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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
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US STATE CHIEF JOHN KERRY TO VISIT DUTERTE IN MANILA THIS MONTH[RELATED: China warned of international isolation over sea ruling]


JULY 20 -United States Secretary of State John Kerry leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. John Kerry met with Britain's new Prime Minister Theresa May. AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth
The US Department of State on Tuesday (Wednesday morning in Manila) announced that State Secretary John Kerry is set to meet with newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte in his visit to Manila this month. Kerry, who last visited the Philippine capital in 2013, is set to "discuss the full range of our cooperation with the new administration," said Mark Toner, a spokesperson for the State department.
During Kerry's visit from July 26 to 27, he is also expected to meet with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay. The call comes a few weeks after the Hague-based arbitral tribunal handed down a ruling favorable to the Philippines on its claims over parts of the South China Sea against China. Prior to Kerry's arrival in Manila, he will travel to Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. He will then participate at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings in Vientiane, Laos. "At these ASEAN meetings, the secretary will discuss the region’s security architecture and shared transnational challenges including maritime security, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea," Toner said in a statement. John Schaus, a fellow at Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Kerry should be the first official from President Barack Obama's cabinet to meet with Duterte when he assumes office and directly hear his objectives. READ MORE...RELATED, China warned of international isolation over sea ruling...

ALSO: PH’s sovereign economic rights non-negotiable with China
[RELATED: US guided missile destroyer docks in Manila]


JULY 20 -FILE - This May 11, 2015, file photo, shows land reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. (Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool Photo via AP, File) FILE
The Philippine government is still determined to hold talks with China on the peaceful resolution of the maritime conflict but is not inclined to negotiate the country’s sovereign economic rights. Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella has asserted that the country’s planned talks with China must abide by the Constitution and the international law. “The Philippines continues along a diplomatic path to fully realize the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) rights granted by the Arbitration Court — engaging in bilateral talks to find mutually acceptable arrangements to RP, PROC; and consulting with our regional allies,” Abella said in a statement. “We consider our sovereign economic rights, granted by the Law of Nations to be non-negotiable,” he added. Abella also emphasized that the country’s “engagement with China through bilateral talks towards the peaceful resolution of the issue must be compliant with the Constitution, International Law and the rule of law.”  READ MORE...RELATED, US guided missile destroyer docks in Manila...

ALSO: China’s World - Sea verdict puts PH Leader in middle
 [RELATED: DU30 ridicules China: 'China can have all the world seas, oceans...']


JULY 20 -President Rodrigo R. Duterte (MB file/mb.com.ph) President Rodrigo R. Duterte (MB file/mb.com.ph)
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected Philippine president, is used to being treated with the utmost respect. In his previous job, as mayor of this once lawless southern city, his war on drug dealers left a trail of bullet-riddled corpses, targets of police operations as well as vigilante death squads. He roared through the streets on a motorcycle toting a high-caliber rifle. But on the afternoon of July 12, Mr. Duterte was irritated, according to one of his closest aides. He felt China was toying with him. A cabinet meeting had just received word live from The Hague of Manila’s stunning victory in its legal challenge to China’s claims in the South China Sea, and after noisy clapping and jubilant fist-pumping around the table the first order of business was to issue a public statement. A minister spoke up: He’d had dinner the previous night with the Chinese ambassador. That got Mr. Duterte’s attention. “Are you already a spy of the Chinese?” he demanded, in a teasing kind of way, according to the aide who was in the room. The minister then relayed a long and detailed list of demands from the envoy about what the Philippine government should say — and not say — when the ruling came out. Anticipating a defeat, China was panicked at the prospect that Manila might issue a gloating statement that would add to its humiliation. Mr. Duterte turned serious. What irked him, said the person in the room, was more than just the presumptuousness of the Chinese demands. The president had met with the ambassador himself earlier the same day to offer reassurances. “Didn’t he trust what I told him?” asked Mr. Duterte. “Between us guys,” he remarked, “I would have said some of those things, but because the embassy wants me to say them, I won’t.” The Chinese Embassy in Manila didn’t respond to a request for comment. READ MORE...RELATED,
DU30: China can have all the world seas, oceans...

ALSO: Beijing’s ‘new language’ hints at flexibility, cooperation


JULY 23 -Beijing – Amid China’s outrage over an international tribunal that rejected its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the country is using new language that some experts say shows Beijing wants to be more flexible. But it is too late?
China has been on a public relations offensive to discredit The Hague-based tribunal that last week handed the Philippines a massive victory in its challenge to Beijing’s claims to much of the sea. Buried in the outpouring of statements and diplomats’ diatribes, however, is a new stance on cooperating with the Philippines and other claimants in jointly developing the waters’ rich fishing stocks and potential wealth of other natural resources. “China is ready to discuss with countries concerned about provisional arrangements pending final settlement of the dispute,” the country’s top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, said last week. Yang did not describe specifics of the arrangements but said they would include joint development for “mutual benefits.” Other official statements have also said China is willing to enter into “provisional arrangements of a practical nature,” phrasing that echoes language used in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS. Under UNCLOS, such “provisional arrangements” set aside issues of sovereignty and promote joint development of resources, with the understanding that cooperation would neither bolster nor undermine a state’s claims. Several Chinese analysts said it marked a new approach for China. “It is the first time that the idea of provisional arrangements has been proposed as a policy,” said Zhu Feng, executive director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies of South China Sea of Nanjing University. READ MORE...Canada decries South China Sea tensions...

