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CHINESE COASTGUARD RESCUES FILIPINO FISHERMEN NEAR CHINA SEA SHOAL ROUGH WATERS
[RELATED: PH Coast Guard thanks China for fishermen’s rescue]


DECEMBER 2 -China's coastguard has rescued Filipino fishermen from a capsized boat near a disputed South China Sea shoal, the Philippines said on Friday, underlining the fast thawing of ties between two countries long at odds over sovereignty. A Philippine coastguard vessel was navigating choppy waters to collect the two fishermen from the Chinese ship, in what would be the first time in four years both countries' coastguards were in close proximity in the Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop at the heart of years of diplomatic tension. "As we speak, the Chinese vessel is linking up with our own ship to turn over the two Filipino fishermen," said Philippine coastguard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo."It is taking some time because the waters in the area are very rough." READ MORE...RELATED,
PH Coast Guard thanks China for fishermen’s rescue ...

ALSO: Ph slams UN envoy for reference after Khmer Rouge trials


DECEMBER 2 -YASAY:: "Mr. Scheffer’s remarks are irresponsible and alarming since these are directed at the leadership of a democratic country with a functioning criminal justice system fully committed to respect human rights," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.  
The Philippine government expressed strong disapproval over the reference to the Philippines made by David Scheffer, United Nations Special Expert on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, following the verdict against two of the Cambodian communist group's senior surviving members. Scheffer warned the Philippines, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria and North Korea that leaders should "take note" of the ruling against Khieu Samphan, the 85-year-old Khmer Rouge head of state, and Nuon Chea, the 90-year-old right-hand man to the communist group's late leader Pol Pot.READ MORE...

ALSO: New US envoy, arrives from Washington, sees enduring ‘warmth’ in US-PH ties


DECEMBER 3 -“Mabuhay, hello everyone. I am so excited to be here. Thank you very much for coming out this late in the evening. You know, from Washington to Manila is a very long flight,” US Ambassador Sung Kim said upon his arrival Thursday night at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. State Dept./William Ng/Released
His predecessor was subjected to presidential insults and a frosty sendoff by the administration, but America’s new top diplomat is in Manila and expects the “deep and extraordinary warmth” between the two countries to endure. “Mabuhay, hello everyone. I am so excited to be here. Thank you very much for coming out this late in the evening. You know, from Washington to Manila is a very long flight,” US Ambassador Sung Kim said upon his arrival Thursday night at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. Kim, a Korean-American, was welcomed by US Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klechesky upon his arrival on Korean Airlines flight KE 623 at around 10:20 p.m. on Thursday. READ MORE...

ALSO Duterte: Trump wishes Philippines success in drug war
(WARM TIES WITH LONG-TIME ALLY)
[RELATED: Drugs war done right, Trump tells Duterte]
(MUTUAL INVITATION TO VISIT EXTENDED)


DECEMBER  3 -Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assured United States President-elect Donald Trump of warm ties with its long-time ally. AP
Philippines - United States (US) President-elect Donald Trump wants the Philippine government to succeed in its drive against drugs, said President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night. "The President-elect Trump wishes to extend his warmest regards to the Filipino people. And in just a few minutes, we were talking a lot of things. He was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs," said Duterte. The two leaders had a "very engaging, animated" phone conversation as described by Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go. Duterte called Trump at around 10:30 p.m. (Philippine time) on Friday. The phone conversation lasted for almost 10 minutes. During the Friday dialogue, Trump said he understands the Philippines' anti-drug campaign as a sovereign nation and that the country is "doing it the right way." READ MORE...RELATED, Drugs war done right, Trump tells Duterte(MUTUAL INVITATION TO VISIT EXTENDED)...

ALSO: China lauds defeat of ‘conspiracy’ of certain countries to stir up South China Sea trouble
(Duterte has sought to turn foe to friend, visiting Beijing in October, largely putting aside the dispute.)


DECEMBER 3 -hina’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a joint news conference with Hungary’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, in Beijing, China, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee / MANILA BULLETIN
China’s success at turning around relations with the country under president Rodrigo Duterte show the “conspiracies” of certain countries to stir up trouble in the South China Sea have been defeated, China’s foreign minister said on Saturday, December 3. In July, the Philippines won a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague challenging China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, which infuriated China. READ MORE...


