Philippines seeks US help to counter China

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by LETHALFORCE, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Philippines seeks US help to counter China - Features - Al Jazeera English


    The United States and the Philippines will hold combat drills together to counter China's rising influence in the area.

    China has behaved aggressively in the South China Sea, which is bordered by five other nations [GALLO/GETTY]
    Bangkok - The government of Philippines President Benigno Aquino may be wading into choppy diplomatic waters by turning to the United States to counter China's aggressiveness in the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

    A protest outside the US embassy in Manila over the weekend by local leftwing and indigenous groups is an indication of what can be expected in the run-up to planned combat drills involving US and Filipino forces in the troubled waters of the South China Sea.

    "The combat drills with US and Philippines marines have certainly worried many sectors here," noted Walden Bello, a first-term congressman from the Citizens' Action Party, which is part of the Aquino administration's coalition in the national legislature.

    "The Philippines is unfortunately playing a dangerous game in entertaining a US military presence," he added in a telephone interview from Manila.

    Giving Washington a military foothold will "convert a territorial dispute, where the Philippines has a stake, into a superpower conflict," Bello said. "We should rely on regional and multilateral mechanisms."

    Nationalist response

    A verbal volley fired by an ultra-nationalist Chinese newspaper brings such warnings into relief. The Philippines should be targeted with "countermeasures" and "punishment" for offering the US military an expanded role in the South China Sea, raged the English-language Global Times in a commentary last week.

    "A reasonable yet powerful enough sanction can be considered," added the paper. "It should show China's neighbouring area that balancing China by siding with the US is not a good choice."



    Tensions rise between China and the Philippines

    The planned military drills off the Philippines coast, scheduled for late March or early April, will be staged near an oil rig in the South China Sea. This news, following a mid-January bilateral defence dialogue, came after the Philippines got another boost from US foreign policy heavyweights to contain China.

    "What we're talking about is maritime security," US Senator Joseph Lieberman said at the end of a trip to the Philippines capital with three other senators last month. "We simply cannot allow one nation, in this case China, to exercise disproportionate control over these waterways."

    This body of water has increasingly become a flashpoint following China's strident assertion in 2009 that it had control over a stretch of ocean that has a spread of reefs, coral atolls and slivers of land that are hardly habitable.

    Yet, what has raised stakes in the South China Sea, whose waters are shared by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines, are reports that its bed contains huge deposits of oil and gas - in addition to supplying nearly one-tenth of the world's seafood catch.

    Energy issues

    The Parcels Islands archipelago and the Spratly Islands have, consequently, become important for energy security.

    China controls the Parcels, having edged out Vietnam in a 1974 battle that left 18 people dead. And, Manila fell victim to Beijing's bullying when the Asian giant occupied the Mischief Reef in 1995, once part of the Philippines.

    The dispute led to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC), the first political agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc that includes Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Laos, Indonesia and South China Sea littorals - the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.

    Neither the 10-year-old declaration, nor the diplomatic breakthrough in July last year to create "guidelines for implementing" the DoC, has done enough to ease the tension through 2011. Both Vietnam and the Philippines accused China of asserting its territorial claims by sending fleets of vessels into disputed areas.

    "The Philippines has become the most outspoken on this issue with the ASEAN members," says Kavi Chongkittavorn, a regional affairs commentator, in The Nation, an English daily in Thailand. "It has been boosted by the defence treaty it has with the US."

    But efforts by Manila to raise the diplomatic stakes against China "will not have wide support in ASEAN", Kavi said. "ASEAN will not want to be dragged into a conflict with China."

    The imminent diplomatic challenge Manila faces comes nearly a year after the Philippines government turned to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLoS) to resolve its territorial disputes.

    "The Philippines has called on ASEAN to support the idea that the issue must be resolved on the basis of the rule of law, particularly UNCLoS," reveals Herman Kraft, associate professor of political science at the University of the Philippines.

    "Using UNCLoS to advance its argument allows the Philippines to take the moral high ground and hopefully (win) the sympathy of the international public," he explained in an interview. "(China's push to resolve the problem bilaterally) is a non-starter for a small state dealing with a larger and more powerful state."

    There is an international treaty which can help "break the deadlock between China and other countries over territorial disputes in the South China Sea," says Kumar Chitty, a former senior UN official at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, a Hamburg-based judicial body created to resolve disputes between countries about the oceans and their resources. "This is how Australia and East Timor resolved their dispute," Chitty said.

    But China is avoiding such an international judicial route, preferring the ASEAN-led DoC resolution.

    "China will seize this opportunity of making efforts with ASEAN countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and bring benefits to the people in the region," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Weimin said following last month's ministerial meeting in China to reduce tensions in the South China Sea.
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    BBC News - Philippines seeks US muscle on South China Sea

    Philippines seeks US muscle on South China Sea




    Sarah Osorio is bubbly and beautiful, and she is enjoying her reign as both Miss Palawan and Miss Kalayaan - the name of a contested chain of tiny islands in the South China Sea.

