CHINA SAILS THROUGH 'FIRST ISLAND CHAIN' THAT INCLUDES NORTH PHL



The first island chain perimeter (marked in red). WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
 

MANILA, AUGUST 12, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani - The Chinese navy has broken through the so-called "first island chain blockade," which refers to the first major archipelagos off the East Asian mainland that include northern Philippines.

In a report by the China Daily, Chinese military observers said vessels have "gained access to the Pacific Ocean" through various waterways along the route after sailing through the "first island chain."

"The Chinese navy has the capability to cut the first island chain into several pieces," the report quoted Du Wenlong as saying. He is a senior researcher at the Academy of Military Science of the People's Liberation Army.

"Now the chain is fragmented," he added.

According to the report, the "first island chain" refers to the first major archipelagos off the East Asian continental mainland, including the Japanese archipelago, Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and the northern Philippines.

China is currently in a territorial row with Japan, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian nations as it presses its indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) through its nine-dash line claim in the waters.

The Philippine government has said that China’s claim that was based on connecting nine points in the sea virtually swallowed the whole region under its ownership.

Earlier, China President Xi Jinping said Beijing would put aside territorial disputes and seek joint maritime development in disputed waters.

However, he insisted that China would not give up its sovereignty claims.

"We love peace and will take the road of peaceful development, but we will not give up our legitimate interests and cannot sacrifice the national core interests," Xi said. "We must insist that the sovereignty belongs to us, but we can shelve the disputes, pursue joint development, promote mutually beneficial, friendly cooperation, and seek and widen common interests"

US Senate Resolution

The U.S. Senate has approved a resolution calling for a peaceful solution to the disputes in the East and South China Seas.

The resolution says China has made moves that have fueled tensions, including sending ships to disputed waters and setting up a new military garrison.

"The Senate strongly urges that all parties to maritime and territorial disputes in the region exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would undermine stability or complicate or escalate disputes, including refraining from inhabiting presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, and other features and handle their differences in a constructive manner," the resolution said.

Related story: Report: US Senate adopts reso slamming China over West Phl Sea dispute

The resolution cited "numerous dangerous and destabilizing incidents" in the region in recent years, including Chinese vessels barricading the entrance to the Scarborough Reef lagoon in April 2012 and Chinese naval and marine surveillance ships maintaining a regular presence in waters around the Second Thomas Shoal, located approximately 105 nautical miles northwest of the Philippine island of Palawan.

In a report by the Xinhua News Agency, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China "strongly" opposes the resolution.

"China expresses its strong opposition, and has already made stern representations with the U.S. side. We urge the relevant senators to respect the facts and correct their mistakes in order to avoid further complicating the issue and the regional situation," she said in a statement reported by the Chinese media.

Meanwhile, Jose Cuisia, Jr., Philippine Ambassador to the US, welcomed the US Senate resolution.

"While the US has no direct stake in the dispute, it is important for the US that freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and the observance of international laws are guaranteed," he said in a statement Friday. - with The Associated Press

China's President: Let's set aside sea disputes for development (Associated Press) | Updated August 1, 2013 - 8:30am 15 2161 googleplus1 4

BEIJING — China's president said at a high-level meeting Wednesday that Beijing would put aside territorial disputes and seek joint maritime development in disputed waters, though he insisted that China would not give up its sovereignty claims.

Xi Jinping made the remarks at a Politburo meeting, according to state-run China Central Television. The comments are a sign that China is seeking to find common ground with neighboring countries with which it has territorial disputes.

Beijing has grown more assertive in its maritime claims in recent years, and territorial disputes have flared up between China and its eastern and southern neighbors.

Xi said China would not sacrifice its core interests, but would peacefully resolve disputes with its neighbors through negotiations.

"We love peace and will take the road of peaceful development, but we will not give up our legitimate interests and cannot sacrifice the national core interests," Xi said. "We must insist that the sovereignty belongs to us, but we can shelve the disputes, pursue joint development, promote mutually beneficial, friendly cooperation, and seek and widen common interests."

Xi's comments came after the U.S. Senate approved a resolution Monday calling for a peaceful solution to the disputes in the East and South China Seas. The resolution says China has made moves that have fueled tensions, including sending ships to disputed waters and setting up a new military garrison.

Related story: Report: US Senate adopts reso slamming China over West Phl Sea dispute

The resolution drew criticism from Chinese state media, which said that China should not be blamed for rising regional tensions and that the U.S. should urge its allies to cease provocations.

Phl, US to start negotiation on increased US military presence (philstar.com) | Updated August 12, 2013 - 9:00pm 0 3 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The Philippines announced today the country would proceed instantly to negotiations with the United States on terms for increased rotational presence of American forces in the country.

At a news briefing at Camp Aguinaldo in Metro Manila today, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario announced the formal start of the negotiations on the Philippine Framework Agreement on increased Rotational Presence by American forces.

"President Benigno Aquino III has given us permission to commence consultations and negotiations regarding an agreement that will provide a framework for US increased rotational presence in the Philippines," Gazmin said.

The Philippine panel will be composed of officials from the departments of foreign affairs, defense, justice, he added.

The negotiations will enable the Philippines and US to conduct activities such as bilateral exercises, including the prepositioning of equipment for disaster response and development of Philippine facilities, among others.

"The objectives of these activities are to enhance the capabilities of both countries while strengthening the alliance between the Philippines and the United State," he added.

Del Rosario said that "we developed a policy and arrived at an understanding with the United States, our treaty ally, on increased rotational presence."

"This week, diplomacy and defense will once again intersect to secure our nation, " he added.

"For Philippine diplomacy, this raises our already deep and historic strategic relations with a key partner to even greater heights," he said.

The planned increased rotational presence of the US forces is part of the ongoing re-balancing program of the Americans in the region.

Cooperating with the US move, the Philippines plans to relocate major air force and navy camps to Subic Bay, a former US naval base in northern Philippines. The Philippines will station warships and fighter jets at the base, which will also be opened to the United States.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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