Marine Link
Sunday, February 18, 2018

South China News

ASEAN Pushes for South China Sea 'Code of Conduct'

© donvictori0 / Adobe Stock

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 Bans Foreign Research Ships

© Sergey Ryzhov / Adobe Stock

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has banned all foreign scientific research off the country's Pacific coast and told the navy to chase away unauthorised vessels, despite earlier allowing Chinese oceanographers to operate there. There was no clear explanation for the about-face by the mercurial Duterte, who has cultivated warm ties with China, ostensibly to attract loans and investments and lessen Manila's dependence on the United States. The area of focus is Benham Rise, which the United Nations in 2012 declared part of the Philippines' continental shelf.

China Tells US to Play Constructive South China Sea Role

(Photo: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative)

China told the United States on Tuesday that it should play a constructive role in safeguarding peace in the disputed South China Sea, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for talks and a peaceful resolution. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims, as well as close military ties with the United States. China has been angered by what it views as provocative U.S. military patrols close to islands China controls in the South China Sea.

US, Japan Keen to Raise South China Sea at G-7

Map courtesy: AFP

South China Sea warning looms over G7 summit. The United States is keen to raise the issue of South China Sea at a Group of Seven foreign ministers (G-7) meeting in Hiroshima. The US expects that this move would likely draw an angry response from the government in Beijing. Japan also wants to discuss South China Sea. The Shinzo Abe administration of Japan has been trying to place the South China Sea on top of the agenda at the upcoming two-day meeting in Hiroshima, despite pressing issues of combating terrorism and extremism, and the refugee crisis troubling Europe and the Middle East.

Vietnam, Australia Call for South China Sea 'Restraint'

Vietnam and Australia called on Wednesday for "self-restraint" in the South China Sea and warned against the unilateral use of force, an obvious reference to China's increasingly aggressive presence that has stirred concerns across the disputed region. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met Australian counterpart Tony Abbott in Canberra, where they will sign a deal on issues including security and climate change. Vietnam and other wary Southeast Asian countries have complained about China's controversial policy of land reclamation on disputed isles in the South China Sea. Beijing in turn has said it is not seeking to overturn international order. Dung told the Australian parliament there was an imperative need to draw up a code of conduct for the South China Sea. "We agreed ...

US, Australia and EU Warn China on South China Sea

Pic: International Affairs.org

China was warned by many the United States and the European Union  that it should respect a ruling later this year on its dispute with the Philippines over territory in the South China Sea, reports Reuters. In a message has been sent to China, which is attempting to turn the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea into military strongholds, US warned that its self-serving actions are unacceptable. With the South China Sea in mind, a joint statement by the leaders…

Containership Alliance Launches Asia-Europe Service

Members of the G6 Alliance announced today that their groundbreaking cooperation in Asia-Europe container shipping will begin operation in the first week of March – one month ahead of schedule. “We are eager to roll out our competitive products to benefit customers by offering a comprehensive and increased coverage of 40 ports in the Asia-Europe market with more sailing frequency,” the members said in a statement. The G6 Alliance, serving the Asia-to-Europe-and-Mediterranean market was announced last December. The G6 Alliance members are the carriers in the Grand Alliance and New World Alliance: APL, Hapag-Lloyd AG, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui O.S.K Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Orient Overseas Container Line.

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…

THE Alliance Sets Out Service Plans

Photo: Hapag-Lloyd

The members of THE Alliance announced the details of the plan for their product starting from April 2017. THE Alliance plans to deploy a fleet of more than 240 modern ships in the Asia /Europe, North Atlantic and Trans-Pacific trade lanes including the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf/Red Sea. The start of THE Alliance as the most integrated liner shipping consortia is scheduled for April 2017 (subject to completion of all relevant regulatory requirements). “The product of THE…

Philippines: South China Sea not on APEC Agenda

Energy ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group will discuss climate change and business opportunities at a meeting in the Philippines next month but not the South China Sea. China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims. The Philippines has filed a case with an international arbitration tribunal over rival claims in the South China Sea but China has rejected the proceeding and says disputes must be handled bilaterally. China is a member of APEC.

China: Stakeholders Should Manage S.China Sea Differences Constructively

China and the United States should manage their differences over disputed waters in the South China Sea constructively, one of China's top military officials has said. Fang Fenghui, a member of China's Central Military Commission, told General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the two sides should "refrain from actions detrimental to the relations between the two countries and the two militaries", state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday. Fang and Dunford discussed the South China Sea in a video link-up on Thursday, it said. The discussion comes at a time of heightened tension between China and the United States…

China Shadows US Warship in Disputed Sea

USS Lassen (U.S. Navy photo)

A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed close to China's man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday, drawing an angry rebuke from Beijing, which said it warned and followed the American vessel. The patrol by the USS Lassen was the most significant U.S. challenge yet to the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits China asserts around the islands in the Spratly archipelago and could ratchet up tension in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. One U.S. defense official said the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef.

