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

CHINA TRADES BARBS WITH OBAMA, AQUINO IN KUALA LUMPUR


NOVEMBER 23 -OBAMA, NOY KEEP PRESSURE UP OVER SEA ROW
China struck back yesterday in its verbal tussle with the United States and the Philippines as Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin criticizing the intrusion of US warship which sailed within 12 nautical miles of a Chinese reef in the South China Sea as a “political provocation” in the name of “freedom of navigation.” China issued the statement after the unrelenting verbal offensive from the US and the Philippines during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum in Manila and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Kuala Lumpur which ended yesterday. “The true purpose of the U.S. intrusion is to test how China will react to this kind of provocations,” Liu said at a press briefing on the sidelines of the 27th Asean Summit and Related Summits in Malaysia. Washington has said the move was meant to stress the right to free passage in waters China claims. Liu added that the construction carried out by China on its own islands and reefs in the South China Sea is something “we have to do” for the sake of improving living conditions for people there as well as better fulfillment of China’s international obligation. The construction will also help create conditions for better public service for countries in the region, Liu added. China came under renewed criticism over its rising profile in the South China Sea as it jostled with the United States for regional influence at the conclusion of the Asean Summit.Asia-Pacific leaders met in Malaysia with China finding itself in the firing line over its land reclamation projects that have turned tiny atolls into fully-fledged islands with potential military uses. “The world is watching,” to see if Beijing will behave like a “responsible global leader” in the standoff, President Aquino told the assembled leaders. The talks, which included the United States, China, Japan and others, were hosted by the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). President Barack Obama, who earlier in the week repeated US calls for China to stop the land reclamation, announced he would host the Asean leaders at a meeting in the United States next year.“This region ... is critical to security, prosperity and human dignity around the world,” he said, while also pledging continued trade, diplomatic, and security support for the region. The annual season of summitry, which began a week ago in Turkey for the Group of 20 meeting, and continued with regional forums in Manila and Kuala Lumpur, has been overshadowed by the string of recent deadly extremist attacks. But attention in Malaysia shifted back to Chinese actions, which have raised fears of potential conflict at sea. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waded into the fray, calling for the South China Sea, a key route for global seaborne trade, not to be militarized, while refraining from directly naming China, according to Kyodo news agency. China insists on sovereignty over virtually all the resource-endowed South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, and non-Asean member Taiwan. Beijing has displayed irritation with Washington’s expressions of support for the claims of China’s neighbors, and once again refused to budge on the issue in Kuala Lumpur. With Obama present, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the closed-door summit that countries “from outside the region” should stop inflaming tensions over the maritime dispute, Vice Foreign Minister Liu said. At the same time, China offered its own carrot to Asean, announcing a new raft of infrastructure loans totalling some $10 billion. READ MORE...

ALSO AT THE HAGUE: China’s marine destruction bared


NOVEMBER 28 -Professor Bernard Oxman stressed that China’s denial of access is part of “a deliberate policy to physically expel the Philippines and its nationals from the disputed features and its surrounding waters.” AP/Bullit Marquez/File
China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, including moves that nearly cost the lives of Filipinos, highlighted Manila’s oral arguments at the resumption of hearings Thursday on its case against Beijing before an international arbitral court based in The Hague.
The environmental damage caused by China’s massive island building activities in disputed waters also came into focus during oral arguments before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, a bulletin relayed by the Philippine legal team showed. One of the country’s representatives, professor Alan Boyle, presented in detail cases of near-collisions that occurred in April and May 2012 at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal involving Chinese maritime surveillance ships and Philippine vessels. The bulletin cited Boyle’s assailing China’s “deliberate disregard for international law” for endangering maritime vessels and their crew. Professor Bernard Oxman, another counsel for the Philippines, presented to the tribunal other actions by China that only aggravated the dispute over maritime boundaries. “Oxman cited instances where the Philippines was blocked by China from entering Second Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal for a resupply mission,” the bulletin said. Ayungin Shoal is guarded by a detachment of Philippine Marines stationed on a grounded World War II era transport ship called BRP Sierra Madre. Philippine boats had to engage bigger Chinese ships in a cat-and-mouse chase just to deliver supplies and provisions to the Sierra Madre. Oxman stressed that China’s denial of access is part of “a deliberate policy to physically expel the Philippines and its nationals from the disputed features and its surrounding waters.” The Philippines’ legal team also said the damage caused by China’s island building activities to South China Sea’s complex coral reef ecosystem “is close to catastrophic.” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Philippine legal team presented two experts to testify on the environmental damage caused by China’s actions and on the flaws on China’s setting of its maritime boundaries. One of the experts spoke about the 47 features in the South China Sea that the tribunal wanted to look into for the determination of exclusive economic zone and territorial waters. The bulletin also showed that professor Kent Carpenter, who is part of the Department of Biological Sciences of the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, explained that China’s land reclamation and island building activities have greatly harmed the environment. Professor Clive Schofield, another expert, presented his findings on 47 features that the tribunal wanted to determine “whether they are insular, low tide or high tide elevations.” Schofield is the current director of research at the Australian Centre for Ocean Resource and Security at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Satellite images of Panatag Shoal at high tide and low tide were also presented by Schofield to the arbitral court. READ MORE...