ALSO: By Antonio Carpio -The Hague tribunal: ramifications of ruling
[RELATED: DUTERTE’S ONE-ON-ONE TALKS WITH CHINA]


Justice Antonio Carpio Last week’s ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea dispute has two distinct but related ramifications. The first deals with the rights to the resources of the South China Sea among the coastal states, and the second impacts on the power projections of the world’s naval powers. The ruling nullifies China’s “nine-dash line” as a claim to any maritime zone in the South China Sea. The ruling also denies any maritime zone beyond the 22.2-kilometer (12-nautical-mile) territorial sea to rocks and islands in the Spratlys and Panatag Shoal (internationally known as Scarborough Shoal).Thus, China can claim a 370-km (200-nm) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) only from its coastlines in the mainland and Hainan, its southernmost island. The outer limits of China’s 370-km EEZ measured from its coastlines do not reach the Spratlys or Panatag Shoal.Huge area There is a huge area—the high seas constituting some 25 percent of the South China Sea—that separates China’s EEZ from the Spratlys and Panatag Shoal. The high seas beyond any national jurisdiction are part of the global commons and belong to all mankind. The other coastal states—Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam—have their own 370-km EEZs unencumbered by any Chinese claim from the nine-dash line.Free from Chinese claim For the Philippines, the ruling means its entire EEZ in the South China Sea is free from any Chinese claim except for the 22.2-km territorial seas of three high-tide rocks controlled by China—Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef) and McKennan Reef (Hughes Reef) in the Spratlys, and Panatag Shoal off Zambales province on the western coast of Luzon. READ MORE...RELATED, DUTERTE’S ONE-ON-ONE TALKS WITH CHINA...


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US State chief John Kerry to visit Duterte in Manila


United States Secretary of State John Kerry leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. John Kerry met with Britain's new Prime Minister Theresa May. AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

MANILA, JULY 25, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola Updated July 20, 2016 - The US Department of State on Tuesday (Wednesday morning in Manila) announced that State Secretary John Kerry is set to meet with newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte in his visit to Manila this month.

Kerry, who last visited the Philippine capital in 2013, is set to "discuss the full range of our cooperation with the new administration," said Mark Toner, a spokesperson for the State department.

During Kerry's visit from July 26 to 27, he is also expected to meet with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay. The call comes a few weeks after the Hague-based arbitral tribunal handed down a ruling favorable to the Philippines on its claims over parts of the South China Sea against China.

Prior to Kerry's arrival in Manila, he will travel to Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. He will then participate at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings in Vientiane, Laos.

"At these ASEAN meetings, the secretary will discuss the region’s security architecture and shared transnational challenges including maritime security, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea," Toner said in a statement.

John Schaus, a fellow at Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Kerry should be the first official from President Barack Obama's cabinet to meet with Duterte when he assumes office and directly hear his objectives.

READ MORE...

"The first step in securing the US-Philippine relationship in the next administration is to meet with Duterte, listen to his views, and start that conversation. This is something only Secretary Kerry can do, and he should," Schaus said in June.

Schaus added that Kerry should hear what Duterte sees for cooperating with the US and reassure him of the US commitment to the mutual defense treaty between the two countries.

"The secretary can reinforce the message the United States has delivered to the Philippines throughout the Obama administration, emphasizing the importance of partnership and cooperation to enhance the security of both the Philippines and the region as a whole," Schaus said.

Unlike previous Philippine leaders friendly to the US, Duterte has expressed opposition to a yearly bilateral military exercise and said Washington is only after its interests in the Philippines.

The US government drew the ire of Duterte after a British-American national facing charges for exploding dynamite inside his hotel room in 2002 was brought out of the country allegedly by US authorities.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

China warned of international isolation over sea ruling By Ben Serrano (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 22, 2016 - 12:00am 2 383 googleplus0 0

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, in its ruling, invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over at least three land features in the West Philippine Sea. Chinatopix via AP TANDAG CITY, Philippines – Visiting international human rights advocates have called on China to comply with the ruling of an arbitral tribunal on the West Philippine Sea dispute – or face isolation.

Members of the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) who visited lumad evacuees here yesterday said China is obliged to follow the July 12 decision, as it is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, in its ruling, invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over at least three land features in the West Philippine Sea.

China’s snubbing the tribunal ruling would send the wrong message that encroaching on or seizing territories pays, members of the international human rights group pointed out.

“China will face isolation soon in the international community of nations if it continued not to respect or honor UNCLOS,” one of the ISM members said.

“If the ancestral lands of the lumads in Sitio Han-ayan, Diatagon, Lingig, Surigao del Sur are for the lumads, then the 200-mile exclusive economic zone West Philippine Sea are for the Filipinos,” said Belgian lawyer Kris Geuns, a member of the group.

The 12 ISM members are from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Kenya and United States.

