China calls sinking of Philippines boat an ‘ordinary maritime accident’

BEIJING: The sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a suspected Chinese trawler in disputed waters was described by Beijing on Thursday (Jun 13) as an ordinary maritime accident, after Manila accused the alleged Chinese crew of cowardice for fleeing the scene. The Philippine defence department said on Wednesday a suspected Chinese boat had collided with a Filipino craft anchored near Reed Bank in the South China Sea, causing it to sink and leaving 22 crewmen to their fate. Advertisement Advertisement Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s office said the abandonment of the…

China Will Treat US Drones as Move to Dent its Contested Maritime Claims

TAIPEI —  Officials in Beijing will treat $47.9 billion in U.S. drone sales approved for Southeast Asia as another effort to dent their claims to the disputed South China Sea, experts believe, and lash back verbally as well as economically. The U.S. Department of Defense said May 31 American contractor Insitu would sell 34 ScanEagle unmanned air vehicles to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. All four have chafed against China’s coast guard and other vessels over the past decade as they vie for control over the resource-rich sea. The…

China’s maritime militia challenges foreign forces at sea

Singapore — China’s so-called maritime militia is believed to be behind a series of laser attacks against an Australian naval helicopter over the South China Sea, soon after a U.S. admiral warned that the paramilitary force could be treated as combatants. A report in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on May 29, quoting Australian Defence Department sources, said that the crew of a Royal Australian Navy helicopter was targeted by lasers from nearby fishing vessels during a night flight. The helicopter landed safely on its ship following the attack, where crew…

How China Will Resist if US Approves Sanctions over Maritime Expansion

TAIPEI, TAIWAN —  A U.S. congressional bill to sanction companies that help China’s expansion in a disputed Asian sea is expected to spark retaliation, if passed, without stopping Chinese maritime activity. China might impose its own sanctions on U.S. companies or individuals or make it harder for them to operate in China, analysts say. The bill pending in the Senate would not change Beijing’s course in the contested waterway, the South China Sea, they add. Beijing claims about 90% of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and…

US Navy Destroyer Sails In South China Sea To Challenge Chinese Maritime Claims, Preserve Freedom Of Navigation

In a move that is likely to increase the tensions between United States and China, the US military said that it one of its warships sailed near the disputed Scarborough Shoal claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea on Sunday (19 May), reports NDTV. According to the report, the US Navy destroyer Preble carried out the operation in the South China Sea. “Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,”…

Andrew Erickson and Ryan Martinson on China and the Maritime Gray Zone

Over the past few years, as China has continued its expansion in the maritime domain, scholars and practitioners alike have honed in on the subject of how Beijing operates in the so-called “gray zone” between war and peace, staying below the threshold of armed conflict to secure gains while not provoking military responses by others, including the United States. Understanding the dynamics of this has important implications not only for particular maritime spaces, such as the East China Sea and the South China Sea, but also for broader issues such…

Lively debate on interpreting laws at maritime conference, Singapore News & Top Stories

Differing interpretations of the international law of the sea took centre stage at a maritime conference yesterday involving academics and navy chiefs from around the world. Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh had a spirited exchange with a Chinese academic over whether the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) had involved input from Asian countries, and if it made a distinction between merchant vessels and warships when it came to rights of innocent passage. During the 6th International Maritime Security Conference, Chinese researcher, Captain (Retired) Tian Shichen, had suggested…

Indonesia–Vietnam maritime clash a sign of rising Indo-Pacific tensions

A ramming incident on 27 April involving a Vietnamese fisheries surveillance vessel and an Indonesian naval vessel near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands highlights the risks of escalation in competition over fisheries in the South China Sea. But it should also be understood in the context of broader strategic dynamics in the Indo-Pacific, where ASEAN unity is being tested and tolerance for ‘grey zone’ maritime operations appears to be lessening. The level of tension evident in footage taken by the Indonesian Navy of the ramming is palpable and highlights the potential for…

‘Dark storm clouds’ could threaten regional maritime security and prosperity: Ng Eng Hen

SINGAPORE: There are “dark storm clouds” that could threaten maritime security in the region, and these include countries adopting different rules when staking territorial claims or conducting freedom of navigation exercises at sea, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Tuesday (May 14). “We need calm seas in this region to ensure that global commerce continues and good relations between countries are maintained,” he said. “But there are dark storm clouds on the horizon that can threaten the global maritime commons and our shared prosperity.” Advertisement Dr Ng was speaking…