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China rescues Filipinos near disputed South China Sea shoal

MANILA, DECEMBER 5, 2016 (ABS-CBN) Manny Mogato, Reuters, -Dec 02 2016 - China's coastguard has rescued Filipino fishermen from a capsized boat near a disputed South China Sea shoal, the Philippines said on Friday, underlining the fast thawing of ties between two countries long at odds over sovereignty.

A Philippine coastguard vessel was navigating choppy waters to collect the two fishermen from the Chinese ship, in what would be the first time in four years both countries' coastguards were in close proximity in the Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop at the heart of years of diplomatic tension.

"As we speak, the Chinese vessel is linking up with our own ship to turn over the two Filipino fishermen," said Philippine coastguard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo.

"It is taking some time because the waters in the area are very rough."

READ MORE...

The rescue illustrates the rapid changes in the relationship between the two countries under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who in only a few months has sought to turn a historic foe into a friend. He visited Beijing in October and has met twice with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, to whom he has expressed admiration.

The last time coastguards of the two countries were both at the shoal was in June 2012, during a protracted face-off sparked by Philippine attempts to arrest Chinese fishermen.

That led to the Philippines lodging a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which infuriated China and put its claims to most of the South China Sea in the international spotlight.

The Philippines won that case in July, with the arbitral award voiding China's U-shaped line of sovereignty on its maps.
The ruling made clear the Scarborough Shoal was under the jurisdiction of no country and claimants China, the Philippines and Vietnam were entitled to exploit its plentiful fish stocks.

China was until recently overseeing a blockade of the shoal some 124 miles off the Philippines coast, chasing away Filipino fishermen and sometimes blasting them with water cannon.

Duterte has told Xi he will unilaterally turn the shoal into a marine sanctuary, banning fishing within the lagoon and restricting it to the peripherals. It is unclear whether Xi will agree to that and how it would be enforced.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty)

-------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

PH Coast Guard thanks China for fishermen’s rescue By: Julie M. Aurelio -@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:50 AM December 04, 2016


The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) thanked its Chinese counterparts for taking care of two Filipino fishermen who were rescued near the disputed Scarborough Shoal after their fishing boat capsized.

PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said they are hopeful that they can “continue to make use of this contact window mechanism” in future similar situations.

“This act demonstrates that the Philippines-China relationship is now back on friendly footing after the recent successful visit of President Duterte to China,” he said on Sunday.

Balilo added: “We expect the ties between the two countries to further improve in the years ahead.”

The two fishermen rescued from the Scarborough Shoal by a Chinese fishing vessel are on their way back to Manila after the Chinese Coast Guard turned them over to the PCG’s BRP Tubbataha.

Morrey Shiera and Lloyod Acquiot were successfully turned over to the PCG from the Chinese Coast Guard on Friday afternoon.

Balilo said two other fishermen who were part of the crew of a fishing boat, MBRS Lipay, are still missing. The missing fishermen were only known as a certain Gil, 59 and Manuel, 52.

Shiera and Acquiot were now on their way to Manila after the BRP Tubbataha received them from Chinese Coast Guard vessel 3501, which has been taking care of them.

The PCG said the BRP Tubbataha left for Scarborough Shoal on Thursday to rendezvous with Chinese Coast Guard vessel 3501 and receive the two Filipino fishermen.

At around 3 p.m. on Friday, the Filipino fishermen were successfully turned over to the PCG, Balilo said.

A Chinese fishing vessel plucked the two fishermen from the sea last month.

The fishermen, aboard MBRS Lipay, left Palauig, Zambales for Scarborough Shoal to fish on Nov. 18.

The MBRS Lipay was owned by a certain Roque Sandol of Palauig, Zambales.

Five days later, the mother vessel left the fishermen on three small boats in the shoal area to fish while the mother vessel returned to shore to unload their catch.


PHILSTAR

Philippines slams UN envoy for reference after Khmer Rouge trials By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated November 29, 2016 - 11:35am 3 662 googleplus0 0
United Nations Special Expert on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials David Scheffer warned leaders of the Philippines, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria and North Korea to "take note" of the verdict against Khmer Rouge senior members. Northwestern University School of Law


YASAY:: "Mr. Scheffer’s remarks are irresponsible and alarming since these are directed at the leadership of a democratic country with a functioning criminal justice system fully committed to respect human rights," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.  

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government expressed strong disapproval over the reference to the Philippines made by David Scheffer, United Nations Special Expert on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, following the verdict against two of the Cambodian communist group's senior surviving members.

