Philippines asks China to explain debris in West PH Sea | The wRap

The wRap highlights: PH asks China, Anwar Ibrahim, and SB19.....»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerNov 25th, 2022

Attack on Phl would elicit U.S. response — State Dep’t

The United States warned on Monday that any armed attack on Philippine armed forces and Philippine Coast Guard civilian vessels could trigger its 72-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines. “The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft — including those of its Coast Guard — anywhere in the South China Sea,” the US Department of State said in a statement. The statement came a day after a China Coast Guard ship collided with a Philippine resupply vessel that was conducting a routine resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal. During the same resupply mission, a Chinese maritime militia vessel also bumped the BRP Cabra, one of the PCG ships that were escorting the boat contracted by the AFP. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said the collisions, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered investigated by the PCG, were “intentional.” For its part, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said further study is needed to invoke the MDT due to the incident. “The matter of filing another case is something that is still being studied by the government. But, of course, all incidents like these will actually bolster the case that it is not the Philippines that is the aggressor but the other party, which is China,” DFA spokesperson Teresita Daza said. “It’s a provocation on the side of China but at this point, whether it will constitute an armed attack that would allow the invoking of the MDT is something that needs to be studied,” she added. The Philippines and the US agreed under the MDT, signed in 1951, that an armed attack on either of the parties would be considered an attack on the other, necessitating common or joint actions.   Ambassador summoned The Philippines on Monday summoned China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, to explain the “blocking maneuvers” conducted by its vessels. China has insisted on its territorial rights over the Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, which is in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Swarms of CCG ships and Chinese maritime militia vessels had been monitored in the WPS, which Philippine officials said was a blatant disrespect of the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea. In July 2016, the Philippines won the arbitral case it lodged against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The US said it stands with the Philippines in the face of China’s “dangerous and unlawful actions obstructing” a 22 October resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. “By conducting dangerous maneuvers that caused collisions with Philippine resupply and Coast Guard ships, the PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia violated international law by intentionally interfering with the Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation,” the US State Department said. “The PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) conduct jeopardized the Filipino crew members’ safety and impeded critically needed supplies from reaching service members stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre. Obstructing supply lines to this longstanding outpost and interfering with lawful Philippine maritime operations undermines regional stability,” it added. Citing the 2016 arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, the US noted that China’s territorial claims to Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation outside the territorial sea of another high tide feature, were unfounded.   Unsafe moves “The unsafe maneuvers on 22 October and the PRC water cannoning of a Philippine vessel on 5 August are the latest examples of provocative PRC measures in the South China Sea to enforce its expansive and unlawful maritime claims, reflecting disregard for other states lawfully operating in the region,” the State Department stressed. Aside from the US, Japan, France, Canada, Australia and Germany also condemned China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea. In a separate statement, Canada condemned what it described as “unlawful and dangerous conduct” of the People’s Republic of China in the WPS, which “provoked two collisions with Philippine vessels engaged in routine operations inside the Philippine exclusive economic zone, in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal.” “The PRC’s actions are unjustified. China has no lawful claim to the West Philippine Sea. Its actions are incompatible with the obligations of a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the Canadian Embassy in Manila said. “Continuing acts of intimidation and coercion undermine safety, stability, and security across the region, and increase the risk of miscalculation,” it added.   France, Japan, Germany, too France expressed its “deep concern” over the dangerous maneuvers of the CCG against Philippine vessels “engaged in the Philippine exclusive economic zone.” “France calls for respect of the freedom of navigation guaranteed by international law and recalls its attachment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the decision rendered by the Arbitral Court on 12 July 2016,” the Embassy of France to the Philippines said. Japan, likewise, stressed that it was “seriously concerned” and “alarmed” about the collision of Chinese vessels with Philippine vessels. “Seriously concerned about and alarmed by the collision between Chinese and Philippines vessels,” Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said in a tweet. Koshikawa said Japan “strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.” “Germany is very concerned about recent confrontations in the SCS involving Chinese coast guard ships and maritime militia vessels in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,” German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Pfaffernoschke said in a separate tweet. The post Attack on Phl would elicit U.S. response — State Dep’t appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

