PH SEEKS MORE U.S. NAVY SHIPS AMID CHINA THREAT

The Philippines wants to acquire two more navy ships from the United States to
boost its maritime protection amid threats from China, Armed Forces Chief of Staff
General Emmanuel Bautista
said Wednesday. The new acquisitions would come under the fresh US military assistance announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited the Philippines last month, Bautista said. “Within the last year, we realised that there is a real threat out there in terms of securing, defending our territory,” Bautista told ANC television. He said that ideally the country needed about six more frigates to guard its long coastline effectively. “In fact, we are bidding now for two frigates, hopefully we will be able to acquire them in (a) couple of years,” Bautista said. He said he has made “maritime domain awareness” and protection a key concern of his leadership. The funds used to boost maritime defense, he said, would come from the $40 million military assistance pledged by Kerry in December.

ALSO: PH to proceed with UN arbitration even without China

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday reiterated that it would proceed with arbitration procedures on the disputed areas of the South China Sea with or without China. “Hainan fisheries law is only one of the unilateral measures by China to force a change in the regional status quo in order to advance its 9-dash line position of undisputed sovereignty over nearly the entire [South China Sea],” Hernandez said in a text message. He said the 9-dash line claim is a “gross violation of international law” that should be “fully addressed.” “In 2011, we had proposed to China that we should proceed with moving forward with our major bilateral agenda while abstracting the contentious issues and dealing with them separately. This became the content of a signed declaration between the Philippines and China’s presidents then. We are hopeful for adherence to that agreement,” he added.

ALSO: Phl to China: Join us in UN arbitration

Joining a United Nations arbitration process to resolve territorial disputes is the course of action China should take and not just meeting Manila “halfway” on a controversial fisheries regulation in disputed waters, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. “The nine-dash line claim is in gross violation of international law. It is the core issue that must be singularly and fully addressed,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said. “To this end, we reiterate our invitation to China to join us in arbitration as we intend to proceed with or without China for a final disposition.” The new fisheries law sparked condemnation from China’s neighbors as well as from the United States, which called it provocative. The fisheries regulation requires all foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval from Chinese authorities before transiting into Hainan’s administrative zone in the South China Sea for fishing or surveying activities.

ALSO: PH won’t recognize China fisheries law

The Philippines will not recognize the fisheries law implemented by China in the waters off Hainan province, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday. “We don’t recognize it, that’s why we are protesting about its declaration and implementation,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said when asked for a categorical response by media regarding Hainan’s new law. “This law being a Hainan law covers not only their maritime zone but also the maritime zones of other coastal states including the Philippines particularly our 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” Hernandez said. China’s southernmost province of Hainan passed last November 2013 a new fisheries law requiring foreign vessels to seek permission from regional authorities before conducting fishing or surveying activities in its waters. The law took effect January 1, 2014. China claims the entirety of the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) as its territory including parts of the Philippines EEZ.

ALSO: China fisheries law difficult to implement—Kalayaan mayor

The new fisheries law issued by the Hainan Provincial People’s Congress by China over
the South China Sea will be difficult to implement, Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon said on Friday. “That is difficult to implement because there are a lot of claimant countries and their islets are populated..especially in the Spratlys,” Bito-onon said in a phone interview. Bito-onon, whose portion of jurisdiction is in the Spratlys, said other claimants over South China Sea, like Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan have their own airstrips, garrisons and ports. “How would you restrict that, how about the freedom of navigation, most especially to fishermen? That is international waters,” he said. Effective January 1, foreign fishing vessels are subject to approval to enter waters under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government. It also previously imposed an air defense zone. The Philippines calls its area within the South China Sea as West Philippine Sea. China claims nearly the entire South China Sea. It also patrols in areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.


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PH seeks more US navy ships amid China threat


http://globalnation.inquirer.net/files/2012/11/US-navy-fleet.jpg
AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, JANUARY 20, 2014 (INQUIRER) Agence France-Presse - The Philippines wants to acquire two more navy ships from the United States to boost its maritime protection amid threats from China, Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista said Wednesday.

The new acquisitions would come under the fresh US military assistance announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited the Philippines last month, Bautista said.

“Within the last year, we realised that there is a real threat out there in terms of securing, defending our territory,” Bautista told ANC television.

He said that ideally the country needed about six more frigates to guard its long coastline effectively.

“In fact, we are bidding now for two frigates, hopefully we will be able to acquire them in (a) couple of years,” Bautista said.

He said he has made “maritime domain awareness” and protection a key concern of his leadership.

The funds used to boost maritime defense, he said, would come from the $40 million military assistance pledged by Kerry in December.

The Philippines has already acquired two refurbished American frigates in the past two years, and they now lead patrols in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The Philippines, a long-time US military ally, has been locked in an increasingly tense standoff with China involving disputed reefs and islands in an area Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.

In 2012, the flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the first acquired from the US, confronted Chinese ships on Scarborough Shoal, a small outcrop just off the coast of the country’s main island of Luzon.

The Chinese eventually gained control of the outcrop after Manila backed down. However, the government sought UN arbitration to settle the dispute, a move rejected by China.

