PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

CHINA: PHILIPPINES STARTED SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTE


Former police officer and mayor Abner Afuang, sets on fire to a Chinese flags in protest against the recent reclamation activities by China in the contested group of islands known as the Spratlys in the South China Sea Thursday, April 23, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. The reclamation works by China drew protests both from the Government and civil society groups which they claim are well within the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone. AP/Bullit Marquez
 China insisted that the Philippines started the territorial dispute over the South China Sea when the latter seized some portions of the former's Nansha islands in the 1970s. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Tuesday said that the Philippines violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea which was signed in 2002. "All that the Philippines has done is an obvious breach of the DOC. It tries to justify its illegal occupation and construction work prior to the signing of the DOC, while confesses the continuation of its illegal construction activities after the signing of the DOC," Chunying said. The Department of Foreign Affairs has earlier denied China's accusations that the Philippines is also holding reclamation activities over the disputed territories. READ: Philippines denies China's reclamation accusations The Philippines reiterated that it has already built its facilities over the Pag-asa Island or Nansha Island before the DOC was signed. However, China does not recognize the Philippines' claim over the Nansha islands. READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippines denies China's reclamation accusations


File - Protesters display placards during a rally at the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines Friday, April 17, 2015 to protest against Beijing's land reclamation activities on disputed territory in the South China Sea. The protesters led by Congressman Nery Colmenares urge China to "stop its reclamation activities in the Mischief Reef" which they claim to be still within the Philippines' EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). AP/Bullit Marquez
 - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday denied China's accusation that the Philippines is holding its own reclamation activities in the South China Sea. DFA spokesperson Charles Jose clarified that the Philippines already has an airport on Pag-asa Island which was constructed prior to the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002. "What we want to do is undertake some repairs and maintenance. They said 'building.' We're not even doing something with our airports here what more in the Spratlys?" Jose said in an interview with ANC. READ MORE...

ALSO: Sea row overtakes all nat’l security concerns
[Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said the arbitration case may have prompted China to embark on massive reclamation activities in the disputed territorial waters.]


STAR/File photo
With threats from communist and Muslim rebels significantly reduced, preserving the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea is now the country’s biggest security concern, the government’s top security adviser told a Senate panel yesterday. National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia made the observation during a hearing by the Senate committee on national defense and security on China’s island building activities in the West Philippine Sea. He said it was “very clear that our territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea have in fact overtaken all security issues in our hierarchy of national security concerns.”  In the same hearing, Western Command chief Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez said China had warned Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy planes at least six times to avoid flying over some areas in the West Philippine Sea. Garcia noted that the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has gone a long way in ending armed hostilities in Mindanao. He also said the arrest of top leaders of the New People’s Army, as well as new peace overtures from the Communist Party of the Philippines, have greatly eased pressure on the country’s security forces. “This leaves us with the external security environment and our seemingly intractable territorial disputes in our maritime zone,” Garcia said.  READ MORE...

ALSO: China warns and drives off 7 PH military planes


In this April 20, 2015, file photo, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, left, points to reveal recent images of China’s reclamation activities being done at the disputed islands in the South China Sea during a news conference at Camp Aguinaldo at suburban Quezon City. The Philippines expressed alarm Thursday, May 7, over what it said were escalating Chinese efforts to drive off Filipino aircraft from a disputed South China Sea island garrisoned by Manila, in dangerous confrontations. AP PHOTO/BULLIT MARQUEZ 
The Philippines expressed alarm Thursday over what it said were escalating Chinese efforts to drive off Filipino aircraft from a disputed South China Sea island garrisoned by Manila, in dangerous confrontations. Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez, Western Command chief, said seven Filipino patrol planes on separate flights between Thitu Island (Pag-asa Island) and Chinese-held Subi Reef (Zamora Reef) in the Spratly Islands had been warned to stay away in radio messages from Chinese forces on Subi. “Recently this area has been the source of air challenges to our aircraft landing and departing from Pag-asa Island,” he told a hearing of the Senate national defense committee, using the Filipino name for the Philippine-garrisoned Thitu. READ MORE...

