Who can win in South China Sea clashes?

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A People’s Liberation Army vessel firing cannons and torpedoes in a drill in the South China Sea earlier this month. Photo: Weibo
A People’s Liberation Army vessel firing cannons and torpedoes in a
drill in the South China Sea earlier this month. Photo: Weibo :


China meets with Asean diplomats to propose resuming South China Sea Talks



Without a blink, most people are likely to say the US will reign over China as America is a more advanced military/defence power with vast combat experience in the many past and present wars it has provoked or created in various parts of the world.

“In terms of military strength, it must be the US,” said Global Times’ editor-in-chief Hu Xijin in an Aug 7 comment piece on South China Sea. As the official media outlet of the Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by President Xi Jinping, Global Times’ comments are closely monitored by China watchers.

However, the influential journalist remarked that if military clashes occur off China’s coastal waters, the outcome may be “uncertain” as China’s maritime strength combined with onshore combat power may pose challenges to the US navy. But if the showdown occurs in East China Sea and it involves Taiwan, then there will be “a contest of wills as well as a contest of strength”.

Taiwan, though permitted to self-rule after 1949, is jealously guarded as part of China’s territory.

“Whoever commands a upper hand (in clashes involving Taiwan) will be decided by a combination of military strength plus morality plus the will to fight,” said Hu in his comment.

In Chinese social media, the US and its allies are reminded that present-day China cannot be bullied. It is no longer the sick man of Asia, as perceived in the 19th century. Chinese commentators often end their YouTube clips stating that a modern and powerful China will win against aggressors at all cost, with the support of 1.4 billion strong-willed and patriotic Chinese.

The will to drive the aggressor off is an important element in warfare. The withdrawal of the US from the Vietnam War (1955-1975) has shown that its military might was not enough to defeat and kill the fighting spirit of the Vietnamese people.

It is clear to many people that intensifying military exercises in South China Sea is part of the US global strategy to contain a rising China, seen by Washington as the most serious threat to its economic, technological and military superiority. With Donald Trump gearing up for a presidential election in November that many polls have indicated he is likely to lose, nobody dares rule out that this unpredictable leader may start a war outside America as a ploy to win more domestic support within the US.

Former Australian premier Kevin Rudd has warned in an article in the Foreign Affairs journal of an “especially high” risk of armed conflict between the two powers as Trump seems hell-bent to win at all cost.

“The once unthinkable outcome – actual armed conflict between the US and China – now appears possible for the first time… We are confronting the prospect of not just a new Cold War, but a hot one as well,” he wrote early this month.

There has been a greater frequency of the deployment of US warships conducting military exercises in the South China and East Seas. In response, China has also increased its drills.

Indeed, tension in the South China Sea has escalated after Washington announced on July 13 that Beijing’s claims to most parts of South China Sea are “unlawful”.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had declared in a statement: “The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire. America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources.”

The harsh tone of the US on the South China Sea has drawn support from its Western allies – particularly Australia and the United Kingdom. But within Asean – the biggest trading bloc of China since early this year, most nations have taken a neutral and cautious stance.

These states, some of which have overlapping claims with China over certain parts of South China Sea, are concerned they will become pawns and suffer when the two superpowers actually fight.

On Aug 8, Asean foreign ministers issued a joint statement calling on “all countries to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability, to refrain from the threat or the use of force, and to resolve differences and disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law”.

The statement reiterates the grouping’s commitment to maintaining South-East Asia as a region of peace, security, neutrality and stability.

Many analysts believe that Pompeo’s tough talk is a ploy to help Trump’s re-election and partly an effort to divert attention from Trump’s bungled response to the Covid-19 pandemic and his falling poll numbers.

Pompeo’s tough stance on China, though not openly supported by Asean, is quietly welcomed by some anti-China quarters within the blog. It is to be noted that China’s construction of islands and reefs in the South China Sea in recent years has caused discomfort among Asean members.

Though China has often said the construction is carried out on their waters and mainly for civil purposes, it has also built and placed defence facilities on them.

Regardless of the reaction from China and Asean, Washington has not lessened its military manoeuvres.

According to the mainland’s think tank, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, the US military has significantly increased large reconnaissance aircraft activities to 67 in July, compared to 35 in May and 49 in June.

For the first half of this year, the US has conducted more than 2,000 military exercises and drills in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Straits and the East Sea.

US spy aircraft reportedly made intensive flights when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was conducting operations.

In July, US reconnaissance aircraft entered areas within 70 nautical miles of China’s territorial sea baseline nine times, six times within 60 nautical miles, and in the closest event, about 40 nautical miles away from China’s sea baseline.

The close-up spying is seen by China as a demonstration of military muscle and a provocation by the US, which reportedly has all-round, advanced spying technologies and high frequency aerial reconnaissance.

Hence, based on military strength alone, a Forbes magazine writer shares the view of most military analysts that the

US has an upper hand.

On Aug 9, Forbes’ aerospace and defence writer David Axe wrote: “The US military probably has enough warplanes to win a war with China in the western Pacific.”

But he cautioned a caveat. He noted the US doesn’t have enough bases in that faraway part of the world as a battleground.

“The amount of air power China and the US can bring to bear in a war over the South China Sea depends in large part on how many bases each country can set up, supply and protect within 500 miles of the major battle zones.

“Distance is the greatest destroyer of tactical airpower. Most modern fighters can fly no farther than 500 miles from their bases. Refueling tankers realistically can add a few hundred miles to a fighter’s combat radius.”

The writer suggested that the US army could create bases by “dropping paratroopers or landing marines” on some of China’s islands and reefs.

However, in the same breath, he conceded that this strategy may not succeed as China has since 2013 built unmoving aircraft carriers in the form of outposts in the Spratly and Paracel island chains.

The island bases, plus the airfields along the coast in southeast China, allow Beijing to disperse its warplanes. This dispersal can help to protect planes from US missile and bomber raids, he wrote.

But if the US military really occupies China’s islands and reefs, it will spark the start of a full scale war with China, Global Times’ editor warned.

“The US troops will have to face an all-out counterattack from the PLA and will certainly pay a heavy price for their reckless decisions,” warned Hu in his comment in Global Times.

According to a South China Morning Post report dated Aug 9, America is looking to outgun PLA in the Indo-Pacific and its military chiefs are reviewing their deployments to ensure they have sufficient firepower and troops.

However, Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie believes the PLA has sufficient firepower to take on American fleets in the event of an offshore battle.

“China’s Type PCL191 multiple launch rocket systems, which have a range up to 400km, and other rocket launchers are the most efficient low-cost option for dealing with head-to-head conflicts,” the Post quoted Li as saying.

Despite facing all kinds of insults from the US, political interference in Hong Kong and military incitement in the South China Sea, China has exercised restraint.

It may not fire the first shot, most reports indicate.

China has told its service personnel “not to fire the first shot” in the increasingly frequent stand-offs with US planes and warships, South China Morning Post reported on Aug 12 citing sources familiar with Chinese thinking.

But still, the combat-ready PLA armed with its advanced equipment is always on its highest alert, said military experts last week on China’s CCTV Mandarin channel.

Due to the tense situation, countries in the region are worried that there may be “accidental clashes” that could lead to full-scale war that will hurt regional and global trade.

As a vital artery of trade for many of the world’s largest economies, about US$4-5 trillion (RM16.7-RM20.9 trillion) worth of goods transits through the waterway annually. Hence, if a war erupts in South China Sea, all will be losers – including the US and China.

It certainly will not boost Trump’s electoral chances if the war drags on to become another “Vietnam War” for the US and Americans.


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CHINA AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY COOPERATION by Gen. Wei Fenghe, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense, PRC

It gives me great pleasure to attend the 18th Shangri-la Dialogue. I would like to thank Dr. John Chipman for inviting me here and thank the Singapore government, the Ministry of Defense in particular, for the warm hospitality. I would also like to congratulate His Excellency Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on his excellent keynote address the other day. This is my first attendance at the Shangri-la Dialogue as China’s defense minister. I am here for mutual confidence, cooperation and peace. I am glad to speak on China and International Security Cooperation.

I. Humanity is at a crossroad. Building a community with a shared future for mankind is the right path forward and the trend of the times.

The world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Destabilizing, uncertain factors and challenges continue to rise. President Xi Jinping’s great vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind is the answer to harmonious coexistence of people across the world, the effective solution to global problems and the right path towards world peace and human progress. We take note that the US expounded on its perspective on regional affairs yesterday. We believe that any such perspective should take into account the common security and interests of regional countries. No approaches to regional issues should resort to military blocs, nor should they undermine the interests of others. We hold different views with the US side on several issues, and firmly oppose its wrong words and actions concerning Taiwan and the South China Sea. Now let’s think about the following questions:

First, which should we choose, peace and development or conflict and confrontation? Peace and development remain the call of our times and the trend of history. However, global and regional hotspots flare up one after another and the risk of conflict and war persists. What is the cause for regional wars and conflicts, the spread of terrorism, the chaos in the Middle East and the refugee crisis in Europe? Who are behind all these and what is the root cause? These are the questions to be reflected on. Some deliberately create division and hostility, provoke confrontation, meddle with regional affairs, interfere in internal affairs of others, and frequently resort to arms. Whose interests on earth do they serve and whose do they harm?

Second, which should we choose, openness and inclusiveness or isolation and exclusiveness? See the world with an open and inclusive mind, and there will be friends and partners everywhere. See the world with a narrow and exclusive mind, and there are only enemies and adversaries. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, lately we see a growing backlash against globalization and a surge of protectionism. A certain country champions unilateralism, puts its own interests before others, withdraws from international treaties and organizations. Aren’t there many countries suffering from the willful infringement and sanctions?

Third, which should we choose, win-win cooperation or zero-sum game? Win-win cooperation makes the pie bigger and brings more benefits to all. However, zero-sum game makes no winner and harms the interests of both sides. Currently, over 150 countries and international organizations have proactively joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Not long ago, over 6,000 delegates from 150 countries and 92 international organizations gathered in Beijing for the second  Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. People can tell what is right.

Fourth, which should we choose, mutual learning among civilizations or arrogance and prejudice? A few days ago, China successfully hosted the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations. We believe that human civilizations are and should be colorful, equal, inclusive and willing to learn from each other. Not a single civilization should be worshiped or belittled. There are scars and tragedies in the history of human civilization which do not go away, to name only a few, the enslavement of Africans, the expulsion of native American Indians, the colonization in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and the killing of Jewish people. Unfortunately, some people recently pick up the decadent idea of “clash of civilizations”. As racist and narrow-minded as it is, this is not right. How can we tolerate such a regress of history?

II. Facing complex and volatile international security situation, the Chinese government and armed forces stay committed to regional and world prosperity and stability.

Those who are familiar with China’s modern history must know that the country was once poor and weak and went through enormous misery. The Chinese people know only too well the value of peace and the cruelty and destructiveness of war. Over the years, some have been recklessly hyping up, exaggerating and dramatizing the “China threat theory”, partly due to the lack of understanding of China’s history, culture and policies, but more likely due to misunderstanding, prejudice, or even a hidden agenda.

China sticks to the path of peaceful development. Such a commitment is underpinned by China’s socialist system, the independent foreign policy of peace, and the cultural tradition that values peace and harmony. China shall follow the path of peaceful development, which is a solemn commitment to the people of China and the world. This has been written into the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, thus reaffirmed as the will of the CPC and the state. If this is not even convincing enough for some people, then we don’t know what they would believe? Over the past 70 years since the founding of the P.R.C., China has never provoked a war or conflict, nor has it ever invaded another country or taken an inch of land from others. In the future, no matter how strong it becomes, China shall never threaten anyone, seek hegemony or establish spheres of influence. History has proven and will continue to prove that China will not follow the beaten path of big powers seeking hegemony when it grows strong. Hegemony does not conform to China’s values and national interests.

China adopts a military strategy of active defense. China’s military strategy adheres to the principles of defense, self-defense and post-strike response. It stresses that “we will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked”. China develops its military entirely for self-defense. The purpose is to defend the country and provide the people with a peaceful working environment, and ensure that our people are free from the disasters of war and enjoy a better life. We have never bullied or preyed on others, and we shall not let others bully or prey on us either. China develops its military to cope with security threats. Similar scenario can be found in the past when China had to develop nuclear capabilities of its own under nuclear threat. China’s defense expenditure is reasonable and appropriate. China enhances national defense in order to meet the legitimate needs to defend its own security as well as contribute to the world force for peace.