Manila has also increasingly looked to the US for help, and negotiations are ongoing for an increased rotational presence of American soldiers in the Philippines as part of Washington’s “pivot” to Asia.

Bautista said the Gregorio del Pilar, as well as another frigate that arrived last year, have been deployed to protect the country’s waters.

“There are Chinese fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea as we speak,” he said, but declined to say where they were in the disputed waters.

China claims nearly all of the West Philippine Sea, including waters near the coast of its neighbors.

Recently, it has declared an “air defense identification zone” over the East China Sea where it is engaged in a dispute with Japan.

Kerry has warned China against imposing a similar restriction over the West Philippine Sea, and said the US government also rejected the zone over the East China Sea.

Last week China also announced a new fisheries law requiring foreign vessels to seek permits for activities in much of the West Philippine Sea, in another move that triggered angry protests from Manila.

PH to proceed with UN arbitration even without China By Kristine Angeli Sabillo INQUIRER.net 2:27 pm | Saturday, January 18th, 2014


http://globalnation.inquirer.net/files/2012/07/raul-hernandez2.jpg
DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday reiterated that it would proceed with arbitration procedures on the disputed areas of the South China Sea with or without China.

However, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said it wants China, as much as possible, to join the arbitration.

“To this end, we reiterate our invitation to China to join us in arbitration as we intend to proceed with or without China for a final disposition,” Hernandez said in a text message to media.

It followed the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement that it wants to meet the Philippines “halfway.”

Hernandez also pointed out that the Hainan provincial government’s new fishing policy is only one of the several measures imposed by China on other countries.

“Hainan fisheries law is only one of the unilateral measures by China to force a change in the regional status quo in order to advance its 9-dash line position of undisputed sovereignty over nearly the entire [South China Sea],” Hernandez said in a text message.

He said the 9-dash line claim is a “gross violation of international law” that should be “fully addressed.”

“In 2011, we had proposed to China that we should proceed with moving forward with our major bilateral agenda while abstracting the contentious issues and dealing with them separately. This became the content of a signed declaration between the Philippines and China’s presidents then. We are hopeful for adherence to that agreement,” he added.

FOM PHILSTAR

Phl to China: Join us in UN arbitration By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 19, 2014 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Joining a United Nations arbitration process to resolve territorial disputes is the course of action China should take and not just meeting Manila “halfway” on a controversial fisheries regulation in disputed waters, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

“The nine-dash line claim is in gross violation of international law. It is the core issue that must be singularly and fully addressed,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said. “To this end, we reiterate our invitation to China to join us in arbitration as we intend to proceed with or without China for a final disposition.”

He said the fisheries rule, which China’s Hainan province vowed to enforce on foreign fishing vessels “is only one of the unilateral measures by China to force a change in the regional status quo in order to advance its nine-dash line position of undisputed sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea.”

The new fisheries law sparked condemnation from China’s neighbors as well as from the United States, which called it provocative. The fisheries regulation requires all foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval from Chinese authorities before transiting into Hainan’s administrative zone in the South China Sea for fishing or surveying activities.

On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was always willing to make efforts to resolve the issue through talks.

Hernandez said that way back in 2001, the Philippines had made clear to China that the two countries could proceed with their bilateral agenda even while dealing separately with contentious issues, particularly maritime disputes.

“This became the content of a signed declaration between the Philippine and Chinese presidents then. We are hopeful for adherence to that agreement,” he added.

The Philippines called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Friday to “maintain regional solidarity” in the face of unilateral actions by China to change the status quo to advance its maritime interests.

At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Bagan, Myanmar which concluded yesterday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said China’s new fishing regulation in the South China Sea, as well as its establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over East China Sea were proof of Beijing’s brazen disregard for international laws like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

He said China’s actions threaten regional stability and are contrary to the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties.

The ADIZ over East China Sea – particularly over areas Beijing is disputing with Japan – similarly obligates aircraft flying through the zone to provide identification and follow instructions or face “defensive emergency measures” from China’s armed forces.

Del Rosario said that ASEAN’s effort to manage tensions in the region by coming out with a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) might be undermined if Beijing is allowed to alter the status quo.

The ASEAN meet in Bagan, which kicked off last Jan. 15, was the first high-level meeting under Myanmar’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014. It was the first time for Myanmar to chair ASEAN since joining the 10-member bloc in July 1997.

Positive development

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, for his part, said they welcomed China’s willingness to dialogue on its new fishing rules but clarified it was the Philippines which set the tone for discussion by seeking clarification from Beijing.

“Certainly it is good to have a dialogue. We made the first move, we asked them, we wanted to seek clarification,” Lacierda said over dzRB.

“We’re precisely talking about international waters, about our EEZ (exclusive economic zone). That’s why there was a need for clarification. It’s not surprising they want to dialogue with us,” he said.

The administration had made clear it would defy the so-called rules, even as it tasked government vessels to escort Philippine fishing boats venturing into areas within the country’s EEZ but which are being claimed by China

China’s Hong was quoted in news reports as saying that China was resolved to defend its sovereignty, but was ready to “put forth efforts to resolve the relevant issue through dialogue and consultations.”

