© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org | APEC PHL  NOVEMBER 18 -19, 2015


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

CHINA, PHL TOP ENVOYS IN RARE MANILA MEETING TUESDAY


NOVEMBER 9 -Amid the Philippines and China's high-profile territorial dispute, Beijing's top envoy Wang Yi will be visiting Manila several days ahead of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Summit to engage in a rare meeting with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario in Manila on Tuesday.
Top Chinese officials have not paid a visit to the Philippines since the two countries’ disputes over contested South China Sea territories flared out in recent years so the Department of Foreign Affairs’ announcement of Wang’s trip to Manila this week can be perceived as a welcome shift. “The Philippines looks forward to welcoming Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his working visit to the Philippines on November 10 upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario,” a DFA statement on Monday said. China also announced that President Xi Jinping will be attending the APEC summit, ending months of speculations over his attendance in the annual economic summit which is being hosted by Manila from November 17 to 19. Relations between the two Asian neighbors plunged to its lowest when the Philippines sought arbitration in January 2013 to try to declare as illegal China’s massive claim over the South China Sea, including areas within the waters that fall under Manila’s territory. When sought for further comment, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said: “We are not saying anything more that what we said in our statement.” In its press advisory, the department said Wang will arrive at the DFA at 8:25 a.m. where he will be signing its guestbook before proceeding with the meeting with Del Rosario. The two officials will also have a photo opportunity with the press, the DFA said. The DFA did not say if the two ministers will be holding a joint press conference after their meeting, which is expected to touch on their rifts over South China Sea territories and Manila’s filing of case against China before a The Hague-based tribunal to denigrate Beijing’s massive claim. READ MORE...

ALSO At the meeting: 'Up to the Philippines to solve sea dispute' - China Foreign Minister
["The person who caused the problem should solve it. We hope that the Philippines can make a more sensible choice," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement.]


NOVEMBER 11 -Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi waves to the media as he arrives at the Department of Foreign Affairs for talks with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, left, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 at suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. It was Wang's first visit to the country amid the two countries' row over the Spratlys group of islands in the South China Sea. AP/Bullit Marquez
Beijing on Wednesday insisted that it is up to the Philippines to settle the maritime dispute over the South China Sea. "The person who caused the problem should solve it. We hope that the Philippines can make a more sensible choice," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement.
The Philippines recently filed an arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations against China. The UN tribunal sided with the Philippines, deciding that it has jurisdiction to hear the claims of the Philippines against China. READ: Philippines: UN tribunal's award a significant step READ: China shrugs off UN tribunal's initial ruling Wang considered the Philippines's case against China as a "knot" that has impeded the improvement and development of the relationship between the countries. "We do not want this knot to become tighter and tighter, so that it even becomes a dead knot... As for how to loosen or open the knot, (we’ll) have to look at the Philippines," Wang said. The Chinese official is in the Philippines to meet with Filipino officials and compare notes on preparing for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping next week for the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. The Chinese side also expressed its hopes of improving its relationship with the Philippines following the sea row. However, both the Philippines and China agreed to avoid discussions on rising tensions in the South China Sea during the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting next week.THE FULL REPORT, RELATED, BEIJING EYES BETTER TIES WITH MANILA: China leader coming to PH...

ALSO China joins APEC: No sea row talks at APEC, PHL and China agree 
[Marciano Paynor, head of the APEC summit organizing committee, told reporters Monday the maritime row would be off the summit agenda. “I will reiterate that when we meet at APEC, it’s all economic issues and we do not take up bilateral, specific bilateral issues in APEC,” Paynor added. Palace meeting President Aquino met with Wang later yesterday ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival for the 23rd APEC summit on Nov. 18 to 19. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. quoted the President as saying he welcomed the decision of Xi to attend the APEC summit during his talk with Wang.]


