Archive for the ‘Philippines’ Category

Beijing sends patrol ship to South China Sea

March 15, 2009

China has dispatched its most modern patrol ship to the South China Sea, state press said Sunday, after an incident with a US naval vessel and a fresh claim by the Philippines to the disputed territory.

The Beijing News said the vessel would conduct patrols of what it called China’s exclusive maritime zone in the disputed waters surrounding the Paracel and Spratly Islands.

It said the converted naval rescue ship would aid Chinese fishing boats and transport vessels.

The Philippines passed a law last week which lays claim to disputed islands in the Spratlys chain that are also claimed by China. Beijing has called the law “illegal and invalid.”

Tensions in the area rose further when the United States sent destroyers to international waters off southern China to protect a naval surveillance patrol that was involved in a stand off with Chinese vessels.

China says the US patrol vessels were within its 200-kilometre (125-mile) economic exclusive zone, but the United States has insisted they were in international waters.

Beijing sends patrol ship to South China Sea
AFP/File – File photo shows a sailor of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)

The Spratly and Paracel island chains have been flashpoints for years.

The Spratlys are claimed in full or part by China and Vietnam as well as the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, and the Paracels are claimed by China, which now occupies them, as well as by Vietnam and Taiwan.

–AFP


Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet.

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What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

Philippines Enacts Law Claiming Islands also Claimed by China, Others

March 11, 2009

The Philippine president has signed a law affirming sovereignty over islands also claimed by China and Vietnam, an official said Wednesday, sparking protests over the control of strategic South China Sea islands.

Associated Press

The legislation, signed Tuesday by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, reaffirms Philippine sovereignty over the more than 7,100 islands in its archipelago, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said. It also claims outlying islands in the Spratly chain and Scarborough Shoal – two regions in the South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over both chains. Vietnam and others have long laid claim to the Spratlys.

“We are sending the message to the whole world that we are affirming our national sovereignty … our national interest,” Ermita told a news conference.

The Chinese Embassy issued a statement expressing its “strong opposition and solemn protest” over the signing of the law, and insisted China “has indisputable sovereignty over these islands and their adjacent waters.”

Earlier, China’s Foreign Ministry summoned a Philippine Embassy official to protest the passage of the bill in the Philippine Congress.

Vietnam also urged the Philippines to refrain from taking action that might complicate the dispute.

Foreign Affairs official Henry Bensurto said the Philippines passed the law not to reiterate its claims over the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal but to define the baseline used to determine its extended continental shelf.

The U.N. has asked the Philippines and other countries that signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea to submit the dimensions of their claimed continental shelf by May 13. The convention, which came into force in 1994, defines the maritime limits of its signatories.

The Spratlys, believed to be rich in oil, gas and fish, consist of about 100 barren islets, reefs and atolls dotting the world’s busiest shipping lanes in the South China Sea.

Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei each claim all or part of the low-lying islands.

Read the rest:
http://apnews.myway.com/article
/20090311/D96RQ50G0.html

China Wants U.S. Out of Asia’s International Waters

March 10, 2009

The incident at sea between China and the U.S. Navy this last weekend indicates a growing truth among Chinese military officers: the seas adjacent to China wherever they extend are de facto Chinese terrirtory and the U.S. needs to leave.

This is in violation of international law which grants free passage to all who operate in international waters.

China is complaining saying the U.S. ship, while not in their territorial waters was in their “economic zone,” a claim that also pits the Chinese directly at odds with 5 countries (Taiwan, Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia) who would like to have their own territorial waters.

But China now has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated distain for international law — a a certain ability to push people around.

“They seem to be more militarily aggressive,” National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I think the debate is still on in China whether as their military power increases they will be used for good or for pushing people around.”

But the Chinese say all the fault for this weekend’s incident belongs to the U.S. 

“Go and ask the Americans, ask their embassy,” China’s Vice Admiral Jin Mao, former PLA Navy vice commander in chief, told Reuters on the sidelines of parliament when asked about the incident. “Ask their officials what their ship was doing in Chinese waters.”

The fact is, the American ship operating in international waters is protected by international law — even if it is searching for submarines.

Related:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009031
0/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_china_incident

Beijing will take a tougher stand against other nations as its naval ambitions grow, said analyst Shi Yinhong.

“The United States is present everywhere on the world’s seas, but these kinds of incidents may grow as China’s naval activities expand,” Shi, an expert on regional security at Renmin University in Beijing, said.

Analyst Shi said the seas off Hainan were important to China’s projection of its influence with a modern naval fleet.

“The change is in China’s attitude. This reflects the hardening line in Chinese foreign policy and the importance we attach to the strategic value of the South China Sea.”