ALSO DAY 2 at the Hague: China tried to ‘physically expel’ PH


NOVEMBER 28 -Day 2 of the hearings on the merits of Philippines’ case against China over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea at The Arbitral Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. L-R Professors Allan Boyle, Philippe Sands and Paul Reichler. PHOTO FROM THE FACEBOOK ACCOUNT OF ABIGAIL VALTE
China’s blocking of Philippine ships bringing supplies to Filipino soldiers stationed at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) was a deliberate move to “physically expel” the Philippines and its people from the disputed areas of the South China Sea region being claimed by the Philippines. This was one of the arguments presented by the Philippine legal team before the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration as it wrapped up on Thursday the first round of arguments in the hearing on the merits of the case that the Philippines filed to invalidate China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea. The team will return to the tribunal on Nov. 30 for the second round of arguments, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a dispatch from the Hague.
In his presentation before the court, professor Bernard Oxman, one of the Philippines’ foreign lawyers, said China has been undertaking actions, even while the arbitration is pending, that “aggravated and extended the dispute.” Oxman cited in particular the March 29, 2014, incident where Chinese ships blocked a Filipino resupply mission from entering Ayungin Shoal. “Oxman stressed that China’s denial of access forms part of ‘a deliberate policy to physically expel the Philippines and its nationals’ from the disputed features and its surrounding waters,” Valte said.Significant mission The March 29 incident was a rare closeup look at the increasing tensions between the Philippines and China over overlapping claims in the Spratlys chain of islands and other features in the South China Sea.The mission was also significant as it took place on the eve of the Philippines’ filing of its arguments in the tribunal.A small civilian government ship was carrying provisions for a group of Marines stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre, a rusting hospital ship that was deliberately grounded on the shoal to mark it as Philippine territory.The troops had been stationed at Ayungin for almost six months, the longest period that a team had been deployed at the shoal to ensure that China did not occupy it as it did Mischief Reef (Kagitingan Reef) in 1995.China has turned Mischief Reef, one of the islets and reefs in the disputed Spratlys archipelago claimed by the Philippines, into an artificial island and built three airstrips on it.Deployments to the Spratlys island chain usually last for only three months but this team’s tour of duty was extended because China would block all resupply and rotation missions.Disregard for int’l law Another legal counsel, professor Alan Boyle, detailed before the tribunal the “series of near-collisions that occurred in April and May 2012 in Scarborough Shoal involving Chinese Marine service vessels and Philippine vessels.” READ MORE...

ALSO: China sea reclamation causing grave harm to coral reef system


NOVEMBER 28 -PHOTO FROM  RAPPLER.COM The Philippines has accused China of inflicting “close to catastrophic” damage on the coral reef system in the South China Sea with its aggressive and unlawful reclamation works in the area. China’s activities, including harmful fishing practices, will pose a “significant threat” to the marine environment if left unchecked, the Philippine government told the United Nations tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands. These arguments were supported by two foreign experts –Professors Kent E. Carpenter, Ph.D. and Clive Schofield, Ph.D. – and other advocates presented by the Philippines to bolster its maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). “Carpenter drew the conclusion that China’s actions have caused grave harm to the environment in the South China Sea due to its artificial island building activities, and that the damage to the complex coral reef ecosystem is close to catastrophic,” Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a bulletin from The Hague. Backing the statement made by Carpenter, international law expert Alan Boyle showed to the PCA the damage China has done to the marine ecosystem, particularly to the complex ecosystem of coral reefs, biological diversity, and living resources in the South China Sea. “Boyle stated that, if unchecked, China’s activities will continue to pose a significant threat to the marine environment of the South China Sea and of all the states which border the sea,” Valte said. Boyle likewise said China has committed violations under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect and preserve the marine environment. He mentioned the “harmful fishing practices” of China “such as blast fishing, cyanide fishing, harvesting of giant clams, catching of turtles, and other endangered species.” China must also be responsible for its “failure to prevent its fishermen and vessels from engaging in illegal fishing activities,” according to Boyle. Boyle also informed the PCA about the “series of near-collisions” that occurred in April and May, 2012, in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) involving Chinese Marine Service vessels and Philippine vessels. “These incidents, according to Boyle, displayed China’s ‘deliberate disregard for international law’ on the safety of maritime vessels,” Valte said. READ MORE...