NOVEMBER 11 -President Aquino welcomes Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Malacañang yesterday. Kriz John Rosales Noy vows warm welcome for Chinese leader The Philippines and China have agreed to avoid discussions on rising tensions in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea during next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila. “We recognize that APEC is not the proper forum to discuss this issue,” Charles Jose, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman, told reporters yesterday. “In the context of APEC, we both agreed APEC is an economic forum and it won’t be a proper venue to discuss political security issues,” he said. Jose’s pronouncement came shortly after Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s meeting yesterday with his Chinese countepart Wang Yi. Wang later met with President Aquino at Malacañang. “On APEC, Minister Wang said the main purpose of his visit is to confer with Philippine government officials regarding preparations for APEC, to ensure that the attendance of President Xi Jinping in AELM (APEC economic leaders meeting) will be smooth, safe and successful,” Jose said. “The secretary (Del Rosario) said we are committed to being a good host to all guests and we are endeavouring to ensure President Xi’s visit will be safe, comfortable and productive,” he said. On Tuesday Beijing aired its wish that the summit not tackle the roiling maritime issue after a regional defense ministers’ meeting recently in Malaysia failed to issue a joint communiqué in a split over the issue. Wang met for about an hour with Del Rosario. The DFA chief waved but ignored questions shouted at him by journalists as he stepped out of the DFA premises. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy, Obama to tackle sea dispute, EDCA
[This was disclosed yesterday by US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who said the two leaders are also expected to tackle the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Goldberg attended the annual Veterans Day commemoration at the Manila American cemetery at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.]


NOVEMBER 12 -US Ambassador Philip Goldberg gestures as he addresses the Veterans’ Day celebration at the Manila-American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City yesterday. Geremy Pintolo
It may not be on the agenda of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, but President Aquino is discussing with US President Barack Obama rising tensions in disputed waters in the region on the sidelines of APEC. This was disclosed yesterday by US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who said the two leaders are also expected to tackle the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Goldberg attended the annual Veterans Day commemoration at the Manila American cemetery at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City. He was asked whether Aquino and Obama would have bilateral discussions on security issues including the EDCA, which would post US troops in the Philippines on a rotational basis. “I would imagine they will,” Goldberg said. “When the two presidents get together, those are issues of mutual concern.” Implementation of the 10-year pact, signed by the two governments last year shortly before Obama visited Manila in April, has been snagged by legal challenges brought before the Supreme Court. Obama and Aquino are expected to hold a bilateral meeting Wednesday morning next week. Goldberg said that while he did not want to preempt the US president on the purpose or possible outcome of the bilateral talks, he was certain the meeting between the two leaders would further bolster relations between the US and the Philippines. He said discussions would center on “our mutual interests, our shared interests,” including the climate change meeting in Paris next month. Goldberg also reaffirmed his country’s commitment to further improve its relations with the Philippines in all aspects, especially economic. He said the United States is eager to hear a favorable Supreme Court decision on EDCA. A news report earlier this week, citing unidentified court sources, said the SC would uphold the constitutionality of the pact. The Senate has issued a resolution declaring EDCA a treaty that needs the chamber’s concurrence. EDCA allows the US military to set up camps inside major military bases of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as well as to store or pre-position armaments and materiel. READ MORE...

ALSO Miriam to PNoy: Junk defense cooperation talks in APEC


NOVEMBER 9 -US President Barack Obama, left, and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. AP PHOTO Despite strong warning from China against raising the issue of territorial disputes, United States President Barack Obama and President Benigno Aquino III may discuss the claims on the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Manila next week. Saying he did not want to preempt the White House, US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg on Wednesday said he believed the two controversial issues would be discussed by the two leaders at the sidelines of the summit. “I would imagine they will, when the two presidents get together, those are issues of mutual concern,” Ambassador Goldberg told reporters during the Veterans Day commemoration organized by the US Embassy in Taguig City on Wednesday. FROM INQUIRER NOVEMBER 11, 2015 NEWS REORT With no positive developments on the proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), President Benigno Aquino III should defer any plans to discuss the issue with the United States during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit that will start next week. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said it is best for the President to suspend any talks about the EDCA until the high court has ruled on the legitimacy of the agreement. “Let’s just say that this is not the best time for our President to deal with this matter because apparently the President’s advisers differ from the opinion of the general public especially the students in the universities,” Santiago said when sought to comment on the issue after her keynote speech at the Fourth Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) Congress held at the SMX Convention Center at the SM Aura, Bonifacio Global Center, Taguig City.  “So this would have to be ironed out, if possible among the Filipino people themselves,” she said. The Senate, on Tuesday, adopted the resolution stating that the defense agreement between the US and the Philippines is a treaty prohibited under the Constitution. US President Barack Obama has confirmed his participation in APEC which Manila will host next week. This will be Obama’s second trip to the Philippines since his two-day visit in April last year where he witnessed the signing of the EDCA. The Supreme Court, however, is still studying the legality of the agreement. Besides Santiago, those who voted in favor of the resolution were Senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Ma. Lourdes “Nancy” Binay, Joseph “JV” Ejercito, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Ralph Recto, Pia Cayetano and Cynthia Villar. READ MORE...

