Chinese exec lists how China can win in Ayungin row
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - April 3, 2014 - 12:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — An outspoken Chinese military general insisted that China should be stern in its dispute with the Philippines over the Ayungin Reef in the hotly-contested Spratlys.

Luo Yuan, vice president of a Beijing-based think tank of retired military officers, made "recommendations" on how China can protect the reef, also known as the Second Thomas Shoal.

According to a report by Taiwan-based English news site Want China Times, Luo said Thursday that Beijing must make public Manila's diplomatic memorandum in 1999 when the BRP Sierra Madre ran aground the shoal.

Luo, the People Liberation Army's most quotable policy hawk, said that the Philippines gave China the "upper hand under the law and public opinion" in asking permission to allow the vessel to stay in the waters.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila had said that the government does not have technical resources to tow the vessel.

Luo added that Beijing can declare as expired the dilapidated ship's term in the shoal while offering to help remove the beached vessel for a fee.

He said China should also charge the Philippines for the Philippine Navy ship's refuge in the area for the past 15 years.

Forbidden circle

Luo, an ultranationalist military academician, also wants China to draw a "red circle" on the map covering Ayungin to mark an identification zone requiring all foreign vessels to ask clearance for passage.

He said that China may also opt to position itself as a protector of vessels and aircraft crossing the South China Sea by establishing communication or relief stations in the waters.

The United States, meanwhile, urged freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, where about a third of the world's trade passes through.

Luo, however, overlooked the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone stated in an international convention. He claimed that the US determined the Philippines' boundaries in 1898 when it ceded the Southeast Asian territory.

"[These historical details] should also be made public to reveal the truth," he said.

Alleged environmental abuses

The Philippines can also be placed at a disadvantage as it causes environmental damage in the sea, Luo said.

"China should take journalists to the seas near the Second Thomas Shoal to collect evidence of environmental damage caused by the Philippines in breach of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," the retired military official said, as quoted in the report.

Luo also advocated for the development of Ayungin's resources, which the Philippines can stake business interests in.

He said that Beijing can then offer Manila "priority consideration" in the area's exploitation.

AYUNGIN AYUNGIN REEF BEIJING CHINA CONDUCT OF PARTIES DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS LUO PEOPLE LIBERATION ARMY SECOND THOMAS SHOAL SOUTH CHINA SEA
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