#AceNewsReport – Sept.27: China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has stepped up military and political pressure to force the democratically ruled island to accept Chinese sovereignty, even though most Taiwanese have shown no interest in being governed by Beijing….
In Xi’s letter, a copy of which was released by the KMT, he said both parties had had “good interactions” based on their joint opposition to Taiwan independence.
“At present, the situation in the Taiwan Strait is complex and grim. All the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation must work together with one heart and go forward together,” wrote Xi, who is also head of the Communist Party.
He expressed hope that both parties could cooperate on “seeking peace in the Taiwan Strait, seeking national reunification and seeking national revitalization.”
Chu, who badly lost the 2016 presidential election to current President Tsai Ing-wen, responded to Xi that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait were “all the children of the Yellow Emperor” – in other words, all Han Chinese.
Chu blamed Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for tensions with Beijing after pursuing anti-China policies.
Chu, who met Xi in China in 2015, said he hoped to “seek common ground and respect differences, increase mutual trust and geniality, strengthen exchanges and cooperation so as to allow the continued peaceful development of cross-strait relations.”
Under outgoing KMT leader Johnny Chiang’s 17-month tenure, high-level contacts with China stalled amid military tensions and suspicion in Beijing the party was not sufficiently committed to the idea Taiwan was part of “one China.”
As well as losing the 2016 polls, the KMT were trounced in elections last year after failing to shake DPP accusations they were Beijing’s lackeys.
China refuses to talk to Tsai, calling her a separatist. She says Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, the island’s formal name, and that only Taiwan’s people have the right to decide their own future.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.21: Hainan is an island province off the south of the mainland, and includes a municipality in the disputed Paracel Islands from which it administers China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
#AceDailyNews says just as Aukus bilateralagreementto build nuclear submarines is signed to patrol the ‘South China Sea’ Beijing adds powerful new ship to maritime patrol fleet as the 5,560-ton Hai Xun 03 which was launched on Tuesday and will become the largest ocean patrol ship under the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration (MSA), the official China News Service reported, adding that it would help Hainan authorities to enforce jurisdiction independently.
Chinese official documents suggest that China regards Hainan’s jurisdiction as covering around two million square kilometers of maritime area, though boundaries are not clearly demarcated and that jurisdiction is not recognized by its neighbors.
According to news reports, the Hai Xun 03 will conduct maritime patrol and law enforcement, search-and-rescue, emergency coordination and command; and prevention and control of ship pollution “in the South China Sea and surrounding waters.”
China claims “historical rights” to most of the South China Sea but its claims are not supported by international law and are widely contested – including its assertion of the right to police disputed seas.
“Besides the coastguard force, the MSA also has a role in fronting China’s maritime sovereignty and rights protection,” notes Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
“If Hai Xun 03 is deployed on a regular basis to the Spratlys for example, it won’t be particularly out of the blue since MSA has deployed large patrol vessels before to the area.”
According to Koh, the deployment would “still contribute towards reinforcing the impression that Beijing exercises jurisdiction in the South China Sea, and it contributes to its narrative also about providing so-called ‘common public goods’ to mariners in the area.”
China has invested heavily in patrol vessels and coastguard even as international criticism of its conduct in the South China Sea to assert its sweeping claims there has grown.
The Hai Xun 03 is 128.6 meters long, travels at 20 knots, and has a range of around 10,000 nautical miles. It can also patrol at sea for 60 days without supplies.
The ship has a maritime data center equipped with advanced integrated monitoring systems, according to Chinese media. It’s also designed with a hangar to carry multiple helicopters.
The ship is expected to be officially commissioned in March 2022. China’s maritime surveillance fleet, which far exceeds those of its Southeast Asian neighbors, is estimated at more than 300 vessels but only a handful are above 3,000 tons.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.09: If any of them have traffic trouble, India will have reason to sail to the South Sea and clear up the cause of traffic congestion—or what some might call trade blocking.
#AceDailyNews says India aircraft carrier has finishes its maiden voyage in the ‘South China Sea’ that provides one-third-of-ocean-trading that Beijing wants to claim as their own …..BUT India isn’t the only nation with a navy on the rise. Britain has its new aircraft carrier in the area. Germany wants to join the party. South Korea will join a scheduled US Navy exercise…..
