USS John C. Stennis underway in the South China Sea
Recent developments in South China Sea
LATEST UPDATE: June 13, 2019 - 6:15pm
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SOUTH CHINA SEA
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3 days ago

The Communist Party of the Philippines sees sinister motives behind a US plan to deploy the US Coast Guard Cutter Stratton in the South China Sea to help smaller nations protect their exclusive economic zones.

The CPP, which believesUS imperialism is one of the factors that has kept the Philippines poor, says the protection plan is direct military intervention by America. The US Coast Guard is the coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of the US Armed Forces.

RELATED: US Coast Guard to help countries struggling with EEZ protection

The communist party says the US is "capitalizing on the widespread outrage of the Filipino people over the June 9 incident near the Recto Bank where a fishing boat with Filipino crewmen sank after colliding with a Chinese fishing vessel." It says the US wants justification to send its warships and other vessels into Philippine waters.

 The US is a treaty ally of the Philippines, its former colony. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao in Baguio City

3 days ago

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano says the acts of the Chinese fishing vessel in a collision with Filipino fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea are "condemnable." 

"The actions of the Chinese indicate that they intended to do harm to the Filipino fishermen especially since the latter were allegedly anchored. It is aimed to send a message to the rest to keep off the West Philippine Sea," Alejano says in a press statement.

"The said Chinese vessel involved in the incident that happened inside the Philippines’ EEZ could be part of China's Maritime Militia organized to pursue China's objectives in South China Sea," he adds.

3 days ago

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, who is seen to head the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in the 18th Congress, condemns the reported abandonment by a Chinese fishing vessel of the crew of a Filipino fishing boat that sank after a collision near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

"No matter who was at fault, the crew of a sinking ship must never be abandoned by an able ship. The rescue of all persons in distress at sea is not only an obligation under international maritime law, it is also a matter of humanitarian duty," Pimentel says.

Citing the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, Pimentel says ships are obliged to assist other ships in distress.

"Logic dictates that such duty becomes more pronounced if it is your ship that caused the distress.  In this case, there was a total breach of that duty to help.  I urge the authorities to immediately find out the Flag State of the offending vessel so that the Philippines can file the appropriate diplomatic protest," Pimentel added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Thursday that the Philippines has already filed a diplomatic protest with China over the incident.

3 days ago

The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest against China over the collision incident in the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. says on Twitter.

The protest was filed on Wednesday, June 12, the same day that the Department of National Defense reported that a Chinese vishing vessel sank a boat manned by 22 Filipino fishermen off Reed Bank in the heavily contested waters on June 9.

The defense agency described the incident as a "hit and run."

June 12, 2019
June 12, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denounces the abandonment by a Chinese fishing vessel of a Filipino fishing boat after a collision in the vicinity of Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea on Sunday evening

Lorenzana says the Chinese fishing vessel "immediately [left] the incident scene and abandoned the 22 crewmen to the mercy of the elements."

He added the Filipino fishing boat, the F/B Gimber 1, "was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel."

The Gimber 1's crew was rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel that was nearby, Lorenzana also says.

 

June 12, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denounces the abandonment by a Chinese fishing vessel of a Filipino fishing boat after a collision in the vicinity of Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea on Sunday evening

Lorenzana says the Chinese fishing vessel "immediately [left] the incident scene and abandoned the 22 crewmen to the mercy of the elements."

He added the Filipino fishing boat, the F/B Gimber 1, "was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel."

The Gimber 1's crew was rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel that was nearby, Lorenzana also says.

 

June 10, 2019

The Philippine Coast Guard says that during a four-day patrol of BRP Malabrigo around Scarborough Shoal, a Chinese naval ship and two Chinese coast guard vessels were spotted.

China has blocked the maritime area in recent years despite an international tribunal's ruling that favored the Philippines' position that it is an international fishing ground.

May 6, 2019

China's navy warned United States ships sailing in the South China Sea to leave. China's foreign ministry also condemns the US Navy's activities in the important sealane as provocative acts.

The US has been conducting freedom of navigation operations in maritime areas where China has overreaching claims.

April 28, 2019

Congress must make sure the Navy has enough funding to build up its fleet and guard the country's exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea, Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur) says.

"The Philippine Navy has to establish a credible presence there – in terms of  combat ships – if we are to discourage foreign seaborne threats, including poachers,"
Pimentel, a member of the House committee on defense, says.

"The reality is, the Navy lacks battle-ready ships. This is why we are having difficulty enforcing our sovereign rights over our EEZ there," Pimentel also says.

"Our naval warfare service should at least be as formidable as Indonesia’s, which has three fleets of larger and faster ships, including submarines." 