ALSO By Satur Ocampo: Economic, not military, rivalry for US and China


NOVEMBER 28 -By Satur C. Ocampo
No matter the military muscle-flexing both by China and the United States (along with Japan and other US regional allies) in relation to the ongoing maritime dispute in our part of the world, all parties concerned must emphasize the primacy of resolving the disagreement through diplomatic, peaceful means – specifically via the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Thus it’s encouraging that, at the hearing in The Hague by the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration on the “merits and remaining issues of jurisdiction and admissibility” of the Philippine case against China, seven countries sent observers and were allowed by the court. These are Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. (The hearing is billed as Round 2. In Round 1 earlier this year, the court ruled that it has jurisdiction over the case. China has refused to participate in the proceedings, but sent its position paper to the court.) Malaysia and Vietnam also have maritime claims in the South China Sea. (Japan has territorial dispute with China over islets in the East China Sea.) A ruling in favor of the Philippines will enhance Malaysia’s and Vietnam’s claims too. China adamantly declares it “will not accept the arbitration,” but having signed the UNCLOS documents, it ought to abide by the convention’s processes and decisions. The Philippines’ main argument before the arbitration court is: China’s alleged historic-rights claim of sovereignty over 90 percent of the South China Sea under its “9-dash-line” map has no legal basis under the UNCLOS. The argument is backed up by numerous historical documents and ancient maps. If China’s 9-dash-line were to be left unchallenged, the Philippines would lose 80 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zones as defined under the UNCLOS. Similarly, Malaysia would lose 80 percent and Vietnam 50 percent of their EEZs, according to an extensive study by Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio. Indonesia has also warned China that it will go to court if its Natuna Islands (whose surrounding waters reportedly hold Southeast Asia’s largest natural gas field) are covered by the 9-dash-line. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

China trades barbs with US, RP in KL


OBAMA, NOY KEEP PRESSURE UP OVER SEA ROW

KUALA LUMPUR, NOVEMBER 30, 2015 (TRIBUNE) Written by AFP and Tribune Wires Monday, 23 November 2015 00:00 - China struck back yesterday in its verbal tussle with the United States and the Philippines as Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin criticizing the intrusion of US warship which sailed within 12 nautical miles of a Chinese reef in the South China Sea as a “political provocation” in the name of “freedom of navigation.”

China issued the statement after the unrelenting verbal offensive from the US and the Philippines during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum in Manila and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Kuala Lumpur which ended yesterday.

“The true purpose of the U.S. intrusion is to test how China will react to this kind of provocations,” Liu said at a press briefing on the sidelines of the 27th Asean Summit and Related Summits in Malaysia.

Washington has said the move was meant to stress the right to free passage in waters China claims.

Liu added that the construction carried out by China on its own islands and reefs in the South China Sea is something “we have to do” for the sake of improving living conditions for people there as well as better fulfillment of China’s international obligation.

The construction will also help create conditions for better public service for countries in the region, Liu added.

China came under renewed criticism over its rising profile in the South China Sea as it jostled with the United States for regional influence at the conclusion of the Asean Summit.

Asia-Pacific leaders met in Malaysia with China finding itself in the firing line over its land reclamation projects that have turned tiny atolls into fully-fledged islands with potential military uses.

“The world is watching,” to see if Beijing will behave like a “responsible global leader” in the standoff, President Aquino told the assembled leaders.

The talks, which included the United States, China, Japan and others, were hosted by the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

President Barack Obama, who earlier in the week repeated US calls for China to stop the land reclamation, announced he would host the Asean leaders at a meeting in the United States next year.

“This region ... is critical to security, prosperity and human dignity around the world,” he said, while also pledging continued trade, diplomatic, and security support for the region.

The annual season of summitry, which began a week ago in Turkey for the Group of 20 meeting, and continued with regional forums in Manila and Kuala Lumpur, has been overshadowed by the string of recent deadly extremist attacks.

But attention in Malaysia shifted back to Chinese actions, which have raised fears of potential conflict at sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waded into the fray, calling for the South China Sea, a key route for global seaborne trade, not to be militarized, while refraining from directly naming China, according to Kyodo news agency.

China insists on sovereignty over virtually all the resource-endowed South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, and non-Asean member Taiwan.

Beijing has displayed irritation with Washington’s expressions of support for the claims of China’s neighbors, and once again refused to budge on the issue in Kuala Lumpur.

With Obama present, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the closed-door summit that countries “from outside the region” should stop inflaming tensions over the maritime dispute, Vice Foreign Minister Liu said.

At the same time, China offered its own carrot to Asean, announcing a new raft of infrastructure loans totalling some $10 billion.

READ MORE...