The Filipino organizers of the mission said the foreigners were also members of the Ontario, Canada Committee of Human Rights to the Philippines, United Church of Canadian Union of Public Employees (British Columbia and locals 4600), United Evangelical Mission of Germany, Portland USA committee on Human Rights.

They included Rev. Stuart Lyster, minister of the United Church of Christ Canada, Kris Geuns of Belgian Committee on Human Rights, lawyer Douglas Booker and companion Maxx Helmer, both of the Ontario, Canada Committee of Human Rights to the Philippines; and Kamal Gauzam of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The evacuees visited by the group have been staying in makeshift tents at the Surigao del Sur Provincial Sports Complex since September last year. They fled their homes after the killing of two lumad and tribal school leaders during an encounter between soldiers and communist rebels.


MANILA BULLETIN

PH’s sovereign economic rights non-negotiable with China by Genalyn Kabiling July 20, 2016 (updated) Share1 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share13


FILE - This May 11, 2015, file photo, shows land reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. (Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool Photo via AP, File) FILE

The Philippine government is still determined to hold talks with China on the peaceful resolution of the maritime conflict but is not inclined to negotiate the country’s sovereign economic rights.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella has asserted that the country’s planned talks with China must abide by the Constitution and the international law.

“The Philippines continues along a diplomatic path to fully realize the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) rights granted by the Arbitration Court — engaging in bilateral talks to find mutually acceptable arrangements to RP, PROC; and consulting with our regional allies,” Abella said in a statement.

“We consider our sovereign economic rights, granted by the Law of Nations to be non-negotiable,” he added.

Abella also emphasized that the country’s “engagement with China through bilateral talks towards the peaceful resolution of the issue must be compliant with the Constitution, International Law and the rule of law.”

READ MORE...

US Senator Christopher Murphy earlier claimed that President Duterte has ruled out negotiations with China following the arbitration court’s ruling on the South China Sea dispute. The President’s statement was supposedly given during his meeting with the US congressional delegation in Malacanang last Tuesday afternoon.

“In Manila —just out of meeting with new Philippines President Duterte, assured us he has no plans to negotiate with China over islands dispute,” Murphy tweeted last Tuesday. “We were first US elected officials to meet with Duterte, saying that he will not trade territorial rights to China. Tribunal decision non-negotiable,” he added.

Apart from Murphy, US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, Senator Brian Schatz, Congressman Ted Deutch, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, and Congressman John Garamendi also joined the meeting with Duterte at the Palace.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

US guided missile destroyer docks in Manila (philstar.com) | Updated July 22, 2016 - 9:44am 14 1520 googleplus2 1


The guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur transits through rough seas in the Pacific Ocean. Curtis Wilbur is part of Destroyer Squadron 15 and is underway with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group helping to ensure security and stability in the western Pacific Ocean. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam K. Thomas

MANILA, Philippines — A guided missile destroyer from the United States 7th Fleet arrived in Manila on Wednesday for a routine port call.

The routine port call of Arleigh burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur highlights the historic and military ties between the Philippines and the US, according to a statement from the US Embassy.

The service members of the ship will participate in a series of community relations projects and sporting events during their visit.

"Wherever we go in the world, Navy Sailors represent the United States of America," Curtis Wilbur assistant damage control officer Lt. J.G. Ben Sleiter said.

Curtis Wilbur sailors will also experience Filipino culture while in the country.

"This port visit is an opportunity to experience another culture and act as ambassadors to the Philippines. The importance of our presence here, both at sea and in port, cannot be overstated," Sleiter said.

The partnership between the Philippines and the US spans for more than 70 years. The militaries of both countries have worked together in regional security, counterterrorism and fighting transnational crime. — Patricia Lourdes Viray


MANILA BULLETIN

China’s World: Sea verdict puts PH Leader in middle by The Wall Street Journal By Andrew Browne July 20, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share1


President Rodrigo R. Duterte (MB file/mb.com.ph) President Rodrigo R. Duterte (MB file/mb.com.ph)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected Philippine president, is used to being treated with the utmost respect.

In his previous job, as mayor of this once lawless southern city, his war on drug dealers left a trail of bullet-riddled corpses, targets of police operations as well as vigilante death squads. He roared through the streets on a motorcycle toting a high-caliber rifle.

But on the afternoon of July 12, Mr. Duterte was irritated, according to one of his closest aides. He felt China was toying with him.

A cabinet meeting had just received word live from The Hague of Manila’s stunning victory in its legal challenge to China’s claims in the South China Sea, and after noisy clapping and jubilant fist-pumping around the table the first order of business was to issue a public statement. A minister spoke up: He’d had dinner the previous night with the Chinese ambassador.

That got Mr. Duterte’s attention. “Are you already a spy of the Chinese?” he demanded, in a teasing kind of way, according to the aide who was in the room.

The minister then relayed a long and detailed list of demands from the envoy about what the Philippine government should say — and not say — when the ruling came out. Anticipating a defeat, China was panicked at the prospect that Manila might issue a gloating statement that would add to its humiliation.

Mr. Duterte turned serious. What irked him, said the person in the room, was more than just the presumptuousness of the Chinese demands. The president had met with the ambassador himself earlier the same day to offer reassurances. “Didn’t he trust what I told him?” asked Mr. Duterte.