The Chinese military is dedicated to safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests. The PLA is the people’s force under the leadership of the CPC. The PLA has fought many battles and is not afraid of sacrifice. In face of aggression, coercion or hardships, it has stridden forward from victory to victory. The more severe the pressure and difficulties are, the stronger and braver the Chinese people become. Adversity only brings our nation greater solidarity and strength. As the lyrics of the Chinese national anthem go, “Arise, all those who do not want be enslaved. Let’s build the new Great Wall with our flesh and blood.” Faced with daunting and complex security challenges, the PLA vows not to yield a single inch of the country’s sacred land, but it shall not seize anything from others either. The PLA has no intention to cause anybody trouble, but it is not afraid to face up to troubles. Should anyone risk crossing the bottom line, the PLA will resolutely take action and defeat all enemies.

The Chinese military stays committed to safeguarding regional and world security and stability. China is an active supporter of UN Peacekeeping Operations. It is the largest troop contributor among the permanent members of the UN Security Council and a major contributor of funds. We have established a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops that is ready to be deployed. For years, China has been active in promoting bilateral and multilateral security cooperation. The China-Russia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination has been running at a high level. The state-to-state and military-to-military relations between China and the US remain generally stable, despite twists and difficulties. We have strengthened the sense of shared destiny with ASEAN countries, deepened traditional friendship with India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries, maintained peaceful coexistence and good-neighborliness with surrounding countries, and built good relationship with the countries and militaries of Africa and Latin America. In October this year, China will host the 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum. We welcome defense and military leaders and scholars from all over the world to attend the Forum.

III. While striving for common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific, we must respect the core interests and accommodate the security concerns of all.

China advocates that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. We should respect and accommodate the legitimate security concerns of one another. China understands and respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries, and supports the social systems and development paths they independently choose. China is not able to progress in isolation from the rest of the world; the world also needs China to prosper. We in China do not covet the interests, nor envy the development, of others. However, we shall never give up our legitimate rights and interests. No country should ever expect China to allow its sovereignty, security and development interests to be infringed upon. As for the recent trade friction started by the US, if the US wants to talk, we will keep the door open. If they want a fight, we will fight till the end. As what the general public of China says these days, “A talk? Welcome. A fight? Ready. Bully us? No way.” I would like to further illustrate China’s position on a few issues you may be interested in.

First, on Taiwan. The Taiwan question bears on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Not a single country in the world would tolerate secession. I visited the US last year. American friends told me that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest American president because he led the country to victory in the Civil War and prevented the secession of the US. The US is indivisible, so is China. China must be and will be reunified. We find no excuse not to do so. If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs for national unity. Hereby, I have a message for the DPP authorities and the external forces. First, no attempts to split China shall succeed. Second, foreign intervention in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure. We took note that the US side mentioned the Taiwan Relations Acts in yesterday’s speech. Is it of Taiwan or the US? Is it a Chinese law or an international law? We can find no justifiable reasons for the US to interfere in the Taiwan question by its domestic law. Third, any underestimation of the PLA’s resolve and will is extremely dangerous. We will strive for the prospects of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and greatest efforts, but we make no promise to renounce the use of force. Safeguarding national unity is a sacred duty of the PLA. If the PLA cannot even safeguard the unity of our motherland, what do we need it for?

Second, on the South China Sea. The current situation in the South China Sea is improving towards greater stability. It is attributed to the common efforts of the countries in the region. However, there are always people trying to rake in profits by stirring up troubles in the region. Before the Dialogue, I paid a visit to Vietnam and Singapore and reached broad consensus with Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich and Dr. Ng Eng Hen on maintaining the stability in the South China Sea. I have a few questions concerning the issue to discuss with you.

First, who on earth is threatening security and stability in the South China Sea? Over 100,000 ships sail through the South China Sea each year. None has been threatened. The problem, however, is that in recent years some countries outside the region come to the South China Sea to flex muscles, in the name of freedom of navigation. The large-scale force projection and offensive operations in the region are the most serious destabilizing and uncertain factors in the South China Sea.

Second, who would benefit and who would suffer from the chaos in the South China Sea? In case of chaos in the South China Sea, we, the regional countries, are the ones to take the blunt. What are the purposes for certain countries to send military vessels and aircraft all the way from afar to the region? Aren’t there enough examples that some big countries intervene in regional affairs, make troubles, walk away and leave a mess behind?

Third, should the stability in the South China Sea be maintained by countries in the region or outside the region? China and ASEAN countries have made positive progress in negotiating the COC. We hope that relevant parties will not underestimate the wisdom and ability of regional countries to properly handle differences and maintain peace. However, we welcome constructive suggestions from all countries.

Fourth, is China’s construction on its South China Sea islands and reefs militarization? It is the legitimate rights of a sovereign state to carry out construction on its own territory. China built limited defense facilities on the islands and reefs for self-defense. Where there are threats, there are defenses. In face of heavily armed warships and military aircraft, how can we stay impervious and not build some defense facilities?

Third, on the DPRK nuclear issue. China is committed to denuclearization, peace and stability of the Peninsula and to a negotiated solution through dialogue and consultation. In recent years, the Chinese side has made active efforts in promoting peace talks and played an irreplaceable and constructive role. We hope that the US and the DPRK will accommodate each other’s concerns with cool heads and patience, work towards the same goal and resume the dialogue for peace at an early date. The US and the DPRK should follow the dual-track approach and combine denuclearization with the establishment of a peace mechanism. We hope that the international community will positively respond to the legitimate concerns of the DPRK, trigger the reversible clause of the UN Security Council resolutions in due course, push for a declaration on the end of the war, and actively build trust among all parties.

Fourth, on China-US relations. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the US. Despite all the ups and downs, China-US relationship has been steadily growing in the past 40 years. The most valuable lesson we have learned from the 4-decade-long relationship is that cooperation benefits the two sides while confrontation hurts both. Looking forward, the two countries should follow the consensus by the two heads of state and promote a China-US relationship featuring coordination, cooperation and stability. Through continued communication, the militaries of the two countries have agreed on many important issues. First, in terms of implementing the consensus of the heads of state, the two militaries agreed on building their relationship a stabilizer for the overall relations. Second, we agree on maintaining regular communication on the strategic level. The day before yesterday, I had a candid and practical discussion with Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining communication and to develop a constructive military-to-military relationship. Third, in terms of managing risks and preventing conflicts, the two sides recognize that military conflicts or even a war between them would bring disasters to both countries and the world. It takes two to cooperate, but only one to start a fight. We hope that the US side will work with us towards the same goal, follow the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and steer the China-US relations in the right direction.