500 EDCA deals in 2024 pipeline

The United States has committed to more than 500 bilateral military engagements with the Philippines next year, which would primarily feature the stepping up of war games and joint sea patrols. An Armed Forces of the Philippines official described the engagements as encompassing exercises and high-level exchanges between the allied nations on security cooperation and strategic vision, including maritime security, information sharing, and capacity and capability development, among others. The commitments were made during last week’s annual Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board meeting, said the AFP official, who requested anonymity. Meanwhile, AFP Public Affairs chief, Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto, said highlights of the activities will include an increased “tempo” in the joint exercises. At the same time, projects under the Enhanced Development Cooperation Agreement will be scaled up. He said engagements with other key international partners will also be part of the new set-up. During the meeting, AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., and US Indo-Pacific Command Chief Admiral John Aquilino reaffirmed the “steadfast commitment of the Philippines and the United States to safeguard their respective nations and the Indo-Pacific region.” “The meeting was the culminating activity of the planning cycle that assessed previous activities and set out over 500 bilateral engagements for 2024,” Ileto said. Increasing the American role in the maritime conflict with China is expected to be matched by the latter through increased aggressiveness in staking its claim in the West Philippine Sea.   Swarming by vessels resumes The AFP Western Command on Saturday expressed alarm over the heightened presence of Chinese maritime militia vessels and the massive coral harvesting at Rozul, or Iroquois, Reef, located within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. In a weekly news forum in Quezon City, Wescom commander, Vice Admiral Albert Carlos, reported the “resurgence” of swarming incidents in the West Philippine Sea, with about 40 Chinese fishing vessels spotted as of 15 September at Rozul Reef, which is located south of Recto Bank. Carlos said the latest figure is higher than the 33 vessels spotted on 24 August and the 24 tracked on 7 September. Swarming was also observed at Escoda (Sabina) Shoal, where five Chinese fishing vessels were spotted, and Baragatan (Nares) Bank, with two boats, according to a Wescom news release on 14 September. “But the good news is we also have our presence there,” Carlos said, referring to vessels of the Philippine Navy and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. “So, we are addressing the issue of this swarming,” he added.   Harmful harvesting Carlos noted that in July, the Philippine Navy deployed divers to conduct an “underwater survey” of the swarmed area and found “there were no more corals” at Rozul Reef. The military is coordinating with scientists and experts to assess the area, he said, adding that it specifically wants to verify the divers’ assessment that massive harvesting of corals happened just recently. “We saw that there were no more corals. The corals were damaged, and there was debris,” he said. “We are not making any conclusions at this time. It’s a work in progress, but we just want to report coral harvesting in the area where (the Chinese were) seen loitering and swarming.”   Keeping  the peace Carlos said government troops want to “keep the peace and avoid miscalculations” in the WPS despite the recent incidents. He, however, guaranteed a heightened military presence in the Philippines’ waters. “The presence (of Chinese vessels) is already alarming because we have the sovereign rights in our exclusive economic zone. Now, coral harvesting is still unverified. We are not saying that they are harvesting our corals. We suspect somebody is harvesting our corals, which means they are violating our sovereign rights. We have the exclusive right to exploit resources in the West Philippine Sea,” Carlos said. “For the Western Command, that is alarming, because it might appear that we are remiss in our duty to protect our territory, as well as the riches of our exclusive economic zone. So we are doubling our efforts on that. We are going to address that issue by increasing our presence there,” he said.   Joint patrols assessed Carlos said the government is “carefully” studying offers by other countries to conduct joint patrols with Philippine forces. For now, the military is carrying out unilateral maritime patrols in the WPS, he said, adding that these are being “jointly conducted with the Philippine Coast Guard and the BFAR, not with any foreign country.” “We are in engagement with whoever offers to help us, whoever shares our desire, our objective to establish a rules-based international order. We are studying it carefully. All the offers are on the table,” he said.   More EDCA projects Ileto said Brawner and Aquilino also agreed to hasten the completion of the EDCA projects. There were 32 projects approved. The two officials are eyeing 63 more EDCA projects. “More importantly, it reaffirmed the two nations’ commitment to the PH-US alliance as espoused in the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty,” he said. The Philippines and the US military officials also agreed to jointly push for a free and open Indo-Pacific region “against a backdrop of a rules-based international order,” Ileto said. The post 500 EDCA deals in 2024 pipeline appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 16th, 2023

Deaf or blind to Vietnam’s activities?