“Between us guys,” he remarked, “I would have said some of those things, but because the embassy wants me to say them, I won’t.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila didn’t respond to a request for comment.

READ MORE...

The Philippine leader is getting a quick lesson in Chinese heavy-handedness.

He is in the middle of an epic contest between China and the US for regional supremacy. In the eyes of many Chinese nationalists, Manila is little more than an American pawn in this bigger game. Does Mr. Duterte, entirely untested on the global stage, have the temperament and political skills to maneuver between the two giants?

Ahead of the ruling — a surprisingly one-sided judgment that struck down China’s historic claims to the South China Sea and declared that China had violated Manila’s rights by building artificial islands, despoiling reefs and chasing away fishermen in its waters — Mr. Duterte’s critics sensed an eagerness to back down.

On the campaign trail, he even suggested he could trade maritime sovereignty for a Chinese-built railway line in his impoverished home province of Mindanao.

And he pledged that he wouldn’t put Philippine troops at risk in a conflict with China they could never win. If necessary, he joked with his usual swagger, he’d ride a jet-ski to the Scarborough Shoal to defend the disputed reef himself.

Mr. Duterte didn’t pick this legal battle with China; he inherited it from his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III. But now that Manila has scored a victory he wants to use it as leverage in bilateral talks. China, however, has rejected the ruling as a “piece of waste paper” and won’t negotiate with Manila on that basis.

Washington is watching Mr. Duterte warily. He makes no secret of the fact that he doesn’t trust American security guarantees. Ramon Beleno, a political-science professor at the Ateneo de Davao University, says that while Mr. Aquino believed that America “has our backs,” Mr. Duterte “wants a more independent policy that does not require support from the US”

That doesn’t mean he wants to abandon the American alliance. At the cabinet meeting, the aide said, he declared he would welcome a show of strength by American aircraft carriers. “Let them send their ships,” he told ministers. “You tell them: ‘Come already.’ But I can’t say that openly.”

Still, says Chito Sta. Romana, president of the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, “There’s been a shift.” Mr. Duterte “has signaled he wants cooperation with Beijing not confrontation.”

Mr. Aquino started out with that ambition, too. But after Chinese ships grabbed the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 he did an about-face and started comparing the Chinese regime to Nazi Germany. He launched the legal case the following year.

Mr. Duterte is a more volatile personality — and he brings his street-fighting sensibilities to international diplomacy. After his presidential election win, he initially refused to see the US ambassador who had criticized him for a shocking joke he made about the rape and murder of an Australian lay minister in 1989. Mr. Duterte later apologized.

China will expect him to mind his manners. In Beijing, “the Punisher,” as he’s popularly known for his terror tactics against crime, may have met his match.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

DU30: China can have all the world seas, oceans Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 23 July 2016 00:00



President Duterte yesterday ridiculed China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea, saying what he wants to tell China is that it can lay claim to all the seas and oceans in the world, such as the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and even the Indian Ocean.


“Even if you say we quarrel with China, we can say: “You (China) can have them all, since we have more resources here (in Mindanao) which China does not know about” and that “China can have whatever it is claiming,” Duterte said, in the vernacular. It sounded as though Duterte was giving away the country’s soveriegnty over its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and handing this over to China.

It was later claimed, however, that which Duterte commented on China’s claim of the South China Sea, was said in jest, although many said it was done in bad taste, especially as it was Duterte who had insisted that there should be no gloating and flaunting over the historic victory of the Philippines through the award given to the country by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.

DU30 takes a180 degree turn in China talks

Where before, Duterte was a for bilateral negotiations with China, he has been singing a different tune these day, especially after he met with some US senators last Tuesday.

Sen. Christopher Murphy virtually spilled the beans that the Philippine government is no longer going to negotiate with China over the territorial disputes and will no longer talk to China.

Senator Murphy, in a statement after a courtesy call by US legislators and outgoing Ambassador Philip Goldberg at the Palace, bared that Duterte’s stand is that he will not be negotiating with Beijing which is contrary to previous Palace claims of looming bilateral talks after the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) unanimous decision that favored the Philippines’ claims at the South China Sea.

“New Philippine President Duterte assured us that he has no plans to negotiate with China over the islands dispute,” Murphy said.

“Duterte says he will not trade territorial rights to China. The Tribunal decision is non-negotiable,” he added.

Yasay takes the same stand

This was also the stand of acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay.

The President has been quoted as saying that he would pursue bilateral talks with China after the tribunal favored the Philippines.

Yasay said he has rejected China’s overtures for bilateral talks after Beijing officials insisted that the talks ignore the arbitration ruling.

Duterte also said that if former president Fidel Ramos, whom he asked to be his emissary for China talks does not accept the position offered Ramos, he wiill instead appoint Rafael Alunan, a losing senatorial candidate in the 2016 elections.

It is doubted whether Alunan can take on an appointive seat, since the law bars a losing candidate from being appointed by the President for a year. Yasay to tackle SCS issue in Asean meet

Yasay is set to attend the 49th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in Vientiane, Laos July 23 to 26 where the issue of South China Sea ruling is expected to be discussed.