And, the Japanese want to hire the British carrier builders to make their helicopter carriers F-35-ready. India’s carrier was built by a collection of 500 companies. If anything went nuts in the Taiwan Strait or the South Sea or the Sea of Japan, moving over to the Indian Ocean wouldn’t be a wonderful option since India already has its patrol: Navies are snowballing in the East. If there’s money to be made in a Pacific scuffle, the convenient logistics of already having so many at the party could push the timing. Those islands-nations are in tumultuous waters.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.05: Indonesia is the largest country and economy in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a bloc Washington sees as key to its efforts to stand up to China’s growing influence in Asia….
Meeting in Washington, Mr Blinken and Indonesian Foreign Minster Retno Marsudi also committed to work together against #COVID19 and the climate crisis and to boost bilateral trade and economic ties, the State Department said.
The two sides agreed to establish a “strategic partnership” in 2015, but Mr Blinken told reporters while standing alongside Ms Marsudi that the dialogue was only now actually being initiated.
“Indonesia is a strong democratic partner to the United States; we are working together on so many different fronts,” he said, adding that Washington appreciated Jakarta’s strong voice within ASEAN.
Ms Marsudi told Mr Blinken a strong partnership with Indonesia would be “a key asset for your increasing engagement in the region.”
She said the United States was one of the important partners for ASEAN in implementing its Indo-Pacific outlook.
“It is my hope, and the Indonesian government’s, to advance the bilateral relationship with the US, from health to SDGs, from education to economy, and beyond,” she said, using the acronym for sustainable development goals.
Ms Marsudi and Mr Blinken also “expressed shared views on maritime security” and committed to “defending freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and continuing collaboration in cybersecurity and preventing cybercrime,” the statement said.
The talks came before Mr Blinken was to participate in a virtual meeting with ASEAN, several members of which have competing claims in the South China Sea to those of China.
Beijing sees nearly all the strategic waterways as its own and has built up its forces there.
Mr Blinken is joining a week of meetings with regional counterparts, part of a US effort to show it is serious about engaging with Southeast Asia to push back against China.
India and Germany send warships to region……Meanwhile, India is sending a task force of four warships into the South China Sea on a two-month deployment……..India’s defence ministry said on Monday, the deployment of the Indian Navy ships intends to ensure good order in the maritime domain and “strengthen existing bonds between India and countries of the Indo Pacific.”…..
During the deployment in the Indo Pacific, the ships are scheduled to participate in bilateral exercises with the Vietnamese Peoples’ Navy, Republic of Philippines Navy, Republic of Singapore Navy (SIMBEX), Indonesian Navy (Samudra Shakti) and Royal Australian Navy (AUS-INDEX).
On Monday, Germany also sent a warship to the South China Sea for the first time in almost two decades, joining other Western nations in expanding its military presence in the region.
China claims swathes of the South China Sea and has established military outposts on artificial islands in the waters that contain gas fields and rich fishing.
The US Navy, in a show of force against the Chinese territorial claims, regularly conducts so-called “freedom of navigation” operations in which their vessels pass close by some of the contested islands.
China in turn objects to the US missions, saying they do not help promote peace or stability.
Washington has put countering China at the heart of its national security policy and seeks to rally partners against what it says are Beijing’s increasingly coercive economic and foreign policies.
Officials in Berlin have said the German navy will stick to common trade routes. The frigate is not expected to sail through the Taiwan Strait either, another regular US activity condemned by Beijing.
Nevertheless, Berlin has made it clear the mission serves to stress the fact Germany does not accept China’s territorial claims.
Ace News Services/ABC with wires/State Dept/ Forbes/
#AceNewsReport – July.31: China has been closely monitoring the progress eastward of the Carrier Strike Group, which is currently sailing through the South China Sea en route to Japan, while accusing Britain of “still living in its colonial days”.