ALSO:Malaysia is staying out of the South China Sea dispute [China says ASEAN is not a party to the South China Sea dispute]


Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at a news conference to announce budget revisions to help its oil exporting economy adjust to the impact of slumping global crude prices, in Putrajaya
KUALA LUMPUR/MANILA (Reuters) - Malaysia is steering clear of criticizing China's actions in the South China Sea at a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders next week, a draft end-statement seen by Reuters shows, despite a push by the Philippines to denounce Beijing's reclamation work. Philippines President Benigno Aquino has called on leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to issue a collective statement condemning China's reclamation in the disputed waters at the end of their Kuala Lumpur meeting. The summit starts on Sunday. A draft copy of the concluding statement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak devotes two paragraphs to tensions in the energy-rich waters, but stops short of taking sides in the matter, a source with direct knowledge of ASEAN issues told Reuters. China's actions in the South China Sea have created a deep divide between the 10 ASEAN members, four of which have competing claims over the disputed territory. China claims most of the area, with overlapping claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. Disputes over how to address the increasingly assertive role of China — an ally of several ASEAN states — in the strategic waters of the South China Sea has placed the issue squarely as Southeast Asia's biggest potential military flashpoint. Recent satellite images show China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in the South China Sea's Spratly Islands and may be planning another. READ MORE...

ALSO TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: Noynoying hits Asean leaders


An embarrassing sidelight in the recent 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Singapore was when Asean leaders got a sampling of the habitual tardiness of Noynoy.Noynoy made a listless group of Asean heads of state wait during the traditional Leaders’ Summit photo shoot at the annual event. A photo of the Noynoy disgrace right in the Asean showed the nine heads of state already assembled on stage, some apparently becoming impatient and all waiting for Noynoy to arrive.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the son of the founder of the city state Lee Kuan Yew, was apparently too exasperated waiting for Noynoy that he took to his social media account to chide Noynoy.The post read, “Waiting to take the traditional leaders’ photo, but someone’s missing. #?guesswho :)  For a Singaporean, tardiness is a mortal sin and Noynoy, with his habit, could be depicted in Singapore as being in hell and beyond redemption. Eventually Noynoy arrived according to a witness and had to awkwardly stay at the end of the Asean leaders’ daisy chain since he was late. For Filipinos, the habitual tardiness of Noynoy is already legend which hits the nation almost at a predictable regularity.READ MORE...LOOK AT PHOTO.......


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

China insisted: Philippines started South China Sea dispute


Former police officer and mayor Abner Afuang, sets on fire to a Chinese flags in protest against the recent reclamation activities by China in the contested group of islands known as the Spratlys in the South China Sea Thursday, April 23, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. The reclamation works by China drew protests both from the Government and civil society groups which they claim are well within the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, MAY 11, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Patricia Lourdes Viray - China insisted that the Philippines started the territorial dispute over the South China Sea when the latter seized some portions of the former's Nansha islands in the 1970s.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Tuesday said that the Philippines violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea which was signed in 2002.

"All that the Philippines has done is an obvious breach of the DOC. It tries to justify its illegal occupation and construction work prior to the signing of the DOC, while confesses the continuation of its illegal construction activities after the signing of the DOC," Chunying said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has earlier denied China's accusations that the Philippines is also holding reclamation activities over the disputed territories.

The Philippines reiterated that it has already built its facilities over the Pag-asa Island or Nansha Island before the DOC was signed. However, China does not recognize the Philippines' claim over the Nansha islands.

READ MORE...
"According to the basic principle of law 'Ex injuria jus non oritur', the Chinese side does not recognize the 'status quo' of Philippines' illegal occupation of relevant maritime features of the Nansha Islands, and opposes the unlawful construction carried out by the Philippines on maritime features of China's Nansha Islands," the Chinese minister said.

With this, China warned the Philippines to immediately stop its "illegal construction activities" over the disputed area.

"The flimsy excuse made by the Philippines backfires on itself," Huaying added.

China reiterated that it is one with the Association of South East Asian Nations in implementing the DOC.

Huaying said that China has never done activities that would "complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability."

"The Chinese side urges the Philippine side to end the malicious hyping and provocation in no time, meet China and a majority of ASEAN countries halfway, and jointly uphold peace and stability of the South China Sea," Huaying said.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. earlier called on China to stop its reclamation activities in the South China Sea which has created tension among claimant countries.

Meanwhile, former Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Lauro Baja Jr. urged the Philippine government to maintain talks with China amid territorial disputes.


