South China Sea: Who Occupies What in the Spratlys?

The discourse on the South China Sea disputes is understandably laden with emotion. That is arguably a reason why debate on the subject should be based on facts. And yet, as Bill Hayton has noted, “Unreliable evidence is clouding the international discourse on the South China Sea disputes.” Indeed, it sometimes feels like a thick veil is hiding the truth about the South China Sea. Consider, for instance, the argument that China, far from being the aggressor in the South China Sea, is in fact merely reacting to unilateral provocations…

It’s Kalayaan, not Spratlys: why calling our islands by their Filipino names is our patriotic duty

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio deserves a huge deal of credit, and the gratitude of all Filipinos, for boosting the Philippines’ claim to Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands in South China Sea. But he was being doctrinaire when he said that we should all stop describing that portion of South China Sea that we call West Philippine Sea as “disputed.” A dispute over the resource-rich islands, rocks and reefs scattered over the South China Sea beyond legal avenues remains, notwithstanding the landmark ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration…

WATCH: Filipino scientists find damaged coral reefs, plastics in Spratlys

MANILA, Philippines — A group of young Filipino scientists on Sunday completed a two-week expedition to the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea aimed at studying the connectivity of ecosystems. Deo Florence Onda of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute and chief scientist of the mission, described the two-week research a “success.” The 74-member team aboard RV Kasarinlan left South Harbor last April 22 to explore marine life in the contested waters. While the institute had been doing this for years, it was extra special this…

Unlike PH, Vietnam’s ‘modest upgrades’ in Spratlys get no repulse from China |

Chinese fishing vessels at Subi Reef on August 12, 2018. (Photo from Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative) MANILA, Philippines — China showed no unusual resistance to Vietnam’s “modest upgrades” to its facilities in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea contrary to how it responded to the Philippines’ rehabilitation efforts, analysts have observed.  Vietnam occupies 49 outposts spread across 27 features in the contested Spratly Islands, while the Philippines has 9.  “Vietnam continues quietly upgrading its facilities across the Spratlys, so far without provoking the same large-scale paramilitary response from…

South China Sea: 2 US Navy Destroyers Conduct Freedom of Navigation Operation in Spratlys

The U.S. Navy’s latest freedom of navigation operation challenged excessive Chinese claims in the Spratlys. On Monday, two U.S. Navy warships conducted a freedom of navigation operation near features held by China in the South China Sea. The U.S. Navy confirmed the operation to Reuters, noting that two Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, USS Preble and USS Chung Hoon, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs. The transit was an innocent passage. According to Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, the transit…

The Purpose Of Current Philippines Scientific Expedition To The Spratlys – OpEd – Eurasia Review

Amidst a ‘standoff’  between China and the Philippines near a disputed feature in the Spratlys, the Philippines is undertaking a government-sponsored marine scientific expedition to the area.  While billed as an advance in scientific knowledge –it may be –or may be perceived to be a soft assertion of sovereignty. The “Predicting Responses between Ocean Transport and Ecological Connectivity of Threatened Ecosystems in the West Philippine Sea” (PROTECT WPS) is led by the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) in coordination with the government’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic…

IPP REVIEW–What’s Behind the Philippines’ Scientific Expedition to the Spratlys?

Amidst a “standoff” between China and the Philippines near a disputed feature in the Spratlys, the Philippines is undertaking a government-sponsored marine scientific expedition to the area. While billed as an advance in scientific knowledge — it may be — or may be perceived to be a soft assertion of sovereignty.   The “Predicting Responses between Ocean Transport and Ecological Connectivity of Threatened Ecosystems in the West Philippine Sea” (PROTECT WPS) is led by the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) in coordination with the…

Philippine Navy ship goes on resupply mission to Spratlys

Some of the troops of Naval Forces West get ready to board BRP Benguet which will transport food and drinking water for their colleagues stationed in outposts of the Philippines in the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea. (Photo from Naval Forces West) MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine Navy ship left Puerto Princesa City in Palawan on Sunday for its regular resupply mission to the Philippine detachments in the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea. Commo. Sean Anthony Villa, commander of Naval Forces West (NFW), led the…

Locsin on China’s Spratlys claim: We say no, it’s ours

MANILA, Philippines —Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday refuted China’s claims of the Spratly Islands, saying that “it’s ours.” “He says it’s theirs, you know, we may have different views of what kind of society China is to the Philippines, but we know we’re democratic but in the world, in a society, the community of nations, it’s a democracy. And they can say what they want, the question is, we say no, it’s ours,” Locsin said in an interview with CNN Philippines. The foreign affairs chief’s statement comes…