#AceDailyNews says China warns UK as carrier strike group approaches South China Sea The People’s Liberation Army Navy is at a high state of combat readiness’ says the pro-government Global Times, seen as a mouthpiece for the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) according to The Madison Leader Gazette
China News: July.30, 2021
The Royal Navy has been carrying out exercises with the Singaporean navy and Britain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has made no secret of the intention to conduct a so-called “Freedom of Navigation” exercise through the South China Sea.
Contrary to a 2016 international court ruling, China claims much of that sea as its own and has been busy building artificial reefs and runways, some of them close to the territorial waters of neighbouring states.
Both US and Royal Navy warships have recently challenged China’s claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea by purposely sailing through it.
China has been building artificial islands in the South China Sea
So the question now is: will we see a close encounter similar to the one that took place in the Black Sea in June when the UK’s HMS Defender, a Type 45 destroyer, was buzzed by Russian warplanes as it passed close to the disputed Crimean peninsula?
“China is not looking for a direct confrontation with a major US ally in the South China Sea” says Veerle Nouwens, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Insitute (Rusi), a London think tank. “But it will certainly make its intentions clear.”
If the UK conducts freedom of navigation exercises through that sea, then Ms Nouwens believes we are likely to see a repeat of what happened when HMS Albion sailed through it in 2018. It was closely shadowed by a Chinese warship from just 200m metres away, warning it to leave, while Chinese aircraft flew low over the British vessel.
The US has sailed through the South China Sea
China has been holding extensive military exercises in the region this week, practising beach assaults in a move that has worried some analysts it is preparing to eventually invade Taiwan.
The PLA Navy will use the UK’s Carrier Strike Group’s presence in the South China Sea “as a chance for practice and for studying the UK’s latest warships up close”, says the Global Times.
It quotes a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London as saying: “The threat to freedom of navigation could only come from the one who deploys a carrier strike group to the South China Sea half a world away and flexes its naval muscles to heighten the military tension in that region.”
But while the arrival of the Carrier Strike Group in the region has provoked some angry words from Beijing, Rusi’s Research Fellow for Naval Power, Sidharth Kaushal, points out that when it comes to naval standoffs, “China’s actions have been calibrated as being well below the threshold of anything that would start a shooting war”.
The deployment of HMS Queen Elizabeth and its escort ships to East Asia is seen as part of the British government’s bid to play a more prominent role in global security, as set out in the government’s recent Integrated Review.
France, too, as well as other European nations, has been turning its attentions towards the South China Sea as China’s growing military and economic power appears unstoppable.
China has recently embarked on a major uplift in its nuclear ballistic missile arsenal, building new launch silos in the remote Xinjiang region. It has also been developing Hypersonic Glide Vehicles, high-velocity missiles that can reach speeds of up to eight times the speed of sound and which have been dubbed “carrier killers”
CHINA: With Swarms of Ships, Beijing Tightens Its Grip on South China Sea as their ships settled in like unwanted guests who wouldn’t leave to press other countries according to NY Times
Published April 3, 2021Updated May 3, 2021
As the days passed, more appeared. They were simply fishing boats, China said, though they did not appear to be fishing. Dozens even lashed themselves together in neat rows, seeking shelter, it was claimed, from storms that never came.
Not long ago, China asserted its claims on the South China Sea by building and fortifying artificial islands in waters also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Its strategy now is to reinforce those outposts by swarming the disputed waters with vessels, effectively defying the other countries to expel them.
The goal is to accomplish by overwhelming presence what it has been unable to do through diplomacy or international law. And to an extent, it appears to be working.
“Beijing pretty clearly thinks that if it uses enough coercion and pressure over a long enough period of time, it will squeeze the Southeast Asians out,” said Greg Poling, the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, which tracks developments in the South China Sea. “It’s insidious.”
China’s actions reflect the country’s growing confidence under its leader, Xi Jinping. They could test the Biden administration, as well as Beijing’s neighbors in the South China Sea, who are increasingly dependent on China’s strong economy and supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
The latest incident has unfolded in recent weeks around Whitsun Reef, a boomerang-shaped feature that emerges above water only at low tide. At one point in March, 220 Chinese ships were reported to be anchored around the reef, prompting protests from Vietnam and the Philippines, which both have claims there, and from the United States.
