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USS John C. Stennis underway in the South China Sea

Recent developments in South China Sea

LATEST UPDATE: May 31, 2021 - 11:14am
LOCATION:
SOUTH CHINA SEA
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May 31, 2021

The government should name and identify rocks and features in the Kalayaan Island Group to assert Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, a senator says Monday.

"The features we occupy in the KIG remain unnamed. Mapapalakas ang paggiit natin ng ating karapatan sa WPS kung malinaw ang pangalan, katangian, at sakop ng mga inaangkin nating teritoryo. Udyukin na ng DENR ang National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) para simulan ang pag-papangalan ng mga ito," Sen. Risa Hontiveros says in a statement. 

May 18, 2021

The Philippines protests China’s unilateral fishing ban in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says the Philippines does not recognize China’s fishing moratorium as it covers areas over which the country exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

"China’s annual fishing moratorium extends far beyond China’s legitimate maritime entitlements under UNCLOS and is without basis under international law," the DFA says in a statement.

May 3, 2021

The DFA protests the illegal presence of Chinese Coast Guard vessels in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and their belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard. 

DFA also rejects the statement of Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin that China enjoys sovereignty over Panatag Shoal/Bajo de Masinloc. 

"China has no enforcement rights in these areas... The unauthorized and lingering presence of these vessels is a blatant infringement of Philippine sovereignty," the DFA says in a statement.

April 28, 2021

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. orders the filing of another diplomatic protest against China following the statement of a Chinese official on the Philippine Coast Guard's exercises in the West Philippine Sea.

"They can say what they want from the Chinese mainland; we continue to assert from our waters by right of international law what we won in The Hague. But we must not fail to protest. @DFAPHL have we fired off a diplomatic protest? Do it now," says Locsin on Twitter.

April 25, 2021

The Philippine Coast Guard sends BRP Malapascua and BRP Francisco Dagohoy (MMOV 5002) — a fisheries bureau vessel manned by PCG personnel — to Pagasa Island in the West Philippine Sea for maritime exercises.

Pagasa Island is in the Kalayaan Island Group of Palawan province.

April 23, 2021

Two new diplomatic protests have been lodged against China as of April 21, the Department of Foreign Affairs says.

These are in addition to the daily protests over the continuing presence of Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef following reports that at least 160 Chinese maritime militia ships are still in Philippine waters.

"The continued swarming and threatening presence of the Chinese vessels creates an atmosphere of instability and is a blatant disregard of the commitments by China to promote peace and stability in the region," the DFA says.

April 18, 2021

The Department of National Defense denounces as "irresponsible propaganda" social media posts claiming that retired and active military officers have withdrawn support for President Rodrigo Duterte over the situation in the West Philippine Sea.

"Such disinformation is an act of reckless agitation emanating from detractors, who have a limited and myopic appreciation of issues," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says.

Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, earlier Sunday also disputed the social media rumor, as well as claims of "'warplanes' from various countries taking off and landing in Clark Airbase." 

April 14, 2021

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin orders the filing of another diplomatic protest as NTF-WPS reports that 240 Chinese maritime militia vessels, claimed by Chinese authorities as ordinary fishing vessels, continuously swarm the West Philippine Sea.

April 13, 2021

The Department of Foreign Affairs summons Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian and expresses "displeasure" over the "illegal lingering presence" of Chinese ships in Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

The DFA says it summoned Huang on April 12, where Acting Undersecretary Elizabeth Buensuceso informed him that the reef lies within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

"The continuing presence of Chinese vessels around the Reef is a source of regional tension," the DFA says.

April 5, 2021

The Department of Foreign Affairs says Chinese Embassy’s statement in response to DND Sec. Lorenzana “contained blatant falsehoods such as claims of adverse weather conditions when there were none and the supposed non-existence of maritime militia vessels” in Julian Felipe Reef.

"The continued deployment, lingering presence, and activities of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea and China’s tolerance thereof blatantly infringe upon Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction," the agency says.

April 4, 2021

"China should respect Philippine sovereignty over the Kalayaan Islands and its sovereign rights over its Exclusive Economic Zone as defined by [UN Convention on the Law of the Sea]," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says in response to the Chinese Embassy labelling his call for Chinese ships to leave the Julian Felipe Reef "perplexing."

The embassy also urged him to "avoid any unprofessional remarks which may further fan irrational emotions" over the South China Sea dispute.

"The continued presence of Chinese maritime militias in the area reveals their intent to further occupty features in the West Philippine Sea," Lorenzana says, citing previous activity at Panatag Shoal.

March 31, 2021

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea confirms that 44 Chinese maritime militia vessels remain moored, anchored and stationary at Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea as of March 29.

