar hosted by both Chinese and Dutch academic institutions, experts from various countries warned that the unilateral filing of the South China Sea arbitration case by the Aquino administration of the Philippines and the arbitral tribunal’s overreach and abuse of power is a desecration of the spirit of the rule of law and pose a threat to current international order.

Exclusive interview: Limitation of UNCLOS Dispute Settlement System

 A legal expert at the University of Oxford has published apaper on resolving disputes in the South China Sea. It relates to thearbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines against China.

With this move, the Philippines is just adorning itself with borrowed plumes. First of all, estoppel is a basic principle of international law. As is known to all, China and ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002, in which all sides agreed to settle disputes over the South China Sea through friendly negotiation and consultation by parties directly concerned.

Experts call for reasonable and effective dialogue on China South Sea issue

 A group of experts on international law have called thearbitration that was unilaterally filed by the Philippines against Chinaover the South China Sea “questionable”.

In 2011, the Philippines and China issued a joint statement, reiterating their respect and observation of the DOC. However, just two years later, the Aquino administration unilaterally submitted the South China Sea case for arbitration in spite of its previous commitments.

Secondly, the Philippines ignores basic historical facts by presumptuously claiming that the Chinese people never lived or conducted activities in the South China Sea region, thus bearing no sovereignty over the islands in the region.

Cambodia criticizes arbitration filed by Philippines

 Cambodia’s ruling party has spoken out against the arbitration court’s upcoming decision over the South China Sea issue. Yet no one can deny the historical fact that those islands have been part of China’s territory since ancient times. Successive Chinese governments have continued to govern the islands through multiple approaches including setting administrative divisions, military patrols and conducting salvages at sea.

Respecting historical fact is an important principle of international law. Through its lack of respect for the facts, the South China Sea case violates this principle.

Chinese Foreign Ministry condemns Japan

 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei has condemnedJapan’s remarks over the South China Sea arbitration unilaterallylaunched by the Philippines. He urged for Japan to stop making suchirresponsible remarks.

Moreover, the Philippines’ interpretation of the legal status of the islands and reefs in the South China Sea is not in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) and other international laws.

South China Sea FAQ ep12: Why does Beijing reject Manila’s arbitration case?

 The requests raised by the Philippines in the arbitrationcase are, in essence, about territorial sovereignty and maritime demarcation.

The Southeast Asian nation claims that the Huangyan Island and the Nansha islands cannot be considered islands as such no one can establish exclusive economic zones or claim the continental shelves there. Such an argument flies in the face of objective reality.

  • South China Sea FAQ ep13: China’s solution for resolving the disputes

  • South China Sea FAQ ep13: China’s solution for resolving the disputes. As tensions in the South China Sea region continue, China continues to insist on a dual-track approach to resolve disputes. This is governed by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea made in 2002 between China

The Philippines deliberately misrepresented factual information about the islands and reefs in the South China Sea during the trial and carelessly negated the integrity of the Nansha islands as well as the island status of Taiping Island and other large islands in area. However, its claims are not only  inconsistent with reality, but also incompatible with UNCLOS and other international laws.

The legal representatives of the Philippines also withheld necessary information concerning other islands in the South China Sea (not included in its arbitration request) on purpose, and refused to present them to the court. It is safe to say that the Philippines’ argument concerning the South China Sea islands and reefs lacks basic credibility.

Taking this into consideration, the arbitral tribunal has clearly violated UNCLOS, abused the UNCLOS settlement procedure and exceeded its jurisdiction by accepting the unilateral request of the Philippines and even trying to deliver a verdict on the South China Sea issue. Its self-proclaimed “jurisprudence” and “normative power” demonstrate great irony.

The core of the South China Sea issue between China and the Philippines are territorial and maritime delimitation disputes. Territorial issues do not fall within the scope of UNCLOS authority. Additionally, as early as 2006, China has excluded compulsory settlement procedures from maritime delimitation disputes in accordance with Article 298 of UNCLOS.

As a temporary institution founded on UNCLOS, the tribunal has zero jurisdiction over this case. Arbitration and other international judicial methods to resolve disputes means resorting to third-party settlement. However, this option has already been excluded by internationally binding bilateral agreements between China and the Philippines.

The tribunal chose to ignore these binding documents and breached the premises, exclusions and exceptions for compulsory settlement procedure stipulated in UNCLOS to establish jurisdiction on its own.

The tribunal’s blatant disregard for the agreement China and the Philippines made concerning settling disputes has irresponsibly broken the consensus reached between the two states and has seriously violated China’s right as a sovereign state and UNCLOS signatory to choose its own dispute settlement method.