Scheffer warned the Philippines, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria and North Korea that leaders should "take note" of the ruling against Khieu Samphan, the 85-year-old Khmer Rouge head of state, and Nuon Chea, the 90-year-old right-hand man to the communist group's late leader Pol Pot.

READ MORE...


KHMER ROUGE TRIAL - Photo by Sok Heng Nhet/ECCC/AFP

The two senior members of the Khmer Rouge regime were sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity including extermination, enforced disappearances and political persecution.

About 1.7 million people are estimated to have died from starvation, disease and execution due to the extremist policies of the communist Khmer Rouge when they held power from 1975 to 1979.

"Holding senior leaders accountable for the perpetration of atrocity crimes under their leadership does happen, it does ultimately occur," Scheffer told reporters a few days ago. Scheffer noted that international justice can ultimately prevail. The Philippines, however, said that Scheffer's remarks are unjustified and without basis.

"Mr. Scheffer’s remarks are irresponsible and alarming since these are directed at the leadership of a democratic country with a functioning criminal justice system fully committed to respect human rights," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The DFA stressed that the Filipino people continue to enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms.

"The government’s campaign against crime and corruption is being waged precisely for the protection of its people and the continued enjoyment of their right to peace, security and fundamental freedoms," the DFA said.

Scheffer made the statement following reports that about 1,941 drug suspects have been killed in legitimate police operations, according to data from the Philippine National Police. — with reports from Associated Press


PHILSTAR

New US envoy sees enduring ‘warmth’ in ties By Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 3, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


“Mabuhay, hello everyone. I am so excited to be here. Thank you very much for coming out this late in the evening. You know, from Washington to Manila is a very long flight,” US Ambassador Sung Kim said upon his arrival Thursday night at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. State Dept./William Ng/Released

MANILA, Philippines - His predecessor was subjected to presidential insults and a frosty sendoff by the administration, but America’s new top diplomat is in Manila and expects the “deep and extraordinary warmth” between the two countries to endure.

“Mabuhay, hello everyone. I am so excited to be here. Thank you very much for coming out this late in the evening. You know, from Washington to Manila is a very long flight,” US Ambassador Sung Kim said upon his arrival Thursday night at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

Kim, a Korean-American, was welcomed by US Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klechesky upon his arrival on Korean Airlines flight KE 623 at around 10:20 p.m. on Thursday.

READ MORE...

“It’s really one of America’s most enduring partnerships and there are many important dimensions in that relationship,” Kim told reporters, describing ties between the allies. “For me the most meaningful, the most fundamental is the deep and extraordinary warmth in the peoples of the two countries.”

Kim, a career diplomat, assumes his new portfolio amid stormy and complicated times, with President Duterte showing antagonism toward Washington over US criticism of the human rights situation in the Philippines.

“I think it is great respect, affection and admiration between the Americans and the Filipinos and that is clearly evidenced among the four million Filipino-Americans residing in the United States and the 250,000 Americans living and working in the Philippines,” he said.

Kim said he looks forward to deepening the bonds between the two peoples and working with the Philippine government to strengthen this important partnership.

“I am very eager to get started and I am very much looking forward to meeting as many Filipinos as possible and visiting many beautiful places in the Philippines… And I know that my staff at the embassy has arranged a very busy schedule,” he said.

He said there was hardly any time to waste and that his new adventure starts the next day (Friday).

“So wish me luck and I am very confident that our relationship will continue to grow and deepen in the years to come,” he said.

Presidential Communications Office assistant secretary Marie Banaag said Malacañang is hopeful of renewed relations with the US after the new ambassador arrived in Manila.

Banaag said that Kim’s Asian background will give a boost to the long-time relationship between the Philippines and the US, which was affected recently by Duterte’s attacks against officials of the Obama administration.

“We welcome the new ambassador of the United States to the Philippines and sana po mas maganda ang pag-uusap at pakikipag-negosasyon natin, pakikipag-diplomasya, pakikipag-palitan natin ng diplomasya (we hope to have better communication, negotiations and diplomacy) with the US dahil Asian ang ating (because of our Asian) counterpart from the US,” she said at a press briefing in Malacañang yesterday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed confidence on Thursday that Philippine-US relations can survive recent turbulence as he swore in the new ambassador to the Philippines.