Yasay expects to get a united Asean statement on the arbitral ruling that favored the Philippines, which is highly doubted, however.

The AMM will be the first international meeting among US, China and Asean members since the release of the monumental ruling of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on July 12 where Beijing’s so-called nine-dash line that claimed 90 percent of the region was dismissed as illegal, a victory for the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, which claim parts of the significant waterway.

While China shows no change in position claiming the ruling as farcical and illegal, numerous countries including US, Japan, Australia, France and even the European Union implied that the Award given by the PCA is legally binding therefore obliged to be followed by all parties.

Earlier, to assert their claims, China posted photographs of their long-range nuclear-capable bombers patrolling over Scarborough shoal.

According to the foreign affairs department, in this meeting, Yasay will address these and share “the Philippines’ perspectives on Asean Community building, the developments in the South China Sea and Korean Peninsula.”

At the sidelines of this AMM, the Secretary will also have bilateral meetings with several counterparts “to exchange views on matters affecting bilateral relations and common concerns on global and regional issues,” it added.

Discord in Asean

Recently, in Beijing’s effort to put pressure and collect support from the majority of the members, discord among Aseamn member countries erupted as China was said to have lobbied what was supposed to have been the group’s joint statement on the issue.

This came is after Laos backed Beijing as the country’ is economically dependent on China which can also be observed as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi boasted a four-point consensus between Beijing and Asean members Brunei, Cambodia and Laos on the issue of South China Sea dispute last April where they reached an agreement that all countries outside the region should play a constructive role rather than the other way round.

“China and the three countries all agree that disputes over some Nansha [Spratly] islands and reefs are not an issue between China and the Asean and should not affect China-Asean relations,” Wang was quoted in the Foreign Ministry website.

As known to the public, the 10-bloc group only releases an account by consensus. Asean has been able to establish a solid position on this problem.

Asean must act as a coalition

In the view of foreign policy experts, to move forward, Asean members must act as a coalition to enforce and use the ruling at their disposal.

Richard Heydarian of the De La Salle University’s political science professor stressed that Asean must call for the immediate reclamation freeze and reiterate compliance with United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In agreement, Former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of Stratbase ThinkTank Albert del Rosario also said that the recently-released ruling from the PCA has now charted a new opportunity for Asean members, claimants or not, to rally around the principles that initially formed the group – “regional cooperation, shared prosperity, and an abiding belief in the moral right of small states to claim the same rights and privileges as anyone else in the our international community.”

“Southeast Asia has a permanent interest in upholding international law,” he added.

Divide and rule by Beijing throws Asean into disarray

Southeast Asian nations are in unparalleled disarray over Beijing’s saber-rattling in the South China Sea, analysts and insiders say, with the fractures set to deepen as staunch China ally Laos hosts top regional diplomats this weekend.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are among the delegates due to fly in from Sunday for two days of meetings in Vientiane, the capital of the communist nation.

The South China Sea is set to cast a long shadow over the summit which is hosted by the 10-member Association of Asean.
Asean prides itself on consensus diplomacy but divisions have never been starker with Beijing blamed for driving a wedge between members.

The Philippines brought the international arbitration case, while fellow Asean members Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei also have competing claims to parts of the sea.

But Cambodia — and hosts Laos — are Beijing loyalists, with both impoverished nations weaned on Chinese aid and investment.

Shortly after The Hague ruling Beijing announced more than half a billion dollars in soft loans for Cambodia.

“China has succeeded in splitting Asean on the South China Sea issue through its allies Laos and Cambodia,” an Asean diplomat told Agence France Presse requesting anonymity.

The bloc’s inability to remain united “will surely weaken Asean not just on the South China Sea problem but as a regional grouping,” the diplomat added.

Talking shop?



Asean initially touted itself as the best forum for China to negotiate with rival claimants over the sea, given so many are members.

But Beijing has resisted that approach, insisting that territorial disputes must be settled bilaterally.

As a result, Beijing has successfully moved to divide the bloc.

Chinese pressure was blamed last month for an embarrassing U-turn by the regional bloc as members suddenly disowned an apparent joint statement released by Malaysia that condemned Beijing’s aggression in the seas.

That has led to fears of a repeat of a 2012 summit in Cambodia where the bloc failed to issue a joint communique for the first time in its history because of disagreements over the waters.

Diplomats are already in Vientiane trying to hash out a response to this month’s tribunal ruling before the foreign ministers arrive.

But insiders say consensus is a long way off.

Critics have long derided Asean as an ineffective talking shop and in the face of the region’s most pressing security issue, some analysts believe the bloc is struggling for relevance.

Carl Thayer, a regional expert at The University of New South Wales, said the regional bloc could still agree on a joint statement about the South China Sea.

“But they won’t mention China, and I doubt they’ll even mention the arbitral tribunal,” he told AFP, referring to The Hague court.

That begs the question, he added: “Where’s the leadership in Asean?
Joyce Ann Rocamora and AFP


MANILA BULLETIN

Beijing’s ‘new language’ hints at flexibility, cooperation by AP July 23, 2016 Share7 Tweet2 Share0 Email1 Share39

Beijing – Amid China’s outrage over an international tribunal that rejected its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the country is using new language that some experts say shows Beijing wants to be more flexible. But it is too late?