ALSO: Senators want say on Philippines-US defense pact (EDCA)


NOVEMBER 11 -Fourteen senators voted to approve Senate Resolution 1414 authored and sponsored by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago during yesterday’s plenary session. Philstar.com/File
Senators approved a resolution saying the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States is a treaty that must be sent to the Senate for concurrence under the Constitution. Fourteen senators voted to approve Senate Resolution 1414 authored and sponsored by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago during yesterday’s plenary session. Apart from Santiago, the other senators who voted for approval of the resolution were Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sergio Osmeña III, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Ralph Recto. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV voted against the resolution while Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile abstained. Senators Pia Cayetano and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV arrived after the voting and manifested into record their votes in favor and abstention, respectively. The position taken by the Senate is contrary to the stand of the executive department that EDCA is merely an executive agreement and would not have to go through the Senate for concurrence. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin signed the EDCA on behalf of the Philippine government while US Ambassador Philip Goldberg signed for Washington. Santiago said the resolution deals with constitutional law and “the strong sense of the Senate that it embodies is a confirmation of its supremacy over any self-serving speculation that is forced subjectively on the Constitution.” Under Article VII Section 21 of the Constitution, “No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all members of the Senate.” Citing the provision of the Constitution, Santiago argued EDCA is “a treaty prohibited under the Constitution.” “This is the only provision of the fundamental law that determines the validity and effectiveness of treaties as law of the land. Other than concurrence of the Senate, no authority expressly transforms a treaty into law,” Santiago said in her sponsorship speech. To further emphasize the position that the EDCA is a treaty, Santiago cited its text and the arguments made by the Solicitor General, in behalf of the executive department, which she said clearly describes the EDCA in the nature of foreign military bases, troops or facilities. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

China, PHL top envoys in rare Manila meeting Tuesday

MANILA, NOVEMBER 16, 2015 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) November 9, 2015 4:20pm - By MICHAELA DEL CALLAR - Amid the Philippines and China's high-profile territorial dispute, Beijing's top envoy Wang Yi will be visiting Manila several days ahead of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Summit to engage in a rare meeting with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario in Manila on Tuesday.

Top Chinese officials have not paid a visit to the Philippines since the two countries’ disputes over contested South China Sea territories flared out in recent years so the Department of Foreign Affairs’ announcement of Wang’s trip to Manila this week can be perceived as a welcome shift.

“The Philippines looks forward to welcoming Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his working visit to the Philippines on November 10 upon the invitation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario,” a DFA statement on Monday said.

China also announced that President Xi Jinping will be attending the APEC summit, ending months of speculations over his attendance in the annual economic summit which is being hosted by Manila from November 17 to 19.

Relations between the two Asian neighbors plunged to its lowest when the Philippines sought arbitration in January 2013 to try to declare as illegal China’s massive claim over the South China Sea, including areas within the waters that fall under Manila’s territory.

When sought for further comment, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said: “We are not saying anything more that what we said in our statement.”

In its press advisory, the department said Wang will arrive at the DFA at 8:25 a.m. where he will be signing its guestbook before proceeding with the meeting with Del Rosario. The two officials will also have a photo opportunity with the press, the DFA said.

The DFA did not say if the two ministers will be holding a joint press conference after their meeting, which is expected to touch on their rifts over South China Sea territories and Manila’s filing of case against China before a The Hague-based tribunal to denigrate Beijing’s massive claim.