The task force also reports 115 Chinese ships have been monitored in Chigua (Kennan) Reef, 45 vessels in Pag-asa (Thitu) Island & other 50 vessels dispersed in Panganiban (Mischief), Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) and Zamora (Subi) Reefs, all within the Kalayaan Island Group.

Four Chinese navy vessels are also at Panganiban Reef, which is well within the country’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

March 25, 2021

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives urge the chamber to condemn and conduct an inquiry into the presence of Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef.

The Makabayan bloc expresses concern that the deployment of Chinese maritime militia ships in the area may lead to "another level of disrespect" to Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.

"It is feared that China will intensify the harassment and human rights violations against the Filipino people and further deprive them of their rights over the natural resources in the Philippine territory," the lawmakers write.

March 24, 2021

Chinese maritime ships swarming Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea might be a prelude to occupying the whole area, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio says.

The retired magistrate recalls that the same incident happened to Mischief Reef, which is now a Chinese air and naval base.

"They started saying they just built fisherman shelter on Mischief Reef. Now Mischief Reef is an air and naval base. They call it their Pearl Harbor in the South China Sea," Carpio says in an interview with ANC's "Headstart" with Karen Davila.

March 23, 2021

The Philippines has demanded that China promptly "withdraw its fishing vessels and maritime assets in the vicinity and adjacent waters of relevant features in the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea."

It also demands that China direct its fishing vessels to "desist from environmentally destructive activities."

The demand comes after the Philippines issued a diplomatic protest over the presence of hundreds of Chinese ships near Julian Felipe Reef, which is within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone.

China maintains the ships are in the area, which it calls "Niu'e Jiao", to "take shelter near Niu'e Jiao due to rough sea conditions." 

March 23, 2021

The United States Embassy in Manila expresses concern over the presence of 220 Chinese maritime militia vessels on Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

Contrary to the Chinese Embassy's claim that these were just "fishing vessels taking shelter," the US Embassy notes that Chinese boats have been mooring in the area for months with increasing numbers.

"[China] uses maritime militia to intimidate, provoke, and threaten other nations, which undermines peace and security in the region," the US Embassy says in a statement.

March 22, 2021

The Philippines on Sunday accused China of "incursion" after hundreds of militia boats were spotted near a disputed reef in the South China Sea.

"We call on the Chinese to stop this incursion and immediately recall these boats violating our maritime rights and encroaching into our sovereign territory," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement. —  AFP

August 27, 2020

China said a US spy plane entered a no-fly zone used by the Chinese military for live-fire drills, branding it an act of provocation, state media said Tuesday.

The U-2 reconnaissance jet's flight over an area in northern China violated safety rules between the two nations, Xinhua reported, citing Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian.

"The US action could easily have resulted in misjudgments and even accidents," said the report, adding "that the move was an obvious provocation." — AFP

July 14, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States would treat Beijing's pursuit of resources in the dispute-rife South China Sea as illegal, ramping up pressure on another front.

"We are making clear: Beijing's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them," Pompeo says in a statement.

The United States has long rejected Beijing's sweeping claims in the South ChinaSea, aligning itself with Vietnam, the Philippines and other US partners in the region. — AFP

July 3, 2020

The Pentagon says it is "concerned" about Chinese military exercises around a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, noting the maneuvers will "further destabilize" the region.

"The Department of Defense is concerned about the People's Republic of China (PRC) decision to conduct military exercises around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on July 1-5," the Pentagon says in a statement.

The activities "further destabilize the situation" in the area claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan, it says. — AFP

April 30, 2020

The Philippines says it strongly protests "the establishment of the so-called districts of 'Nansha' and 'Xisha' under the supposed administrative jurisdiction of its self-declared 'Sansha City'" which would cover parts of the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs says it has protested since 2012 the "unlawful establishment of Sansha City" that includes Philippine territory and maritime zones in the WPS, including the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc.

The Philippines also protests the dseignation of Kagitingan Reef in the Kalayaan Island Group "as adinistrative center for the so-called 'Nansha district'," saying the reef is part of the KIG and an integral part of Philippine territory.

April 27, 2020

Sen. Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution to urge the executive branch to "exert legal and diplomatic pressure" on China over its activities in the West Philippine and to have the regional giant pay for enviromental damage in the area.

"China's sense of entitlement to our seas has caused severe and irreparable harm to our ecosystems," Hontiveros says in a statement on the filing of Philippine Senate Resolution No. 369.

Even if the Senate, the majority of which supports the Duterte administration and its foreign policy with China, adopts the resolution, it is non-binding on the executive branch.

