PH to validate damaged reef ecosystems in Spratly Islands

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo  MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) should validate a reported destruction of reef ecosystems in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and Spratly Islands due to China’s reclamation and illegal fishing activities. “I think this is under Department of Agriculture, kasi iyong Fisheries (BFAR) sa kanya (because BFAR is under DA) – they should conduct a study on that, to validate that particular finding of one particular group,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing. The University of the…

Foreign fishing vessels crowd PH waters

APRIL COUNT Karagatan Patrol has been watching the increase in number of foreign vessels in the West Philippine Sea every April since 2012, counting an average of 11,261 vessels in the two fisheries management areas in those waters—Recto Bank in the Kalayaan Group and Panatag Shoal, both rich in high-value fish and other marine resources. More and more foreign commercial fishing vessels have entered the Philippines’ fishing grounds, including its municipal waters, in the past few years, threatening depletion of the country’s marine resources if their activities remain destructive and…

Confused over gov’t policy in West PH Sea? Just listen to Duterte, says Malacañang

MANILA – If you’re confused about government’s policy in the disputed West Philippine Sea, just listen to President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said Thursday. Because when it comes to the President’s remarks, “there is no room for any interpretation,” his spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. “Ang pakinggan niyo ang Presidente. Kung ano ang sinabi ni Presidente ‘yun na ‘yun,” he said. (Listen to the President. What the President says, that’s it.) Duterte last month revealed that he had a verbal agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016 that allows Beijing to…

China crisis: October 2020 – If America and China clash at sea

MANY AMERICAN presidential elections have been jolted by an October surprise. Few were as alarming as the one that just hit the 2020 contest—a crisis of deadly brinkmanship in the South China Sea, now abruptly resolved after two tense and confusing weeks. The stand-off was dismaying too, showing that even near-conflict with a foreign power is not enough to unite an America gripped by partisan furies. In purely electoral terms, the crisis may explain a slight dip in approval ratings for President Donald Trump, who was seen as more blustering…

Pentagon says China missile test in South China Sea ‘disturbing’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The Pentagon said on Tuesday a recent Chinese missile launch in the disputed South China Sea was “disturbing” and contrary to Chinese pledges that it would not militarize the disputed waterway. The South China Sea is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and Taiwan. China and the United States have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and…

Retired generals shake their heads over Trump’s July 4 plans

With Wesley Morgan PROGRAMMING NOTE: Morning Defense will not publish on Thursday, July 4 and Friday, July 5. Our next Morning Defense will publish on Monday, July 8. Please continue to follow Defense news at politico.com. Story Continued Below Editor’s Note: This edition of Morning Defense is published weekdays at 10 a.m. POLITICO Pro Defense subscribers hold exclusive early access to the newsletter each morning at 5:30 a.m. Learn more about POLITICO Pro’s comprehensive policy intelligence coverage, policy tools and services at politicopro.com. — Flyover details for the Fourth of…

China and the East Mediterranean Sea disputes

The sustainability of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Mediterranean will depend on whether China can help defuse tensions in the Mediterranean while respecting each country’s domestic concerns. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) purports to aims for promoting global peace and cooperation and the economic development of China and BRI related countries. In for it to be a win-win project, the BRI  promises both conflict resolutions and respect for the sovereignty of states involved.  However, reaching this aim is never as easy as it might seem on…