China has been on a public relations offensive to discredit The Hague-based tribunal that last week handed the Philippines a massive victory in its challenge to Beijing’s claims to much of the sea. Buried in the outpouring of statements and diplomats’ diatribes, however, is a new stance on cooperating with the Philippines and other claimants in jointly developing the waters’ rich fishing stocks and potential wealth of other natural resources.

“China is ready to discuss with countries concerned about provisional arrangements pending final settlement of the dispute,” the country’s top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, said last week. Yang did not describe specifics of the arrangements but said they would include joint development for “mutual benefits.”

Other official statements have also said China is willing to enter into “provisional arrangements of a practical nature,” phrasing that echoes language used in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS. Under UNCLOS, such “provisional arrangements” set aside issues of sovereignty and promote joint development of resources, with the understanding that cooperation would neither bolster nor undermine a state’s claims. Several Chinese analysts said it marked a new approach for China.

“It is the first time that the idea of provisional arrangements has been proposed as a policy,” said Zhu Feng, executive director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies of South China Sea of Nanjing University.

READ MORE...

Zhu said such arrangements under UNCLOS could expand the scope of possible activities in which China and other claimants could work together to include not just oil exploitation but the development of fisheries, tourism and other resources.

For years, China has publicly touted the idea of jointly developing the South China Sea with other claimants, but its insistence that the other party first recognize Chinese sovereignty over the features in question posed a major stumbling block, analysts say.

Chinese analysts say Beijing is offering such arrangements to demonstrate flexibility and play down the thorny issue of sovereignty. Other analysts say China is likely under pressure to head off attempts by other countries that claim parts of the South China Sea to replicate the Philippines’ legal success.

China’s main challenge is that last week’s ruling gives other parties little incentive to talk.

“The problem is that according to the ruling, China only enjoys a very small part of the territorial sea, therefore laying a foundation for other claimants not to seek joint development,” said Chen Xiangmiao, a researcher at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

Analysts in the US said the apparent shift in China’s negotiating strategy was noteworthy, but that Beijing needs to build trust with the other claimants.

Southeast Asian nations involved in disputes with China have said they think Beijing’s calls for negotiations are mere stalling tactics as China continues to build airstrips and other infrastructure in the South China Sea, effectively expanding its control over the vast waters.

Questions remain about the conditions Beijing would impose on any talks.

The Philippines’ foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay, this week said Manila rejected Beijing’s offer of talks on that condition, saying it was inconsistent with the Philippines’ constitution and its national interest.

On Thursday, the official China Daily carried a Chinese foreign ministry response to Yasay’s rejection, urging the Philippines to chart a new course. The ministry was quoted as saying: “There is still time if timely remedy is made.”

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RELATED FROM CANADA PRESS

Canada decries South China Sea tensions Canadian Press Canadian Press Mike Blanchfield
13 hrs ago


Chinese dredging vessels are seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the U.S. Navy, on May 21, 2015. © U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters/File Photo Chinese dredging vessels are seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in this still image from video.

OTTAWA - Canada weighed in Thursday in the ongoing South China Sea dispute, with a thinly-veiled call to China to abide by an international ruling that has angered Beijing.

While the statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion doesn't specifically name China, it appears aimed at the country, which is angry after an international panel rejected much of its maritime claim.

The Hague panel that administers the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea sided last week with the Philippines and rejected much of the legal basis of China's claim.

The maritime dispute has implications for Sino-Canada relations at a time when the Trudeau government is seeking to make economic and political inroads with China.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is bound for China later this summer for the G20 leaders' summit, after having appeared to reboot relations with China last fall during his first meeting with President Xi Jinping.

READ MORE...

But Canada's recent decision to side with G7 ally Japan on the maritime tensions, as well as disagreements with China over human rights, are complicating those aspirations.

Beijing held military drills in the South China Sea just days before the international arbitration court ruling, state media reported.

Dion reiterated Canada's commitment to "the maintenance of international law and to an international rules-based order for the oceans and seas" in helping resolve the six-country dispute.

"Whether one agrees or not with the ruling, Canada believes that the parties should comply with it," Dion said Thursday.

"We are deeply concerned about regional tensions that have been escalating for a number of years and have the potential to undermine peace and stability," he added.

"It is essential that all states in the region exercise restraint and avoid coercion and actions that will escalate tension."

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan insisted that Canada wasn't taking sides in the dispute.

"There are international bodies where we can resolve disputes and a decision has been made within the law, and the parties should respect those decisions," he said in an interview.

But one international affairs expert sees it differently.

"It is a message to China without mentioning China — diplomatically worded but unambiguous," said Fen Hampson, the head of the global security program at the Centre of International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont.

"The government is finding that China is a difficult country to do business with and that relations will not be easy to manage."

The South China Sea is one of the world's busiest trade routes, which is significant for Canada as it tries to deepen its economic footprint in the region through the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, and other bilateral deals.

Dion's statement makes specific reference to China's provocations in the region such as building artificial islands and landing strips, as well as requiring foreign aircraft flying over dispute waters to identify their presence to Beijing.