"Hindi tayo kolonya, kaya panahon nang singilin ng gobyerno ang Tsina (We are not a colony so it's about time that we have China pay)," she also says.

In her resolution, Hontiveros says "unlawful Chinese activities in the West Philippine Sea are estimated to have caused at last P33 billion in damage annually to marine ecosystems within the Philippines' continental shelf and exclusive economic zone" since 2013, the year that the Philippines filed its arbitration case.

April 22, 2020

The Philippines has sent the Chinese Embassy two diplomatic protests, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. says on his Twitter account.

He says the protests are on "1. on the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in Philippines waters and 2. [on] declaring parts of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province—both violations of international law and Philippine sovereignty."

September 15, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo chides presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, telling him that he should be better informed of what exactly President Duterte has stated before presenting his own "interpretation," so they can stop contradicting each other in public.

Her statement comes after Panelo called her out for "misplaced and flamboyant remarks" in response to the president's remark about ignoring the arbitral ruling for a joint oil and gas exploration deal with China.

"Litong lito talaga ako, kasi ang sinasabi ni pangulo, iba sa sinasabi niya. Nagsabi si pangulo na i-set aside iyong arbitral ruling; ang sabi niya, hindi iyon iyong gustong sabihin," Robredo says on her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong LENI on RMN-DZXL 558.

Robredo says the administration should put a stop to this "practice" as contradictions between the president's statements and Panelo's "clarifications" only make things even more confusing for the people. 

August 20, 2019

The White House accuses China of "bullying tactics" in the increasingly tense waters of the South China Sea and says it will resist Beijing on the dispute.

"China’s recent escalation of efforts to intimidate others out of developing resources in the South China Sea is disturbing," President Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton tweets.

"The United States stands firmly with those who oppose coercive behavior and bullying tactics which threaten regional peace and security."

 

 

— AFP

July 31, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana should do more than acknowledge China's harassment and bullying of Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea, activist fsherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) says.

"Finally, a high-ranking official from the Duterte administration has recognized that there is an actual harassment of Filipino fishers in our own territorial waters. But we dare Mr. Lorenzana to walk the talk, if he is aware and is already fed up by the Chinese bullying and the subservience of his commander-in-chief Rodrigo Duterte to the foreign aggressor, then he must decisively act to stand with the Filipino fisherfolk and the people in upholding our sovereign and territorial rights," the group says in a statement.

Lorenzana on Tuesday said in response to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua speech at the anniversary of China's People's Liberation Army that China is a peace-loving nation that he considers China's takeover of Scarborough Shoal, also called Panatag and Bajo de Masinloc, as bullying.

July 11, 2019

An overwhelming majority of Filipinos believe it is important to that the Philippines regain control of islands in the West Philippine Sea that are occupied by China, the latest Social Weather Stations survey suggests.

SWS says 93% of respondents in its Second Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey said it is important "that the control of the islands that China currently occupies in the West Philippine Sea be given back to the Philippines," with 74% answering it is "very important" and 19% saying it is "somewhat important".

In contrast, 1% each said it is "somewhat not important" and "not at all important". Another 4% were undecided, SWS says.
 
"The latest figure of 93% saying it is very important/somewhat important that the Philippines regain control of the China-occupied islands in the West Philippine Sea is 4 points above the 89% (72% very important, 17% somewhat important) in December 2018. It was 87% (72% very important, 15% somewhat important) in September 2018, and also 87% (69% very important, 18% somewhat important) in June 2018," SWS also says.

In the same survey, 89% said it is "not right for the government to leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence in the claimed territories," SWS says. It adds the proportion has increased steadily in four surveys conducted since June 2018.

July 5, 2019

While the Philippines is still verifying the incident, fellow maritime claimant Vietnam joins the United States in raising concern over China's missile test in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the "East Sea."

"Vietnam suggests that all activities in the East Sea (South China Sea) should respect sovereignty and legitimate and legal interests of countries and observe international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, contributing to regional peace, security, stability and cooperation," Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang says in a statement.

June 19, 2019

Filipinos must continue to defend the West Philippine Sea as a matter of duty, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio tells reporters after the oath-taking of Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan party-list).

"My generation laid the foundation by winning the arbitral ruling that the West Philippine Sea belongs to Philippines — and the next generation, including your generation, must build on this foundation so that our exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea will belong truly to the Filipinos," he says.

Carpio, who has been holding talks and symposia on the West Philippine Sea, says says Filipinos should have exclusive rights to the resources in the WPS, "including Reed Bank because that’s part of our EEZ."

Manila calls Reed Bank the Recto Bank.

June 13, 2019

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

June 13, 2019

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.

June 13, 2019

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.

June 13, 2019

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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