Philippines warns of China threat after US nuclear pact exit

The Philippines’ defence minister says Washington’s withdrawal from a key missile treaty with Russia has “triggered a nuclear arms race” and he fears Beijing might target his country if the US were to use it as a staging post in a future atomic war with China. Delfin Lorenzana’s remarks to the Financial Times mark the most explicit warning yet by an Asian official of the consequences of President Donald Trump’s February 1 decision to pull out of the  Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. “The withdrawal of the US from the INF…

Chinese Militia Aside, Philippines to Keep Building on Disputed Islet

TAIPEI —  China and the Philippines became friends in 2016 after four years of struggling for control over a shoal where both sides fish. The friendship has held, but in December and January, China moved as many as 90 ships close to another islet they dispute to monitor Philippine construction of a beaching ramp. The naval, coast guard and idle fishing vessels just watched, but Philippine officials know China has the more powerful military. Still, the Philippines is expected to keep building on the islet, called Thitu, without hurting relations…

Philippines advised to treat Chinese firms fairly

Photo: VCG  Two Chinese companies are reportedly interested in buying the Philippines’ largest shipyard, once an important US naval base in the Pacific region. Some Philippine politicians have expressed concern over a possible Chinese takeover, saying it will be a very significant national security issue. An unexpected dilemma is brewing in the Philippines. Since the start of the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, a marked warming of bilateral ties has stoked Chinese firms’ enthusiasm for investing in the Southeast Asian country. In 2018, China’s outbound investment in the Philippines rose by…

Philippines’ largest shipyard to close in blow to Hanjin rescue

MANILA — The Philippines’ largest shipyard is set to close with the loss of some 3,500 jobs as financial troubles deepen around its South Korean owner, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction. The decision to halt operations will complicate efforts by the Philippine government and Hanjin to find an acceptable white knight to rescue the Subic Bay shipyard, which sits at the strategically sensitive entrance to the South China Sea, where Beijing has steadily been building up a military presence. “It will be difficult to find an investor if you stop…

Taiwan criticizes Philippines in dispute over…

Thitu Island (Photo from amti.csis.org) TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following a FONOP by U.S. forces in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands on Monday, Feb. 11, Taiwan is re-emphasizing its claims in the disputed territory, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) criticizing the Philippines behavior in the region. Andrew Lee (李憲章), a spokesperson for MOFA, on Monday urged the Philippine government to halt construction operations on Thitu Island, a 37.2 hectare island located on the northwestern edge of the Spratly Islands, just north of Taiwan’s…

Philippines hints at compromise on South China Sea dispute pact

MANILA — The Philippines on Monday said a set of rules intended to prevent conflict in the South China Sea need not legally compel countries to follow it — an issue of importance for the Chinese government. Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. raised this possibility during a joint news conference with Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart, in Davao City where they held bilateral talks to firm up preparations for President Xi Jinping’s visit to Manila next month. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China are negotiating a…

Philippines will protest against China’s rescue centre in South China Sea: envoy, SE Asia News & Top Stories

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – The Philippines will protest against China’s opening of a maritime rescue centre in the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said, just days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said the nation should be grateful for the move. Mr Locsin said he supports Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio’s position that the Philippines must contest China’s construction of the rescue centre on Fiery Cross Reef, which Xinhua reported on Jan 29. Mr Carpio was part of the Philippine delegation which won a 2016 ruling that China’s efforts…

U.S. Ambiguity Is Pushing the Philippines Toward China

“Do we still have a Cold War today? Is [our alliance with the United States] still relevant to our security? Maybe not,” declared Philippine defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a press briefing at the Malacanang presidential palace, putting into question the fate of one of the oldest alliances in the world. The Philippine defense chief even went so far as confirming the possibility of abrogating the U.S.-Philippine 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) if this were  “in the interest of the nation, [rather than] the interest of other nations.” Under the…

China deploys militia as Philippines builds on Pag-asa Island

Satellite images from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative show ‘a high of 95’ Chinese vessels surrounding Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea Published 1:04 PM, February 07, 2019 Updated 10:03 PM, February 07, 2019 CHINESE SHIPS. The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) monitors dozens of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island (Thitu Island) after the Philippines begins constructing there. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI/DigitalGlobe MANILA, Philippines – China deployed its maritime militia to the vicinity of Pag-asa Island (Thitu Island) in…

China sends paramilitary forces as Philippines repairs Pag-asa Island

China sends paramilitary forces as Philippines repairs Pag-asa Island Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – February 8, 2019 – 10:37am MANILA, Philippines — While the Philippines is repairing its facilities on Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea, China has deployed ships near the island, according to a report from an independent think tank. Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) observed People’s Liberation Army Navy, Chinese Coast Guard ships and fishing vessels near Subi Reef, which is 12 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island. As early as July 2018, Chinese ships…