PH rebukes China for militarizing sea

Beijing OKs talks with Asean on code of conduct

A+
A
A-

UNITED WE STAND Foreign ministers prepare for a group photo during the opening ceremony of the 46th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. From left: Malaysia’s Anifah Aman, the Philippines’ Albert del Rosario, Singapore’s Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Thailand’s Surapong Tovichakchaikul and Vietnam’s Pham Binh Minh. AP

The Philippines on Sunday accused China of a “massive military buildup” in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), warning a Southeast Asian security forum that Beijing’s tactics were a threat to peace in the region.

Following the harsh rhetoric of Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, China agreed to hold formal talks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on a proposed code of conduct to ease tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Speaking at the 46th Asean ministerial meeting in Brunei, Del Rosario said China’s “increasing militarization” of two shoals in the West Philippine Sea was a violation of the Declaration of Conduct in the sea that the 10 members of the bloc signed with Beijing in 2002, agreeing not to cause tensions in the area.

Del Rosario said China’s persistent “destabilizing actions” in the West Philippine Sea posed “serious challenges for the region.”

His rebuke came a day after the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily warned that a “counterstrike” against the Philippines was inevitable if it continued to provoke China in the West Philippine Sea.

Friction between the two countries over disputed shoals—Panatag (Scarborough Shoal) and Ayungin (Second Thomas Reef)—in the sea rich in gas and oil deposits has surged since last year due to China’s increasing aggressiveness in asserting its ownership of territory in the strategic waterway.

Asean has been trying to persuade Beijing to join talks on a proposed code of conduct this year, but China’s naval action has alarmed some members of the bloc, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.

Until Sunday, China had appeared in little hurry to begin negotiations with Asean, saying it would do so “when the time is rife.”

In a talk with reporters following a meeting of Asean foreign ministers, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing agreed to hold “official consultations” on the proposed code of conduct governing naval actions at a meeting with the bloc in China in September.

The two sides had already agreed to hold the foreign ministers’ meeting, which will follow a special Asean ministers’ gathering on the West Philippine Sea disputes in Thailand in August.

“We agreed to maritime cooperation to make our surrounding sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation,” Wang told reporters.

Besides the Philippines and Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan claim territories in the West Philippine Sea.

China claims nearly all the sea, even waters along the coasts of neighboring countries.

Most recently, the Philippines has accused China of encroaching on its territory after three Chinese ships converged just 9 kilometers from Ayungin Shoal, where Manila maintains a small military force.

Last week, the Philippines sent fresh troops and supplies to Ayungin, which is within the country’s 370-km exclusive economic zone.

China, which does not recognize the zone, condemned it as an “illegal occupation.”

China commentary

A front-page commentary published last week in the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Communist Party, also accused the Philippines of inviting foreign capital to engage in oil and gas exploration on Recto Bank, in Manila’s part of the Spratly islands in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines has called on the United States to act as a “patron,” while Asean has become an “accomplice,” the commentary said, referring to the Philippine push for a code of conduct for all claimants in the West Philippine Sea, which is supported by the United States.

The commentary also accused the Philippines of resorting to many “unscrupulous” tricks in the sea, possibly referring to Manila’s taking its dispute with Beijing over Panatag Shoal to the United Nations for arbitration.

“We reiterate our continued advocacy of a peaceful and rules-based settlement of dispute in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law,” Del Rosario countered in his speech to the Asean foreign ministers’ meeting on Sunday.

He said Manila was seeking a clarification of maritime entitlements in the arbitration case against Beijing under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

But the legal tack the Philippines has taken against China “does not constitute abandonment of diplomatic avenues,” Del Rosario said.

“We continue to exert efforts to move forward and enhance our relations with China on the basis of mutual respect and sovereign equality. Neither does the case diminish our zeal to pursue a binding code of conduct,” he said.

The People’s Daily commentary set the tone for the Asean security forum and drew the Philippine condemnation of the Chinese threat.

“The statement on counterstrike is an irresponsible one. We condemn any threats of use of force,” Del Rosario told reporters following a meeting of the Asean diplomats.

He said the ministers had discussed China’s “illegal occupation” of Panatag Shoal, which is just 230 km from the coast of Zambales province.

China seized the shoal after a maritime standoff with the Philippines that lasted more than two months last year, forcing Manila to take the dispute to the United Nations for arbitration.

Vigilance urged

Malacañang said Sunday that the government should not take lightly the Chinese threat of a counterstrike in the West Philippine Sea.

Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said the government should remain “vigilant” in protecting the country’s sovereignty in the face of China’s threat.