The achievement China has made in the past 70 years since the country was founded is not a windfall or a handout from others. Neither was it made by engaging in military expansion or colonial exploitation. Instead, the country has developed through its people’s hard work, wisdom and bravery as well as the win-win cooperation with the world since reform and opening-up. At present, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China enjoys political stability, social cohesion and steady economic growth. Blessed with peace, harmony, prosperity and good governance, the country is making progress on all fronts. The Chinese people are committed to realizing the Chinese Dream of great national rejuvenation. The Chinese military is ready to work with the armed forces of other Asia-Pacific countries to jointly respond to challenges, promote the building of an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future and safeguard peace and stability in the region.
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June 4 immunized China against turmoil


June 4 marks the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have determined the nature of the incident. Chinese society has also made a comprehensive summary of it. Dropping the incident thereafter has been aimed at helping the country leave the shadow behind, avoid disputes, and help all Chinese people face the future.

We consider such practice a political success, although some people have criticized it from the perspective of news governance. Merely afflicting China once, the incident has not become a long-term nightmare for the country. Neither has the incident’s anniversary ever been placed in the teeth of the storm. It has become a faded historical event, rather than an actual entanglement.

The Chinese government’s control of the incident in 1989 has been a watershed marking the differences between China and former Eastern European socialist countries, including the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Since the incident, China has successfully become the world’s second largest economy, with rapid improvement of people’s living standards. The policy of avoiding arguing has served as a contributor to the country’s economic take-off.

Today’s China obviously has no political conditions to suddenly reproduce the riot of 30 years ago. Chinese society, including its intellectual elite, is now far more mature than it was in 1989. In those years, China’s reform was carried out prior to those of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. China was completely inexperienced, with an intellectual circle filled with idealism. Chinese society today has seen enough of the political tragedies that occurred in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and some Arab countries.

Having become politically mature, we now understand the significance of the country’s continuous development through evolutions instead of revolutions. We are also aware of the difficulties and complexity at the practical level.

As a vaccination for the Chinese society, the Tiananmen incident will greatly increase China’s immunity against any major political turmoil in the future.

We have noticed that every year around June 4, certain forces outside the Chinese mainland stir up public opinion and attack China. Such forces consist of two groups of people: student leaders and dissidents who fled abroad after 1989, and Western politicians and media outlets.

The first group’s understanding of the incident remains fixed in 1989. They refuse to correct their understanding of China’s development and the changes that the world has been through. Their interests have been decoupled from the Chinese people and have merged with anti-China forces outside China. Their attitude toward the incident cannot represent those of today’s Chinese public.

Western politicians’ discussions of the incident are mainly influenced by their countries’ relations with China. Due to the deterioration of China-US ties, US officials have launched fierce attacks against China that have focused on the incident since last year. But Chinese people are clear that those officials are not genuinely concerned about Chinese human rights, but are making use of the incident as a diplomatic tool to challenge China.

However, all these noises will have no real impact on Chinese society. The actions of the external forces are completely in vain.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug war confuses US, allies

Quotes: ‘Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte surprised the Western world recently by threatening to “separate from the UN,” and saying he would invite China and African countries to form a new international body.’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte surprised the Western world recently by threatening to “separate from the UN,” and saying he would invite China and African countries to form a new international body.

Duterte’s threat came in response to the UN’s criticism of his anti-drug war that has seen more than 700 suspected drug traffickers shot dead on the spot by the military and police.

Philippine society is severely afflicted by drugs. Statistics show there are over 3.7 million drug addicts in the country, and drug dealers have formed a secure business network in collaboration with corrupt authorities. Duterte has publicly allowed military police officers to fire at will if necessary, and he has even encouraged vigilantes to kill defiant drug traffickers.

Duterte’s new policy has won him great popularity and more than 600,000 drug traffickers and addicts turned themselves in half a month. However, the harshness of the anti-drug war has annoyed many Western media and human rights groups, which keep blaming Duterte for violating the rule of law and human rights.

Duterte’s lash-out against the UN also featured criticism of the US. “Why are you Americans killing the black people there, shooting them down when they are already on the ground?” he asked. He also blamed the UN for not doing enough to deal with the human rights crises that are happening in Iraq and Syria and allowing big powers to bomb villagers and children.

Duterte’s outspokenness makes him stick out among US allies. He was even dubbed the Philippines’ Donald Trump before he was elected. His big mouth has raised concerns among the US and Japan particularly, which do not know whether he just talks, or he will walk the talk.

The Philippines’ biggest value for the US and Japan is its territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. Washington and Tokyo hope Duterte could remain aggressive like his predecessor Benigno Aquino III and continue serving as a bridgehead for their geopolitical game against China, but Duterte does not find this role tempting. He knows that the US and Japan will benefit in the South China Sea tensions, not the Philippines.

Duterte does not want his energy to be heavily consumed by the long-standing territorial disputes, but wants to put more effort into domestic governance. His first action is to eliminate the most disturbing problem of drugs. However, even though his radical move has gained popularity among the Filipinos, it is against the Western-branded universal value of human rights.

If the anti-drug war continues to expand in the future, pressures from the US and the rest of the Western world will rise dramatically, and the Philippine-US relationship will also be victimized and become bumpy.

The Philippines and the US are close allies with many rifts. Manila needs Washington, but holds aversion to any aggressive intervention in the Philippines’ home affairs. This, instead of the South China Sea disputes, is the crux that lies within Philippine society. – 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.

Telegraph.co.uk – 

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


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PLA Air Force conducts combat air patrol in South China Sea

Undated photo shows a Chinese H-6K bomber patrolling islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao in the South China Sea. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a combat air patrol in the South China Sea recently, which will become a “regular” practice in the future, said a military spokesperson on July 18, 2016. The PLA sent H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao, said Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force. (Xinhua/Liu Rui)

China to make ‘regular’ air combat patrols over South China Sea

 The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted acombat air patrol in the South China Sea recently, which will become a

‘regular’ practice in the future, said a military spokesperson on Monday. http://t.cn/Rtz9LNO

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a combat air patrol in the South China Sea recently, which will become a “regular” practice in the future, said a military spokesperson on Monday.