The Philippine defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, called their presence “a clear provocation.” Vietnam’s foreign ministry accused China of violating the country’s sovereignty and demanded that the ships leave.
By this past week, some had left but many remained, according to satellite photographs taken by Maxar Technologies, a company based in Colorado. Others moved to another reef only a few miles away, while a new swarm of 45 Chinese ships was spotted 100 miles northeast at another island controlled by the Philippines, Thitu, according to the satellite photos and Philippine officials.
“The Chinese ambassador has a lot of explaining to do,” Mr. Lorenzana said in a statement on Saturday.
The buildup has inflamed tensions in a region that, along with Taiwan, threatens to become another flash point in the intensifying confrontationbetween China and the United States.
Although the United States has not taken a position on disputes in the South China Sea, it has criticized China’s aggressive tactics there, including the militarization of its bases. For years, the United States has sent Navy warships on routine patrols to challenge China’s asserted right to restrict any military activity there — three times just since President Biden took office in January.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken expressed support for the Philippines over the presence of the Chinese vessels. “We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order,” he wrote on Twitter.
The buildup has highlighted the further erosion of the Philippines’ control of the disputed waters, which could become a problem for the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte.
The country’s defense department dispatched two aircraft and one ship to Whitsun Reef to document the buildup but did not otherwise intervene. It is not known whether Vietnamese forces responded.A satellite image over Whitsun Reef on March 23.Maxar TechnologiesA satellite image over Whitsun Reef on March 28.Maxar Technologies
Critics say China’s disregard for the Philippine claims reflects the failure of Mr. Duterte’s efforts to cozy up to the Communist Party leadership in Beijing.
“People need to hear from the commander in chief himself, a coward to China but a bully to his own people,” said Mr. Duterte’s staunchest political opponent, Senator Leila de Lima. Mr. Duterte has not publicly addressed the matter, though his spokesman suggested that quiet efforts to defuse the situation were underway.
China has brushed off the protests. A spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, said that Chinese fishermen “have been fishing in the waters near the reef all along.” Officials in the Philippines and experts said there was no evidence of that.
Whitsun Reef is part of an atoll known as Union Banks, about 175 nautical miles from Palawan, a Philippine island. The Philippines, China and Vietnam each claim that the atoll lies within their country’s exclusive economic zones, but only China and Vietnam have established a regular physical presence there, giving each a secure, if not legal, advantage in asserting control.
Vietnam has occupied four islets in the atoll since the 1970s, while China has built two outposts on previously submerged reefs as part of its program, underway since 2014, to dredge up seven artificial islands. Two of the outposts — Grierson Reef, occupied by Vietnam, and Hughes Reef, occupied by China — are less than three nautical miles apart.Filipino fishermen in 2016 near Scarborough Shoal, a reef that China and the Philippines both claim.Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
An international tribunal convened under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ruled in 2016 that China’s expansive claim to almost all of the South China Sea had no legal basis, though it stopped short of dividing the territory among its various claimants. China has based its claims on a “nine-dash line” drawn on maps before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
A Philippine patrol first reported the large number of ships at Whitsun Reef on March 7. According to Mr. Poling, satellite photographs have shown a regular, though smaller, Chinese presence over the past year at the reef.
By March 29, 45 ships remained at Whitsun, according to a statement on Wednesday by the National Task Force-West Philippines Sea, an agency that reports to the Philippine president’s office. The task force counted 254 ships as well as four Chinese warships that day in the Spratlys, an archipelago of more than 100 islands, cays and other outcroppings between the Philippines and Vietnam.
The task force said the 254 ships were not fishing vessels, as Beijing claimed, but part of China’s maritime militia, an ostensibly civilian forcethat has become an integral instrument of China’s new maritime strategy. Many of these boats, while unarmed, are operated by reservists or others who carry out the orders of the Coast Guard and People’s Liberation Army.
“They may be doing illicit activities at night and their lingering (swarming) presence may cause irreparable damage to the marine environment,” the task force’s statement said.Aboard a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane in 2018 as it observed the buildup of islands by China in the South China Sea.Adam Dean for The New York Times
The presence of so many Chinese ships is meant to intimidate. “By having them there, and spreading them out across these expanses of water around the reefs the others occupy, or around oil and gas fields or fishing grounds, you are steadily pushing the Filipinos and the Vietnamese out,” Mr. Poling said.