"All claimants must refrain from land reclamation, militarization and other actions that can undermine regional security and stability," said Dion.

"Actions that could jeopardize freedom of navigation and overflight exercised in accordance with international law, maritime security and international trade must also be avoided."


INQUIRER (COMMENTARY)

The Hague tribunal: ramifications of ruling SHARES: 46 VIEW COMMENTS By: Antonio T. Carpio
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer


Justice Antonio Carpio

Last week’s ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea dispute has two distinct but related ramifications.

The first deals with the rights to the resources of the South China Sea among the coastal states, and the second impacts on the power projections of the world’s naval powers.

The ruling nullifies China’s “nine-dash line” as a claim to any maritime zone in the South China Sea.

The ruling also denies any maritime zone beyond the 22.2-kilometer (12-nautical-mile) territorial sea to rocks and islands in the Spratlys and Panatag Shoal (internationally known as Scarborough Shoal).

Thus, China can claim a 370-km (200-nm) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) only from its coastlines in the mainland and Hainan, its southernmost island.

The outer limits of China’s 370-km EEZ measured from its coastlines do not reach the Spratlys or Panatag Shoal.
Huge area

There is a huge area—the high seas constituting some 25 percent of the South China Sea—that separates China’s EEZ from the Spratlys and Panatag Shoal.

The high seas beyond any national jurisdiction are part of the global commons and belong to all mankind.

The other coastal states—Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam—have their own 370-km EEZs unencumbered by any Chinese claim from the nine-dash line.

Free from Chinese claim

For the Philippines, the ruling means its entire EEZ in the South China Sea is free from any Chinese claim except for the 22.2-km territorial seas of three high-tide rocks controlled by China—Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef) and McKennan Reef (Hughes Reef) in the Spratlys, and Panatag Shoal off Zambales province on the western coast of Luzon.

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The Philippine EEZ in the South China Sea has an area of 381,000 square kilometers. Deducting the 4,650 sq km total territorial seas of Mabini Reef, McKennan Reef and Panatag Shoal, the Philippines has an EEZ of 376,350 sq km in the South China Sea free from any Chinese claim.

This maritime area is larger than the total land area of the Philippines of 300,000 sq km. All the living and nonliving resources in this maritime area—the fish, oil, gas and other minerals—belong exclusively to the Philippines.

Enforcing the ruling

How can the Philippines enforce its exclusive right to the resources in its EEZ?

If China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC) installs a gas platform on Recto Bank (Reed Bank), which is entirely within the Philippine EEZ, and extracts the gas there, the Philippines can sue CNOOC in Canada where CNOOC has assets.

The Philippines can show the ruling to the court in Canada, which ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), that the gas on Recto Bank belongs to the Philippines and CNOOC pilfered it.

The Philippines can ask the Canadian court to seize CNOOC’s assets to compensate the Philippines for the pilfered gas.

The Philippines can also ask the International Seabed Authority (ISA), a creation of Unclos, to suspend the exploration permits it issued to China.

The ISA has issued 27 permits to explore the seabed outside any national jurisdiction, and four permits have gone to China, the highest number for any state.

Unclos is a “package deal”—any United Nations member that ratifies Unclos must accept all its provisions.

If China refuses to comply with the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Philippines can ask the ISA to suspend the exploration permits of China because China is accepting only beneficial provisions of Unclos and rejecting its burdensome provisions.

The Philippines must be creative in finding legal means of enforcing the ruling, and not be timid in exploring the frontiers of international law.

To paraphrase Sun Tzu, you must defeat the enemy in the courtroom if you cannot defeat the enemy on the battlefield.

Novel ruling

The historic ruling itself is novel on at least two points.

First, the ruling separates sovereignty from maritime entitlement, and maritime entitlement from sea boundary delimitation.
This allowed the Philippines to frame the arbitration as a maritime issue, not a territorial issue.

It also allowed the Philippines to navigate around China’s reservation from compulsory arbitration on sea boundary delimitation.

Second, the ruling for the first time defines an island that generates a 370-km EEZ as one that can sustain a stable community of people using the resources of the island itself in its natural condition, with no supplies from outside.

Under this definition, islands in the Paracels and Pratas may not qualify as islands capable of human habitation, entitling them only to a 22.2-km territorial sea, just like all islands in the Spratlys.

Geopolitics

The tribunal’s ruling has also profound ramifications on the geopolitics of the region, and even the world.

The ruling affirms the presence of high seas in the center of the South China Sea, and the presence of EEZs of coastal states around the high seas.

In the high seas, there is freedom of navigation and overflight for merchant and military vessels and aircraft.

In the EEZs, there is also the same freedom of navigation and overflight.

China, however, together with a handful of other states, asserts that there is no freedom of navigation and overflight in the EEZ for military vessels and aircraft.

Role of world powers

The world’s naval powers, led by the United States, have declared that they will sail and fly in the high seas and EEZs of the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation and overflight for their military vessels and aircraft.

China cannot prevent the world’s naval powers from conducting such freedom of navigation and overflight operations.

These naval operations will in effect enforce the part of the ruling that acknowledges the existence of high seas and EEZs in the South China Sea.

