Because China refuses to abide by international law, PH should not gamble with its security – The Manila Times

Third of four partsWHILE the world’s attention has been diverted to the coronavirus, China has remained focused on its strategy of building artificial islands in order to take control of the South China (West Philippine) Sea. Recently, the Xinhua News Agency announced that China’s Academy of Science has established “two research stations” on Subi (Zamora) Reef and Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef and that “scientists [will] live and conduct field research on ecology, geology and environment. “ China’s action is controversial because Subi Reef falls within Thitu (Pag-asa) Island’s 12-mile territorial…

Key role in COVID-19 fight won’t peel PH military away from West Philippine Sea duty

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine military, which is now playing a key role in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, continued to perform other critical tasks, like its operations in the West Philippine Sea. The Naval Forces West (NFW), in a statement, said although the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is gripping the entire country, the NFW has “instituted measures to ensure sustained operations in the West Philippine Sea.” The NFW said its priority was to protect personnel in their West Philippine Sea tasks. On Thursday, the NFW gave recognition to Navy…

China launches new facilities in West PH Sea just as world’s eyes fixed on COVID-19

MANILA, Philippines—While the world is turning topsy turvy over the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that started in China, it’s still business as usual for the Asian giant in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Two research stations were recently launched on two of China’s large man-made islands in the West Philippine Sea — Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) and Zamora (Subi) Reef, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on March 20. The research facilities, which are under the Integrated Research Center for Islands and Reefs of the Chinese Academy Sciences (CAS),…

Leading PH expert on China succumbs to suspected COVID-19

MANILA—A Filipino academician, considered as a leading expert on China, passed away early Saturday morning due to suspected COVID-19. Professor Aileen Baviera died at 3:55 a.m. at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, where she was confined due to severe pneumonia. She was 61. At the time of her death, the hospital was still awaiting official test results to determine if she was indeed suffering from COVID-19, a fast-spreading disease which has killed 18 people in the country, based on official government figures as of March 20. She previously travelled…

Enforcement of arbitral award is PH core interest – The Manila Times

Second of four partsTHE ruling of the Hague arbitration tribunal vindicated the Philippines’ protests and swept away the apparent picture of China being in a position to control the South China Sea because of its military and economic power. The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States is a component of the Philippines’ collective defense to have a pragmatic approach to the enforcement of the arbitration ruling. Nine-dash lineThe main threat to the Philippines’ security is the nine-dash line, which seeks to convert the South China Sea into a…

PH considers suspending visa issuances worldwide due to coronavirus threat

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS. Passengers crowd the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City on March 13, 2020. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr on Wednesday night, March 18, said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was considering suspending visa issuances worldwide as well as the visa-free privilege for all countries except those in Southeast Asia. Locsin made the announcement in response to the Philippine government’s decision to place the entire Luzon on lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The measure, he added, would be…

PH hits China, Malaysia claims in West Philippine Sea

PHILIPPINE WATERS. A Philippine flag is flown in a boat off the waters near the coast of Occidental Mindoro in the West Philippine Sea. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler MANILA, Philippines – Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s refusal to assert the country’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs quietly filed diplomatic notes at the United Nations (UN) asserting its claims in the maritime area. The Philippines’ Permanent Mission to the UN in New York filed two diplomatic notes against China and Malaysia on Friday, March…

PH note verbale on China’s response legally significant, expert says

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PH mission to UN asserts tribunal ruling junking China’s nine-dash line claims in South China Sea

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has quietly put forward to the United Nations an international tribunal ruling which found no basis for China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea but which the Duterte administration has set aside. The Philippine Permanent Mission to the UN early this month submitted its response to address China’s diplomatic note to the UN over Malaysia’s petition to extend the limits of its continental shelf in the South China Sea. “The Government of the Republic of the Philippines considers China’s positions as inconsistent with international law,…

PH inviting China to seize West Philippine Sea with VFA’s end

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 28) — The end of the Visiting Forces Agreement can mark the start of China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a former Supreme Court justice knowledgeable of the maritime dispute warned on Friday. Retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio in a media forum explained that the VFA, a two-decade-old treaty with the US, is the only legal basis for the presence of American soldiers in the country. Without the VFA, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement – which allows the US military to preposition…