Asean on Saturday issued a joint statement stressing the need to maintain freedom of navigation and over-flight rights in the South China Sea.

Washington said navigation in a sea through which much of the world’s trade passes could be threatened by actions such as China’s island-building.

Asean also called for quicker progress on agreeing a code of conduct at sea with Beijing.

China has been accused of dragging its feet on the code, which could hamper its freedom of action at sea, and seeking to run out the game clock while it works to turn its disputed territorial claims into a fait accompli.

Obama also stressed US support for the code, and said that “for the sake of regional stability, claimants should halt reclamation, new construction, and militarization of disputed areas.”

Earlier Sunday, the heads of Asean signed an agreement to formally establish the region as an EU-style common market.

Actually realizing the vision of the “Asean Economic Community” remains a distant goal due to significant non-tariff and other barriers, and large development gaps across the diverse region.

Diplomats have admitted Sunday’s declaration has no practical effect and was largely meant to avoid having Asean, regularly criticized for its lack of concrete achievements, miss its own deadline of 2015 for the AEC.

But the move takes the region a small step closer to a hoped-for single Southeast Asian market with free flow of goods, capital and skilled labor across borders.

Obama invites Asean heads

Obama said he had invited leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to the United States, insisting that good ties with Asian nations were “absolutely critical” to US security.

“I’m pleased they accepted and I look forward to continuing our work,” he said.

Obama said his Asia tour, which had been initially overshadowed by the jihadist attacks in Paris, Lebanon and Mali, was neither distracted by, nor “somehow disconnected from pressing global events.”

“This region is not a distraction from the world’s central challenges but is critical to security, prosperity and human dignity around the world,” he said.

America’s self-styled “Pacific president”, Obama has been frustrated to see his stops in Malaysia and the Philippines — designed to highlight his stated re-focus on Asia — overshadowed once again.

The invitation to ASEAN comes after a week which has seen the US and China repeatedly trade barbs over the tense maritime standoff in the South China Sea, as they jostle for influence in the rapidly-developing Southeast Asian region.


U.S. President Barack Obama, centre, walks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, to his right, as they arrive for a U.S.-ASEAN meeting at the Association of South East Asian Nations summit in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Aquino, meanwhile, kept up a drumbeat of growing criticism of China’s expansion of tiny atolls into fully-fledged islands.

The issue has increasingly loomed over the regional diplomatic and security outlook, with China accused of upsetting the status quo by moving to enhance its presence in the South China Sea.

“We are hopeful that China would honor its word and respect the rule of law,” Aquino said, according to a copy of his address to the 18-country East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

Aquino’s comment referred specifically to a dispute with China over maritime territory, which Manila is bringing before an international court.

Beijing has vowed not to take part in the case, saying the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction over a matter concerning Chinese sovereignty.

Heads of government from 18 countries including the United States, China, India, Russia, Japan and nations in Southeast Asia are meeting for the annual East Asia summit, this year hosted by Malaysia.

A Philippine diplomat confirmed Aquino made the comments in the closed-door meeting.

The Kuala Lumpur diplomatic and political meetings follow a trade-related forum in Manila earlier in the week that included many of the same leaders.

The maritime issue has become the stage for a big-power confrontation between China and the United States, which warns that Beijing’s actions could threaten freedom of navigation.

The Philippines has been the most vocal in challenging China.

Aquino said Beijing’s island reclamation was “in total disregard of international law” and its assertiveness had “come to a point wherein we are now no longer allowed to enter areas within our Exclusive Economic Zone”.

Manila insists the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which the Philippines and China have both ratified, should be used to settle the bitter row.

“The great equalizer is the rule of law. Under the rule of law, right prevails over might,” he told his fellow leaders.



Aquino also enumerated the incidents in the contested waters that have affected the relations between the Philippines and China.

“During my watch, among the first incidents as regards the maritime issue involved a survey ship conducting studies arising from a service contract we awarded. It was forced out of the Reed Bank, in an area 80 miles from the island of Palawan, which is thus clearly within our Exclusive Economic Zone. Later, Chinese fishing boats were caught carrying species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, 120 miles from Masinloc, Zambales, again within our Exclusive Economic Zone,” he said.

“We had been asked not to make these incidents public, and we agreed, in an effort to deescalate the situation. However, the incidents did not cease. More recently, a PLAN frigate with Bow No. 571 allegedly accosted and challenged another survey ship conducting studies on a contract we awarded, about 30 to 40 nautical miles from Palawan,” he added.

“I have also had to respond to fishermen in my country, complaining about how they can no longer fish in their traditional waters; they ask for explanations why they can no longer take shelter within Scarborough Shoal during times of inclement whether. It has come to a point wherein we are now no longer allowed to enter areas within our Exclusive Economic Zone,” Aquino said.

