China bridge collapse kills three, injures two

Robie de Guzman   •   October 11, 2019   •   1126

Three people died and two were injured when a highway bridge collapsed on Thursday (October 10) in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu, state media said.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage, taken from a driver’s dashboard cam, showed the moment when the bridge collapsed onto several vehicles.

The bridge, in the city of Wuxi, fell on three cars below, killing three people in two of the vehicles, although the third vehicle was empty, official state news agency Xinhua said.

Three cars and two trucks fell from the bridge as it collapsed.

City and transport ministry officials are investigating the cause of the accident, Xinhua said. (Reuters)

(Production: Thomas Suen)

PH diplomatic protest vs China law won’t affect COVID-19 vaccine procurement — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines Malacañang on Thursday expressed confidence that the diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines, questioning China’s new coast guard law, will not affect the country’s plan to procure vaccines developed by Chinese firms.

“Walang pong epekto yan, dahil ibang usapin naman ang bakuna. Ang bakuna po is actually humanitarian act of the entire planet earth in response to humanitarian disaster,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online press briefing.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday said Manila filed a protest against Beijing’s move to pass a new law allowing its coast guard to undertake all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.

Locsin said that while enacting a law is a sovereign prerogative, the new law – given the area involved which is the South China Sea – is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies it.

Malacañang has welcomed the filing of the diplomatic protest, saying that this is consistent with the country’s position that while states can enact laws as part of their sovereignty, this must be done in compliance with the United Nations (UN) charter which prohibits the use of force unless by way of self-defense or when authorized by the UN Security Council.

“We welcome the diplomatic protest of the DFA, and this will prove that the Philippines is fully committed to the rule of law and will assert all its right available under existing principles of international law to defend its interests,” Roque said.

China’s new law is expected to stoke tensions anew in the disputed waters where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes the Philippines and three other South China Sea claimants, are currently negotiating for a more binding code of conduct in the contested waters. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

US reaffirms pledge to defend PH vs any attack in South China Sea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has reaffirmed its pledge to defend the Philippines against any attack in the South China Sea, according to U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price, as published in the US Embassy in the Philippines website.

Price said Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on January 27 spoke with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr. in which the two officials “reaffirmed that a strong U.S.-Philippine Alliance is vital to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

Price emphasized America’s rejection of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, reiterating the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty for the security of the Philippines and the US.

“Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty for the security of both nations, and its clear application to armed attacks against the Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea,” Price said.

“Secretary Blinken also underscored that the United States rejects China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea to the extent they exceed the maritime zones that China is permitted to claim under international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention,” Price added.

Price also emphasized America’s pledge to stand with Southeast Asian claimants in the face of PRC pressure.

“The two secretaries committed to continue building upon a relationship founded on shared strategic interests and history, democratic values, and strong people-to-people ties,” the official said. -AAC

Philippines protests China’s new law allowing coast guard to fire on foreign vessels

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed a diplomatic protest over China’s new law allowing its coast guard to fire on a foreign vessel in areas it claims in the disputed South China Sea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin broke out the news in a tweet on Wednesday (January 27).

The new Chinese law was passed and adopted on January 23, 2021, authorizes the China Coast Guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”

It covers the South China Sea where several Southeast Asian nations are into a territorial conflict.

Locsin said such a law can be likened to a “verbal threat of war” to any country that would defy it.

China’s new legislation is expected to escalate tensions anew among claimants in the disputed territory including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

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