READ MORE...

In an initial legal setback for China and a victory for the Philippines, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Netherlands has assumed jurisdiction on Manila’s case, set hearings and said that it expects to hand down a ruling on the case next year.

In its 147-page decision, the tribunal also rejected China’s argument that tribunal did not have authority to rule on the case.

The Philippines sought arbitration in the hope of obtaining a swift resolution in a short span of time.

A maritime standoff with China in Philippine-claimed Scarborough Shoal occured in 2012, which resulted in the shoal falling under Chinese control and prompted the Philippines to finally seek arbitration.

China denies any wrongdoing, insisting it has “indisputable” and "historical" rights over the waters, where vast mineral oil and gas deposits have been discovered in several areas.

Overlapping claims by the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan to the South China Sea – a busy waterway where a bulk of the world’s trade pass - have led to occasional flare-ups and has become a hotspot for military conflict. — RSJ, GMA News


PHILSTAR

China: Up to the Philippines to solve sea dispute By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated November 11, 2015 - 1:54pm 2 115 googleplus0 0


Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi waves to the media as he arrives at the Department of Foreign Affairs for talks with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, left, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 at suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. It was Wang's first visit to the country amid the two countries' row over the Spratlys group of islands in the South China Sea. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - Beijing on Wednesday insisted that it is up to the Philippines to settle the maritime dispute over the South China Sea.

"The person who caused the problem should solve it. We hope that the Philippines can make a more sensible choice," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement.

The Philippines recently filed an arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations against China.

The UN tribunal sided with the Philippines, deciding that it has jurisdiction to hear the claims of the Philippines against China.

READ: Philippines: UN tribunal's award a significant step

READ: China shrugs off UN tribunal's initial ruling

Wang considered the Philippines's case against China as a "knot" that has impeded the improvement and development of the relationship between the countries.

"We do not want this knot to become tighter and tighter, so that it even becomes a dead knot... As for how to loosen or open the knot, (we’ll) have to look at the Philippines," Wang said.

The Chinese official is in the Philippines to meet with Filipino officials and compare notes on preparing for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping next week for the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

The Chinese side also expressed its hopes of improving its relationship with the Philippines following the sea row.

However, both the Philippines and China agreed to avoid discussions on rising tensions in the South China Sea during the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting next week.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

BEIJING EYES BETTER TIES WITH MANILA: China leader coming to PH By: Leila B. Salaverria, Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:00 AM November 10th, 2015


EXPECTED GUEST China’s President Xi Jinping confirms attendance at Apec. AP

CHINESE President Xi Jinping will attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) in Manila next week, amid tensions between China and the Philippines over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila confirmed Xi’s attendance, according to Assistant Foreign Secretary Charles Jose, spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Xi is coming to Manila two weeks after the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled it had jurisdiction to hear a case brought by the Philippines to invalidate China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea.

The ruling angered China, which has refused to take part in the arbitration, insisting it has “undisputed sovereignty” over the South China Sea, a claim challenged not only by the Philippines but also by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Oral arguments on the substance of the Philippine case are expected to start days after the Apec summit in Manila.

China has said it will not accept any ruling by the arbitral court and urged the Philippines to come to bilateral talks to resolve the dispute.

But China is apparently not allowing the setback to be a reason for missing out on the gathering of 20 world leaders for the Apec summit from Nov. 17 to 20.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on the agency’s website Monday that Xi would attend the Apec summit on the invitation of President Aquino.

Before traveling to Manila, Xi will go to Antalya, Turkey, to attend the 10th G-20 Summit from Nov. 14 to 16 on the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Lu said.

Wang to lay the way

Hong Lei, another foreign ministry spokesperson, said Foreign Minister Wang Yi would visit Manila on Tuesday to discuss preparations for Xi’s visit and ways to improve China’s relations with the Philippines.

READ MORE...

“At present, because of reasons everyone knows about, Sino-Philippine relations are facing difficulties. This is something China does not wish to see,” Hong told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

“China pays great attention to relations with the Philippines and is willing to appropriately resolve relevant issues on the basis of dialogue and negotiation,” he said.