PHILSTAR

Philippines denies China's reclamation accusations Patricia Lourdes Viray | Updated Thursday April 30, 2015 - 12:40pm


File - Protesters display placards during a rally at the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines Friday, April 17, 2015 to protest against Beijing's land reclamation activities on disputed territory in the South China Sea. The protesters led by Congressman Nery Colmenares urge China to "stop its reclamation activities in the Mischief Reef" which they claim to be still within the Philippines' EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday denied China's accusation that the Philippines is holding its own reclamation activities in the South China Sea.

DFA spokesperson Charles Jose clarified that the Philippines already has an airport on Pag-asa Island which was constructed prior to the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002.

"What we want to do is undertake some repairs and maintenance. They said 'building.' We're not even doing something with our airports here what more in the Spratlys?" Jose said in an interview with ANC.

READ MORE...
In a press conference last Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said other claimant countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam are building airports on Chinese territories.

"For a long time, the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries have been carrying out reclamations on the Chinese islands they are illegally occupying in the Nansha Islands, building airports and other fixed infrastructure, even deploying missiles and other military equipment," Lei said.

The DFA official said China is just trying to deflect international criticism over their reclamation activities in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.

Joes reiterated that China's reclamation works violate the ASEAN-China agreement since most of its activities started after 2002.

United States President Barack Obama had scored China for its aggressive maritime claims against its Asian neighbors.


PHILSTAR

Sea row overtakes all nat’l security concerns By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 8, 2015 - 12:00am


STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - With threats from communist and Muslim rebels significantly reduced, preserving the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea is now the country’s biggest security concern, the government’s top security adviser told a Senate panel yesterday.

National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia made the observation during a hearing by the Senate committee on national defense and security on China’s island building activities in the West Philippine Sea.

He said it was “very clear that our territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea have in fact overtaken all security issues in our hierarchy of national security concerns.”

In the same hearing, Western Command chief Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez said China had warned Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy planes at least six times to avoid flying over some areas in the West Philippine Sea.

Garcia noted that the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has gone a long way in ending armed hostilities in Mindanao.

He also said the arrest of top leaders of the New People’s Army, as well as new peace overtures from the Communist Party of the Philippines, have greatly eased pressure on the country’s security forces.

“This leaves us with the external security environment and our seemingly intractable territorial disputes in our maritime zone,” Garcia said.

READ MORE...
“In an ideal world, we can rely on the skills of our diplomats and the goodwill of our neighbors to resolve these maritime disputes. But unfortunately, we are not dealing with an ideal world,” he pointed out.

“Instead, we are dealing with a world of realpolitik and thus, more than ever, it is very imperative to transition the armed forces from its domestic security focus towards an external or territorial defense role as rapidly as possible,” he added.

He said the government should “seriously rethink” how it can “swiftly capacitate” the Philippine National Police so the latter can take over the “residual internal security responsibilities” of the military. He said this would enable the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to execute a “transition to a territorial defense role.”

Garcia said he shared a position with defense officials on the need for bigger investment in “whole of nation” defense.

Garcia noted that the current spending by the government for national defense was at a measly 1.1 to 1.3 percent of gross domestic product.

He said the government should increase the allocation to somewhere around two percent, which he said was the usual military expenditure of countries not facing external threats.

Benchmark budget

AFP chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. said that at the very least, one percent of the approved budget should always be earmarked for the country’s national defense.

This would be equivalent to P26 billion per year, an amount that should go up as the total national budget increases.

“This should be the benchmark. Our capability cannot be developed overnight,” Catapang said, adding that the modernization program of the AFP is being fast-tracked.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin echoed Garcia’s and Catapang’s assertion, saying the country’s defense capability is lagging behind other countries in the region.

Committee chairman Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV agreed there was no question about the need to modernize the AFP as soon as possible.

While an arms race with China and other Asian countries is unimaginable, he said the Philippines should at least have “a minimum credible defense posture or at least minimum deterrent capability so that they would think twice and not go in and out of our territory just like that.”

Wescom’s Lopez noted that China has been very busy with its reclamation activities on seven features in the West Philippine Sea, namely the Mabini (Johnson South), Calderon (Cuateron), Burgos (Gaven), Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Keenan (Chigua), Zamora (Subi) and Panganiban (Mischief) Reefs.