“We can’t be complacent. That’s the highest priority: protection of sovereignty,” Coloma said.

President Aquino is leading ceremonies on Monday marking the 66th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force in Clark, Pampanga, where he is expected to speak again on the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea, Coloma said.

The Asean foreign ministers also hope this year’s meeting will provide a chance for North Korea and its neighbors to discuss restarting long-dormant disarmament talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

On Sunday, the Asean ministers urged the six nations involved in past disarmament negotiations—North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China—to restart the talks.

The disarmament-for-aid talks hosted by Beijing have been stalled since 2008.

“We emphasized the importance of dialogue aimed at promoting mutual understanding and confidence among all parties concerned with ensuring peace, security and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” the Asean diplomats said in a joint statement.

“In this regard, we recommend that the (regional forum), where all six members to the six-party talks are also participants, could contribute to forging a conducive atmosphere for the resumption of the six-party talks,” they said.

Still, it is not clear whether North Korea will hold informal talks with the United States or South Korea on the sidelines of the forum.

The governments in Seoul and Washington have said they have no immediate plans to meet privately with Pyongyang.

Meeting expands

The Asean meeting will expand Monday and Tuesday to include the United States, China, Japan, Russia and other countries across the Asia-Pacific region, providing the platform for face-to-face diplomacy on many of the world’s hot-button issues.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to hold a series of rapid-fire meetings with his counterparts from the world’s major powers, including Russia’s Sergei Lavrov and China’s Wang Yi.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his South Korean counterpart, Yung Byung-se, are also set to hold direct talks in Brunei, the first ministerial meeting between the two countries under their new governments.—With reports from TJ A. Burgonio, AP and AFP

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • dikoy321

    Let’s PUT MORE VOLUNTEERS in Ayungin Shoal and on every islet in West Philippine Sea !
    We support US use of Subic Naval Base & Clark Air Base for DETERRENCE against ABUSIVE China !
    SUGOD Pilipinas !!!

    • kanoy

      THEY WOULD ALL STARVE TO DEATH CHINA WOULD STOP ALL SUPPLY LINES EVEN IF THE RP COULD GET THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE—FERTILIZER

  • speaksoftlylove

    “US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday at the Asean meeting of
    foreign ministers made it clear that the United States will not
    interfere in the disputes between and among countries with China, even
    as he urged progress on a code of conduct to govern the hotly-disputed
    South China Sea.”

    Didn’t i post at the start of this “temporary access brouhaha” that there is too much ado about nothing? What now geniuses? Unlucky Luciano, correct?

    • kanoy

      AS LONG AS CHINA LEAVES OPEN THE SHIPPING LANES THE US HAS NO BEEF WITH CHINA–GO BACK TO THE DAY OF ”YANKEE GO HOME WE CAN PROTECT OURSELVES” UNCLE SAM CANT WAIT TO SEE JUST HOW THE RP WILL DO THAT

  • Garo Ungaro

    There’s only one mission for PH, is to protect the oil fields that belongs to PH at all cost…Thats the very reason why China self declaration of 9 dash zone…We found our black gold. China wants it badly thats the very purpose/goal why? they can’t leave the area. They are doing its best to justified their entry/positioning into the area…They know by international law they cannot justify it for now? China needed that oil/gas badly…They will invest everything to get hold of that oil/gas with minimal exposure…Its cheaper in a long term than going into other areas buying from the Middle East. They know theres oil/gas because PH has been drilling and getting results, they know where the oil/gas now its time to come in…They declared this area as theirs? They will do everything to get this oil/gas…For now, there only one stoping them is the US, Its not clear yet what is the position of the US on this issue… What is the agreement? PH has no choice but to protect/defend/fight for their oil/gas…If you lose this oil/field to China its all over for PH…The future depends on the will of its present leadership and the PH as a whole…You have to protect/defend/fight for your survival….at all cost… China will never go away, they want the oil/gas…Remember protect/defend/fight or its overs….This is the bottom line…..Avoid Made in China…

    • kanoy

      PROTECT? WITH WHAT? FISHING BOATS?