Earlier, Malacañang said the Philippines would accord China “Filipino hospitality in equal measure with all other Apec delegations” despite the South China Sea dispute.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the dispute did not define the totality of the Philippines’ relations with China.

Heavyweights coming

Apec’s members include the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Canada, and together account for 57 percent of global production and 46.5 percent of world trade.

Among the world leaders expected to attend the summit are US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A security summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) last week, attended by both the United States and China, failed to produce a customary final statement because the delegations could not agree on whether to mention the South China Sea dispute.

Organizers of the Apec summit in Manila are requesting journalists to avoid raising the South China Sea dispute, unless it is taken up by President Aquino and Xi in a bilateral meeting.

Aside from playing host to the Apec leaders, Mr. Aquino is expected to have at least 11 bilateral meetings, but government officials have yet to confirm whether the President will have one with Xi.

Marciano Paynor Jr., head of Apec national organizing council, on Monday said the Philippines wants to be a “gracious host” to all the guests that it would be best to avoid bilateral issues such as the South China Sea dispute.

“We discuss specific issues there (bilateral meetings). Then, by all means, ask. But when we don’t have bilateral issues with the economy, then I think it is our duty as host to make their stay here comfortable, as they did when we went to China last year,” Paynor told reporters.

Economic issues only

Paynor acknowledged that it would be difficult for journalists not to ask the Apec leaders about the South China Sea dispute, but he emphasized that Apec is a forum for the discussion of economic issues.

“I will reiterate that when we meet at Apec, it’s all economic issues and we do not take up bilateral, specific bilateral, issues in Apec, and that’s the reason many of the leaders come,” he said.

Issues other than economic are not discussed by Apec “as a group,” he explained.

Those issues are tackled during bilateral meetings, he added.

“And therefore, when the guests come, and may I—this is a request—when the guests come, perhaps it will not be correct to ask them about bilateral issues unless they have come from a bilateral meeting with us,” Paynor said.

A list of all leaders who have confirmed their attendance has yet to be completed, but Paynor said “the expectation is all of the leaders are coming.”


PHILSTAR

Philippines, China: No sea row talks at APEC By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 11, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Aquino welcomes Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Malacañang yesterday. Kriz John Rosales Noy vows warm welcome for Chinese leader

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and China have agreed to avoid discussions on rising tensions in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea during next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila.

“We recognize that APEC is not the proper forum to discuss this issue,” Charles Jose, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman, told reporters yesterday.

“In the context of APEC, we both agreed APEC is an economic forum and it won’t be a proper venue to discuss political security issues,” he said.

Jose’s pronouncement came shortly after Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s meeting yesterday with his Chinese countepart Wang Yi. Wang later met with President Aquino at Malacañang.

“On APEC, Minister Wang said the main purpose of his visit is to confer with Philippine government officials regarding preparations for APEC, to ensure that the attendance of President Xi Jinping in AELM (APEC economic leaders meeting) will be smooth, safe and successful,” Jose said.

“The secretary (Del Rosario) said we are committed to being a good host to all guests and we are endeavouring to ensure President Xi’s visit will be safe, comfortable and productive,” he said.

On Tuesday Beijing aired its wish that the summit not tackle the roiling maritime issue after a regional defense ministers’ meeting recently in Malaysia failed to issue a joint communiqué in a split over the issue.

Wang met for about an hour with Del Rosario. The DFA chief waved but ignored questions shouted at him by journalists as he stepped out of the DFA premises.

READ MORE...

Del Rosario said the meeting was “good” but hurried to the presidential palace, where Wang met Aquino. Before their meeting, the two ministers posed for pictures and Wang signed a guest book. Del Rosario also hosted a lunch for Wang after the meeting with Aquino. Wang’s pre-APEC summit working visit was upon the invitation of Del Rosario.

The two foreign ministers last met in Beijing in 2013 on the sidelines of Southeast Asian foreign ministers’ meeting with their Chinese counterpart, but it is Wang’s first visit to Philippine capital as a foreign minister.