Aquino noted that maritime disputes have been a subject of concern, not only to the region, but to the entire international community as well.

“It is regrettable that China continues to massively reclaim and build structures in the sea known by many names, in total disregard of international law as well as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Many countries have expressed serious concerns that these actions threaten freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce in one of the world’s most strategic waterways,” he said.

Also during the APT Summit, the President underscored the need to come up with policies on water resources management to address the rising challenge posed by global climate change including El Niño.

“In the coming year, our scientists are anticipating the other face of climate change: A more intensified El Niño, which can dry up our reservoirs and deprive our lands of the harvests we have become accustomed to,” he said.

The President said he welcomed the progress in the implementation of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Agreement, which remains the main mechanism for strengthening regional food security and reducing poverty in the region.

“APTERR can likewise be extended to cover several other commodities, and we highlight the need to explore the possibility of such. We also urge the transformation of the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) into a permanent mechanism to strengthen food security in the region,” he added.

Noy praises Japan

Aquino also expressed his appreciation for Japan’s resolute stand on resolving maritime disputes through peaceful means and in accordance with the international law.

“Japan has also consistently supported calls for the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, and for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, as well as the expeditious conclusion and establishment of a legally-binding Code of Conduct,” he added.

Aquino noted Japan’s active role in maintaining peace and stability in the region by participating in ASEAN Regional Forum and organizing intercessional meeting on maritime security.

“In the context of the evolving relations in the region, responsible states have also been increasingly called upon to assume more significant roles,” he said.

He cited Japan’s current efforts under “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, and of the significant role it played in the ASEAN Regional Forum.

Japan co-chaired the Inter-Sessional Meeting (ISM) on Maritime Security with the Philippines and the United States from 2015 to 2017 during the ASEAN forum.

“Such efforts enable ASEAN to strengthen engagement with Japan in the pursuit of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region,” said Aquino.

The President stressed that after four decades, Japan has become ASEAN’s “natural ally for peace and stability.”

He also mentioned Japan’s support for ASEAN’s central role in the evolving regional security architecture.


PHILSTAR

China’s marine destruction bared By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 28, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Professor Bernard Oxman stressed that China’s denial of access is part of “a deliberate policy to physically expel the Philippines and its nationals from the disputed features and its surrounding waters.” AP/Bullit Marquez/File

MANILA, Philippines – China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, including moves that nearly cost the lives of Filipinos, highlighted Manila’s oral arguments at the resumption of hearings Thursday on its case against Beijing before an international arbitral court based in The Hague.

The environmental damage caused by China’s massive island building activities in disputed waters also came into focus during oral arguments before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, a bulletin relayed by the Philippine legal team showed.

One of the country’s representatives, professor Alan Boyle, presented in detail cases of near-collisions that occurred in April and May 2012 at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal involving Chinese maritime surveillance ships and Philippine vessels.

The bulletin cited Boyle’s assailing China’s “deliberate disregard for international law” for endangering maritime vessels and their crew.

Professor Bernard Oxman, another counsel for the Philippines, presented to the tribunal other actions by China that only aggravated the dispute over maritime boundaries.

“Oxman cited instances where the Philippines was blocked by China from entering Second Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal for a resupply mission,” the bulletin said. Ayungin Shoal is guarded by a detachment of Philippine Marines stationed on a grounded World War II era transport ship called BRP Sierra Madre.

Philippine boats had to engage bigger Chinese ships in a cat-and-mouse chase just to deliver supplies and provisions to the Sierra Madre.

Oxman stressed that China’s denial of access is part of “a deliberate policy to physically expel the Philippines and its nationals from the disputed features and its surrounding waters.”

The Philippines’ legal team also said the damage caused by China’s island building activities to South China Sea’s complex coral reef ecosystem “is close to catastrophic.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Philippine legal team presented two experts to testify on the environmental damage caused by China’s actions and on the flaws on China’s setting of its maritime boundaries.

One of the experts spoke about the 47 features in the South China Sea that the tribunal wanted to look into for the determination of exclusive economic zone and territorial waters.

The bulletin also showed that professor Kent Carpenter, who is part of the Department of Biological Sciences of the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, explained that China’s land reclamation and island building activities have greatly harmed the environment.

Professor Clive Schofield, another expert, presented his findings on 47 features that the tribunal wanted to determine “whether they are insular, low tide or high tide elevations.”

Schofield is the current director of research at the Australian Centre for Ocean Resource and Security at the University of Wollongong, Australia.

Satellite images of Panatag Shoal at high tide and low tide were also presented by Schofield to the arbitral court.

READ MORE...

Land features can serve as reference for marking territorial waters and determining which country can fish in specific areas.