See a report from Reuters:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20
090310/pl_nm/us_usa_china

See also:
http://wok3.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/chin
a-the-dragon-stirs-and-strips-down-to-its-underwear/

Chong-pin Lin, Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan says, “I think the objective of the grand strategy of China is to squeeze out, very slowly and very gradually, the influence of the United States in East Asia, without war.”

A budget analyst at the U.S. Navy in the Pentagon told Peace and Freedom, “Our futue problem is this: with our current and projected budget deficits and debt, the U.S. will not be able to afford the navy it has now — while China will grow and improve its navy and take whatever it wants in the world.  That is the trend we see.”

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China uses naval showdown with U.S. to flex muscle

China Says U.S. Ship Was Breaking Law

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/03/10/us.navy.china/ind
ex.html

China Says U.S. Ship Was Breaking Law

Early Obama Decision Not Universally Applauded in International Community

January 30, 2009

One of Bill Clinton’s first moves as president showed his belief in gays in the military.  Now Preident Obama has shown he is the pro-abortion president and not everyone is pleased…

***************

GMA Network, Inc.
Philippines

The Catholic Church in the Philippines will “flex” its muscles against new US president Barack Obama’s reversal of a controversial abortion policy.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) assistant secretary Fr. David Clay said Obama’s policy may affect their “pro-life” campaign.

“It’s going to be difficult. Sad to say, it’s going to be a boost for those who are campaigning for abortion,” Clay, an American missionary, said in an article on the CBCP website.

Clay said that in the Philippines, Obama’s decision can also boost the campaign of individuals and groups seeking for the passage of the Reproductive Health bill in the country.

He said the CBCP faces an “uphill battle” in its fight against a bill on maternal health care, which requires the government to push artificial contraception if it becomes a law.

But he said he is not entirely losing hope even if Obama reversed the Mexico City policy, thus making federal money available to promote abortion internationally.

Clay claimed that many people in the US are “very much opposed” to what Obama did and ready to raise their voices against the new US population policy.

Read the rest:
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/146234/
Church-to-flex-muscles-vs-Obama-abortion-policy

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Thailand May Sell More Rice, Crush Vietnam and World Market price

January 22, 2009

Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, is considering selling up to 5m tonnes from its stockpile – equal to a fifth of the world’s annually traded rice.

From FT

The market is worried that such a large disposal could put further downward pressure on prices, which have halved since spiking last year to an all-time high of about $1,100 a tonne.

Thai medium quality rice, the world’s benchmark, however, has showed resilience, trading at $580 a tonne, more than double the price in 2007, supported by fresh demand from importers in Africa, brokers said.

Thailand’s stockpile has built up as a result of its policy of buying surplus production at above market prices in an effort to protect the incomes of farmers.

The country has been paying its farmers a premium of about 30 per cent for their crops in a bid to shield them from lower prices and high production costs, particularly of fertilisers.

The Ministry of Commerce, which controls the rice reserve, has yet to decide whether to release the stocks onto the open market, which could hit world prices, or try to dispose of it in a government-to-government deal. Thailand and Iran have talked in the past about such a deal.

The Vietnamese government recently concluded a deal to sell 500,000 tonnes to the Philippines, the world’s largest importer, at a price of $420 a tonne including freight. The two countries are also talking about further shipments of about 1.0-1.5m tonnes.

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/820ab62c-e8a0-1
1dd-a4d0-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

Above: Vietnamese farmers harvest rice…

U.S. Helps African States Fend Off Militants

December 13, 2008

Thousands of miles from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, another side of America’s fight against terrorism is unfolding in this remote corner of West Africa. American Green Berets are training African armies to guard their borders and patrol vast desolate expanses against infiltration by Al Qaeda’s militants, so the United States does not have to.

By Eric Schmitt
The New York Times

In an exercise last month near Bamako, Mali, American troops helped soldiers from Mali and Senegal in West Africa learn to guard their borders against infiltration by Islamic militants.  Photo: Michael Kamber for The New York Times

A recent exercise by the United States military here was part of a wide-ranging plan, developed after the Sept. 11 attacks, to take counterterrorism training and assistance to places outside the Middle East, like the Philippines and Indonesia. In Africa, a five-year, $500 million partnership between the State and Defense Departments includes Algeria, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia, and Libya is on the verge of joining.

American efforts to fight terrorism in the region also include nonmilitary programs, like instruction for teachers and job training for young Muslim men who could be singled out by militants’ recruiting campaigns.

One goal of the program is to act quickly in these countries before terrorism becomes as entrenched as it is in Somalia, an East African nation where there is a heightened militant threat. And unlike Somalia, Mali is willing and able to have dozens of American and European military trainers conduct exercises here, and its leaders are plainly worried about militants who have taken refuge in its vast Saharan north.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/13/w
orld/africa/13mali.html?_r=1&hp