April 28, 2019

Congress must make sure the Navy has enough funding to build up its fleet and guard the country's exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea, Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur) says.

"The Philippine Navy has to establish a credible presence there – in terms of  combat ships – if we are to discourage foreign seaborne threats, including poachers,"
Pimentel, a member of the House committee on defense, says.

"The reality is, the Navy lacks battle-ready ships. This is why we are having difficulty enforcing our sovereign rights over our EEZ there," Pimentel also says.

"Our naval warfare service should at least be as formidable as Indonesia’s, which has three fleets of larger and faster ships, including submarines." 

March 21, 2019

President Duterte says concerned Filipinos may file a case against China before the International Criminal Court, adding that he thinks it will not affect Manila ties with Beijing. 

"No, I’m sure they don't, the Philippines is a democratic country anybody can bring a suit against anybody." — with Christina Mendez

March 21, 2019

Here's a look at the communication sent to the ICC.

March 21, 2019

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales filed a communication to the International Criminal Court on March 15 against Chinese President Xi Jinping for crimes against humanity due to damage to the environment in South China Sea, reports say.

March 7, 2019

Rep. Ariel Casilao (Anapkawis party-list) scores what he calls "rubbernecking" by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in response to reports that Filipino fisherfolk are being harassed near Pag-Asa Island, which is part of Palawan province.

"It was reported in the news on Monday, and two days later, issues are still for validation, amid all the resources and intelligence funding, the Filipino taxpayers are deprived of much-needed and significant information," he says in a press statement.


The AFP's Western Command has said there have been no reports of fishers being harassed in the area amid a report by Kalayaan Mayor Robert del Mundo that Filipinos are being kept from fishing around Sandy Cay.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has directed the military to validate the reports but the Department of National Defense has also said in a statement that "it has to be noted that the area referred to by Mayor del Mundo is a traditional fishing ground for the Philippines and other countries, including China and Vietnam."

November 26, 2018

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is addressing the Association of Congressional Chiefs of Staff at the House of Representatives to talk about issues related to the South China Sea. He has been making rounds in the forum circuit across the country to talk about the legal repercussions of China's overreaching claims in the maritime region.

Carpio, who is in the running for the chief justice post, argues that China committed its last territorial act against the Philippines in seizing Sandy Cay in the West Philippine Sea.

China is also expanding its legally invalid nine-dash line claim, possibly to encompass Benham Rise, an expansive underwater plateau east of the Philippines' landmass. (Stock photo)

November 20, 2018

The latest Social Weather Stations poll reveals that 84 percent of adult Filipinos reject the government’s policy of doing nothing about China's intrusion in the West Philippine Sea. This is up by 3 points from 81 percent in June 2018

The survey conducted from Sept. 15-23, 2018 also shows that 87 percent of Filipinos believe it is important that the Philippines regains control of the islands occupied by China in the West Philippine Sea. 

The SWS poll also finds that Filipinos' net trust is at "very good" for the United States, "moderate" for Japan, Malaysia and Israel, and "poor" for China as 65 percent of Filipinos are aware of Beijing's abuses of Filipino fishermen.

The poll used face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide: 600 in Balance Luzon and 300 each in Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.

November 14, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte says in a statement that ASEAN and China are committed to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety and the expeditious conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

"ASEAN and China have seen steady progress in the initial phase of the COC negotiations since the announcement of a Single Draft COC Negotiating Text, and looked forward to the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text by 2019," the statement says.

"ASEAN and China will continue to maintain a conducive environment for future rounds of negotiations of the COC. As co-chair of the COC negotiations, the Philippines will continue to work closely together with the ASEAN Member States and China for the early conclusion of an effective and substantive COC."


 

June 12, 2018

China Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua says President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed concern on reported Chinese seizures of fish caught by Filipino fishermen in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

Zhao adds that Chinese Coast Guard personnel involved in taking of the catch of Filipino fishermen will be punished. — The STAR/Alexis Romero

May 30, 2018

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Washington will continue with its freedom of navigation operations amid China's increasing militarization in the South China Sea. 

May 22, 2018

Vice President Leni Robredo expresses grave concern over news of China's landing and takeoff exercises using long-range bombers in the West Philippine Sea, a portion of the South China Sea within the Philippine territory.

She urges the Department of Foreign Affairs to file a diplomatic protest to China. She raises that if the Philippine government itself fails to stand for the country's territorial integrity, then to whom can the people pin their hopes on.