Marciano Paynor, head of the APEC summit organizing committee, told reporters Monday the maritime row would be off the summit agenda.

“I will reiterate that when we meet at APEC, it’s all economic issues and we do not take up bilateral, specific bilateral issues in APEC,” Paynor added.

Palace meeting

President Aquino met with Wang later yesterday ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival for the 23rd APEC summit on Nov. 18 to 19.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. quoted the President as saying he welcomed the decision of Xi to attend the APEC summit during his talk with Wang.

“He (Aquino) assured the foreign minister that it is in the culture of the Filipinos as hosts to make our guests feel the warmth of Filipino hospitality,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the President also told Wang that he was to conduct an inspection of APEC venues and assess the status of preparations for the summit.

Discussing the Beijing officials’ visits to Manila, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday that China wanted to improve relations with its neighbor.


Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi, right, and Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario.

“For reasons known to all, bilateral relations are facing difficulties, which is not something we want to see,” Hong told reporters in Beijing.

“We value bilateral ties, and we would like to properly resolve relevant issues through consultations and negotiations.”

His comments came after a landmark summit between Xi and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou at the weekend – the first such meeting since the two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949.

Those talks raised hopes of a further thaw in relations between the two former rivals.

However, Hong emphasized in his comments on Monday that the onus rested on the Philippines to improve ties with Beijing.

Aquino’s only meetings with Chinese leaders included a very brief encounter with Xi on the sidelines of last year’s Beijing APEC summit. He also made a state visit to China in 2011 for talks with Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao.

Over China’s objection, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague last month ruled it has jurisdiction over a case filed by Manila seeking to clarify the Philippines’ maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea amid China’s incursions and massive land reclamation. China claims almost the entire West Philippine Sea and South China Sea.

Tension simmering Beijing claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has sought to reinforce its position by building up reefs and tiny islets into artificial islands capable of hosting military facilities.

Its stance puts it in opposition with several other members of the APEC, including the US.

Last month Washington pressed its right to freedom of navigation by sending the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen to within 12 nautical miles of at least one of the artificial islets in the Spratlys chain, angering China.


US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is on Thursday (Nov 5) set to visit an American aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. PHOTO: AFP

This year’s APEC summit begins in the Philippines – also a South China Sea claimant – next week but Li Baodong, a vice foreign minister, told a briefing in Beijing: “There is no plan to discuss the South China Sea issue.”

“APEC is mainly a platform to discuss economic and trade cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region,” he added. “There is consensus on this point.”

Last week an Asia-Pacific defense ministers’ meeting in Malaysia ended on a sour note as the US and China butted heads over whether a final joint statement should mention the South China Sea.

Besides China and the Philippines, the other claimants are Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan, with some of their claims overlapping.

On Saturday in Singapore, Xi promised to safeguard freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where tensions have flared over overlapping claims and the US Navy’s moves to challenge Beijing’s island-building.

China criticized last week’s patrol of the USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, within the 12-nautical-mile (22-kilometer) territorial limit of Subi Reef, one of the South China Sea features that have been claimed, expanded and reinforced by China over objections of other claimants, particularly the Philippines.

The US Navy said it wanted to demonstrate the principle of freedom of navigation.

China, the Philippines and four other governments have overlapping claims across the vast South China Sea and West Philippine Sea, with Beijing claiming it has sovereignty over virtually all of the waters.

Some of the disputed areas are believed to sit atop vast undersea deposits of oil and gas and straddle some of the world’s busiest sea lanes.

China’s APEC version

In Beijing, Chinese senior officials said China will seek to push its own vision of an Asia-Pacific trade pact at the APEC summit next week.

Beijing sought to promote the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) at last year’s APEC summit, which it hosted.

At the meeting’s close, participants endorsed efforts to explore the idea, which was seen as a potential rival to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a Washington-led trade coalition that includes the region’s largest economies, except for China.

Little has been heard of the FTAAP since, while the long-secret text of the TPP deal was released Thursday, receiving cheers from global business interests and jeers from labor, environmental and health groups, which vowed to fight its ratification.

China said it would report the findings of a study on FTAAP at next week’s APEC summit in the Philippines, to be attended by Xi.