“If you’re a Filipino fisherman, you’re always getting harassed by these guys,” he said. “They’re always maneuvering a little too close, blowing horns at you. At some point you just give up and stop fishing there.”
Patrols and statements aside, Mr. Duterte’s government does not seem eager to confront China. His spokesman, Harry Roque, echoed the Chinese claims that the ships were merely sheltering temporarily.
“We hope the weather clears up,” he said, “and in the spirit of friendship we are hoping that their vessels will leave the area.”
The Philippines has become increasingly dependent on Chinese trade and, as it fights the pandemic, largess.
On Monday, the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Manila from China with great fanfare. As many as four million doses are scheduled to arrive by May, some of them donations. China’s ambassador, Huang Xilian, attended the vaccines’ arrival and later met with Mr. Duterte.
“China is encroaching on our maritime zone, but softening it by sending us vaccines,” said Antonio Carpio, an outspoken retired Supreme Court justice who is expert in the maritime dispute. “It’s part of their P.R. effort to soften the blow, but we should not fall for that.”
#AceNewsReport – Apr.23: The deployment is the latest move in an ongoing feud with China over what Manila called “swarming” by hundreds of fishing vessels it said were manned by Chinese state-backed militias. China has denied militias were aboard:
‘The Philippines has ramped up its rhetoric in recent weeks in defiance of what it says is threatening behaviour by Chinese vessels in its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), despite four years of rapprochement with historic rival China & we are exhausting all means possible to protect our territory and EEZ,” the Philippines’ South China Sea task force said in a statement’ from Reuters’
April: 21, 2021:
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered authorities to continue “sovereignty patrols”, and intensify operations against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in its territorial waters, the task force said.
Nine vessels from the coastguard and the fisheries bureau, a coastguard aircraft and police watercraft and rubber boats were being deployed in the South China Sea, including in waters off Philippine-held islands in the Spratlys, the task force said.
U.S.-ally the Philippines has filed several diplomatic protests over Chinese activities in the South China Sea, with the latest accusing its giant neighbour of illegal fishing and massing more than 240 boats within its EEZ.
The challenge puts the spotlight on Duterte’s controversial pursuit of better relations and economic ties with China.
The firebrand leader said on Monday he was prepared to deploy navy ships to assert the Philippines’ sovereign rights to oil and mineral resources in its EEZ, telling China that if it started drilling for oil, so will he.
China claims almost the South China Sea, where about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.11: Lin Yongxin, the director of China’s National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Thursday “there are only a few places where depths are more than 2,000 meters [6,561 feet] in the South China Sea, including in the northwest and southern parts.”
China Drills for Sediment Core in Disputed South China Sea: After recently completed deep-sea drilling to obtain sediment core in an undisclosed location in the South China Sea, Chinese state media reported Thursday.
Gabriel Reyes: Apr.2021:
The “Sea Bull II” drilling system used on Wednesday may be used to explore natural gas hydrate resources in the waterway’s seabed, Xinhua noted in its report: Natural gas hydrates, also known as “combustible ice” or “flammable ice,” are frozen fossil fuel deposits found in seabeds beneath the permafrost. The substance consists of water and gas, typically methane.
Energy experts believe the South China Sea may contain some of the world’s most promising deposits of methane hydrate. China – the world’s top importer of oil and gas – has identified “combustible ice” as a potential new energy source, researching how to successfully extract methane hydrate from the South China Sea’s bed in recent years.
Methane hydrate extraction remains far from the industrialization phase, however, with energy experts cautioning that the process, especially in the South China Sea, is still highly difficult and costly. Despite this, Chinese state media boasted of allegedly extracting a “world record” amount of natural gas from methane hydrate in the South China Sea last spring.
Chinese drillers extracted 861,400 cubic meters of natural gas from methane hydrate during a one-month trial production in an area north of the South China Sea, Xinhua reported in March 2020. The gas was extracted from a depth of about 4,020 feet.