Paul Reichler, principal counsel for the Philippines, explained that the witnesses were independent experts whose analyses were based on their areas of specialization, the bulletin read.

Boyle also presented to the tribunal the damage wrought on the marine ecosystem by China’s unhampered land reclamation in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea.

“Boyle stated that, if unchecked, China’s activities will continue to pose a significant threat to the marine environment of the South China Sea and of all the states which border the sea,” the bulletin stated.

According to the bulletin, Boyle argued that China violated its obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect and preserve the marine environment, citing instances of harmful fishing practices such as blast fishing, cyanide fishing, harvesting of giant clams, catching of turtles and other endangered species.

“Boyle also stressed that China, as a flag state, is responsible for its failure to prevent its fishermen and vessels from engaging in illegal fishing activities,” the bulletin said.

Thursday’s hearing ended the first round of oral arguments on the merits of the Philippine case through which the country seeks to reaffirm its maritime entitlements and dispute China’s claim of sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea.

The Philippines will return to the tribunal on Monday for the second round of oral arguments.


INQUIRER

UN ARBITRATION COURT: China tried to ‘physically expel’ PH By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 04:09 AM November 28th, 2015


Day 2 of the hearings on the merits of Philippines’ case against China over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea at The Arbitral Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. L-R Professors Allan Boyle, Philippe Sands and Paul Reichler. PHOTO FROM THE FACEBOOK ACCOUNT OF ABIGAIL VALTE

China’s blocking of Philippine ships bringing supplies to Filipino soldiers stationed at Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) was a deliberate move to “physically expel” the Philippines and its people from the disputed areas of the South China Sea region being claimed by the Philippines.

This was one of the arguments presented by the Philippine legal team before the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration as it wrapped up on Thursday the first round of arguments in the hearing on the merits of the case that the Philippines filed to invalidate China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea.

The team will return to the tribunal on Nov. 30 for the second round of arguments, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a dispatch from the Hague.

In his presentation before the court, professor Bernard Oxman, one of the Philippines’ foreign lawyers, said China has been undertaking actions, even while the arbitration is pending, that “aggravated and extended the dispute.”

Oxman cited in particular the March 29, 2014, incident where Chinese ships blocked a Filipino resupply mission from entering Ayungin Shoal.

“Oxman stressed that China’s denial of access forms part of ‘a deliberate policy to physically expel the Philippines and its nationals’ from the disputed features and its surrounding waters,” Valte said.


VALTE at the Hague

Significant mission

The March 29 incident was a rare closeup look at the increasing tensions between the Philippines and China over overlapping claims in the Spratlys chain of islands and other features in the South China Sea.

The mission was also significant as it took place on the eve of the Philippines’ filing of its arguments in the tribunal.

A small civilian government ship was carrying provisions for a group of Marines stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre, a rusting hospital ship that was deliberately grounded on the shoal to mark it as Philippine territory.

The troops had been stationed at Ayungin for almost six months, the longest period that a team had been deployed at the shoal to ensure that China did not occupy it as it did Mischief Reef (Kagitingan Reef) in 1995.

China has turned Mischief Reef, one of the islets and reefs in the disputed Spratlys archipelago claimed by the Philippines, into an artificial island and built three airstrips on it.
Deployments to the Spratlys island chain usually last for only three months but this team’s tour of duty was extended because China would block all resupply and rotation missions.
Disregard for int’l law

Another legal counsel, professor Alan Boyle, detailed before the tribunal the “series of near-collisions that occurred in April and May 2012 in Scarborough Shoal involving Chinese Marine service vessels and Philippine vessels.”

READ MORE...

Valte said Boyle told the court that these incidents “displayed China’s ‘deliberate disregard for international law’ on the safety of maritime vessels.”

China has boycotted the arbitral tribunal hearings, saying the dispute should be tackled bilaterally.

Beijing has also maintained that the nine-dash line, the intermittent dotted lines on maps published by China, that it uses to mark its maritime boundaries in the South China Sea over which it claims sovereignty, is based on so-called historic rights.

On the first day of the oral arguments, the Philippines told the court that the nine-dash line does not exist.

Catastrophic damage

On Friday, the Philippine legal team also underscored the “catastrophic” environmental impact of China’s artificial island building in the Spratlys.

Valte said the Philippines presented two expert witnesses, professors Kent E. Carpenter, PhD, and Clive Schofield, PhD.

Paul Reichler, principal counsel for the Philippines, described Carpenter and Schofield as “independent experts presented [at the court] to give their own analyses based on their areas of specialization.”

Schofield is the director of research at the Australian National Center for Ocean Resources and Security at University of Wollongong in Australia.

Carpenter is with the Department of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

“Carpenter drew the conclusion that China’s actions have caused grave harm to the environment in the South China Sea due to its artificial island building activities, and that the damage to the complex coral reef ecosystem is close to catastrophic,” Valte said.