The PLA sent H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao, said Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force.

During the mission, the aircraft carried out tasks including aerial scouting, air combat and island and reef patrol, fulfilling the patrol’s objective, Shen said.

The Air Force aims to promote real combat training over the sea, improve combat abilities against various security threats and safeguard national sovereignty and security, according to the spokesperson.

“To effectively fulfill its mission, the air force will continue to conduct combat patrols on a regular basis in the South China Sea,” he said.

Shen pointed out that the South China Sea Islands have been China’s territory since ancient times, and China’s rights and interests in relevant maritime areas should not be infringed upon.

“The PLA Air Force will firmly defend national sovereignty, security and maritime interests, safeguard regional peace and stability, and cope with various threats and challenges,” he said.

Chinese naval commander urges more cooperation with US

The commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy Wu Shengli has stressed that China and the United States have key roles in ensuring peace and stability in the South China Sea, and cooperation
between the navies of the two countries is ‘the only correct option.’http://t.cn/Rtz9Mir

Wu made the remarks on Monday while meeting with his U.S. counterpart Admiral John Richardson and his delegation to discuss maritime security.

Describing the current security situation in waters around China as “complicated and sensitive” and noting the escalating South China Sea issue, Wu said Richardson’s visit will be beneficial for the two countries to strengthen communication, promote trust, resolve doubts and avoid misjudgments.

“We will never sacrifice our sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea,” Wu said, stressing that it is China’s “core interest” and concerns the foundation of the Party’s governance, the country’s security and stability and the Chinese nation’s basic interests.

Wu said that China will not recede over territorial sovereignty or fear any military provocation, which the Chinese navy is fully prepared to cope with.

“We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway… the Nansha Islands are China’s inherent territory, and our necessary construction on the islands is reasonable, justified and lawful,” Wu said.

He stressed that “no matter what country or person applies pressure,” China will push forward and complete island construction as planned.

According to Wu, China will never be caught off guard, and the number of its defense facilities is completely determined by the number of threats it faces.

Wu vowed that China will never give up its efforts to solve the South China Sea issue peacefully, despite “many negative factors at present,” but also warned that “any attempt to force China to give in through flexing military muscles will only have the opposite effect.”

Wu expressed his hope that the two countries’ air and maritime forces fully follow the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters to avoid strategic misjudgment or exchange of fire, and to jointly ensure the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Wu called on the two sides to promote strategic mutual trust, seek common ground, expand the scope of cooperation and create new momentum for China and the United States to develop a new type of major-power relations between the two countries.


Wu: China won’t halt construction in South China Sea

Admiral Wu Shengli, the Commander of the Chinese Navy, has
held talks in Beijing with the US Chief of Naval Operations John
Richardson, amid tensions in the South China Sea.

South China Sea arbitration award won’t hamper China-ASEAN cooperation: experts

SINGAPORE, July 18, 2016 (Xinhua) — Photo taken on July 18, 2016 shows the Think Tank Seminar on South China Sea and Regional Cooperation and Development held in Singapore. Organized by the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the seminar attracted more than 20 experts from academic institutes in China and countries in the region, including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)

SINGAPORE, July 18 (Xinhua) — The so-called South China Sea arbitration award will not hamper cooperation between China and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), experts said here on Monday.

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

China has refused to participate in the proceedings, reiterating that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence related to territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation, and has also made clear that it neither accepts nor recognizes the award and the award “is null and void and has no binding force.”

China has also reaffirmed that it will continue to endeavor to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea with parties directly concerned through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.

Nearly one week after the so-called award was rendered, more than 20 experts on international law and foreign relations from academic institutes in China and Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia convened here Monday for the Think Tank Seminar on South China Sea and Regional Cooperation and Development, which was organized by the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In a keynote speech at the seminar, Zhao Qizheng, former minister of China’s State Council Information Office, reiterated that the ad hoc arbitral tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case.

Zhao said the Philippine tax payers’ money was used for a pile of waste paper, blasting the tribunal for “taking big money to do dirty things” and describing its proceedings as “amateurish and unsightly, null and void.”

Zhao’s remarks were echoed by attendees, who also agreed with Zhao that the disputes can only be settled through dialogue and by deepening China-ASEAN ties.

Kong Lingjie, vice dean of China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, China’s Wuhan University, criticized the so-called arbitration, branding it as “a bold interpretation and ambitious development of article 123(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“The most absurd ruling was on the Taiping Island’s status as a rock,” said Kong, adding that the ruling would deny most of the Nansha Islands’ rights to exclusive economic zones.

In this case, Kong said, the arbitration violated the international law and fabricated “an illegal definition of the distinction between islands and reefs.”

Experts at the seminar also voiced support for the notion of bringing concerned parties involved in the South China Sea issue back to the negotiating table.

Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, said he believes that China and the Philippines should start the dialogue process to solve the dispute.

“It is not true that a great power has been bullying small countries,” Zheng said, noting that certain countries in the region kowtow too much to the United States.

Zheng suggested that China and other concerned parties over the South China Sea issue could firstly initiate cooperation in maritime rescue efforts, fishery and protection of maritime resources.

At the one-day seminar, experts, in addition, all agreed that the arbitration would not impede the cooperation process between China and the ASEAN countries.

Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the seminar that there lies a huge potential for the development of China-ASEAN ties.

“With the strategic opportunity produced by China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative, the two sides are planning to upgrade their free trade agreement,” Li said.

Zhao Qizheng, meanwhile, underscored the fact that China became ASEAN’s biggest trade partner in 2009.

He said that despite the difficulties, including territorial disputes, the intervention of countries outside the region and the not well-established cooperation mechanism, the communication and cooperation between China and the ASEAN members has never ceased and has brought great benefits to all countries.

“It is beyond doubt that maintaining regional peace and stability, and keeping the momentum of cooperation and development is in the best interest of all,” Zhao said.

– by Zhang Ning, Lin Hao Xinhua

Experts: ‘Award’ won’t settle disputes

Nearly 30 legal and political experts from China and Southeast Asian countries have compared notes on the South China Sea arbitration case at a think-tank seminar in Singapore.

Biased award in South China Sea arbitration has no binding force: expert

SINGAPORE, July 18 (Xinhua) — The biased award rendered by an arbitral tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration has no binding force as the ad hoc tribunal violated international law principles and standards, an expert said here on Monday.