“This test has brought gas extraction from ‘experimental production’ to ‘trial production,’ considered a crucial step in the industrialization of methane hydrate,” China’s Ministry of Land Resources reported at the time. The bureau described the 30-day trial as a “solid technical foundation for commercial exploitation.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the South China Sea holds about “11 billion barrels (bbl) of oil reserves and 190 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas reserves.”
“The majority of current reserves exist in shallow water basins on the boundaries of the sea,” the EIA reported in 2019.
Chinese energy exploration in the South China Sea sparked anti-China protests in Vietnam in 2014 after the China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) deployed a drilling rig near the disputed Paracel Islands. The archipelago is located along the northwestern boundary of the South China Sea and is claimed by China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
“Hanoi had said the rig was in its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf. Beijing had said it was operating completely within its waters around the Paracel islands, which China occupies,” Reuters reported after Beijing agreed to move the rig away from the Paracels.
“The U.S. added CNOOC to an economic blacklist in January, saying it had helped China intimidate neighbors in the South China Sea,” the SCMP noted on Friday.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.04: “ The continued deployment, lingering presence and activities of Chinese vessels infringe upon Philippine sovereignty,” the Philippine foreign ministry said in a diplomatic protest, adding “their swarming and threatening presence creates an atmosphere of instability.”
Philippines protests ‘threatening presence’ of Chinese vessels in disputed waters officials reported about 220 vessels, believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel, were seen anchored at the Whitsun Reef, which Manila calls the Julian Felipe Reef, on March 7 …………The Chinese Embassy in Manila said they were fishing vessels taking shelter from rough seas
FILE PHOTO: Some of the about 220 Chinese vessels reported by the Philippine Coast Guard, and believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel, are pictured at Whitsun Reef, South China Sea, March 7, 2021. Picture taken March 7, 2021. Philippine Coast Guard/National Task Force-West Philippine Sea/Handout via REUTERS/File photo
The Chinese Embassy rejected the accusations.
“There is no Chinese maritime militia as alleged. Any speculation as such helps nothing but causes unnecessary irritation,” it said in a statement.
Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called the presence of militia vessels a “clear provocative action of militarising the area” and urged China to recall them.
The U.S. Embassy said the Chinese boats had been mooring in the area for many months in increasing numbers, regardless of the weather.In a tweet, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington “stands with our ally, the Philippines, regarding concerns about the gathering of (Chinese) maritime militia vessels near Whitsun Reef.
“We call on Beijing to stop using its maritime militia to intimidate and provoke others, which undermines peace and security,” he said.
An international tribunal invalidated China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016, but Beijing does not recognise the ruling and has built islands in disputed waters equipped with radar, missiles batteries and hangers for fighter jets.
Jay Batongbacal, a South China Sea expert at the University of the Philippines, said President Rodrigo Duterte’s “friendship policy” to move away from Washington and align more closely with China was to blame for the incursions.
“Whatever opportunities there were for us to slow them down or stop them they have been lost,” Batongbacal said.
Reporting by Karen Lema; additonla reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Ed Davies
“China has already stopped,” Reuters quoted Wang Yi as saying at a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers where the disputed waters have taken center stage. “Just take an airplane to take a look.”
#AceNewsServices – CHINA – October 30 – China called on Japan on Thursday to stop scrambling its jets against Chinese aircraft,Reuters reported.
‘China tells Japan Stop Causing Tensions in South China Sea ‘
In recent months, according to (CNN) Territorial tensions between China and Japan have flared after a close encounter between their military jets in disputed airspace over the East China Sea.
The neighbouring rivals accused each other of potentially triggering a dangerous incident, after two pairs of Chinese fighter jets were scrambled and flew close to a Japanese OP-3C surveillance plane and a YS-11EB electronic intelligence aircraft Saturday.
The fly-bys occurred in airspace claimed by both countries as part of their “air defence identification zones,” while China carried out joint maritime exercises withRussia at the weekend.
The two states have accused the other of flying military aircraft too close to its own jets in a territorial dispute as both sides claim a string of Japanese-administered islets in the East China Sea.
‘This disputed islands in the East China Sea are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China ‘
They are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Last year, Beijing declared an air defence zone covering most of the East China Sea. Japan’s fighter jet scrambles against Chinese planes rose 29 percent to 103 in July-September, Beijing said.