President Duterte has forged closer ties with China, seen by some observers as a setback to the Obama administration’s effort to forge deeper ties with Asia.

Duterte has declared his desire to scale down military engagements with the US and has told President Barack Obama to “go to hell.”

But Kerry remained confident about the future of the 70-year alliance between the US and the Philippines, which is a former American colony, “notwithstanding a difference here or there about one thing or another.” With Christina Mendez


PHILSTAR

Duterte: Trump wishes Philippines success in drug war By Kristine Daguno-Bersamina (philstar.com) | Updated December 3, 2016 - 12:36pm 17 552 googleplus0 0


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assured United States President-elect Donald Trump of warm ties with its long-time ally. AP

MANILA, Philippines - United States (US) President-elect Donald Trump wants the Philippine government to succeed in its drive against drugs, said President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night.

"The President-elect Trump wishes to extend his warmest regards to the Filipino people. And in just a few minutes, we were talking a lot of things. He was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs," said Duterte.

The two leaders had a "very engaging, animated" phone conversation as described by Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go.

Duterte called Trump at around 10:30 p.m. (Philippine time) on Friday. The phone conversation lasted for almost 10 minutes.

During the Friday dialogue, Trump said he understands the Philippines' anti-drug campaign as a sovereign nation and that the country is "doing it the right way."

READ MORE...

"He (Trump) understood the way we are handling it and said that there's nothing wrong in protecting a country," said Duterte.

"It was a bit encouraging in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country," the president added.

Duterte’s war on drugs has been roundly criticized internationally — including by the US, United Nations, European Union and various human rights groups.

Since the president took office in July, more than 4,000 drug offenders were reported killed in the government’s “Double Barrel” drive—both from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style or unexplained killings.

Warm ties with long-time ally

The 71-year-old chief executive assured Trump of warm ties with its long-time ally and is confident that the latter will be a good US president.

Duterte even invited Trump to visit the Philippines during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in 2017.

"He (Trump) said that he will try his best to be here (Philippines). He wants to attend the summit and that would be great for our country," said Duterte.

It will be the third time the Philippines will be hosting the regional meet.

The US president also invited Duterte to visit him in the White House next year, saying that he wants to be notified of Duterte's presence in the US.

Both leaders are known for their penchant for controversial remarks.

Outgoing Barack Obama expressed optimism that the relationship between the US and the Philippines would improve under his successor Trump.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said Obama had told him during the APEC meet in Peru that Duterte and Trump appear to have “the same kind of temperament.”

-----------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Drugs war done right, Trump tells Duterte Written by Ted Tuvera Sunday, 04 December 2016 00:00

MUTUAL INVITATION TO VISIT EXTENDED

It took a call of not more than eight minutes between President Duterte and US President-elect Donald Trump last Friday to iron out serious kinks in Philippine-US relations as a result of the administration of current US President Barack Obama’s frequent criticisms of the methods Duterte has been employing in his anti-narcotics campaign.

Trump told Duterte that Manila was conducting its deadly drug war “the right way,” Duterte said yesterday, in stark contrast to the criticism he received from Obama.

Contrary to his previous threats of severing ties with Washington, Duterte sang a different tune when he told Trump that he wants to fortify the country’s traditional relations with the United States.

“We will maintain and enhance the bilateral ties between our two countries,” Duterte said in the first few seconds of his conversation with the upcoming Oval Office occupant as taped by Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM).

“The President-elect Trump wishes to extend his warmest regards to the Filipino people. And I said that, well, we assured him of our ties with America,” he added.

Duterte called Trump late Friday evening to congratulate him on his election victory with Trump wishing him “success” in his controversial anti-crime crackdown, in which some 4,800 people have been killed since June, according to Duterte.

“He was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem,” Duterte said.

Duterte, 71, launched an unprecedented war on drugs that drew a wave of global criticism with Obama urging the leader in September to conduct his campaign “the right way” following concerns over alleged extrajudicial killings.
Trump’s office released a brief statement following the conversation, saying Duterte had congratulated Trump and the two agreed to work together closely.

Duterte won the presidential elections in May after pledging to kill tens of thousands of drug suspects, warning that otherwise the Philippines would turn into a narco-state.

Since assuming office, he has called on police and even civilians to kill drug users.

Duterte also said he would be “happy to slaughter” 3 million drug addicts, and likened his campaign to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s efforts to exterminate Jews in Europe.

