Freedom of navigation and the Law of the Sea

The terms ‘freedom of navigation’ and ‘international waters’ frequently crop up in regional security discussion. Unfortunately, their meaning can be problematic, especially when applied to the South China Sea, Sam Bateman writes. The law of the sea is notoriously complex and often misused. The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) talks about both ‘freedoms’ of navigation and ‘rights’ of navigation. It does not use the term ‘international waters’. The two large archipelagic states, Indonesia and the Philippines, don’t like the term ‘freedom of navigation’ applied to…

ASEAN closes ranks over South China Sea dispute – Tue, January 21 2020

China’s new envoy to ASEAN has arrived in Jakarta facing growing pressure from the increasingly vigilant bloc as its top diplomats put more emphasis on compliance to international law in ongoing negotiations for a final and binding code of conduct (COC) on the South China Sea.Ambassador Deng Xijun arrived in the Indonesian capital over the weekend and submitted his credentials to ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi on Monday, marking the formal start of his duties in Southeast Asia.Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Lim, Ambassador Deng said there had…

Jokowi vows ‘no compromise’ on Natuna standoff with China

JAKARTA — President Joko Widodo reasserted Indonesia’s claim to its exclusive economic zone in the Natuna Sea — a water that borders the South China Sea — as Chinese and Indonesian vessels remain in a standoff in the area. “In regards to Natuna… there is no compromise when it comes to our nation’s territorial sovereignty,” Widodo said on Monday at his first cabinet meeting of the year at the presidential palace in Jakarta. Tensions have been rising over the past week after a number of Chinese fishing boats escorted by…

South China Sea: Japan vows to broach ‘outstanding issues’ with China ahead of Xi’s visit | World | News

Foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi made the promise during a speech laying out the Japanese governments foreign policy at the start of this year’s regular Diet session. Mr Motegi said both countries “share a great responsibility to ensure the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world”. He added Tokyo and Beijing should hold regular high-level dialogue and step up exchanges and cooperation in various fields. His speech comes amid opposition to Mr Xi’s state visit by some conservative Japanese lawmakers. They believe it could send the wrong message amid ongoing…

Malaysia FM: China’s ‘nine-dash line’ claim ‘ridiculous’ | News

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia has hardened its diplomatic position on the disputed South China Sea, questioning China’s “nine-dash line” claim over the entire sea lane that has already been previously declared with “no legal basis” by an arbitration tribunal in The Hague.  Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Saifuddin Abdullah said late on Friday that Kuala Lumpur has the “sovereign right to claim whatever that is there that is within our waters”. More: “For China to claim that the whole of South China Sea belongs to China, I think that…

ASEAN ministers vow to cooperate on Rohingya, S. China Sea issues

NHA TRANG, Vietnam (Kyodo) — Southeast Asian foreign ministers ended talks in Vietnam on Friday with pledges to continue cooperating on key issues, including facilitating the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar and reducing South China Sea tensions. A statement issued after the two-day informal meeting by Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said that besides those issues, the ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also considered plans for a special summit with the U.S. President Donald Trump. “We welcomed the invitation by the U.S.…

Motegi vows to broach issues with China ahead of Xi Jinping’s Japan visit

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Monday vowed to tackle “outstanding issues” between Japan and China to clear the way for a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled for this spring. Both countries “share a great responsibility to ensure the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world,” Motegi said in a speech laying out the government’s foreign policy at the start of this year’s regular Diet session. As such, Tokyo and Beijing should hold regular high-level dialogue and step up exchanges and cooperation in various fields, he said.…

NEDA pushes bill protecting maritime territories in a bid to tap P1-T ‘blue economy’

NEDA pushes bill protecting maritime territories in a bid to tap P1-T ‘blue economy’ Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) – January 20, 2020 – 8:48pm MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is looking into tapping the country’s P1-trillion “blue economy” by pushing for a bill that will establish sea lanes to protect the country’s maritime territory. “Because there is no general declaration of what territories are so you would have some encroachment being done by our neighbors,” Socioeconomic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said at a press conference Monday. “We claim that it’s…

Broader investment focus for northern Aust | The Canberra Times

news, latest-news The government will look to update a 20-year development plan for northern Australia to pursue closer ties with India, the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan says China will remain a strong investor in the north but its strategic priorities didn’t always align with Australia. “We shouldn’t hitch our star to one country because that elevates risk, not just from a political perspective but from an economic one, too,” Senator Canavan told The Australian. The changes will be made this year after consultation with state…

India worried as China-Myanmar deepen ties

NEW DELHI : China and Myanmar, over the weekend, signed 33 bilateral agreements that are expected to strengthen ties between India’s eastern neighbor and Beijing. The accords include those to construct a rail link and a deep-sea port – part of a China-Myanmar-Economic Corridor – that runs from China’s south-western region to the Bay of Bengal. This will give a significant push to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative to which Myanmar had signed onto in 2018 amid lack of investments from western countries. The pacts were signed during president…