Last week I mentioned the report regarding Vietnam facilities and other structures being built within the Philippine territory. I am just wondering how come the government is quiet about the issue. I even suggested that a public forum and press conference be conducted to inform the people and make fellow Filipinos aware of it. A fellow observer even asked me why is it that the Marcos government is silent on such an issue. As I remember right, since President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. took over as the Chief Executive there have been only six diplomatic protests filed against Vietnam compared to the 97 against China. I cannot recall if the protests against Vietnam were in the news but I am afraid the public was never informed about such things. A fellow journalist confirmed that there has been no report of Hanoi’s ambassador to Manila being summoned by the Department of Foreign Affairs to explain the Vietnamese activities in our country’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippine government has the responsibility to make statements on this matter considering that it is our sovereignty that is at stake. As I said, Vietnam’s activities in the WPS are a threat to our national security and should be dealt with accordingly by Philippine authorities. To give you a picture of how serious this matter is, on 1 August, despite heavy rains a small group of around 50 members of Makabayan Alyansa ng Bansang Anti-War and Anti-Terrorism (Makabansa), who claimed to be concerned citizens, held a protest rally in front of Vietnam’s embassy in Malate, Manila, to show that they are against what the Vietnam government is doing. The protesters called on the Vietnam government to stop the alleged militarization at the WPS and their fishing in the Kalayaan Group of Islands. The militant group through their spokesman, Benny delos Reyes, urged the embassy to respect their demands for amicable ties between the Philippines and Vietnam. For the information of the Philippine government, its department or agency concerned, Vietnam is planning to build “a covert fortification, command fortification, firepower fortification, weapons storage fortification, traffic trench system, trench, and related tactical items” within the Philippine territory. The Vietnamese government is ready to send more people to the land features, where they will set up residence. Perhaps due to the non-reaction of the Philippine government, Vietnam thinks that building military and civilian infrastructure and sending people to live on the islands will prove that those islands, which are in a portion of the WPS, belong to them. Let our government be reminded that Vietnam first took possession of areas within our own territory in 1978. Without knowing it, Vietnam might not only be occupying Philippine territories but already controlling our society. In the Gospel today, Jesus takes some of His friends away from the business of the village and marketplace. He invites them to travel with Him as He makes His way up the mountain. This is not unusual. We know from the Gospels that Jesus often went off by Himself to the mountains to pray. While they were there praying something wild and wonderful happened. Jesus was transfigured; He was changed; His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as light. Imagine how surprised, shocked, and taken aback those with Jesus were. Once composed, Peter uttered the famous words: “Lord, it is wonderful for us to be here.’ But more important than what was said is what they heard: ‘This is My Son, the Beloved, He enjoys My favor, listen to Him.” My regards to Rev. Father Richard Diaz, CICM, the Academic Dean of Maryhill School of Theology, and to Ms. Daisy Arao-arao, MST Registrar, all the faculty, students, and staff of MST who are about to start the Academic Year 2023-2024. The post Deaf or blind to Vietnam’s activities? appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2023