Lopez said these land features were only 134 to 266 nautical miles from Palawan and 238 to 784 nautical miles from the nearest coast of China.

Lopez noted that the reclamation done by China in these seven reefs accelerated in the middle of 2013 and that the reclaimed area has now reached anywhere between 6.8 hectares for Keenan Reef and 100 hectares for Zamora Reef.

In many of these areas, China has constructed several structures, including six-story high buildings and airstrips.

Lopez noted that Zamora Reef has become the focus of the military’s attention, citing an incident last April 19 when Chinese forces ordered in a radio message a PAF aircraft to “go away quickly in order to avoid misjudgment.”

“As we were conducting routine maritime air patrols and flying in international airspace, our air force aircraft were challenged over the radio,” Lopez told senators, adding the planes ignored the warnings.

“The Chinese said our planes were in their military security area,” he said.

China deploys coast guard and naval vessels in the Spratlys, but rarely planes because of the distance from the mainland.

A PAF official who declined to be named said the Asian power could be “testing the waters” to see if it can enforce an air exclusion zone above the Spratly archipelago.

Recent satellite images show China has made rapid progress in reclaiming land around seven reefs in the Spratlys, including building what appears to be an airstrip on one of the artificial islands.

Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Benito Valeriano said China has simply ignored all the 11 diplomatic protests filed by the Philippines since April 2014. Beijing has also ignored Manila’s filing of a case before the international arbitral tribunal based in The Hague.

Paper victory

Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said the arbitration case may have prompted China to embark on massive reclamation activities in the disputed territorial waters.

“The reclamation that took place is clearly a response to the arbitration. It is a geopolitical-military response to the legal track that we have taken. This reclamation, for all practical intents and purposes, seeks to render any legal victory a paper victory,” Batongbacal said.

He said the dispute with China must be addressed using different approaches and not just through arbitration.

Batongbacal said that the joint exploration and development proposals from China should also be explored, albeit very carefully, in order to ensure that the Philippines does not end up at the losing end of any deal.

International security analyst Rommel Banlaoi said he does not think China has any intention to invade any country with its reclamation activities.

He said China’s actions might be in preparation for possible air-sea battles.

Former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, for her part, said the government needs to come up with an independent foreign policy, and get the involvement of local government units, which have stakes in the issue.

Distraction

Meanwhile, the DFA issued a statement yesterday dismissing China’s accusing the Philippines of building structures on disputed islets in violation of an informal code of conduct among countries with claims in the South China Sea.

In a statement, the DFA said China was distracting the attention of the region and the international community from the “core issue,” which is its “illegal and invalid ‘nine-dash line’ claim.”

“China’s massive reclamation in the South China Sea is intended to advance this so-called nine-dash line claim. These reclamation activities, which are plainly intended to change the character, status and maritime entitlements of the features, prejudice the arbitration and undermine the work of the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under UNCLOS to hear and objectively decide the case,” the DFA said.

The Philippines is contesting China’s massive maritime claim before an international arbitral tribunal based in The Hague, in accordance with UNCLOS or the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“The (reclamation) activities also threaten freedom of navigation, cause irreparable damage to the marine environment and infringe on the rights of other states,” the DFA added.

“China should adhere to Paragraph 5 of the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) which states that all parties should exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate and escalate disputes and affect peace and stability,” the DFA said.

The DFA issued the statement after China’s foreign ministry accused Manila last Monday of violating the 13-year old DOC with its construction activities on disputed islets and land forms in the West Philippine Sea.

China had also issued similar accusations against Vietnam and other Southeast Asia nations with claims in the South China Sea.

With its nine-dash line claim, China’s maritime domain in effect covers almost 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose told The STAR the Philippines is set to issue another note verbale to China to protest a water cannon attack on three Filipino fisherman by Chinese coast guards. The attack hurt the fishermen and damaged their boats.

A series of high-resolution satellite images, the latest of which were taken in February and March and released by defense publication IHS Jane’s, show that China has intensified the construction of artificial islands by dredging sand from submerged coral reefs and building up land mass, sometimes doubling or tripling the size of existing features.

Among at least half a dozen islands being reconstructed, work on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef has attracted the most attention because of its speed and scale. According to Jane’s, the new island is already big enough for a 9,500-foot runway capable of accommodating big military planes.