China Breaks Ground on South China Sea Lighthouse Project

China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the Philippines for a freeze on such activity. The reefs are known in English as Cuateron Reef and Johnson South Reef. The Ministry of Transport did not answer calls for comment. Last year, the Philippines accused China of reclaiming land on Johnson South Reef, apparently to build an airstrip.

Chine Cruise Ship's New Destination: Disputed South China Sea

Image: China State Shipbuilding Corporation

China has commissioned a new cruise ship to take tourists to islands claimed by Vietnam in the disputed South China Sea, reinforcing its claim over the area, reports Reuters. The ship called Changle Gongzhu, or Changle Princess, sailed from Sanya with 308 passengers on board. Its first voyage will last four days and three nights, said an official with Hainan Strait Shipping, owner of the vessel. The Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea where Beijing is locked in maritime disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, is also claimed by Vietnam.

China Hopes U.S. Can Help Ease S.China Sea Tension

China hopes the United States can "help and not cause problems" in the disputed South China Sea, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday ahead of next week's visit to Beijing by President Donald Trump. The United States has criticised China's construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement. U.S. Navy ships have also carried out freedom of navigation patrols in the area, angering China. Speaking to reporters about Trump's trip, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said China has indisputable sovereignty over islands and surrounding 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. The U.S. navy officer suggested on Tuesday that the Southeast Asian countries form a combined maritime force to patrol areas of the South China Sea.

Philippines, Japan to Enhance Maritime Security

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin (Source: Department of National Defense)

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and his Japanese counterpart, Defense Minister General Nakatani, renewed vows to strengthen cooperation maritime security at a time when China's reclamation in the South China Sea raises concern among ASEAN countries. The two ministers particularly briefed each other on and acknowledged the current situation of South China Sea and East China Sea, says a joint statement issued to the press. According to Japanese officials, the two agreed…

Vietnam's Submarines to Counter China?

Pic:  Vietnam Navy

Vietnam's new submarines could alter the balance in the South China Sea quite dramatically, say maritime security analysts. Vietnam and China have long contested claims over the Spratly and Paracel islands, including last year's dispute over China's attempted oil drilling and clashes between Vietnamese fishermen and Chinese boats. As Beijing presses territorial claims in the South China Sea, Vietnam is arming itself for a potential air and sea confrontation with its larger neighbor.

Legally China Can't Claim South China Sea: Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Photo:  The national association for Amateur Radio)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said China'a claims to the majority of the South China Sea have "no legal foundation in international law," he told Japan's Yomiuri newspaper. "We need peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. It is important to have political and security stability to build up our economic growth," Widodo was quoted as saying. This was the first time Widodo, who took office in October, has taken a position on the South China Sea dispute. China has had occasionally…

China: South China Sea War Games Underway

China's military carried out war games in the disputed South China Sea this week, with warships, submarines and fighter jets simulating cruise missile strikes on ships, the official People's Liberation Army Daily said on Friday. China claims almost all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of maritime trade passes each year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims. The U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander on Monday warned of a possible arms race in the disputed South China Sea which could engulf the region, as nations become increasingly tempted to use military force to settle territorial spats.

Maritime Dispute an Issue for Entire ASEAN, Says US

Image: Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines

The South China Sea took center stage at the Bilateral Strategic Dialogue between the United States and the Philippines held in Manila, as China continues to engage in "massive" construction activities in the disputed area. Both the countries jointly expressed their concern over recent Chinese activities in the South China Sea which they claimed were inconsistent with the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and international law.

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. The Natuna Sea is an area between Peninsular Malaysia and the Malaysian province of Sarawak on Borneo island, at the southern end of the South China Sea. Indonesia has raised concerns in the past that China's claims in the South China Sea include waters near the Natuna Islands. China has accepted Indonesia's sovereignty over the islands.

US-ASEAN Connect Initiative, Thanks to South China Sea

ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. Photo by US-ASEAN Business Council, Inc.

The United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are taking their relationship to a new level, thanks to heated tensions in the South China Sea. China, a key ally of North Korea, has said its committed to denuclearizing the Northth Korea, but has not been to agree with the US or the United Nations on how to achieve that goal. Asean leaders have reiterated their stand on wanting a peaceful resolution to the overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Feb 2018 - Cruise Ship Annual

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

Subscribe
Maritime Reporter E-News subscription

Maritime Reporter E-News is the subsea industry's largest circulation and most authoritative ENews Service, delivered to your Email three times per week

Subscribe for Maritime Reporter E-News