  • tilney

    Govt should allocate 75% of the CDF (Pork Barrel Fund) of the
    Senators and Congressmen. Each senator get Php 200 Million per year for 24
    Senators, this amount to Php 4.8 Billion while each Congressman get Php 70
    Million per year for 300 Congressmen, this amount to Php 21 Billion per
    year.Total CDF for both Congress amount to almost Php 25 Billion , at 75% the
    amount will be Php 18.7 Billion. For six ( 6) years this will to amount Php 112
    Billion USD 2.73 Billion that will enable our military to procure almost 4
    squadron (48 Nos) of F16 Block C/D of F16 Jet fighters each at USD 60 Million
    from USA for the Philippine Air Force or 11 Nos of Incheon” FFX
    Frigate” each at USD 250 Million for the Philippine Navy or Twenty (22)
    battalions (eighty eight (88) batteries) of the S-300PMU (SA-10 Grumble) SAM
    system from Russia each at USD 125 Million per battalion for the Philippine
    Army.

    If only our Senators and Congressmen will think about our country’s current situation
    where our country is being bully by China because of the poor state of our
    military defense equipment .The lawmakers should be Patriotic enough and should
    not think about the money that they will get from the CDF (Pork Barrel) but to
    serve our country by giving up their CDF share by 75% and keep 25% instead.

    Our President Pnoy should talk to the Senators and Congressmen the important of getting the various defense equipment for our country’s security by being patriotic at this period of time when our country is being bully by China .Our military should finalize the procurement this year since it will take minimum of 2 years to get such equipmenyt. Payment can be done in Multi Year Payment Programme and I am sure those countries will agree to such payment scheme since the money will be included in the yearly budget.

    For our part Filipinos should stop buying Made in China Products as every dollar that we spent is being used against our country.

    • johndcross1

      If I have my say, I would like to abolish entirely the pork barrel system. This is the principal reason why so many individuals want to run for senator or congressman. With 25% of pork barrel going to senators & congressmen it is generous enough & 75% going to improve our military capability. We could not rely from outside help to defend our country but we will welcome any assistance from any country. We have to do it now.

    • kanoy

      WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW—RP BULLIED AND KILLED A TAI NOW CHINA BULLY AND IF PROVOKED WILL KILL

  • John John

    As it seems now Philippines are going at it alone via threats and counter-threats with China.Philippines should work together and project a common voice via ASEAN in any territorial dealings with China. All of ASEAN have a vested interest in this matter,if Philippines deals in this in a rogue way,the situation might explode and affect all of ASEAN.

  • joboni96

    secretary del rosario
    huwag masyadong ibesto pagka u.s. collaborator mo

    concentrate on strengthening pilipino defense
    with alliance building – asean japan sokor taiwan india russia latam

    better roosevelt doctrine
    no talk, big stick

    • BIGButo

      If you do not like the Philippines move to north Korea they will like a communist leftist like you. NPA teach you bad history. Time to move from islands

      • kanoy

        HISTORY IS VERY SHORT IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY THE RP KILLED AN UNARMED TAI FISHER-OLD-MAN FOR BEING IN RP WATERS AND YET HERE CHINA IS IN RP WATERS AND THE RPCG TUCKED TAIL AND RAN—BULLIES ARE LIKE THAT–TROUBLE IS—THERE IS ALWAYS A BIGGER BULLY TO PICK ON THE BULLY

        Until Sunday, China had appeared in little hurry to begin negotiations
        with Asean, saying it would do so “when the time is rife.”
        RIFE? LOL ”WHEN ITS UNDESIRABLE OR HARMFUL” =WHEN THE TIME IS ”RIFE”

      • joboni96

        rant from nangdedenggoy
        cia call center agent kano-wanabe

        good riddance
        better pilipino nation

      • joboni96

        nano utak na
        patiwarik pa

        ikaw ang do not like the Philippines
        punta ka na imperialist land

        ng madagdagan gastos ng anemic aasss
        at another 2nd class citizen

        pro pilipino ini
        kolonisadong utak ikaw

  • Crazy_horse101010

    crazy horse already prayed soon you will be growing a tail and living in trees with your kin. and dumb azz pig screwer who cares what a brainless twit says. you get dumber every day if that is possible. hows the lying going only more fairy tales for us fairy. your sure are obsessed with me arent you good then you are leaving everyone else alone because i could care less about your comical childish ranting comrade monkey

  • tonygadoy

    MONGOLOID jseesus is an autistic ‘pirate of the West Philippine Sea.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    you wouldnt know the difference between a ocean and a mud puddle in your drug induced mind. they are the same. besides your home is in a pig sty where you can sodomize the pigs

  • Guest

    F¨ck off møtherf¨cking cøcks¨cking åsshøle.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    pink azz commie monkey raper

  • me@Stanford.edu

    you and Abnoy Golum Aquino are of the same kind. same username different alias. hey, s¨ck each others cøçk and f¨çk yourselves eh ???

    //Added to filters now gone and gone.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94

editors' picks

advertisement

popular

advertisement

videos