What’s more, by repeatedly referencing UNCLOS and extending the convention’s coverage to all maritime issues, the tribunal has in fact turned a blind eye to conventional international law.

Any practitioner of international law is aware that articles in UNCLOS are a summary of the historical maritime practices and common will of all countries. UNCLOS shows nothing but respect to conventional international law. However, the tribunal today has discredited all previous practices, contradicting the basic purpose and spirit of UNCLOS.

International law has played a significant role in maintaining a relatively stable international order after World War II. In the decades after the war, hundreds of international treaties were drafted to regulate the conduct of states and people’s lives.

From the planet where we live to outer space, from security to arms control, from economic development to environmental protection, from human rights to judicial cooperation and other areas, these international laws are ubiquitous. The diplomatic actions of every county call for international law. In other words, it is a commonly recognized standard for the international community. The world would fall into chaos without it, and the law of the jungle would once again dominate.

Therefore, the abuse of international law by the Philippines and the tribunal has undermined the authority of the law, which will in turn greatly impact the stability of international order.

It is worth mentioning that the US, a country outside the region, has been eager to play a hand in the issue. Those who are familiar with the “America-style” of dealing with international affairs know that “safeguarding the integrity of international law” is a catchphrase for the country when it comes to international dealings.

However, as a country that attaches such importance to the protection of international law, why has the US supported the illegal acts of the Philippines and the tribunal? The answer is simple: The US only protects those international laws that benefit itself. In the eyes of the US, any illegal act can be considered “an act that protects international law” so long as it benefits its own strategic interests.

A scholar at the seminar pointed out that what the Philippines has done to China today could happen to other countries in the future. If the tribunal comes to a conclusion that does not conform to the facts and the law, then the same twisted logic could be misapplied to other countries with territorial disputes.

Such apprehension is not without merit. If the irresponsible actions of the Philippines, the US and the arbitral tribunal are not faced head on, they will severely affect the authority of international law. From this perspective, China’s fight against the abuse of international law is not only the country safeguarding its territorial sovereignty, but also a contribution to lasting peace and stability in the world. – People daily


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Parents opt for daycare centres with no live-in maids now

The decline in the number – and the rising cost – of domestic maids has forced more young, working parents to send their children to daycare centres.

Daycare Centre

Chris Hong, who runs two kindergartens-cum-daycare centres in Subang Jaya, said she and her staff looked after 40 to 50 children from 8am to 7pm daily.

The centres, which only cater for two-month-old babies to children aged six, provide lunch, homework coaching and other activities in the afternoon after the kindergarten session.

“There are even parents-to-be who register at the centre even when they are in the early stages of pregnancy.

“There is very high demand now and parents are looking for safe and trustable daycare centres,” said Hong, adding that she did not plan to set up more daycare centres as she wanted sufficient quality time with her three children.

A daycare centre operator on Penang island, who wanted to be known only as Sarah, said she and her partner were planning to set up two more centres on the mainland.

She added that she had received many enquiries for her services in Butterworth.

“We’re now working out the extra costs we have to bear for hiring more people and rental,” she said.

Technical services manager M. Manimaran felt that increasing the number of daycare centres was an effective alternative for the shortage of maids.

“After all, parents are looking for a safe and good daycare centre which can work around our working hours.

“The place I send my son to even provides transportation from his school to the centre.He gets proper meals and time to do some reading or his homework.

“We have no worries, even during the school holidays,” Manimaran said, adding that he received constant updates about the whereabouts and condition of his 10-year-old son from the daycare centre through WhatsApp.

Working mum Lim Lee, 46, said she would opt to send her child to a daycare centre and hire a part-time maid if her Indonesian maid could not multi-task.

“There is no way I can afford to get two maids,” she said.

Malaysian Maid Employers Association president (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein urged the Government to encourage more nurseries or daycare centres run by properly trained and certified Malaysians.

Such facilities, he said, would not only ease the burden of having to pay for maids but would also give parents peace of mind while they were at work.

Engku Ahmad Fauzi said the expense of using these centres should be tax deductible, adding that it was the Government’s responsibility to solve over-reliance on foreign workers.

These centres, he added, would also provide the local workforce with jobs, ensuring less capital flight from the country.

Ny Royce Tan The Star

Working mums ‘maid’ to pay sky-high fees for childcare


Back-up plan: With maids becoming a scarce commodity, more are turning to childcare centres

PETALING JAYA: Dr Subhashini Jahanath is highly educated, hard-­working and does 11 calls a month.