Sienho Yee, chief expert at the Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies of Wuhan University, said the arbitral tribunal adopted an excessively expansive interpretation of the jurisdictional grant, played a game of words, and distorted the text of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The wrongful exercise by the tribunal did a substantial damage to the international rule of law, he said, adding that it had failed to consider and respect the limitations imposed by UNCLOS and China’s intents and purposes in invoking its explicit right under the convention to exclude disputes concerning maritime delimitation and historic titles.

“It is manifestly clear that the tribunal abuses its power and as a result the award is null and avoid,” he told Xinhua during a think tank seminar on South China Sea and regional cooperation and development.

Yee also pointed out that the arbitral award was not generally accepted, so they would be with no binding force.

“The large number of states supporting China’s positions seems to show that the decisions of the tribunal are not generally acceptable and therefore are without binding force,” he said.

The Chinese government said the ad hoc arbitral tribunal established at the unilateral request of the Philippines has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and the award rendered by it is null and void with no binding force.

The tribunal had exemplified the philosophy of “the end justifies the means” by excessively expansive interpretation of the jurisdictional grant and the sweeping final award, in a bid to exhibit its determination to settle any dispute that may exist in its view, while disregarding any other issues such as respect for the sovereignty of the states involved, said Yee.

“The danger of this philosophy to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the international legal system, international rule of law and the world order at large is clear, and we must guard against this danger,” he said.

Unmasks manipulator behind South China Sea arbitration

Citing a survey from the Xinhua News Agency, a People’s Daily article has unmasked Shunji Yanai as a manipulator behind the null South China Sea arbitration.

Shunji Yanai (Photo: http://www.itlos.org)

Published on Monday, the article names Yanai, a Japanese diplomat and former president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), played a key role in the case. He appointed four of the five-member arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea case, the fifth appointed by the Philippines.

Yanai appointed the four members because China did not agree to the arbitration.

Rightist, hawkish, pro-American, unfriendly to China…these are the labels people often associate with Yanai, the article said. His closeness to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also no secret. Such an academic and political background also speaks for his political inclination during his tenure in the ITLOS.

Coming from a diplomatic family, Yanai entered the Japanese Foreign Ministry upon graduation in 1961, where he was involved in sensitive projects related to the Diaoyu Islands and the Japan-US security alliance.

But in 2001, he left the Foreign Ministry along with three other officials amid a series of embezzlement scandals within the ministry.

However Yanai, on recommendation of Japan despite his tainted record, became a judge of the ITLOS in 2005 and president of the organization from 2011 to 2014.

After the Philippines unilaterally initiated the arbitration case against China in 2013, a five-member arbitral tribunal was created by Yanai, the then president of the ITLOS.

The Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, adopted by the UN to better maintain justice, stipulated that the extra-judicial activities conducted by the judges and arbitrators should not contradict their work or impede the judicial process.

However, Yanai also served as a mastermind of the Japanese government on military actions and security policies when he worked for the ITLOS.

With close ties to Abe, Yunai served as chairman of an expert panel advising the prime minister on security laws. In May 2014, his panel presented a report to Abe, advising to revise the country’s constitution and lift the ban on Japan sending its military overseas.

As a result, Japan, in 2015, ended its 70 years of pacifism by enacting controversial security laws that allow for Japan to dispatch troops overseas to engage in armed conflict.

As conflicts between China and Japan over the sovereignty and delimitation of the Diaoyu Islands increased in recent years, Yanai advocated to lift the ban on Japan sending its military overseas and expanding the Japan-US military alliance to gain a military edge.

Given the maritime conflicts and historical issues between China and Japan, as well as Yanai’s political leanings, he is not the right person to engage in the South China Sea issue. Also, it is not surprising that Yanai generally chose arbitrators that were biased against China.

In addition, the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary also clarify that in exercising rights, judges shall always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of their office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.

However, Yanai has a clear political position as a rightist. During his term on the private panel, he repeatedly told Japanese media that the country has not given up its right to collective self-defense as prescribed in their constitution.

In a program by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, he also asked Japan to resort to the Japan-US Security Treaty for security assurance, claiming that the UN is useless in this regard, thus exposing his double-sided nature.

“From the results of the arbitration, people can see that it was conducted by a bunch of people who knew very little about South China Sea issues,” said Motofumi Asai, a former official of the Japanese Foreign Ministry in charge of China affairs and a former colleague of Yanai.

“The arbitration was obviously conducted in accordance to the will of the Abe administration,” he said.

All these facts prove that Yanai’s political background and leaning run counter to the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary. Yanai’s tribunal was flawed in both justice and validity from the very first day of its establishment, the article concluded. –  (People’s Daily Online)


Japan’s interference makes summit unlikely


 Philippine media: Gov’t spent $30 mln on arbitration

Philippine media report that the government spent 30 million US dollars on the South China Sea arbitration case over the past three and half years. Neither the Philippines nor the tribunal have given details of that spending. But we can get some idea from published charges and past tribunal fees.
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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

Video:  https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/GmDJNOpizZ0

Manila wants to https://youtu.be/Cvt4xjyWH7Yentrench 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

Video: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Cvt4xjyWH7Y

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

Video: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/vtvRkyjL4wQ

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

Video:  https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/L1codx6AsR4

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.

Philippine president-elect Duterte may shift Manila’s foreign policy, have limited room for change on maritime disputes

The polls opened on Monday for general elections, including the race for the president, in the Philippines. As of press time, Rodrigo Duterte, also known as “the Donald Trump of the Philippines” has assumed a big lead with 39 percent of votes, and is believed to have secured his position as the country’s next president.

The 71-year-old Duterte has been mayor of Davao City for over 20 years. But his remarks are far more aggressive than those of US presidential candidate Trump. He has claimed that if he is elected, he will eliminate corruption and crime in this nation within several months and execute 100,000 criminals and dump them into Manila Bay. Not long ago, Duterte even vowed to “forget human rights.”

Duterte has also left a strong impression that his concept of foreign policy differs greatly to that of President Benigno Aquino III. He opposes the idea of going to war with China, wants direct negotiation with Beijing about the South China Sea, and doesn’t believe in solving the conflict through an international tribunal.

The overwhelming support Duterte received over and above the other contenders suggests there is strong dissatisfaction in the country with Aquino’s six-year rule. Though the country enjoyed 6 percent annual growth for the past six years, the public failed to benefit from it. The electorate is also fed up with Aquino’s lopsided South China Sea strategy – siding completely with Washington which brought no advantage to Manila.