    "That's me!" said the 18-year-old, showing a video of the beauty contest, where she struts down the runway beaming and wearing a red bikini.

    Ms Osorio said she joined the pageant to make a serious point - about the Kalayaan Islands, where her father is an elected member of the municipal council. Her chance came when she was asked on stage what she would do if she won.

    "I will focus on the biggest problem of our municipality, which is that other countries are claiming my municipality," she replied. "Because my municipality is for the Philippines only." The crowd went wild and the crown was hers.


    Miss Palawan, Sarah Osorio, says she wants to make a point about disputed islands
    The Kalayaan Islands are some of the thousands of islands, atolls and reefs in the South China Sea, where China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping territorial claims. Beneath and around them are believed to be rich reserves of oil and natural gas.

    China's claim includes almost the entire South China Sea, well into what the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea recognises as the 200-mile-from-shore Exclusive Economic Zones of other claimants. That has led to occasional flare-ups and to competition to occupy islands, reefs and sandbars.

    The Philippine army has a few men living on a rusting boat docked on one atoll. There is not room for anything else.

    Kalayaan's main island, Pag-asa - about 650 metres in diameter - is spacious by comparison. Many of its 60 residents are in local government.

    "We're a small island - no activities, no entertainment," Ms Osorio said. "You can fish during the day and at 6pm, no electricity, sleep." Still, she says, people choose to live there "to show it's ours, that we have that island for the Philippines".

    Coastal clashes
    China's energy needs are expected to double over the next 25 years. Already it imports more than half its oil. It is looking to the South China Sea to provide more and is becoming increasingly aggressive in asserting its claims.


    Lt-Gen Juancho Sabban, with the seized Chinese fishing boat
    When ExxonMobil announced in October that it had found what looked like a sizable natural gas field near the Vietnamese city of Danang, China warned that foreign companies should not proceed in waters it claims.

    A Vietnamese survey ship in May filmed as a Chinese Marine Surveillance boat severed the Vietnamese ship's seismic sensor cable.

    The Philippines has had its own challenges. Lt-Gen Juancho Sabban, who heads the Western Command of the Philippine Armed Forces on the island, shows off what he calls a "Chinese donation" to his marine patrol boats - a confiscated Chinese fishing speedboat.

    "They had GPS, they had radios. They had air compressors for deep sea diving - making use of an air hose - about 50 metres," he said.

    Gen Sabban thinks the boat was involved in surveillance. When it went into internal waters, smaller Philippine patrol boats blocked it. The Chinese speedboat tried to ram one of them so the patrols fired to disable the engine.

    The arrested crew said they were fishermen from the southern Chinese island of Hainan. But Gen Sabban doubts a fishing boat would have travelled 600 miles on its own. He notes that the group were promptly bailed out by the Chinese embassy and disappeared.

    He says similar boats have left markers and construction materials near islands or reefs the Philippines claims.

    The Chinese erected a structure on Mischief Reef in 1995 almost overnight and now have a permanent presence there, some 130 nautical miles from the Philippines and 600 from China.

    Still, China says it has ancient claims to these distant islands, because Chinese explorers, centuries ago, found them and named them.


    Investors are lining up to explore the South China Sea for oil and gas
    "In layman's terms, it's absurd," said Gen Sabban. "Unbelievable." By the same logic, he says, Filipinos travelled to China centuries ago, so the Philippines should be able to claim some of China.

    Gen Sabban sees China's new assertiveness as linked to the fact that the Philippines and Vietnam are both opening up waters they claim to foreign companies. Shell and Chevron are already active in the Philippines, and the country is soliciting bids for 15 more offshore exploration blocks.

    "Now our oil industry is picking up and investors have increased five-fold or so," Gen Sabban said. "This year, there will be more drilling in the West Philippine Sea (the Philippines' name for areas of the South China Sea it claims) and we expect that by the end of this year, more rigs will be in place."

    'Vital area'
    Protecting an oil rig will be one of the exercises the Philippines performs with the US military this spring. A Philippines delegation visited Washington in January to talk about enhanced US military support in the South China Sea.

    "This area is vital to the United States," Chief of US Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said recently. "It's been an area vital to our navy and our focus for decades, because of… the trade routes, the large economies."

    Adm Greenert said the challenge was to keep trade routes open - and peaceful - while keeping belligerence to a minimum.

    China's view is that the US should mind its own business.

    "Any interference from outside forces or a multilateral discussion will only complicate matters, rather than resolving them," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin said in November.

    China points out that the $30bn in trade the Philippines has with China could double in a couple of years. Or China could punish the country, as the Communist Party-owned newspaper The Global Times suggested, for turning to the US for more military muscle.

    Another Global Times editorial warned that "small countries" like the Philippines and Vietnam should stop challenging China's interests or "they will need to prepare for the sound of cannons".

    Not surprisingly, this kind of talk irritates Gen Sabban. He says he has doubled patrols of nearby waters over the past 18 months, but has not increased armed presence. He would prefer a peaceful solution. Still, he says, China should think before getting any more aggressive in these waters.

