Philippines Denounces Chinese Fishing Boat for Collision
The Philippines on Wednesday denounced the crew of a Chinese fishing boat that collided with a Philippine vessel and left 22 Filipino fishermen abandoned in the disputed South China Sea.The collision took place near the Reed Bank on Sunday, the defence ministry said, adding that a Vietnamese fishing boat rescued all the fishermen."We denounce the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for immediately leaving the incident scene, abandoning the 22 Filipino crewmen to the mercy of the elements," Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.Reuters could not independently verify the Philippine account of the collision. China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.China…
Philippines Shipyard Sale Open to All
All offers from potential buyers of a strategically located but debt-laden Philippine shipyard will be welcome, the trade minister said on Thursday, ruling out barring Chinese firms over national security fears.Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the government would not, and could not, block interested buyers of distressed shipbuilder Hanjin Philippines, which defaulted on $1.3 billion in loans, of which $900 million is owed to South Korean banks and the rest to five Philippine lenders.Hanjin, a unit of South Korea's Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co Ltd, until recently employed 20,000 workers at its yard in Subic Bay, which until 1992 was home to a U.S.
Philippine Senators Question Navy's $310 Million Frigate Deal
A group of Philippine opposition senators has sought a public inquiry into the navy’s 15.7 billion peso ($310 million) acquisition of a frigate from a South Korean firm, after media said the president’s closest aide had meddled in the deal. President Rodrigo Duterte is furious at media reports that his longtime special assistant, Christopher “Bong” Go, had intervened to help a South Korean sub-contractor win the right to install a combat management system on the two missile-capable vessels, which are due for delivery in 2020. Go has denied any wrongdoing. The frigate issue cost former navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado his job last month.
China, Philippines to Draft Protocol to Avoid Maritime 'Miscalculations'
China and the Philippines will negotiate a military protocol to avoid maritime “miscalculations”, Manila’s defence minister said on Wednesday, following a brief standoff near a Philippine-occupied island in a disputed part of the South China Sea. Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippines tried to put up makeshift structures on a sand bar about 4 km (2.5 miles) off Thitu island in the Spratly archipelago in August, but China objected and sent ships to the area. President Rodrigo Duterte sought to defuse tensions by ordering troops to pull out. Construction was stopped. “We intend to sit down with China to draft and agree on a protocol to resolve immediately any incident,” he said, adding he hoped talks could start this year.
Philippines says China Will Halt Expansion in South China Sea
China has assured the Philippines it will not occupy new features or territory in the South China Sea, under a new "status quo" brokered by Manila as both sides try to strengthen their relations, the Philippine defence minister said. Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also said the Philippines was working on a "commercial deal" with China to explore and exploit oil and gas resources in disputed areas of the South China Sea with an aim to begin drilling within a year. The defence minister, Delfin Lorenzana, told a congressional hearing the Philippines and China had reached a "modus vivendi", or a way to get along, in the South China Sea that prohibits new occupation of islands.
Wary of China, Duterte to Increase Naval Patrols
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the navy to put up "structures" to assert sovereignty over a stretch of water east of the country, where Manila has reported a Chinese survey ship was casing the area last year. The Philippines has lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing after the vessel was tracked moving back and forth over Benham Rise, a vast area east of the country declared by the United Nations in 2012 as part of the Philippines' continental shelf. The Philippines says Benham Rise is rich in biodiversity and fish stocks. China's foreign ministry on Friday said the ship was engaged in "normal freedom of navigation and right of innocent passage", and nothing more.
China Dismisses Philippine Concerns Over EEZ Incursions
China on Friday dismissed concerns expressed by the Philippine defence minister over what he believed to be survey missions by its ships deep into the southeast Asian nation's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Amid a warming relationship, President Rodrigo Duterte has frequently praised China, but Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has remained openly suspicious, saying it has continued its fortification of manmade islands inside the Philippine EEZ. Lorenzana said Chinese ships were monitored in recent months at locations near the Philippines, with a warship spotted 70 miles off its western coast in the South China Sea and survey ships seen to the north and south of its eastern seaboard.
Philippines: Japan Offers Anti-Piracy Help
Japan has offered to send patrol ships to deal with a growing piracy threat in the southern Philippine waters bordering Indonesia and Malaysia, a senior Philippine defence official said on Tuesday. A surge in piracy off parts of the southern Philippines is forcing ship-owners to divert vessels through other waters, pushing up costs and shipping times. Dozens of sailors have been taken captive by Abu Sayyaf. Japanese vice minister Ro Manabe offered the assistance at a meeting in Tokyo on Friday and expressed readiness to contribute to efforts by the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia "in addressing piracy and terrorism", said Raymund Quilop, assistant defence minister for assessments and international affairs.
Pirates Attack in Philippine south Leaves 8 Dead
Armed men killed eight fishermen in what appeared to be an attack by pirates in dangerous waters in the southern Philippines, a coast guard spokesman said on Tuesday. The apparent act of piracy came as Philippine soldiers were given a six-month deadline to end Islamist militant threats, including those made on cargo ships in south, where a long-festering insurgency has been exacerbated by the growing influence of the Islamic State militant group. About two dozen sailors and tourists were taken captive by Islamist militants last year in attacks on tug boats and yachts in the Celebes and Sulu seas, raising concerns among defence officials from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines about Islamist militancy and piracy.
Philippines Says Chinese Vessels Have Left Disputed Shoal
Chinese ships are no longer at the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea and Philippine boats can resume fishing, the Philippine defence minister said on Friday, calling the Chinese departure a "welcome development". Philippine fishermen can access the shoal unimpeded for the first time in four years, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, capping off a startling turnaround in ties since his country rattled China by challenging its maritime claims at an international tribunal. The departure of the Chinese coast guard ships comes after President Rodrigo Duterte's high-profile visit to Beijing and his repeated requests for China to end its blockade of the shoal, a tranquil lagoon rich in fish stocks.
Philippines: China Vessels Departed Scarborough Shoal
Unimpeded access for first time in 4 yrs. Ships' departure follows Philippine president's visit to China. Chinese ships are no longer at the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea and Philippine boats can resume fishing, the Philippine defence minister said on Friday, calling the Chinese departure a "welcome development". Philippine fishermen could access the shoal unimpeded for the first time in four years, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, capping off a startling turnaround in ties since his country rattled China in 2013 by challenging its maritime claims at an international tribunal. The departure of the Chinese coastguard comes after President Rodrigo Duterte's high-profile visit to Beijing and follows his repeated requests for China to end its blockade of the shoal…
Philippine Navy Orders 2 Frigates from Hyundai Heavy
Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has signed a contract to build two 2,600 ton frigates with the Department of National Defense, Republic of the Philippines. The frigates, scheduled to be delivered from 2020, will be a smaller light combatant and successor to the Incheon class frigate now in active service for ROKN, and tailored to the requirements of the Philippine Navy with an optimized range of good marine standards under rules from Lloyd Register. The 107 meter frigates to be propelled with CODAD (Combined Diesel and Diesel) propulsion system with maximum speed of 25knots can cover a 4…
Beijing Slams South China Sea Court Proceedings
Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling set for July 12. An international court said it would deliver a hotly anticipated ruling in the Philippines' case against China over the South China Sea on July 12, drawing an immediate rebuke from Beijing, which rejects the tribunal's jurisdiction. The United States, which is a close ally of the Philippines and is concerned about China's expansive South China Sea claims, reiterated its backing for The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration and urged a peaceful resolution of the dispute. Manila is contesting China's historical claim to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.