The public cares most about livelihoods and nationalistic slogans cannot feed them. It is reported that the 40 richest families in the Philippines own 76 percent of the country’s total assets. The country is afflicted with corruption and hereditary politics, and as punishment, the Aquino-backed candidate is languishing far behind.

It won’t be possible for Duterte to turn the domestic Philippine political arena upside down. Being only a mayor of Davao in the past years, he has no power to move the entire nation. He was obviously bragging when asserting he would eliminate corruption in six months. In an era of rising populism, it seems that a “big mouth” can always be popular wherever they are.

But if there is anything that can be changed by Duterte, it will be diplomacy. Many believe that whoever assumes office will adjust the nations’ unscrupulous policy toward China. If the new leader wants to manifest his or her difference from the previous president, as well as to make achievements, improving ties with Beijing is the shortest way.

China will not be too naïve to believe that a new president will bring a promising solution to the South China Sea disputes between Beijing and Manila. However, it sounds accurate that Philippine ties with China have already been through an all-time low during Aquino’s presidency. Only time will tell how far the new leader, be it Duterte or not, will go toward restoring the bilateral relationship.

Exclusive interview with Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang


Lu Kang: China hopes new gov’t in Philippines will work to solve disputes

CCTV Foreign Affairs Reporter Su Yuting spoke with Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, for more on China’s stance towards the
Philippine election and the South China Sea Issue.


Duterte may have limited room for change on maritime disputes

Rodrigo Duterte, the hard-liner mayor of Davao City, seemed to be the sure winner of the presidential election in the Philippines Monday. Duterte shares different political views from the outgoing president Benigno Aquino, and how the China-Philippines relationship will develop after the election is worth exploring.

The South China Sea dispute is at the core of the relationship between Beijing and Manila, yet Duterte’s comments on the issue are self-contradictory. Although he suggested settling the disputes via direct negotiations with China, and proposed the principle of shelving differences and conducting joint development in the South China Sea, Duterte also vowed to ride a jet ski to Huangyan Island and plant the national flag there.

Despite the above statements, Duterte is a more practical politician compared with his predecessor. The new government is expected to see adjustments in its South China Sea policy.

However, the room for adjustments is squeezed by the US and the Aquino administration. To begin with, Washington and Manila have reached a series of cooperative agreements including a 10-year long Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and a five-year long Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative. By signing these deals, the White House, on the one hand, wants to draw the Philippines over to its side, and attempts to impose restrictions on the new government’s foreign policies on the other.

Recently, the Pentagon, by sending warplanes in the international airspace in the vicinity of Huangyan Island, has actively intervened in the South China Sea disputes. The US is always hyping up the Huangyan Island disputes and stirring up troubles against China. The US military intervention is attempting to influence the foreign policies of the new government.

Duterte’s political performances will be limited by the Aquino administration as well. The Aquino government unilaterally initiated the international arbitration in 2013 and has been obstinately pushing forward arbitral proceedings regarding the South China Sea disputes ever since.

“If the tribunal rules that the Reed Bank [Liyue Tan] belongs to the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, then of course we have the right to proceed,” Antonio Carpio, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice, urged the new government to proceed with the arbitration. The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea was also created by Aquino to unify national actions on the South China Sea issues.

Before leaving the office, Aquino will still strive to manipulate public opinion and provoke nationalist sentiments against China in every possible means. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has even introduced a Philippines Diplomatic Handbook for the new government’s reference. The Aquino administration is trying every means to exert influence on the new government and force it to accept the final verdict of the arbitration.

As mayor of Davao City, Duterte had limited political influence on the whole nation. Earlier, Aquino called on all presidential candidates to form a united front against Duterte. The hard-line new president is likely to face challenges from traditional elites and Manila. “The moment he [Duterte] tries to declare a revolutionary government, that is also going to be the day he will be removed from office,” Senator Antonio Trillanes, a former navy officer known for the failed military uprisings in 2007 and 2003, said earlier.

With his “big mouth,” Duterte is seen by many as the “Donald Trump of the Philippines.” His victory reflects Philippine citizens’ strong dissatisfaction with Aquino’s rule. The overall situation in the Philippines has not seen significant improvements in recent years. Politically, corruption is severe. Economically, the interests of the lower-class citizens have been neglected. The nation’s infrastructure is in urgent need to improve as well. The Philippines is lagging far behind its Southeast Asian neighbors. It is understandable that the Philippine citizens want a hard-line leader to change the status quo.

China has to be prepared for the negotiations with Duterte after the election. Despite the South China Sea disputes, Beijing and Manila have seen frequent people-to-people exchanges and strong economic ties in recent years. The two states should be prepared for direct communications to settle the disputes, and lead the bilateral relationship to a new level.

By Chen Qinghong Source:Global Times

The author is a research fellow at the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

US destroyer’s South China Sea show an insipid affair

If the South China Sea eventually becomes the main stage for strategic rivalries between China and the US, it will benefit China
more. The whole of Chinese society will be more resolute and it means China would have the chance to solve its peripheral and strategic problems at the same time. But the US, whose acts are prompted by greed,
will view the South China Sea as its burden sooner or later.

Chinese legal experts refute Philippine claim in South China Sea

Philippines arbitration lacks legal evidence

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Philippine presidential election a chance to settle South China Sea issues

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Philippine presidential election a chance to settle South China Sea issues

The Philippine presidential election on May 9, arguably the most contentious in decades, will see a new leader assume power because incumbent President Benigno Aquino III is barred from seeking re-election. Since Aquino is responsible for the souring of Beijing-Manila relations by endorsing Washington’s “rebalancing to Asia-Pacific” policy over the past six years, the world is waiting to see what the new Philippine government’s China policy will be.

Backed by the United States, the Aquino government has constantly sought to challenge China over the South China Sea issue, which, however, has proved to be a fool’s errand.

To begin with, Manila’s attempt to confront Beijing over its Huangyan Island has failed.

To maintain relations with the Philippines, however, China has exercised exemplary restraint in the island dispute. And the Philippines was expected to reciprocate the gesture for the sake of bilateral ties, which Aquino has long refused.