In October Duterte announced a “separation” from the United States and had called for the withdrawal of American troops from his country, putting into question Manila’s 70-year-old alliance with Washington.
But yesterday, Duterte said he “could sense a good rapport” with an “animated” Trump.

Duterte’s spokesman said the “understanding” between the two leaders signalled better Philippine-US ties.

“We can say at this stage that our relationship with the US is improving,” Ernesto Abella said.

Video released by Duterte’s office showed him laughing as he chatted on the phone, later saying Trump would would be “a good president for the United States of America”.

“I appreciate the response that I got from President-elect Trump and I would like to wish him success. He will be a good president for the United States of America. I am very sure,” Duterte noted.

Duterte said the president-elect invited him to visit New York and Washington DC and he returned the favor by asking Trump to attend a regional summit that the Philippines is set to host next year.

“If I’m around, he wants to be notified of my presence,” Duterte said.

Trump sympathetic

He said Trump told him the government is doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way, and that the latter understood the way “we are handling it”.

“I said that there’s nothing wrong in protecting a country. It was a bit very encouraging in the sense that I suppose that what he really wanted to say was that ‘We would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country,’” the President said.

Over the many things they discussed, the President said Trump also wished the Filipino people well.

“He extends his warmest regards to the Filipino people,” he said. “And I said that, well, we assured him of our ties with America.”

“I appreciate the response that I got from President-elect Trump and I would like to wish him success. He will be a good president for the United States of America. I am very sure,” he added.

INVITATION TO 2017 ASEAN

As he mentioned the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit next year, Duterte said that Trump will try his best to be here.

“He wants to attend the Summit and that would be great for our country,” President Duterte said.

Sparks between both flew more when Trump assured Duterte that he’s backing the Philippine government’s no nonsense crackdown of the narcotics industry.

“It was a bit very encouraging in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country,” Duterte said.

Duterte, who has been referred to by Western media as the Donald Trump of the East, shares similarities in principle and the use of volatile rhetoric with Trump.

Both also have the penchant for vulgar statements that are considered politically incorrect and have a common frustration toward the media.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said there will indeed be a shift in Duterte’s sentiments on the US government.

HARDCORE NATIONALIOSTS

Abella said that the two leaders may be tough-talkers but are hardcore nationalists which is a positive point for both.

“I believe that the relationship between President Duterte and President Donald Trump will reflect also in our relationship with America, with other nations. They may be very strong in their statements but they always have the national interest at heart,” he added.

In a report by the Daily Tribune last November, former Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia surmised that Trump’s protectionist “America First Policy” is an advantage as far as Duterte’s independent foreign policy is concerned.

“Mr. Trump wants the US to be stronger internally; he does not want the US to be the policeman of the world.

Now, this fits Mr. Duterte’s foreign policy that is independent, so to speak. But Trump is unpredictable,” Cuisia said.

The diplomat noted that Duterte could utilize the common grounds he shares with Trump as means to fix the injured US-RP relations after announcing that the Philippines is “separating in military and economic terms” with Washington and as well as clarifying what the Filipino leader’s independent foreign policy really is.

“There is a chance for Trump and Duterte to talk on how to improve or clarify the Philippine government’s relationship with the other countries as of now, particularly with the US which has been helping us for years,” he added. AFP


MANILA BULLETIN

China lauds defeat of ‘conspiracy’ to stir up South China Sea trouble 0 SHARES Share it! Published December 3, 2016, 3:30 PM By Reuters


China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a joint news conference with Hungary’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, in Beijing, China, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee / MANILA BULLETIN

China’s success at turning around relations with the country under president Rodrigo Duterte show the “conspiracies” of certain countries to stir up trouble in the South China Sea have been defeated, China’s foreign minister said on Saturday, December 3.

In July, the Philippines won a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague challenging China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, which infuriated China.

READ MORE...

But Duterte has sought to turn foe to friend, visiting Beijing in October, largely putting aside the dispute.

Speaking at an academic forum, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Duterte’s visit signaled an important improvement in ties. 

“This marks the return of the South China Sea issue to the correct track of resolution via dialogue and consultation, and means the conspiracies of relevant countries to use the South China Sea issue to disorder the region have been thoroughly broken,” he said.

Wang did not name any countries, but China has frequently blamed the United States and its allies in the region like Japan and Australia for interfering in the South China Sea.

Wang’s comments were carried on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website.


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