Recto Bank tactics

After years of being ordered by a pro-China leader to bite their tongues, Filipino security officials are now vocal and blunt about China’s devilish schemes in the West Philippine Sea or WPS. For their refreshing candor, our Coast Guard and military officials deserve our unequivocal cheers. Significant too is the fact that they’ve taken to heart one of China’s tactics of camouflaging armed Chinese maritime militia vessels as “innocent fishing boats” when our officials raised alarms last week that some 50 Chinese militia vessels were presently “swarming” Iroquois Reef, which is part of the crucial Recto Bank. “Swarming” is a threadbare Chinese scheme that’s often a prelude to China occupying South China Sea’s contested maritime features like reefs and banks. “Swarming” eventually proceeds to China constructing outright militarized artificial islands. As it is, the tactic begins with “swarming the area for a very long period. If you fail to notice them, they will increase their number eventually until they occupy the area,” says Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela. Our military and Coast Guard officials vow the necessary measures against the intruders in natural gas-rich Recto Bank (Reed Bank as it is internationally known), which is well within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer (200-nautical miles) exclusive economic zone. The Permanent Court of Arbitration or PCA ruled in 2016 that Recto Bank was within the Philippine EEZ, granting the country economic rights over the area. China refuses to recognize the ruling and claims the area as being within its territory, courtesy of a fictitious nine-dash line that’s attempting to turn a vast sea into a lake. Geographically, Iroquois Reef — locally called Del Pilar Reef — is part of the expansive Recto Bank, shorthand for a cluster of underwater banks and shoals located in an area of the shallow sea between Palawan and the Spratly Islands. Ignoring what is happening at Recto Bank is to our peril, harming not only our political interests but more importantly, our economic interests. Politically, the late President Noynoy Aquino unforgettably quipped, “Setting foot on Recto Bank is no different from setting foot on Recto Avenue.” Economically, since 1968, the Philippines, China, Taiwan and Vietnam have laid claim to Recto Bank in the hope of striking it rich by finding oil. Despite such enrichment prospects, no regional government has struck black gold anywhere in the South China Sea, however. But, says maritime expert Gregory B. Polling, “Unlike in 1968, now all the claimants know that there is no commercially viable oil and gas around the islands themselves. The exploitable basins are along the coasts and in a handful of underwater features like Reed Bank and Vanguard Bank.” Natural gas, therefore, is by far the more plentiful resource at Recto Bank. But in exploiting the natural gas, as Polling points out, “the only commercially viable way to extract it is to transport it by pipeline for use or processing on shore.” Pretty much how our Malampaya gas fields, predicted to run out in a few years, operate. Still, even if it wrests Recto Ban from us crafty China will find its adventure costly. China will need to lay an undersea pipeline across nearly 1,000 miles of difficult geography and contested waters to access the gas. “On-site liquefaction is the only other option,” says Polling. “But even if a company wanted to try, it is hard to see how it could compete with the liquefied natural gas produced more cheaply elsewhere.” So the only viable use for the natural gas at Recto Bank is for electricity generation by the nearest coastal state, which happens to be our country. “The gas from Reed Bank is no good to anyone outside the Philippines,” says Polling. So if the aggressive tactics of both the Chinese paramilitaries and Coast Guard aren’t readily explained by economics, China’s political and strategic concerns explain everything. It is in this political context that our Coast Guard’s proactive maneuver of consistently and publicly illuminating China’s aggressive tactics in the WPS works. China can’t long endure international embarrassment and condemnation. The post Recto Bank tactics appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 15th, 2023

Philippines asks China to stop harassment in West Philippine Sea

Manila [Philippines], February 20 (ANI): The Philippines asked China to stop its harassment in the West Philippine Sea as it is undermining the peace and stability in the region, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. Philippines Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Teresita Daza made the plea after the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) harassed the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) using a "military-grade" laser, which temporarily blin.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2023

China asks Philippines to stop activities, exercises in West Philippine Sea

China reasserted its claim of sovereignty over islets and land features in the West Philippine Sea and asked Manila to stop its activities in the resource-rich waters......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 27th, 2021

WATCH: Philippines holds presser on ‘Chinese aggression, harassment’ in West Philippine Sea 

Spokespersons from the PCG, BFAR, AFP, DFA, and NSC hold a presser after weekend cases of harassment at the hands of the China Coast Guard.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated News19 hr. 3 min. ago

‘Send Chinese ambassador back to China’

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday urged President Marcos to send Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian back home following China’s latest aggressions against the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated News21 hr. 3 min. ago

Philippines says China rammed, water cannoned resupply vessels

(1st UPDATE) The National Task Force-West Philippine Sea condemns the 'unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers' against the Philippine rotation and resupply mission.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 10th, 2023

China ship hits PH vessels on humanitarian drive with water cannon in West PH Sea

PALAWAN, Philippines — China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels fired water cannons anew “at least eight times” at Philippine civilian ships conducting a humanitarian mission for Filipino fishermen off Scarborough Shoal on Saturday morning, the National Task Force on West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said. China used its water cannons against the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 10th, 2023

