Malaysia Readies for the Worst in South China Sea
Malaysia needs to boost its naval capabilities to prepare for possible conflict in the South China Sea, its foreign minister said on Thursday, even as Southeast Asia's third-largest economy pursues non-militarisation of the disputed waterway.Tensions have escalated in recent weeks, especially after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China last month as a challenge to what the U.S. Navy described as excessive Chinese territorial claims in the region.Foreign Minister…
Australia to Stress International Law in South China Sea Dispute
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will on Tuesday hail the role of international law in settling regional conflicts, comments apparently aimed at bolstering Australian efforts to build a coalition against Chinese assertiveness. Bishop, in a speech ahead of a special meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Sydney, will not name China but will argue that international law will stabilise a region strained by rival claims in the South China Sea. "The rules-based order is designed to regulate behaviour and rivalries of and between states…
ASEAN Pushes for South China Sea 'Code of Conduct'
The Association of South East Asian Nations is hoping to expedite negotiations on a code of conduct with China for the South China Sea but it is not realistic to expect an agreement within a year, Singapore's defence minister said on Wednesday. China and the 10-member ASEAN bloc adopted a negotiating framework on the code for the disputed and busy waterway, largely controlled by China but also claimed by some ASEAN states, in August and have begun talks. "We hope it will be expedited but it's a very…
Philippines says China Wanted Non-legally Binding South China Sea Code
China pushed for a maritime code of conduct with Southeast Asian countries that would not be legally binding, the Philippine foreign minister said on Tuesday. Alan Peter Cayetano said some countries wanted the South China Sea code to be legally binding, and China preferred the less forceful "binding". He said all parties realised it was better to drop all mention of it from the framework and move forward. The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China hailed the adoption on Sunday of a negotiating framework for the code of conduct (COC) as progress towards preventing disputes. Cayetano cited the framework as an example of how parties that were historically at odds were co-operating…
ASEAN, China Adopt Framework for Code on South China Sea
Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted on Sunday a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress but seen by critics as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power. The framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, which has mostly been ignored by claimant states, particularly China, which has built seven manmade islands in disputed waters, three of which are equipped with runways, surface-to-air missiles and radars. All parties say the framework is only an outline for how the code will be established but critics say the failure to outline as an initial objective the need to make the code legally binding and enforceable…
China Adopts Maritime Code with ASEAN
Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted on Sunday a negotiating framework for a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, Reuters reported. The 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have agreed on a framework for how they will go about drafting a code. However, critics say this move as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power. The framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea…
China Pledges Firm Response to Japan's S.China Sea Visit
China on Thursday pledged a firm response if Japan stirs up trouble in the South China Sea, after Reuters reported on a Japanese plan to send its largest warship to the disputed waters. The Izumo helicopter carrier, commissioned only two years ago, will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July, sources told Reuters. The trip would be Japan's biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two. "If Japan persists in taking wrong actions, and even considers military interventions that threaten China's sovereignty and security...
Cambodia Urged ASEAN to Avoid Words That Escalate Tension
Cambodia advised a grouping of South East Asian nations to avoid using words that "would escalate tension between China and the Philippines" in a weekend statement, the country's foreign ministry said on Wednesday. Cambodia's support for China's position on an international court ruling denying the Asian giant's claims in the South China Sea handed Beijing a diplomatic victory when the grouping's ministers met on Sunday. The bloc, which follows an overriding principle of making decisions by consensus, omitted reference to the ruling after its first meeting following the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in favour of the Philippines.
Obama Urges Halt to Artificial Islands in S.China Sea
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday that countries should stop building artificial islands and militarising their claims in the disputed South China Sea. "For the sake of regional stability the claimants should halt reclamation, construction and militarisation of disputed areas," Obama told a meeting between the United States and leaders of the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). China insists it has undisputed sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, a claim that overlaps with four ASEAN countries.
Obama says S. China Sea Claimants Should Avoid Militarising Issue
U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday told a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders that territorial claimants to waters in the South China Sea should avoid militarising the issue and cease any building of artificial islands. "For the sake of regional stability the claimants should halt reclamation, construction and militarisation of disputed areas," Obama said at a meeting between the United States and leaders of the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). China insists it has "undisputed sovereignty" over most of the South China Sea, a claim that overlaps with four ASEAN countries.
U.S: No ASEAN South China Sea Consensus is Telling
The inability of a forum of Southeast Asian defence ministers to agree on a joint statement at the end of a forum on Wednesday reflects their concern about China's activity in the South China Sea, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said. "It was clearly an issue of discussion and an issue of concern by countries in the meeting, because everybody raised it," Carter told a news conference. The Association of South East Asian Nations held its defence ministers meet this week, joined by other countries including the United States China, Japan and Australia. Reporting By Trinna Leong and Yeganeh Torbati
Asean Sets up Maritime Crisis Hotline
The 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) has established a hotline to resolve maritime disputes and to ensure the line of communications between the countries remain open during a crisis, reports the Star. The unveiling of the Direct Communications Link (DCL) took place as the region’s defence ministers continue efforts to bridge differences over the South China Sea maritime and territorial spat. The meeting’s chair, Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein…
China: Philippines Violating South China Sea Code
China has accused the Philippines of violating a 13-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with its building work on disputed islets, firing back again after repeated criticism of China's own construction work. China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an agreement in 2002 to refrain from occupying uninhabited reefs and shoals in the sea, and from building new structures that would complicate disputes. In a statement just before midnight on Monday, China's Foreign Ministry urged the Philippines to stop its "malicious hyping and provocation" on the dispute, whose basis, it said, was Manila's illegal occupation of certain Chinese islands.
