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South China Sea Boils Up

Photo: Council on Foreign Relations

 The overlapping territorial disputes in the South China Sea involve China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam have recently been moving from bad to worse.   Vietnam is seeking to upgrade its air defences by acquiring western fighter jets and drones, a move which would further militarize a dispute with Beijing over territorial claims in the South China Sea.   Taiwan's coast guard has commissioned its biggest ships for duty in the form of two 3,000-ton patrol vessels, as the island boosts defenses amid concerns about China's growing footprint in the disputed South China Sea, says a report in the Reuters.   The new vessels will be able to dock at a new port being constructed on Taiping Island, the largest of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, before the end of this year.   In a troubling sign that tensions continue to grow over the contested South China Sea, the Philippine government is claiming a Chinese warship has opened fire, with warning shots directed at one of its fishing boats in the area.   The development follows a war of words between the two nations after the Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, this week likened China's behaviour to that of Nazi Germany in the lead-up to World War II.   A Chinese coast guard vessel has been accused of encroaching on Malaysia's territorial waters in the South China Sea.   


China Criticizes US over Maritime Patrol Proposal in South China Sea

Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet: US Navy Photo

 China asked the United States to take no position on the South China Sea issue after US Navy Officer Robert Thomas promised to back the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in patrolling areas of the waterway.   "We hope the United States will strictly honor its commitment of not taking positions or sides on territorial sovereignty issues," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei.  


Indonesia Says It Has No Conflict with China in South China Sea

Indonesia has no conflict with China over the South China Sea, an Indonesian palace spokesman said on Wednesday, days after eight Chinese crew members were detained for allegedly fishing illegally in the Natuna Sea.   "There is no conflict between Indonesia and China related to the South China Sea," said presidential spokesman Johan Budi told reporters. "This is purely the enforcement of law by Indonesia, and we have already conveyed our letter of protest."  


Taiwan Offers South China Sea Peace Plan

Taiwan proposed a peace initiative on Tuesday to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea that it says will reduce tensions that have put Beijing at odds with its neighbours and the United States. The South China Sea Peace Initiative announced by President Ma Ying-jeou called on claimants to temporarily shelve their disagreements to enable negotiations on sharing resources. Ma's plan is similar to a 2012 proposal for the East China Sea


Kerry to Press ASEAN meeting for talks on SCS Disputes

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Official Portrait Photo John Kerry -@JohnKerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will urge Southeast Asian nations in meetings in Laos next week to find diplomatic ways to launch talks with China on easing tension over the South China Sea following an international court ruling that denies China's claims in the sea. Kerry travels to Laos' capital Vientiane on Monday for meetings of foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of South East Asia Nations where tensions between China and several ASEAN members


U.S. Will Dispatch Warships to South China Sea

The United States is expected to sail warships close to China's artificial islands in the South China Sea within the next two weeks to signal it does not recognize Chinese territorial claims over the area, the Financial Times reported, citing a senior U.S. official. The ships will sail within the 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as territory around some of the islands it has constructed in the Spratly chain, the report said.


China to Add 8 Cruises to Push Tourism in South China Sea

Photo: Sanya Tour

Three State-owned enterprises from the shipping, tourism and construction sectors will cooperate to equip up to eight cruise liners and offer diversified sightseeing services to tap the travel market in the South China Sea, says China Daily. Sanya International Cruise Development Co Ltd, a joint venture by COSCO Shipping, China National Travel Service (HK) Group Corp and China Communications Construction Co Ltd, will buy between five and eight ships.  


CNOOC Pairs with Husky to Explore Deep Water Oil

CNOOC Ltd.’s unlisted parent company plans to start deep water oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea with Canada's Husky Energy Inc. next year, according to AP report. If the scheduled exploration finds sizable reserves in a bloc in the South China Sea about 185 miles south of Hong Kong, it will be China's first deep water oil and gas field. CNOOC's parent company is currently restricted to pumping oil and gas offshore at no deeper than 350 m


Beijing Angry over ASEAN Chief's Comments on South China Sea

South China Sea (International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy, London School of Economics)

 China has expressed anger at remarks made by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretary general Le Luong Minh on the disputed South China Sea, , rejecting Chinese claims based on the so-called nine-dash line.   The Chinese government criticized Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General Le Loung Minh over the latter’s remarks on the issue in the South China Sea, particularly on the contested “nine-dash-line” claim. 