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – October 03 – The United States is moving toward selling arms to Vietnam for maritime security, further advancing a process that has turned a once-bitter enemy into a strategic partner.
‘ Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion maritime surveillance planes ‘
Secretary of State John Kerry made the announcement in a meeting Thursday with visiting Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
“This policy supports Vietnam’s efforts to improve its maritime domain awareness and maritime security capabilities,” she told reporters.
She did not name the specific types of weapons being considered, but news reports say Vietnam has expressed interest in buying Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion maritime surveillance planes.
Shared concerns about Chinese assertiveness in East Asia, particularly in the South China Sea, has driven Washington and Hanoi closer together in the generation after the Vietnam War.
Some the biggest supporters of that move are U.S. veterans of the eight-year conflict who are now in high positions, such as Kerry and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was a “guest” of Hanoi for five years as a prisoner of war.
John Kerry supports the move to supply arms to Vietnam.
#AceWorldNews – MALAYSIA (Bangkok) – July 17 – A Malaysian-flagged oil tanker has been hijacked in the South China Sea and its cargo siphoned. It is the latest in a recent spate of such incidents blamed on sophisticated criminal gangs reported VoA.
The Royal Malaysian Navy says 15 crew-members aboard the drifting MT Oriental Glory are safe but three crew members are reported to have been injured after the tanker was hijacked and 2,500 tons of marine gas oil were stolen from the vessel.
#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON, June 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Over 100 marines of the USA and Philippines took part in joint manoeuvres Cooperation Afloat Readiness, CARAT on the north-western coast on the Philippines, Associated Press reported Monday.
As reported by the representative of the Philippine Naval Forces, the manoeuvres were held with the aim of field combat training upgrading.
The exercises are not connected to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, he added.
#AceWorldNews – MALAYSIA (Kuala Lumpur) – June 13 – Malaysia is hunting for a group of machete-wielding pirates who hijacked a tanker off its eastern coast, stealing a million litres of oil, in the latest in a spate of attacks in its waters, an official said Thursday.
Pirates hijacked the Malaysia-registered tanker MT Budi Mesra Dua last Saturday off Bintulu in the oil-rich Sarawak state as the ship sailed from neighbouring Singapore.
“Ten machete-wielding pirates boarded the ship, which was carrying about a million litres of diesel. They took control of the tanker for about 10 hours,” Mohamad Sufi Mohamad Ramli, a local commander with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency told AFP.
The armed pirates siphoned off the diesel fuel to another ship, robbed the crew of their valuables and destroyed communication equipment before escaping, he said.
“We have activated 24-hour sea patrols around Bintulu waters (in the South China Sea) to prevent similar attacks,” Mohamad Sufi said.
“We are hunting down the pirates,” he added.
Pirates have attacked a number of vessels in waters off Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia recently.
In April, pirates injured the captain and stole diesel fuel from a Thailand-owned tanker off the eastern coast of Malaysia.
In the same month, three Indonesian crew were kidnapped and diesel fuel stolen from a Singapore-managed tanker in the Strait of Malacca, an important shipping lane.
The International Maritime Bureau’s Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Centre urged maritime agencies in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to bolster security measures to stop the piracy menace.
“In recent weeks, we have recorded five hijackings (including this latest incident), in the South China Sea area and in the Malacca Strait,” the centre’s head Noel Choong told AFP.
#AceNewsServices – TOKYO – May 31 – Two Chinese coastguard ships sailed into disputed waters off Japan-administered islands in the East China Sea Saturday, officials said, as the United States warned Beijing over increasing territorial assertiveness.
The Japanese coastguard said the vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile band of territorial waters around one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, around 10 am (0100 GMT).
Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached the East China Sea archipelago — thought to harbour natural resources — since Tokyo nationalised some of the islands in September 2012, setting off the latest spate of incidents in a long-running territorial dispute.
Saturday’s incursion was the first of official Chinese vessels into the disputed waters since May 2 and the 12th this year.
China is also locked in territorial disputes, in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost entirely.