Encouraged by Washington, Manila sent military vessels to harass Chinese fishing boats and fishermen operating in waters off Huangyan Island in 2012, triggering a two-month confrontation with China’s surveillance ships. This prompted Beijing to strengthen its presence on the island, leaving no scope for Manila to encroach upon the Chinese territory.

Thanks to the Aquino administration’s accommodative policy, US troops, which the Philippine people fought strenuously to get rid of, are back in the country and will be stationed at five military bases.

Seeking Washington’s protection might not be a good move for Manila-it could even be counter-productive-because Philippine soldiers, despite being equipped and trained according to US standards, have not been able to defeat the poorly-equipped anti-government forces.

By selling its Hamilton-class cutters and other advanced weapons to the Philippines, Washington is strengthening its military alliance with Manila.

But the Philippines should realize that it is just a piece on the US chessboard. The US may make use of the Philippines to meddle in the waters of the South China Sea, but it will never get involved if it leads to open confrontation between China and the Philippines. Should a serious conflict break out between Beijing and Manila over the South China Sea issue, which is about China’s maritime sovereignty, Washington might prefer to watch from the sidelines because it does not concern the US’ core interests.

Manila’s provocations such as those around the Huangyan Island and the filing of an arbitration case in its dispute with China in the South China Sea, have a lot to do with the deteriorating bilateral relations, which have dealt a heavy blow to their trade and commercial cooperation.

As such, the incoming Philippine government should recalibrate its China policy.

But the prospects for that do not look encouraging, because the US is likely to take steps to ensure the new Philippine administration keeps serving its “rebalancing to Asia-Pacific” policy.

On the one hand, Washington is expected to ramp up its military aid to Manila in the next five years. On the other, in an attempt to hype up China’s legal construction on its South China Sea islands, the US flew six of its military planes through the international airspace near Huangyan Island last month, injecting more uncertainties into China-Philippines ties.

The Aquino government has been trying to justify its hawkish stance on the South China Sea issue and urging the incoming leadership to follow the same policy. Worse, its anti-China propaganda has seriously affected domestic opinion, as more Philippine citizens now seem to distrust China.

Given these facts, the new Philippine administration should take appropriate measures to improve Beijing-Manila ties and seek peaceful solution to bilateral disputes without becoming an expendable part of Washington’s Asia-Pacific maneuver.

By CHEN QINGHONG (China Daily)

The author is a researcher in Southeast Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

China has sound reasons to reject South China Sea arbitration

An aerial photo taken on Sept. 25, 2015 from a seaplane of Hainan Maritime Safety Administration shows the Yacheng 13-1 drilling rig during a patrol in South China Sea.(Xinhua file photo/Zhao Yingquan)


Interview: No ‘ruling’ can destroy China’s sovereignty over S. China Sea

CCTV have talked to Victor Gao, the Director of the China National Association of International Studies. He says whatever the ruling is, the end result may be the opposite of what the Philippine government wants …



https://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf http://english.cctv.com/2016/05/06/VIDEiXOWX2qORs4PH2OlXKHk160506.shtml

The Philippines’ unilateral attempt at arbitration over South China Sea disputes is not a real attempt to find a solution, but pursuit of selfish gains in the name of “rule of law.”

The core of the Beijing-Manila South China Sea dispute is territorial issue, caused by the illegal occupation of some of China’s islands and reefs since the 1970s by the Philippines, and the issue of maritime delimitation.

The arbitration violates the basic principles of international law and undermines the integrity and authority of the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS).

The court has no right to adjudicate on the case as in 2006, China exercised its right under Article 298 of the UNCLOS and made a declaration excluding compulsory arbitration on disputes concerning maritime delimitation.

The UN Charter and international law advocate peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and negotiation. The UNCLOS respects the dispute settlement procedure chosen by the parties themselves.

Meanwhile, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), signed by China and ASEAN countries, stipulates that disputes be resolved through consultation and negotiation by those directly concerned.

Therefore, China has sound reasons to reject compulsory arbitration. Whatever the result of the arbitration, it will not be binding on China.

The Philippines has distorted and abused the international arbitration mechanism, and reneged on its promise to solve disputes through negotiation.

It is also an outright lie to say that “all bilateral tools have been exhausted.”

China and the Philippines have conducted several rounds of consultations on building trust, managing disputes and promoting maritime cooperation and, during these occasions, the Philippines has never talked with China about any of the appeals it mentioned in the arbitration case.

As Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out, attempts to pressure China over an arbitration of maritime disputes is “either political arrogance or legal prejudice.”

It doesn’t hold water to say that filing for an arbitration is upholding international law, while not accepting arbitration violates international law. This is not viable in international practice .- Xinhua


China rebukes U.S. official’s criticism on South China Sea arbitration

BEIJING, April 29 (Xinhua) — A Chinese spokesperson on Friday rebuked U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks on the impending “arbitration” of the South China Sea issue, saying the United States is in no position to criticize China.

On Thursday, Blinken told a House of Representatives hearing in Washington that China “can’t have it both ways,” by being a party to the convention but rejecting its provisions, including “the binding nature of any arbitration decision.” Full story

Backgrounder: “Geng Lu Book,” encyclopedia on South China Sea

BEIJING, May 1 (Xinhua) — The “Geng Lu Book,” a historic book written between China’s Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-1911), begins with a few sentences outlining an accurate maritime navigation route of ancient Chinese fishermen sailing from the Tan Men port of China’s Hainan Province to the South China Sea.

The origin of the “Geng Lu Book” could date back to the early Ming Dynasty. The book records names of more than 100 locations in and important maritime information about the South China Sea, including sailing directions, time, distance, islands and submerged reefs, as well as sea current speeds and weather changes. Full story

Backgrounder: China has indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands

BEIJING, April 29 (Xinhua) — The Philippines, distorting and partially applying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), attempts to challenge China’s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands.

In its unilaterally-initiated arbitration, the Philippines argues that low-tide elevations and submerged reefs are part of the exclusive
economic zone and continental shelf, a claim that totally runs contrary to historical fact, reality and international law. Full story

Historical documents record China’s sovereignty in South China Sea


Taiwan Republic of China (ROC) President Ma visits Taiping Island

President Ma convenes international press conference after visits


Office of the President, ROC (Taiwan) … See us on. youtube. flickr … After arriving at Taiping Island, President Ma first heard a briefing at the Nansha Command and … a speech explaining the purpose of his visit and his hope for peace in the South China Sea. … Office of the President, Republic of China (Taiwan)

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