Boyle also expounded on the “damage China has done to the marine ecosystem, more specifically, to the complex ecosystem of coral reefs, biological diversity and living resources in the South China Sea.”

“Boyle stated that, if unchecked, China’s activities [would] continue to pose a significant threat to the marine environment of the South China Sea and of all the states which border the sea,” Valte said.

“Boyle argued that China has violated its obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to protect and preserve the marine environment, citing instances of harmful fishing practices such as blast fishing, cyanide fishing, harvesting of giant clams, and catching of turtles and other endangered species,” she said.

“Boyle also stressed that China, as a flag state, is responsible for its failure to prevent its fishermen and vessels from engaging in illegal fishing activities,” Valte added in the bulletin sent by Malacañang to the media.

47 features

Valte said Schofield presented his findings on 47 features requested by the tribunal to be studied to determine whether they are insular, low-tide or high-tide elevations.

He also presented Landsat images of Scarborough Shoal at high tide and low tide.

According to Filipino maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal, the purpose of Schofield’s presentation was the “characterization of all features in the South China Sea, to determine whether or not the Chinese activities mentioned in the complaint are within or outside either 12 or 200 nautical miles of another feature claimed by China.” TVJ

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MANILA BULLETIN

Reclamation causing grave harm to coral reef system by Genalyn Kabiling November 28, 2015 Share2 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share3


PHOTO FROM  RAPPLER.COM

The Philippines has accused China of inflicting “close to catastrophic” damage on the coral reef system in the South China Sea with its aggressive and unlawful reclamation works in the area.

China’s activities, including harmful fishing practices, will pose a “significant threat” to the marine environment if left unchecked, the Philippine government told the United Nations tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands.

These arguments were supported by two foreign experts –Professors Kent E. Carpenter, Ph.D. and Clive Schofield, Ph.D. – and other advocates presented by the Philippines to bolster its maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

“Carpenter drew the conclusion that China’s actions have caused grave harm to the environment in the South China Sea due to its artificial island building activities, and that the damage to the complex coral reef ecosystem is close to catastrophic,” Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a bulletin from The Hague.

Backing the statement made by Carpenter, international law expert Alan Boyle showed to the PCA the damage China has done to the marine ecosystem, particularly to the complex ecosystem of coral reefs, biological diversity, and living resources in the South China Sea.

“Boyle stated that, if unchecked, China’s activities will continue to pose a significant threat to the marine environment of the South China Sea and of all the states which border the sea,” Valte said.

Boyle likewise said China has committed violations under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect and preserve the marine environment. He mentioned the “harmful fishing practices” of China “such as blast fishing, cyanide fishing, harvesting of giant clams, catching of turtles, and other endangered species.”

China must also be responsible for its “failure to prevent its fishermen and vessels from engaging in illegal fishing activities,” according to Boyle.

Boyle also informed the PCA about the “series of near-collisions” that occurred in April and May, 2012, in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) involving Chinese Marine Service vessels and Philippine vessels.

“These incidents, according to Boyle, displayed China’s ‘deliberate disregard for international law’ on the safety of maritime vessels,” Valte said.

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Another member of the Philippine team, Professor Bernard Oxman, presented to the tribunal other actions by China which “aggravated and extended the dispute, even pending arbitration.” Oxman recounted instances where the Philippines was blocked by China from entering Second Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal for a resupply mission.

“Oxman stressed that China’s denial of access forms part of ‘a deliberate policy to physically expel the Philippines and its nationals’ from the disputed features and its surrounding waters,” Valte said.

Schofield likewise presented his findings on 47 features requested by the tribunal to be studied to determine whether they are insular, low tide, or high tide elevations in the disputed territory.

Landsat images of Scarborough Shoal at high tide and low tide were also presented by Schofield, current Director of Research at the Australian Centre for Ocean Resource and Security at the University of Wollongong, Australia.

The Philippine government has filed an arbitration case before the UN tribunal to assert its claims in the West Philippine Sea, invoking the UNCLOS. Manila had earlier argued before the tribunal that China’s territorial claims are “hopeless and indefensible” since it has no legal or historical basis.


PHILSTAR OPINION

Economic, not military, rivalry for US and China AT GROUND LEVEL By Satur C. Ocampo (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 28, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


By Satur C. Ocampo

No matter the military muscle-flexing both by China and the United States (along with Japan and other US regional allies) in relation to the ongoing maritime dispute in our part of the world, all parties concerned must emphasize the primacy of resolving the disagreement through diplomatic, peaceful means – specifically via the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Thus it’s encouraging that, at the hearing in The Hague by the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration on the “merits and remaining issues of jurisdiction and admissibility” of the Philippine case against China, seven countries sent observers and were allowed by the court. These are Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

(The hearing is billed as Round 2. In Round 1 earlier this year, the court ruled that it has jurisdiction over the case. China has refused to participate in the proceedings, but sent its position paper to the court.)