There have been incidences of Vietnam and China ramming each other’s vessels recently while in 2012 the Philippines lost control of rich fishing grounds after a tense stand-off with China.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam — claim parts of the sea, with Manila and Hanoi being the most vocal in opposing China’s claims. Taiwan is also a claimant.
At the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore Saturday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel accused China of “destabilising actions” in the South China Sea.
Reuters – Japan Today – Straits Times
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Japan Today – 31/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/ndd79gy
#AceWorldNews – SOUTH CHINA – May 27 – The head of Vietnam’s coastguard says a Chinese boat rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the disputed waters in the South China Sea on Monday, Reuters reports.
The 10 fisherman who were on board the Vietnamese boat were rescued, said coastguard commander Nguyen Quang Dam.
He added that the incident occurred 17 nautical miles from the massive oil rig China deployed between the Paracel islands and the Vietnamese coast. “A Vietnamese boat from the central city of Da Nang was deliberately encircled by 40 fishing vessels from China before it was attacked by a Chinese ship,” Dam told Reuters by telephone.
#AceWorldNews – TAIWAN – May 15 – A top Taiwanese diplomat says rioters attacked a Taiwanese-owned steel mill in central Vietnam, killing at least one Chinese worker and injuring 90 others.
According to AP, Ambassador to Vietnam Huang Chih-peng said the violence late Wednesday and early Thursday happened at a steel plant owned by Formosa Plastics Group.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that five Vietnamese workers and 16 other individuals described as Chinese died Wednesday night during riots in the central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh, according to a doctor at a hospital in the province.
Early Wednesday, rioters attacked factory buildings in a southern industrial park which were believed to have Chinese owners but were, in fact, mostly owned by Taiwanese or South Koreans. China’s deployment of an oil rig in the South China Sea earlier this month has sparked public anger in Vietnam, as the nation claims the waters as its own.
If confirmed, the airstrip would be the first built by China on any of the eight reefs and islands it occupies in the Spratly Islands and would mark a significant escalation in tensions involving several nations in the area.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, an area rich in energy deposits and an important passageway traversed each year by $5 trillion worth of ship-borne goods.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the area.
Philippine Foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose told Reuters that China had moved earth and materials to Johnson South Reef, known by the Chinese as Chigua, in recent weeks. He said China was reclaiming land in violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, an informal code of conduct for the region.
“They’re about to build an airstrip,” Jose said.
Tensions in the South China Sea were already high after China moved a large oil rig into an area also claimed by Vietnam. Beijing and Hanoi each accused the other of ramming its ships near the disputed Paracel Islands.
#AceNewsServices – BEIJING – May 12 – South-east Asian leaders have expressed “serious concern” over worsening territorial disputes in the South China Sea, presenting a rare united front against an increasingly assertive Beijing.
But a defiant Beijing said Hanoi‘s efforts to enlist the support of its neighbours in the row were “doomed to fail”.
The 10-nation ASEAN, in a statement released on Monday after a summit on Sunday, called for a peaceful resolution to the maritime rows, which flared up this month after China moved an oil drilling rig into waters also claimed by Hanoi (AFP) reported.
“We expressed serious concerns over the ongoing developments in the South China Sea, said the joint statement from the summit in Myanmar, without explicitly pointing the finger at Beijing.
ASEAN called on all parties involved to “exercise self-restraint, not to resort to threat(s) or use of force, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law”.
Observers said the statement marked a change of tone by the regional bloc, many of whose members — including Myanmar — have close economic and political ties with China and have traditionally avoided confrontation with the Asian heavyweight.
In 2012 China’s ally Cambodia caused consternation when it was ASEAN head by refusing to take Beijing to task over its assertive maritime stance.
“This is a far cry from when Cambodia was ASEAN chair,” said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
The statement “represents a slight tightening of ASEAN’s position”, he said, adding it suggests a rare level of “consensus” on the vexed sea rights issue.
Under Brunei’s chairmanship last year, China avoided a public rebuke from ASEAN at a major summit after offering an olive branch by calling for peace in the flash point region.
Beijing struck a less conciliatory tone on Monday, insisting that the contested Paracel Islands, located near the controversial oil rig, were its “inherent territory”.