Meanwhile, party-list group Bayan Muna asked the House of Representatives yesterday to look into the new fishing law of China, which requires Filipinos to seek its permission before fishing in the West Philippine Sea.

In a resolution, Bayan Muna said China, in imposing a fishing permit requirement, violated the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea it signed with the Philippines and other members of ASEAN.

It said the declaration aimed to ease tensions in the region and was intended to serve as a “foundation for future negotiations.”

It noted that the declaration was signed following confrontations among countries claiming the Spratly Islands.

It said the DFA has described the fishing law as a violation of the UNCLOS, which gives coastal states the right to claim a 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

“Congress has the duty to look into this new Chinese fishing rule with the end in view of finding ways to de-escalate tensions and exploring possible solutions to the problem, especially those that may require legislation or even diplomatic initiatives involving members of the legislative branch in the claimant countries,” it said.

Palawan Rep. Franz Joseph Alvarez has said the fishing permit requirement, if followed, could jeopardize the country’s food security.

“It must be ignored by the Philippines, as it is not only illegal but it would worsen the country’s dipping fisheries catch. It would jeopardize our food security. It is a move to starve us,” he said.

He said fishing is a P225-billion-a-year industry in the country, directly employing eight million Filipinos.

Referring to the waters east of the Philippines, Alvarez stressed that what China claims “as its lake is our own fish pond.”

“These rich fishing grounds are a primary source of fish and marine products we consume,” he said.

He said a Filipino family consumes about 38 kilos of fish a year.

Thus, he said China’s move to block the Filipino fishermen’s access to what is “traditionally, historically and legally our fishing ground will have food security implications, especially at a time when both our commercial and municipal fishing output is basically flat.”

He pointed out that requiring Filipinos to get permits from China before going to their traditional fishing grounds “would have the effect of shutting down a major production line of our fishing industry.”

“This is the context that China’s illegal move must be seen. The only consent that matters is the one coming from the Philippine government, and Malacañang has said we should ignore China’s new regulation,” he added. – With Aurea Calica, Jess Diaz

PH won’t recognize China fisheries law By Matikas Santos INQUIRER.net 3:43 pm | Tuesday, January 14th, 2014


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DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will not recognize the fisheries law implemented by China in the waters off Hainan province, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

“We don’t recognize it, that’s why we are protesting about its declaration and implementation,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said when asked for a categorical response by media regarding Hainan’s new law.

“This law being a Hainan law covers not only their maritime zone but also the maritime zones of other coastal states including the Philippines particularly our 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” Hernandez said.

China’s southernmost province of Hainan passed last November 2013 a new fisheries law requiring foreign vessels to seek permission from regional authorities before conducting fishing or surveying activities in its waters.

The law took effect January 1, 2014.

China claims the entirety of the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) as its territory including parts of the Philippines EEZ.

DFA has previously asked China to clarify its new law saying that it overlaps with the Philippines EEZ.
“The Chinese side has responded to our request for clarification by saying that the new regulation is an implementation of China’s fisheries law and covers the jurisdiction of Hainan province,” Hernandez said.

“The DFA reiterates its strong protest which we have made on 28 June 2012, since the jurisdiction of Hainan province included the Philippine territories and impinges on the Philippines EEZ,” he said.

Previously, the DFA said that China’s new law violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) and international law.

“We believe this will only heighten tension in the area and also threaten the peace and stability of the region,” Hernandez said.
“The Philippines calls on China to conform to international law particularly UNCLOS,” he said.

The DFA considers its statement as a protest and is studying the filling of a protest note against China.

“Filipino fishermen have their rights under Philippine laws and under UNCLOS to fish in our EEZ, and China has a duty under international law to respect the legitimate rights of our fishermen there,” Hernandez said.

China fisheries law difficult to implement—Kalayaan mayor By Frances Mangosing INQUIRER.net 8:03 pm | Friday, January 10th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – The new fisheries law issued by the Hainan Provincial People’s Congress by China over the South China Sea will be difficult to implement, Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon said on Friday.

“That is difficult to implement because there are a lot of claimant countries and their islets are populated..especially in the Spratlys,” Bito-onon said in a phone interview.

Bito-onon, whose portion of jurisdiction is in the Spratlys, said other claimants over South China Sea, like Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan have their own airstrips, garrisons and ports.

“How would you restrict that, how about the freedom of navigation, most especially to fishermen? That is international waters,” he said.

Effective January 1, foreign fishing vessels are subject to approval to enter waters under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government. It also previously imposed an air defense zone.

The Philippines calls its area within the South China Sea as West Philippine Sea. China claims nearly the entire South China Sea. It also patrols in areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines had sought for arbitration under the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea to pursue its claims in the West Philippine Sea.

It filed a diplomatic protest as Chinese ships continued to come and go into the resource-rich areas of Panatag and Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal), which were both within the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, had asked China to clarify its new fisheries law.

“This development escalates tensions, unnecessarily complicates the situation in the South China Sea, and threatens the peace and stability of the region. This new law reinforces China’s expansive claim under the 9-dash line.

It is a gross violation of international law, particularly UNCLOS, and is contrary to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” it said in a statement.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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