Like many other working mothers, she is now facing the added frustration of sky-high fees for domestic help.

“It’s the childcare that’s difficult – what happens if I get called up in the middle of the night? At the same time, I just cannot afford the fees for a new maid,” she said.

Even then, Dr Subhashini, 35, is one of the lucky ones as she can call on her family for help.

The Miri-based doctor’s father has flown in from Selangor to help take care of her four-year-old son Harraen.

“On days he has to go back to Selangor, I have to send Harraen along with him, which means increased cost and Harraen missing school. But it’s the only way.”

Lawyer V. Shoba, 37, is also blessed with parents who help look after her seven-year-old twins, but still needs a maid to help them.

“My parents are both in their early 70s and need some help with the kids. Having domestic help is not a luxury,” she said.

In 2009, she paid RM6,000 in agency fees and a monthly salary of RM650 for her first Sri Lankan helper.

“In 2011, I got another Sri Lankan maid. The agency fee was RM7,500 and monthly salary was RM850. In 2013, I got a Filipino maid. The agency fee was RM9,900 and the monthly salary was RM1,200,” she said.

The agency fee, she added, has now gone up to RM12,000 and the monthly salary to RM1,500.

“I also have to pay for her toiletries, food and utilities used. That is a chunk of money that could be used for education or even holidays.

For those who are away from their families, babysitters and part-time house help provide alternatives.

Not everyone can call in the grandparent squad, and some parents feel that childcare options out there are not good enough to make them viable alternatives to live-in domestic help.

Corporate communications manager Sonia Gomez, 30, said she could not find any childcare options that were both good and affordable.

“Independent babysitters aren’t regulated, so it would be very tough to cope without my helper, Lia. She is reliable and has a very strong bond with my son,” she said.

Some mothers are opting out of the workforce entirely to take care of their kids.

Stay-at-home mum Evelyn Thong, 37, said she had heard too many daycare horror stories to consider it.

“It’s also too much money to risk. If your maid runs away, you cannot recover your money,” she said.

By Suzanne Lazaroo The Star

Maids for specific tasks only 


PETALING JAYA: The days of having a multi-tasking maid who does everything from cooking and washing to caring for the baby and the elderly and even washing the car is as good as gone.

Malaysians must now be prepared to pay more for specialised help.

Source countries such as Indo­nesia want to send upskilled helpers for specific jobs like caregiver, babysitter or nanny, and not the traditional domestic maid.

Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) president Jeffrey Foo said all that was needed now was a mechanism to ensure these helpers were properly trained and certified.

Foo said Papa was ready to work with the source countries to create a win-win situation.

“Local employers will be satisfied if they get what they are paying for, which are skilled helpers who can do the task they are hired for,” he said.

The Star reported yesterday that Malaysia is in a fix because neighbouring countries are not in favour of sending domestic help here.

Foo said Indonesia, where most of the foreign maids are from, is not closing the door entirely.

Instead, it is adopting a more professional approach with its policy to stop sending live-in maids from next year.

A possible solution, according to Foo, is for the Government to license companies to supply part-time domestic maids to households who need them.

These companies could take care of the maids’ lodging and food but this would require a shift in government policy.

Foo pointed out that foreign workers brought in as cleaners were not supposed to be sent to work as domestic maids at individual homes.

Malaysian Maid Employers Association president (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein pointed out that the current system of having maids stay under the same roof as their employers for two years was not always ideal.

“If you’re lucky, there’s harmony. Otherwise, you get two years of disharmony,” he said.

He echoed the view for local agencies to be allowed a supply of part-time maids.

Engku Ahmad Fauzi said there were currently different expectations between local employers and source countries such as Indonesia.

In Indonesia, helpers are hired and trained as caregivers to take care of infants, children and the elderly or as domestic workers who cook, clean and tidy.

M. Sarkuna, a 40-year-old Indonesian maid working here, said those who took care of babies, children and the elderly earned at least RM800 in Jakarta, while those who cooked could take home about RM700.

“The starting pay for those who do household work is only RM500,” she said.

In Malaysia, Engku Ahmad Fauzi said employers often took for granted that maids had to multi-task.

He said the best and most well-trained helpers were not sent here, yet “Malaysian employers want to pay the lowest for the best”.

The way forward, at least in the short term, was to hire maids from cheaper and better source countries besides Indonesia and Philippines, he said.

“But Malaysians need to stop depending on domestic maids in the long run,” he added.

By Neville Spykerman The Star

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