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.
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…
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…
China "coordinating with U.S." in S.China Sea SAR Ops
China said on Thursday that it was coordinating with the U.S. navy in the search for a missing U.S. sailor in the South China Sea, a rare show of goodwill between the navies in the disputed waters. The U.S. 7th Fleet said on Tuesday that U.S. and Japanese ships were looking for an unnamed sailor from the USS Stethem destroyer who had gone missing during a routine operation in an unspecified section of the South China Sea. It said multiple searches were conducted inside the ship, but to no avail.
South China Sea Case: Philippines' New Evidence against China
The Philippines has submitted to a United Nations tribunal supplemental evidence for its arbitration case against China over disputed territories in the resource-rich South China Sea. The submission, which came to more than 3,000 pages, also mentioned China’s continued and massive reclamation activities in the areas claimed by the Philippines, though not in very great detail said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose. Philippine officials said the additional…
Keppel Philippines Appoints New Execs.
Keppel Corporation Ltd.'s Group Finance Director, Teo Soon Hoe has been appointed Chairman of Keppel Philippines Holdings, Inc (KPH), following the retirement of Loh Wing Siew. Charles Foo, who currently serves as the managing director of Keppel Hitachi Zosen, will assume Loh's post as Chairman of Keppel Philippines Marine, Inc (KPMI) and Subic Shipyard and Engineering Inc (SSEI). Kevin Wong, who is the executive director and managing director of Keppel Land Limited (Keppel Land) in Singapore, will take over as chairman of Keppel Philippines Properties Inc (KPPI).
Stop Provocation on South China Sea, China Tells Philippines
China has urged the Philippines to stop "malicious hyping and provocation" on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, says a report in Xinhua. Earlier, Philippine foreign ministry alleged that China's construction on islands in the South China Sea after the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002 had violated the DOC. The core reason of the two countries' disputes in the South China Sea was the Philippines' illegal occupation of some of China's islands since 1970s, he said.
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…
MOL Helps Typhoon Victims in Luzon
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. President Akimitsu Ashida announced a donation of $40,000 to relief efforts for the victims of Typhoon Ketsana that struck the Philippines at the end of September. The company expressed its heartfelt sympathy for the disaster victims, and said it hopes they can return to normal life as soon as possible. MOL is making the donation through Manila-based Magsaysay-Mitsui O.S.K. Marine, Inc., which provides recruitment and training of seafarers. The company has already started relief flights in the region, and is considering other relief activities.
China Against Outside Involvement in Territorial Water Dispute
China opposes Philippines' decision to draw a third party into the incident over Huangyan Island as the move will further escalate the situation and even change nature of the issue according to a Chinese Foreing Ministry spokesman. Instead China has consistently used diplomatic means to urge the Philippines to correct its mistake, says Xinhua, the officieal Chinese News Agency. China has voiced "firm opposition" to the Philippines' decision to draw a third party into the incident over Huangyan Island. A recent Philippine media report quoted the country's foreign affairs secretary as saying that some countries are helping the Philippines to establish a "minimum credible defense posture" to complement its diplomatic capacity in dealing with territorial disputes with China.
US, Japan Pledge Maritime Support to Phillipines
The United States and Japan have renewed vows to secure the Pacific region, including the Philippines, from maritime threats. In separate speeches during the celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) at Mt. Samat, Bataan yesterday, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa jointly pledged cooperation to secure the pacific region and the Philippines, notably against maritime threats. The former World War II enemies both vowed to uphold previous agreements with the Philippines in the face of new threats in the region…
China: Manila Exaggerates South China Sea Tensions
China accused the Philippines on Tuesday of deliberately trying to scare people by saying China had warned a small civilian plane carrying Philippine officials it was trespassing as they inspected an island in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippines said the incident happened on Jan. 7 to an aircraft inspecting Thitu Island in the Spratlys, where Manila plans to set up surveillance equipment this year, as their aircraft flew near a Chinese man-made island. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei repeated that China has sovereignty over the Spratlys and that the Philippines had illegally occupied eight islands there since the 1970s, including Thitu, and had been building on them.
U.S. Ups Philippines Aid as South China Sea Turmoil Builds
The United States has raised its military aid to the Philippines this year to $79 million, the U.S. ambassador said on Wednesday, as tension rises in the region over China's new assertiveness in the South China Sea. Since 2002, the United States has provided the Philippines with nearly $500 million in military assistance as well as various types of military equipment. "We have upped our foreign military funding for the Philippines," Ambassador Philip Goldberg told ANC television, without giving a percentage. "It will be somewhere in the range of $79 million this year. China has overlapping claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
U.S. to give Philippines South China Sea 'eye-in-the-sky'
The United States will transfer an observation blimp to the Philippines to help it track maritime activity and guard its borders amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, a U.S. diplomat said on Monday. Philip Goldberg, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, said Washington would give Manila, its oldest Asia-Pacific security ally, $42 million worth of sensors, radar and communications equipment. The blimp is a balloon-borne radar to collect information and detect movements in the South China Sea, a Philippine military official said. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the waters, through which about $5 trillion in trade is shipped every year. U.S.