"Banta sa seguridad ng Pilipinas at ng buong rehiyon ang patuloy na pagdami ng mga kagamitang militar at walang tigil na pagtayo ng mga istraktura sa mga islang ito. Nakasaad sa ating Saligang Batas na ipinagbabawal ang presensiya ng anumang sandatang nuklear sa kahit na saang lugar sa Pilipinas.

She says the government must pursue all diplomatic channels but adds that Philippine interests should not be compromised in the process.

"Isulong natin ang lahat ng diplomatikong paraan para panatilihing maayos ang ating pakikitungo sa ating mga karatig bansa, ngunit hindi nararapat na hahantong ito sa pagkompromiso ng ating bayan. Isa sa mga pangunahing tungkulin ng pamahalaan at ng bawat isa sa atin na ipaglaban ang seguridad ng ating bayan laban sa kahit na anong banta."

May 21, 2018

The Philippine government stresses that it is taking diplomatic actions to protect the country's claims following China's landing of a bomber on Woody Island in the South China Sea.

"While appropriate language, whether expressions of condemnation or concern, over certain developments are clearly conveyed through diplomatic channels, it is not our policy to publicize every action taken by the Philippine Government whenever there are reported developments taking place in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released Monday.

On May 18, China's People's Liberation Army Air Force announced that it has landed an H-6K bomber on an outpost in the South China Sea.

May 15, 2018

United States Acting Principal Assistant Secretary of State W. Patrick Murphy meets with his counterparts from the Philippines Foreign Affairs department to discuss the competing claims in South China Sea. 

In a tweet, Murphy says it is important to find a regional solution that respects UNCLOS and international law. He adds that militarization undermines dialogue and threatens stability.

 

 

 

 

 

May 7, 2018

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV files a resolution urging the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security to probe into China's installation of missiles on its artificial outposts in the South China Sea. 

May 7, 2018

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says there is still no verification on the reported China missile deployment. This despite China's admission that it has installed missiles on artificial islands.

READ: Philippines still verifying missiles in Spratlys amid China's confirmation

May 4, 2018

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says Malacañang is concerned with China's missile deployments over the contested areas in the West Philippine Sea.

He, however, adds they are confident that new missiles installed by China on artificial islands are not directed at the Philippines given the "recently developed close relationship and friendship" with Beijing.

READ: China: Missiles in Spratlys target no one

"Be that as it may, we would explore all diplomatic means to address this issue." — with Alexis Romero

April 20, 2018

Australian broadcasting agency ABC reports that three of Australia's warships were challenged by the Chinese military as they traveled through the disputed South China Sea earlier this month.

Defense sources have confirmed to the ABC that HMAS Anzac, HMAS Toowoomba and HMAS Success were challenged by China's People's Liberation Army as they were transiting towards Vietnam for a three-day goodwill visit.

HMAS Anzac and HMAS Success traveled through the South China Sea after leaving Subic Bay in the Philippines, while HMAS Toowoomba navigated the disputed waters after departing from Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.

HMAS Anzac, HMAS Toowoomba and HMAS Success are now on their goodwill visit to Vietnam in celebration of their 20 years of Defense relations and 45 years of diplomatic relations.
Australia's Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick/Twitter

 

The confrontations with the PLA Navy were believed to have occurred as China was conducting its largest ever naval exercises in the South China Sea.

April 10, 2018

United States aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, along with the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson, sailed in formation with the Republic of Singapore Navy frigate RSS Supreme and corvette RSS Valiant last April 6 in a passing exercise.

During the exercise, ships from both navies practiced ship handling procedures, communications drills and navigating in several close formations.

The event was a traditional naval greeting and training opportunity between partner navies after the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) made a brief port stop in Singapore.

“This passing exercise offered a unique opportunity to further our capabilities to operate with and learn from one another,” said Cmdr. Timothy D. LaBenz, commanding officer of Sampson. 

“It’s an excellent test for our watchstanders to exercise their flexibility as warfighters and to interact with partner navies in a tactical environment. Sampson is dedicated to ensuring its ability to work together with our allies and deal with common concerns such as disaster relief and safety of sea lanes.”

RSS Supreme (FFG 73), RSS Valiant (PGG 91) and USS Sampson (DDG 102) sail in formation with USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), April 6.
U.S Navy/MC3 Alex Perlman

The TRCSG will continue maritime security patrols, presence operations and training with partners and allies throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

June 10, 2016

The Stennis is now situated in the Philippine Sea, according to the supercarrier's released accounts.

It seemed to have crossed the Philippine Sea from the South China Sea on June 7 to 8, earlier this week.

The United States Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear powered supercarrier USS John C. Stennis continues underway in the South China Sea.

The US Pacific Command just reported that it has received "cargo" from support ship USNS Rainier in the disputed waters.

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