The commander of US forces in the Pacific Adm. Samuel Locklear said the construction provides ability for China to deploy, base and re-supply ships and exert greater influence over the contested area.

China could also deploy long-range radars and advanced missile systems as a means of enforcing a future air defense zone over the area. Rainier Allan Ronda, AP


INQUIRER

China warns, drives off 7 PH military planes Agence France-Presse 5:08 AM | Friday, May 8th, 2015


In this April 20, 2015, file photo, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, left, points to reveal recent images of China’s reclamation activities being done at the disputed islands in the South China Sea during a news conference at Camp Aguinaldo at suburban Quezon City. The Philippines expressed alarm Thursday, May 7, over what it said were escalating Chinese efforts to drive off Filipino aircraft from a disputed South China Sea island garrisoned by Manila, in dangerous confrontations. AP PHOTO/BULLIT MARQUEZ

The Philippines expressed alarm Thursday over what it said were escalating Chinese efforts to drive off Filipino aircraft from a disputed South China Sea island garrisoned by Manila, in dangerous confrontations.

Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez, Western Command chief, said seven Filipino patrol planes on separate flights between Thitu Island (Pag-asa Island) and Chinese-held Subi Reef (Zamora Reef) in the Spratly Islands had been warned to stay away in radio messages from Chinese forces on Subi.

“Recently this area has been the source of air challenges to our aircraft landing and departing from Pag-asa Island,” he told a hearing of the Senate national defense committee, using the Filipino name for the Philippine-garrisoned Thitu.

READ MORE...
The Philippine military last week reported an incident involving a Fokker plane which was challenged by a Chinese vessel on April 19. But Lopez, commander of Filipino forces in the South China Sea, said there had been six other warnings issued since then.

International airspace

All seven Filipino aircraft were addressed as “foreigner planes,” advised they were entering a Chinese “military area,” and told to leave to avoid a possible “misjudgment,” Lopez told reporters after the hearing.

“We are navigating in international airspace and conducting normal patrols,” he quoted the Filipino pilots as replying. They did not alter their course.

“Fear will bring you no good… The risk is always there, but that’s what we’re being paid for,” Lopez said.

China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, even reefs, shoals and cays close to the shores of its neighbors. The claims overlap those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The Spratlys are considered a potential Asian flash point, and claimant nations have expressed alarm as China has embarked on massive reclamation activity. Lopez said surveillance showed Beijing was enlarging seven features of the Spratly group that it occupies, including Subi.

Satellite photos last month showed a runway and harbor taking shape in one location which was little more than a reef when works began late last year.

Air, naval bases

The admiral said the reclamation would potentially give China air and naval bases in the disputed region and house “thousands” of personnel.

“These developments are disturbing to say the least, and alarming to say the most,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told the Senate hearing.

Asked if the Philippines feared China would eventually try to seize Thitu, Gazmin told Agence France-Presse: “We have a problem but we haven’t given up our claim to Pagasa. That remains ours.”

“I don’t think China is ready to go to war over small islands,” he added.


APRIL REPORT --BUSINESS INSIDER

Malaysia is staying out of the South China Sea dispute Reuters Praveen Menon and Manuel Mogato, Reuters Apr. 23, 2015, 5:55 AM 1,581


Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at a news conference to announce budget revisions to help its oil exporting economy adjust to the impact of slumping global crude prices, in Putrajaya

KUALA LUMPUR/MANILA (Reuters) - Malaysia is steering clear of criticizing China's actions in the South China Sea at a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders next week, a draft end-statement seen by Reuters shows, despite a push by the Philippines to denounce Beijing's reclamation work.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino has called on leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to issue a collective statement condemning China's reclamation in the disputed waters at the end of their Kuala Lumpur meeting. The summit starts on Sunday.

China says ASEAN is not a party to the South China Sea dispute.

A draft copy of the concluding statement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak devotes two paragraphs to tensions in the energy-rich waters, but stops short of taking sides in the matter, a source with direct knowledge of ASEAN issues told Reuters.

China's actions in the South China Sea have created a deep divide between the 10 ASEAN members, four of which have competing claims over the disputed territory. China claims most of the area, with overlapping claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Disputes over how to address the increasingly assertive role of China — an ally of several ASEAN states — in the strategic waters of the South China Sea has placed the issue squarely as Southeast Asia's biggest potential military flashpoint.