    "Remember the Vietnam war, where a smaller country defeated a superpower," he says. "It's about the determination of a people to defend themselves."

    And it does not hurt that another superpower stands ready to come to their aid.
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    US Congress Approves Second Warship For The Philippines | Defense Update

    US Congress Approves Second Warship For The Philippines



    The United States Congress gave its blessing for the US Coast Guard to transfer a second ship to the Philippine Navy on February 10. This approval is in keeping with the increased emphasis the United States is placing on the Asia-Pacific region.

    Most US-Philippine cooperative efforts have in the recent past been primarily focused on fighting terrorists. Now, the US appears to be embarking on a campaign to strengthen the Philippine Navy’s long neglected warfighting capabilities.

    A spokesman for the US State Department has publicly commented that every effort will be made to deliver the ship as fully equipped as possible.

    One warship was delivered to the Philippines back in May 2011 as authorized by the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. Delivery of a second ship is just one of many defense related issues being negotiated between the two nations. The US Navy has regularly conducted port visits, refueling stops, and large-scale training exercises with Philippine forces. US Marine forces have engaged in multiple exercises in the island nation for several years past.

    The Philippines has encountered some tense disputes with China regarding sovereignty over areas of the South China Seain recent months as have other nations. All or portions of this region are simultaneously claimed by Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, and China as well as the Philippines.

    The United States has repeatedly stated that it will not be placed in a position of determining if these claims are valid or not and has long advocated negotiation as the only practical means of resolving the conflicting claims. However, the US has also made it clear that it will exercise whatever means are required to satisfy the terms of the Mutual Defense Treaty.

    Official statements continue to deny that the United States has any plans or intentions of reintroducing a permanent military presence into the Philippines in the foreseeable future. The US closed all of its major military installations in the islands as demanded by the Philippine Senate in 1991 and there remains strong opposition to any permanent US presence among the general Philippine population.
     
  5. ryanmd09

    ryanmd09 New Member

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    "The US closed all of its major military installations in the islands as demanded by the Philippine Senate in 1991 and there remains strong opposition to any permanent US presence among the general Philippine population. "



    This is so untrue, even local surveys shows that majority here in the Philippines wants more US presence! What the reports seen in newspapers and TV broadcasts are a handful of few leftists demonstrating in front of the US Embassy!
     
    Kiyoshi likes this.
  6. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    Wow, the leftists are same everywhere.
     
  7. William of Tyre

    William of Tyre Regular Member

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    yes. you see, the irony in this scenario was that when the Chinese were having a stand-off with Philippine ships, the usual rallyists was nowhere to be found. Then, when the RP-US Balikatan was staged, the leftist-instigated rallyists were demonstrating in front of the US embassy. A fraction of the rallyist only made rallies in front of the Chinese embassy, after a clear public furor over the Chinese aggression. .
     
  8. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    I just love how the leftists are blamed for everything, everywhere. :namaste:
     
  9. William of Tyre

    William of Tyre Regular Member

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    yes...... they sow the seeds of discord....
     
  10. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    True, we should have an one party system and put all the leftists in jail.
     
  11. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    i hope indian military will take this as an opportunity to get their indigenously produced weapons a chance to get tested by loaning or selling at near cost to pilillipine military
     
    LETHALFORCE likes this.
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Leftists are the scum of the earth.

    And Communists are worse!
     
  13. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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  14. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    join hands with us, we have same interests.
     
  15. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Nothing new indeed. Now Philippines . This Aquino admin. trying to divert Filipino's attention from internal woes to external threats

    Philippines' World Competitiveness Ranking Dived
    On Labor Day, workers vow to rally vs Aquino’s failure to address pressing issues - Bulatlat
    But will such tactics work?
     
  16. Zero_Wing

    Zero_Wing Regular Member

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  17. Uruzu

    Uruzu New Member

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    lol. A Chinese accusing others of stirring up international incidents to divert internal woes.

    Somehow, the dispute with Japan in Sept 2010 coincides with the 2010 Nobel Peace price

    Somehow, the dispute with Philippine coincides with the scandal of top government politicians.

    Some hypocritical statements you got there, amoy.
     
  18. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    India MEA spokesperson Syed Akabaruddin has made a statement on this issue today

    “We have been following with concern recent developments involving China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. Maintenance of peace and security in the region is of vital interest to the international community. India urges both countries to exercise restraint and resolve the issue diplomatically according to principles of international law.”
     
  19. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Your post dont make sense at all.

    The peace prize was announced oct 2010. The incident between Japan and China happened in sep 2010.

    I am sure the Norwegians didnt time that. :rofl:

    The dispute between CHina and Phillipine has been ongoing for decades.

    Stop embarrassing your-self. :wave:
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  20. Avenger

    Avenger Tihar Jail Banned

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    All ur islands should independent, not just the second largest.
    We are helping u to do that.

    encircle? Who? even ur ASEN frends didnt make any noise till now.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  21. Zero_Wing

    Zero_Wing Regular Member

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    Well what can you expect from brainwash people do your worse Imperialist Chinese monsters no matter you do your still wrong and a threat to world peace
     

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