Countries queue for joint Phl patrols

The Philippines is considering multilateral patrols with other nations by next year, aside from the country’s maritime cooperative activities with the United States and Australia, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said Monday. But even without its allies, Brawner said the Philippines will continue its unilateral maritime and air patrol in its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea amid China’s encroachment “as it is our responsibility.” “But the joint maritime and air patrols with our allies and our partners will continue, we just don’t know for now how frequent they  will be and also maybe the extent of our patrols, but we are working on that. We are constantly talking to our allies and partners,” he said. Brawner said many countries have signified an interest in conducting joint patrols with the Philippines. “They are also very much willing to conduct and to continue conducting this joint maritime and air patrols with the US in the West Philippine Sea,” he noted. “Aside from the bilateral joint exercises and joint operations that we are doing, there are also some countries who are expressing their desire to conduct this joint maritime and air patrols not just bilaterally but multilaterally,” he added. Brawner said they have yet to start the planning and preparation for the multilateral patrols. The safety of all patrol participants is a top concern, he added. The Philippines last week held joint MAC patrols with the United States and Australia, with Chinese military assets constantly shadowing the allies, whether on air or sea. The AFP chief said China’s activities during the MCAs were as expected. “I don’t think it was unusual, in fact, it happened this year, in May of this year, when US aircraft were  flying over the South China Sea and they also encountered Chinese PLA (People’s Liberation Army) aircraft circling them so this is not the first time this happened,” said Brawner. He cited the US-PLA encounter in relation to Sunday’s incident in which two Chinese fighter jets not only shadowed but encircled two Philippine Air Force turboprop Super Tucano planes. Despite the harassment of the Tucanos, Brawner described the joint Philippines and Australia patrol as a “very successful event” as the AFP was able “to achieve the set objectives” for the joint activity. For his part, Defense Chief Gilberto Teodoro Jr. confirmed the country’s possible iterations of the MCA with other nations. “All iterations are possible with friendly and allied nations, that’s within the multilateral relations that we discussed earlier,” he said. By doing so, Teodoro said, these multilateral activities are part “of the acceptance of the righteousness of our country’s position.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 27th, 2023

Chinese jets shadow Philippine aircraft in West Philippine Sea

Aircraft from China’s People’s Liberation Army shadowed Philippine aircraft that participated in the joint Philippine-Australia drills in the West Philippine Sea over the weekend, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 26th, 2023

Philippines, Australia start Sea, air patrols in West Philippine Sea

The Philippines and Australia kicked off yesterday its “maritime cooperative activity” aimed at demonstrating their commitment to a rules-based international order and a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region in the face of growing concerns over China’s aggressive actions in disputed waters......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 25th, 2023

Philippines not stirring trouble in West Philippine Sea – Teodoro

China is “reversing the truth” in accusing the Philippines of stirring trouble by conducting joint maritime patrols with the United States military in the West Philippine Sea, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 25th, 2023

‘Philippines-US joint West Philippine Sea patrols should not offend China’

The Philippines is just exercising its rights within its territorial waters, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said yesterday as it expressed belief that the ongoing joint naval and aerial patrols with the United States Indo-Pacific Command should not offend any party, including China......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 22nd, 2023

PH calls out China on illegal structures and reclamation in West PH Sea | The wRap

The wRap highlights: West PH Sea, Leni Robredo, Leila de Lima, Michelle Dee | The wRap.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 16th, 2023

Philippines to China: Be accountable, remove illegal structures

The Department of Foreign Affairs urged Beijing to dismantle its infrastructures, halt all reclamations, and take full accountability for the damages caused in the West Philippine Sea......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 16th, 2023

Senator: Recall Philippines envoy to China

After the sixth attack of the China Coast Guard on Philippine vessels on a resupply mission in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), a senator is recommending to the executive department the recall of the Philippine ambassador to China as a “high level of condemnation” for their continuous aggression......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 12th, 2023

Philippines files protest vs China over Ayungin Shoal water cannon incident

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said that the CCG "recklessly harassed, blocked, executed dangerous maneuvers" as they tried to "illegally impede or obstruct a routine resupply" of Filipino troops at the outpost......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 10th, 2023

China s disinfo campaign shows growing unease about Philippines WPS actions

An expert observed that China's recent disinformation campaign has raised a growing anxiety about the Philippines' efforts in the West Philippine Sea. .....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2023