Malaysia and Vietnam also have maritime claims in the South China Sea. (Japan has territorial dispute with China over islets in the East China Sea.) A ruling in favor of the Philippines will enhance Malaysia’s and Vietnam’s claims too. China adamantly declares it “will not accept the arbitration,” but having signed the UNCLOS documents, it ought to abide by the convention’s processes and decisions.

The Philippines’ main argument before the arbitration court is: China’s alleged historic-rights claim of sovereignty over 90 percent of the South China Sea under its “9-dash-line” map has no legal basis under the UNCLOS. The argument is backed up by numerous historical documents and ancient maps.

If China’s 9-dash-line were to be left unchallenged, the Philippines would lose 80 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zones as defined under the UNCLOS.

Similarly, Malaysia would lose 80 percent and Vietnam 50 percent of their EEZs, according to an extensive study by Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio.

Indonesia has also warned China that it will go to court if its Natuna Islands (whose surrounding waters reportedly hold Southeast Asia’s largest natural gas field) are covered by the 9-dash-line.

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There are thus converging national interests among the concerned Asian nations to support the Philippine challenge before the arbitral court – more so if the court will uphold it.

In such an event, international public opinion must be harnessed to convince China to accept the ruling as a responsible regional power and as a signatory to the UNCLOS.

Back to the issue of military muscle-flexing over the South China Sea – or over the much wider area of Asia-Pacific – in light of America’s plan to deploy in the region 60 percent of its maritime and other military forces by 2020.

The shift from Europe and the Middle East, under Obama’s “pivot to Asia” scheme, is aimed at “engaging” China’s rise as regional economic and military power.

The consequent US-China arms race must not be allowed to culminate into war, as some observers warn may happen, invoking the “Thucydides trap” – the attendant danger of war when a rising power rivals a ruling power (about which I wrote two weeks ago).


Pivot to Asia: US Strategy to Contain China or to Rebalance Asia? The recent changes in the global politics and economy have spurred the world powers to do the utmost in furthering their national goals in-order to seek multiple financial gains. The economic hunger and greed have become the defining characteristics of today’s powerful states as the inclination of international community towards Asia-Pacific is one such example. It has been acknowledged that the one dominating the Asia-Pacific would also be in the position to become a decisive global might. Hafsa Khalid February 2015 E-mail Print Share THE WASHINGTON REVIEW

The dire consequences of such a war can be unimaginable, not only for the protagonists. It can be even more so for the people of the Asia-Pacific nations, whose governments both powers seek to win over into their rival geo-economic projects: Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership and Xi Jinping’s Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

Given the current state of the world’s two biggest economies – and the American people’s trauma and anti-war mood induced by their government’s costly still-ongoing wars of aggressive intervention (in Afghanistan and Iraq, and its “war on terror” now focused against the Islamic State) – they ought to concentrate more on their respective economic problems.

• The US has been stuck in a “tortoise recovery” from the 2008-2009 global financial-economic crisis, which stemmed from the excessive greed and abusiveness of its giant banks and oligopolies. The federal government had to bail them out at the expense of America’s poor and middle classes. US national debt has soared to $13 trillion (74 percent of its GDP), of which $1.3 trillion is owed to China.

• China is struggling to manage the slowdown and adjustments of its economy – which has been growing rapidly over two decades and lifted 700 million Chinese from poverty but badly degraded its ecology. The slowdown has adversely affected global economic growth. With $3-trillion in gross international reserves, China aims to internationalize its currency (the yuan), to make it convertible, like the US dollar and the European euro.

About this Chinese goal, Bangko Sentral deputy governor Diwa C. Gunigundo was quoted as saying: “It is crucial for economic and financial reforms to be sustained to cement China’s intent to internationalize the yuan. If these goals are realized, a strong China is good for both the Asia-Paciic region and the global economy.”

A hardly-known fact is that China and the US have been holding annual high-level talks to enhance mutual trade and investments, and related issues for over 30 years now. That’s since 1983, when they established the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. Every year 16 working groups meet to tackle varied issues; their work is reviewed at the high-level talks wherein agreements are hammered out.

In their 2014 and 2015 talks, the US panel reported gains from agreements on agricultural market access, intellectual property rights protection, legal protection for US firms, innovation policies, competition law enforcement, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, information technology, tourism, and statistics. Yet China enjoys a trade surplus of $218 billion this year.

Can’t the leaderships of China and the US be deflected from warmongering and indulge themselves instead in making as much money as possible from each other’s giant economies?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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