It is in the national interest of the world’s naval powers to assert such freedom of navigation and overflight.

If China’s position—that there is no such freedom in the EEZ—becomes international law, then the expensive warships of the world’s naval powers will be bottled up in their coastal waters.

Minority position

Indeed, China, now fast becoming another world naval power, may in the next five to seven years abandon its minority position and adopt the prevailing view that there is freedom of navigation and overflight in the EEZ for military vessels and aircraft.

The ruling goes a long way in clarifying the rights and obligations not only of coastal states in the South China Sea, but also of the rights and obligations of naval powers outside the region.

The ruling puts an end to excessive maritime claims from rocks or tiny islands incapable of human habitation.
It is hoped that over time all states within and outside the region will see the wisdom of respecting the ruling as essential to maintaining peace, security and stability in the seas of our planet.

(Editor’s Note: This article represents the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Philippine government.)

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RELATED FROM THE MALAYA (COMMENTARY)

DUTERTE’S ONE-ON-ONE TALKS WITH CHINA By NESTOR MATA July 21, 2016

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte voiced his desire to engage China in bilateral or one-on-one talks after the Philippines won its case against China over maritime claims in the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea.

This did not mean that Duterte planned to swing to China’s side opposite the United States but will place the country in between the two big powers, according to foreign policy analysts and defense experts who attended an Asia Pacific Foreign Policy and Defense Seminar at the East West Center in Washington, D.C. last week.

In the words of Evelyn Goh, professor of Strategic Policy Studies at the Australian National University, “...it does not mean Duterte is going to move the Philippines from the United States to China side. It will just bring (his country) back to where it was kind of before, more along the mainstream where some Southeast Asian countries have thrived to keep the relations close to both the U.S. and China.” She also believes that Duterte’s peaceful stance will make China back off a little but and lower the tensions in Philippine-China relations.

Evans S. Medeiros, managing director for Asia, Euroasia Group, agreed that the more tensions are reduced in the region the more flexibility the Philippines or the U.S. has, and the more space there is in the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, within the ASEAN Regional Forum or the East Asia Summit (EAS), to work on other issues. And Medeiros encouraged Duterte “to find a way to strike the right balance among these multiple and competing interests but not in a way that would cost him to compromise what he believes are Philippine security agencies.”

Professor Bates Gill of Asia-Pacific Strategic Studies at the ANU also does not think Duterte would abrogate the Philippine-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement recently declared as constitutional by the Supreme Court.

Gil, Goh and Huang Chin-hao, assistant professor of political science at the Yale-NUS College, are the authors of “The Dynamics of US-China-Southeast Asia Relations” for the US Studies Center at the University of Sydney, Australia. They analyzed that in Southeast Asia most governments are committed to preventing the emergence of any single hegemon, and they are looking to strike a cautious balance between Beijing and Washington.

Indeed, for Southeast Asian nations, now going through a very, very substantial transition politically, the ability to carry out that transition will have very big impact on their strategic choices.

***

Soon after President Duterte announced his plan for peaceful resolution of the Philippine dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, the European Union (EU) urged other Southeast Asian countries to resolve their disputes in the South China through “peaceful means and in accordance with international laws.”

THE EUROPEAN UNION

The EU, like the Philippines and China, is also a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and in a press statement declared that it was “committed to maintaining a legal order of the areas and oceans based upon the UNCLOS and to the peaceful settlement of disputes.”

In the wake of the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague that there was no legal basis for China’s claims in the South China Sea, Japan called on China to respect the international tribunal’s decision. The ruling was a boon to Manila as well as Tokyo, which is also embroiled in a separate territorial dispute with Beijing.

Likewise, the United States, though not a signatory to UNCLOS, said it is supporting the Philippine efforts to bring about legal, peaceful and diplomatic solution to the issues in the South China Sea.

REPAIR FRAYED RELATIONS WITH BEIJING

On his part, President Duterte , who was not the one who filed the case against China, said that his administration would not “taunt or flaunt” the country’s legal victory. Instead, he plans to start high-level bilateral talks to repair the frayed relations with Beijing, but he will neither negotiate nor trade its territorial gains, as upheld by The Hague international tribunal, with China.

“It’s important to be careful in dealing with China...,” Duterte emphasized, “... so as not to create bigger problems, not only for our country but for allies like the United States.”

Indeed, President Duterte’s stand marks the first step in the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes with China, not only with the Philippines but also with other Asian countries, in the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the West Philippine Sea.

***

TRIUMPH OF JUSTICE

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was acquitted by the Supreme Court last Tuesday of alleged plunder, a case filed against her in 2012 during the Aquino administration.

The tribunal’s justices voted 11-4 to grant her plea for dismissal of the case for lack of evidence. Of the 11 justices, eight were Arroyo appointees and three were appointed by Aquino. And of the four justices who dissented, three were appointed, including the Chief Justice, by Aquino, and one by Arroyo.

It was undoubtedly a triumph of justice!

***

Quote of the Day: “The key to peace and progress in China and its neighbors in Asia is cooperation, not coercion!” – Bernie V. Lopez of Eastwind Journals Category:


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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