India-ASEAN Maritime Pact Soon
India has expressed the hope that the Asean-India Maritime Transport cooperation agreement will be finalised by the end of the year, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said. "We have identified maritime cooperation as a major area and both sides have started talks on a maritime transport pact which could be firmed up by year-end," she said. ASEAN is India's fourth largest trading partner and the annual trade between the two sides stood at over $76 billion in 2013. In the backdrop of growing Chinese influence in South China Sea…
Need for New Maritime Organization in Asia
There are calls for a new institution to manage Asia’s maritime disputes - a proposal for Maritime Organization for Security and Cooperation (AMOSC) is in the offing. Last year (2014) brought new tensions to the South China Sea, particularly as Chinese authorities sought to establish a series of island-like structures in the midst of the disputed Spratly Islands. Such provocative actions, however, are unlikely to generate sufficient political will among the other countries of…
China to Counter Vietnam Version on S.China Sea
China said on Tuesday that it wanted to counter Vietnam's "slander" to the world about what was happening in disputed areas of the South China Sea, after Beijing asked the United Nations to circulate documents outlining its position. A senior U.S. diplomat called on China to provide evidence to back up its claim to 90 percent of the sea, believed to be rich in energy and minerals. And the Philippines, embroiled in disputes with China over its claims to parts of the sea, defended a weekend get together on the disputed Spratly Islands of Philippine and Vietnamese servicemen and said another gathering would be staged next year. Tensions have been running particularly high between China and Vietnam…
Taiwan's New Port Coming Up In Disputed South China Sea
Taiwan is building a $100 million port next to an airstrip on the lone island it occupies in the disputed South China Sea, a move that is drawing hardly any flak from the most assertive player in the bitterly contested waters - China. The reason, say military strategists, is that Itu Aba could one day be in China's hands should it ever take over Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province. While Itu Aba, also called Tai Ping, is small, no other disputed island has such sophisticated facilities. Its runway is the biggest of only two in the Spratly archipelago that straddles the South China Sea, and the island has its own fresh water source.
Aquino: China Violates Informal 'Sea Code'
Philippine President Benigno Aquino accused China on Monday of violating a 12-year-old informal code of conduct in the South China Sea with land reclamation work in a disputed shoal. China has stepped up activity to assert its claim to most of the energy-rich South China Sea. But Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims over parts of the sea through which about $5 trillion of ship-borne goods pass every year. China's activity has in particular raised alarm in the Philippines and in Vietnam…
Chinese South China Sea Drilling Illegal Says Vietnam
Vietnam says China's plan to move its first deep-water drilling rig into the disputed South China Sea, one of Asia's most volatile hotspots, is illegal and has called for the rig to be removed from what it says is Vietnam's territorial waters. The $1 billion offshore oil rig called Haiyang Shiyou 981 owned by the China's state-run CNOOC oil company has been drilling south of Hong Kong. Maritime Safety Administration of China (MSAC) on Saturday published an announcement on its…
Kenya's Electronic System CutsTrade Red Tape
Kenya on Friday launched a single electronic system for processing imports and exports, to simplify red tape blamed for holding up trade in the trading hub of the region. Kenya is the main trade gateway to east Africa, through its Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, but traders say it takes too long to get goods cleared and permit-related delays ramp up costs. Previously, entrepreneurs had to fill several forms and visit 24 different government agencies to get the permits and pay the levies, fees, duties and taxes they need to get goods across borders.
U.S. Carrier Docks In New Singapore Pier
U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk docked at Singapore's new deep-draft naval pier on Thursday, the first giant American warship to use the facility. The pier, at Singapore's Changi Naval Base, is one of only two in the region large enough to berth a carrier. The other is at Port Klang in Malaysia. The pier will help speed up re-supply of large warships and improve mission turnarounds, said Rear-Admiral Mark J. Edwards, who heads the Logistics Group, Western Pacific. "This is very important as our deployment schedules are ever-changing," Edwards said. Singapore, at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, was also a strategic location for the U.S. Navy, he said. Admiral Vern Clark, chief of U.S.
Kerry Urges for South China Sea Rules
Pressure is mounting on China and Southeast Asia to agree a code of conduct to keep the peace in the disputed South China Sea, but Beijing is warning of a long road ahead. Only last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to work out rules to ease tensions after a fresh Chinese campaign of assertiveness in the region. "The longer the process takes, the longer tensions will simmer and the greater the chance of a miscalculation by somebody that could trigger a conflict," Kerry said in Indonesia during a visit to Asia.
Maritime Code Accord Could Solve Pacific Conflicts
Naval officers say accord does not directly address problems in disputed waters, but document could be initial step towards guarding against conflict. U.S. has long stood for clearer operational communications with Chinese fleet. Countries embroiled in territorial rows in the East and South China Seas agreed on Tuesday to abide by a maritime communications deal to try to ensure accidental naval altercations do not develop into a conflict. But military officers said the non-binding accord, signed altogether by more than 20 Pacific countries, was no more than a "rules of the road" manual. It was in no way meant to resolve territorial disputes pitting China against several neighbours over waters where fears of accidental clashes have raised the risk of broader turmoil.