“We need to actively work for the establishment of FTAAP,” Chinese vice finance minister Wang Shouwen told a briefing, adding that FTAAP would be “a facilitator for regional integration in APEC.”


PHILSTAR

Noy, Obama to tackle sea dispute, EDCA By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 12, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


US Ambassador Philip Goldberg gestures as he addresses the Veterans’ Day celebration at the Manila-American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City yesterday. Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines – It may not be on the agenda of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, but President Aquino is discussing with US President Barack Obama rising tensions in disputed waters in the region on the sidelines of APEC.

This was disclosed yesterday by US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who said the two leaders are also expected to tackle the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Goldberg attended the annual Veterans Day commemoration at the Manila American cemetery at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

He was asked whether Aquino and Obama would have bilateral discussions on security issues including the EDCA, which would post US troops in the Philippines on a rotational basis.

“I would imagine they will,” Goldberg said. “When the two presidents get together, those are issues of mutual concern.”

Implementation of the 10-year pact, signed by the two governments last year shortly before Obama visited Manila in April, has been snagged by legal challenges brought before the Supreme Court.

Obama and Aquino are expected to hold a bilateral meeting Wednesday morning next week.

Goldberg said that while he did not want to preempt the US president on the purpose or possible outcome of the bilateral talks, he was certain the meeting between the two leaders would further bolster relations between the US and the Philippines.

He said discussions would center on “our mutual interests, our shared interests,” including the climate change meeting in Paris next month.

Goldberg also reaffirmed his country’s commitment to further improve its relations with the Philippines in all aspects, especially economic.

He said the United States is eager to hear a favorable Supreme Court decision on EDCA. A news report earlier this week, citing unidentified court sources, said the SC would uphold the constitutionality of the pact.

The Senate has issued a resolution declaring EDCA a treaty that needs the chamber’s concurrence.

EDCA allows the US military to set up camps inside major military bases of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as well as to store or pre-position armaments and materiel.

READ MORE...

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Goldberg signed EDCA on April 28, 2014, ahead of the state visit of Obama in Manila on April 28 and 29 last year.

The SC is set to vote on the petitions against EDCA on Nov. 16. Obama is again expected to arrive in the country for the APEC summit on Nov.18-19.

The Department of National Defense (DND) has maintained that there is no need for Senate concurrence of EDCA as the latter is already tied to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the US.

Meanwhile, Goldberg could not say if Obama would have a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China has prevailed upon the Philippines, being the APEC host, not to discuss the South China Sea issue in the economic forum.


PHILSTAR

Miriam to PNoy: Junk defense cooperation talks in APEC by Hannah Torregoza November 13, 2015 Share0 Tweet1 Share0 Email0 Share11


THE LINES ARE DRAWN — Traffic barriers set up along EDSA to mark the designated lane for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) delegates remain open for use of common traffic as of yesterday. But by next week, only the four outer lanes will be accessible to motorists. (Mark Balmores)

With no positive developments on the proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), President Benigno Aquino III should defer any plans to discuss the issue with the United States during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit that will start next week.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said it is best for the President to suspend any talks about the EDCA until the high court has ruled on the legitimacy of the agreement.

“Let’s just say that this is not the best time for our President to deal with this matter because apparently the President’s advisers differ from the opinion of the general public especially the students in the universities,” Santiago said when sought to comment on the issue after her keynote speech at the Fourth Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) Congress held at the SMX Convention Center at the SM Aura, Bonifacio Global Center, Taguig City.

 “So this would have to be ironed out, if possible among the Filipino people themselves,” she said.

The Senate, on Tuesday, adopted the resolution stating that the defense agreement between the US and the Philippines is a treaty prohibited under the Constitution.

US President Barack Obama has confirmed his participation in APEC which Manila will host next week.

This will be Obama’s second trip to the Philippines since his two-day visit in April last year where he witnessed the signing of the EDCA.

The Supreme Court, however, is still studying the legality of the agreement.

Besides Santiago, those who voted in favor of the resolution were Senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Ma. Lourdes “Nancy” Binay, Joseph “JV” Ejercito, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Ralph Recto, Pia Cayetano and Cynthia Villar.