Philippines: Coordinated Patrols Needed to Protect Shipping
The Philippines has been discussing coordinated naval patrols on its southern maritime borders with Indonesia and Malaysia to protect shipping after attacks and kidnappings by Islamist militants, its foreign minister said on Thursday. Indonesia is trying to free about 14 of its citizens seized from tugboats by Abu Sayyaf rebels from the southern Philippines and has called for joint patrols. Four Malaysians seamen are also being held. The Islamist rebels, who are raking in tens of millions of dollars in ransom, decapitated a Canadian on Monday and are still holding 23 hostages. Citizens of the Netherlands, Japan, Norway and the Philippines are among them.
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.
Philippines' Subic Shipyard books $5B in Sales
Hanjin Heavy Industries is trying hard to retain its leadership by reviving the shipyard in Subic Bay, the Philippines. HHIC-Phil’s Subic Shipyard is the largest shipyard in the Philippines with 300 ha in total area, which opened in Subic Bay in 2009. In just five years, the company reached US 5 billion dollars in sales and strengthened its leading position in the Philippines, says a company press release. In five years it was able to strengthen its leading position in the Philippines.
Indonesia: Local Piracy could lead to 'new Somalia'
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines ministers to meet in Jakarta as up to 18 Indonesians, Malaysians held captive in Philippines. Indonesia fears piracy on a busy shipping route along its maritime border with the Philippines could hit levels seen in Somalia unless security is tightened, its chief security minister said on Thursday, following a spate of kidnappings. The route lies on major shipping arteries that analysts say carry $40 billion worth of cargo each year. It is taken by fully laden supertankers from the Indian Ocean that cannot use the crowded Malacca Strait. For the first time, concerns over rising maritime attacks by suspected Islamist militants are disrupting coal trade between the Southeast Asian neighbours…
Piracy: Indonesia Could be the New Somalia
Commercial ships have been told to avoid shipping routes around Indonesia and Philippines amid fears that piracy could be reaching Somalian levels, according to Reuters. A spate of kidnappings and pirate attacks in the waterways between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines has prompted the three countries to explore the option of having joint patrols. The waters form part of major shipping arteries that carry US$40 billion worth of cargo a year, analysts say, and the corridor is used by fully laden supertankers from the Indian Ocean that cannot use the crowded Malacca Strait waterway.
Two Indonesian Coal Ports Halt Shipping to Philippines on Hijack Fears
Authorities from at least two Indonesian coal ports have stopped allowing vessels to leave for the Philippines due to security concerns following a spate of ship hijackings in the southern Philippines, a government official said on Wednesday. Departure permits for the Philippines were no longer available for shipping vessels at the Port of Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan and Tarakan in North Kalimantan, said Indonesia's acting director general of sea transportation Umar Aris. "The situation in the Philippines is considered not safe and some of our ships were hijacked," Aris told Reuters. "Tomorrow, I'll have a meeting with the Navy and State Intelligence Agency to further discuss the matter.
U.S., Philippines Hold Security Talks
The U.S. says it will help build the Philippines’ sea patrol capability but will not take sides in that nation’s standoff with China at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea. The top diplomats and defense officials of the treaty allies held their first joint meeting and discussed the three-week standoff at the Scarborough Shoal. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reaffirmed U.S. commitment to its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines, and to freedom of navigation and regional security. She reiterated support for a diplomatic resolution to territorial disputes. A joint statement said they would cooperate on building the Philippines’ maritime security capabilities. The U.S. will transfer a second ship to the poorly equipped Philippine navy this year.
US Hospital Ship Reverts to Status Quo
'USNS Mercy' had been ordered to prepare for sea and a deployment to support disaster relief efforts as part of Operation Damayan, but that order has been rescinded following a dramatic improvement in the provision of other medical facilities in the Philippines. "Shifting Mercy from her normal reduced operating status to fully ready to deploy in a matter of days is a testament to the responsiveness and expertise of the Military Sealift Command, our Navy medical corps, and the shipyard civilian workforce in San Diego," said Pacific Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Steve Curry.
Naval Grant for DynCorp
DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $45,649,330 modification to previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N62742-08-C-1115) to exercise the second option period to provide support services for Philippines Operations Support in the Republic of the Philippines for the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines. The work is expected to provide for all labor, supervision, management, tools, materials, equipment, facilities, transportation, incidental engineering, and other items necessary to provide support services. The current total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $206,634,712. Work will be performed in the Republic of the Philippines, and work is expected to be completed Jun. 30, 2010.