EU Calls for Free Passage in South China Sea

Countries must be free to pass through the South China Sea, the European Commission said on Wednesday, in its first diplomatic admonishment of Beijing after Chinese jets intercepted a U.S. military plane over the contested waters last month.   The Commission avoided directly criticising Beijing, a major trade partner, but warned in a new policy document that it opposed "unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tension"


Australia Names Lockheed Martin as Weapons System Provider for Submarines

Photo courtesy of DCNS

Australia has selected U.S. defence company Lockheed Martin Corp as its preferred bidder to supply the combat system for its new $38 billion fleet of submarines, the country's defence industry minister said on Friday. Lockheed Martin beat out competition from U.S


Japan Navy Chief Urges Resumption of China Port Visits

The head of Japan's navy on Monday repeated criticisms of China's pursuit of territorial claims in Asia but called for a resumption of port and personnel visits suspended for several years amid rising tensions between the two Asian powers.  


Japan, US Plan New S. China Sea Patrols

Japan will step up its activity in the contested South China Sea through joint training patrols with the United States and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said on Thursday.  


China, Russia Begin South China Sea Drills

Photos: Russian Navy

 China and Russia began week-long joint naval exercises in the South China Sea today. It is the  first-ever South China Sea iteration of Beijing and Moscow Joint Sea exercises.   The Joint Sea-2016 exercises between the two countries will involve surface ships, submarines


Japan to Provide Patrol Ships to Vietnam

The Japanese government said on Wednesday it is ready to provide Vietnam with new patrol ships, in its latest step to boost the maritime law-enforcement capabilities of countries locked in territorial rows with China.   On Tuesday, Japan agreed to provide two large patrol ships and lend up


Chinese Coast Guard Involved in Most S.China Sea Clashes

Photo: State Oceanic Administration Peoples Republic of China

Increasingly assertive action by China's coast guard ships in the South China Sea risks destabilising the region, according to the authors of new research tracking maritime law enforcement incidents across the vital trade route.   While the risks of full-blown naval conflict dominates


Philippines: Sea Dispute Won't Shift Ties with China, U.S.

Photo: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe

The Philippines' territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea has not caused Manila to rebalance diplomatic ties with either its ally, the United States, or neighbouring China, Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said on Wednesday.


This Day In Naval History: August 18

USS Annapolis (AGMR-1) (U.S. Navy photo)

1838 - The Exploring Expedition led by Lt. Charles Wilkes embarks on a world cruise. 1908 - The first Navy Nurse Corps superintendent, Esther Voorhees Hasson, is appointed. Under her leadership, 19 additional nurses are recruited and trained for naval service during 1908.


Indonesia to Change Name of South China Sea to Natuna Sea

Photo: Indonesia Maritime Institute

 President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi,  has vowed to transform Indonesia, which includes 17,000 islands into a ‘maritime power’, and also includes plans to improve port infrastructure, as well as plans to fund a massive infrastructure programme


Japan, China, South Korea Plan Maritime Talks

Image shows the national flags of South Korea, Japan and China from left to right. Courtesy: Xinhuanet

 China is working with Japan and South Korea to arrange foreign minister talks next week, pairing a hard-line stance on maritime issues with a greater willingness for dialogue, says a report in SCMP.   The Tokyo Shimbun daily said the three countries were making arrangements for the


Japan, Philippines Negotiate Coast Guard Ships Delivery

Japan and the Philippines have begun talks for the transfer of two large coast guard ships to Manila, to help patrol the disputed South China Sea, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Friday, as part of a deal on defence equipment.


Philippines seeks Formal South China Sea Talks

Chinese development in the South China Sea (image: Asia Maritime Transparancy Initiative)

Talks to explore pathways to peace and cooperation. The Philippines wants formal negotiations with China to explore pathways to peace and cooperation, the Southeast Asian nation's special envoy, Fidel Ramos, said on Friday, after a meeting with former Chinese deputy foreign minister Fu Ying.


China Launches Maritime Satellite

Gaofen-3 onboard the Long March 4C rocket. Image Courtesy: Xinhua

 China’s Academy of Space Technology in Beijing has launched a new high-tech satellite, called the Gaofen 3 high-resolution Earth observation satellite, which has been designed to protect its maritime interests, as well as warn of natural disasters, according to China Daily.  


Japan warns China over East China Sea

Japan summons China envoy twice in five days; rising number of Chinese ships sailing near disputed islands. Japan warned China on Tuesday that ties were deteriorating over disputed East China Sea islets, and China's envoy in Tokyo reiterated Beijing's stance that the specks of land were its


Japan Urges China Not to Escalate Sea Tension

Japan said on Monday it would respond firmly after Chinese government vessels intruded into what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea 14 times at the weekend.   Ties between China and Japan, the world's second and third largest economies






 
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