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Three senators Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senate minority leader Juan Ponce-Enrile and Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV abstained. Only Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV voted against the resolution.

In her Senate sponsorship speech, Santiago, who chairs the Senate committee on foreign relations, argued that the EDCA “belongs to the category of prohibited treaty, namely, it is a treaty of foreign military bases, troops, or facilities without the concurrence of the Senate.”

“The Resolution that we will approve is Constitutional Law. The strong sense of the Senate that it embodies is a confirmation of its supremacy over any self-serving speculation that is forced subjectively on the Constitution,” Santiago said.


PHILSTAR

Senators want say on Philippines-US defense pact By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 11, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Fourteen senators voted to approve Senate Resolution 1414 authored and sponsored by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago during yesterday’s plenary session. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines – Senators approved a resolution saying the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States is a treaty that must be sent to the Senate for concurrence under the Constitution.

Fourteen senators voted to approve Senate Resolution 1414 authored and sponsored by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago during yesterday’s plenary session.

Apart from Santiago, the other senators who voted for approval of the resolution were Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sergio Osmeña III, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Ralph Recto.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV voted against the resolution while Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile abstained.

Senators Pia Cayetano and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV arrived after the voting and manifested into record their votes in favor and abstention, respectively.

The position taken by the Senate is contrary to the stand of the executive department that EDCA is merely an executive agreement and would not have to go through the Senate for concurrence.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin signed the EDCA on behalf of the Philippine government while US Ambassador Philip Goldberg signed for Washington.

Santiago said the resolution deals with constitutional law and “the strong sense of the Senate that it embodies is a confirmation of its supremacy over any self-serving speculation that is forced subjectively on the Constitution.”

Under Article VII Section 21 of the Constitution, “No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all members of the Senate.”

Citing the provision of the Constitution, Santiago argued EDCA is “a treaty prohibited under the Constitution.”

“This is the only provision of the fundamental law that determines the validity and effectiveness of treaties as law of the land. Other than concurrence of the Senate, no authority expressly transforms a treaty into law,” Santiago said in her sponsorship speech.

To further emphasize the position that the EDCA is a treaty, Santiago cited its text and the arguments made by the Solicitor General, in behalf of the executive department, which she said clearly describes the EDCA in the nature of foreign military bases, troops or facilities.

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Santiago cited Article 18 Section 25 of the Constitution, which states that “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate… and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”

“The textual composition of EDCA in itself evidences that it belongs to the category of prohibited treaty, namely, it is a treaty of foreign military bases, troops, or facilities without the concurrence of the Senate,” Santiago said.

“That such a prohibited ‘treaty’ has been concluded by the Executive Department as an executive agreement testifies to its inherently prohibitory nature under the Constitution, by reason of EDCA’s substantive provisions dealing with the establishment, location, stationing of the United States military forces and storage of military facilities in Philippine territory,” she added.

“In defiance of the Constitution, Article 18, Section 25, EDCA is without question a prohibited treaty of foreign military bases, troops, or facilities concluded in the absence of Senate concurrence,” she said.

Two petitions have been brought before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the EDCA.

A decision is expected soon while Santiago wanted Senate Resolution 1414 furnished to the high court.

Santiago said she hopes the Supreme Court will consider the strong statement from the Senate with decisive concern.

In voting against the resolution, Trillanes reiterated his position that the EDCA is an executive agreement that is tied to the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines.

He added the Supreme Court should be left to decide on the question of whether the EDCA is a treaty or an executive agreement.

“I believe the arguments regarding whether the EDCA is an executive agreement or is a treaty should be left unto the Supreme Court, which it is now being studied and subject to closer scrutiny. I believe the Senate, we just have to wait for that resolution and need not express its sentiment,” he said.

Drilon, for his part, said he decided to abstain from the voting in deference to the Supreme Court deciding on the issue.

On the part of Enrile, he explained the approval of such a resolution was unnecessary because it was merely a reiteration of Article VII Section 21 of the Constitution. – Edu Punay, Rhodina Villanueva


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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