Recent satellite images show China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in the South China Sea's Spratly Islands and may be planning another.

READ MORE...
ASEAN summit host Malaysia, which has close economic ties with China, has traditionally downplayed tensions in the South China Sea.

An advance copy of Najib's statement, as of April 16, makes no mention of China's reclamation work in the area.


South China Sea Map_04Business Insider

It emphasizes the importance of "creating, maintaining and enhancing mutual trust and confidence (and) exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities".

The Malaysian Prime Minister's Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Similarly, Cambodia, as host three years ago, refused to be drawn on China's actions in the disputed waters and the summit broke down. Then, for the first time in the group's 45-year history, a customary communique was not issued.

Unlike the summit in Cambodia, a final communique is not expected from the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, leaving the final word to Najib.

"I think ASEAN should not avoid this problem, it will not go away," a Philippine foreign ministry official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

"Before we discuss the situation in the Middle East, in Libya and in the Korean peninsula, let's talk about this problem first because it affects the region."

The Philippines and Vietnam have been the most vocal critics of China's reclamation works in the South China Sea. Their leaders are due to meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit to discuss a pact strengthening their ties in the face of China's increasingly assertive claims, Philippine officials say.

(Additional reporting by Manual Mogato in MANILA, Trinna Leoong in KUALA LUMPUR, Kanupriya Kapoor in JAKARTA and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

Noynoying hits Asean leaders Written by Tribune Editorial Friday, 08 May 2015 00:00

An embarrassing sidelight in the recent 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Singapore was when Asean leaders got a sampling of the habitual tardiness of Noynoy.

Noynoy made a listless group of Asean heads of state wait during the traditional Leaders’ Summit photo shoot at the annual event.

A photo of the Noynoy disgrace right in the Asean showed the nine heads of state already assembled on stage, some apparently becoming impatient and all waiting for Noynoy to arrive.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the son of the founder of the city state Lee Kuan Yew, was apparently too exasperated waiting for Noynoy that he took to his social media account to chide Noynoy.

The post read,“Waiting to take the traditional leaders’ photo, but someone’s missing.#?guesswho)

For a Singaporean, tardiness is a mortal sin and Noynoy, with his habit, could be depicted in Singapore as being in hell and beyond redemption.

Eventually Noynoy arrived according to a witness and had to awkwardly stay at the end of the Asean leaders’ daisy chain since he was late.

For Filipinos, the habitual tardiness of Noynoy is already legend which hits the nation almost at a predictable regularity.

READ MORE....
He would be late even for the most important affairs such as the meeting with the families of the slain policemen in the Mamasapano incident.

Noynoy staying at the end of the line for being late was symbolic of where he has taken the Philippines in relation to the Asean which is the country being alienated from the rest of the region because of incompetence.

Instead of focusing for instance on the country’s preparation for the start of the economic community by the end of the year, Noynoy instead pounded on China which is an errand from the United States.


'SOME IS MISSING'

The host Malaysia tried to accommodate Noynoy’s crusade and resulted in an Asean that expressed concern over the South China Sea row but at the same time urged “self restraint” among those involved in the dispute.

Noynoy’s pursuit of a common position in the Asean against China also introduced an issue to divide the regional grouping since most of the Asean members are not inclined on agitating China.

China has always held that dialog among parties to the South China Sea dispute is the only solution to resolve the conflicting maritime claims but the Philippines, in accordance with the US line, sought an arbitration from the United Nations to which China did not agree.

The problem of the Philippines is not expected to go away until Noynoy steps down from office since he has become an irritant to China that has kept the country an outsider in the Asean.

The Asean heads of state who were being made to wait by Noynoy also showed his low regard for his neighborhood peers and instead he looks up to the US to solve the problems in the region.

Noynoy also appears unable or unwilling to understand the tradition of arriving at decisions the Asean way, which is through consensus that makes it difficult to come up with a common position against China.

Noynoy agitating China is also a diversion on the country’s lack of a position with regard to the Asean economic bloc, which many economists say the country is the least prepared in the region to join.

The next administration will certainly have a lot of work to do in bringing back the Philippines in harmony with the Asean and the Asian region as a whole.

Noynoy’s position to bring China to its knees just won’t work and its only effect will have the Philippines being isolated in the region.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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