China military says aware of U.S. carrier in South China Sea

UNTV News   •   February 23, 2017   •   2872

Sailors man the rails as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier departs on deployment from Naval Station North Island in Coronado, California, U.S. January 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

China’s defense ministry said on Thursday it was aware of the presence of a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group in the South China Sea and China respected freedom of navigation for all countries in the waters there.

The U.S. navy said the strike group, including the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, began “routine operations” in the South China Sea on Saturday amid growing tension with China over control of the disputed waterway.

Defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said China had a “grasp” of the situation regarding the carrier group in the South China Sea.

“China hopes the U.S. earnestly respects the sovereignty and security concerns of countries in the region, and earnestly respects the efforts of countries in the region to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Ren told a regular monthly news briefing.

“Of course, we also respect freedom of navigation and overflight for all countries in the South China Sea in accordance with international law,” he added.

The situation in the South China Sea was generally stable, Ren said.

“We hope the actions of the U.S. side can contribute positive energy towards this good situation, and not the opposite.”

Good military relations between the two countries are in interests of both, and well as of the region and the world, and China hoped the United States could meet China half way, strengthen communication and avoid misjudgment, Ren said.

Friction between the United States and China over trade and territory under U.S. President Donald Trump have increased concern that the South China Sea could become a flashpoint.

China wrapped up its own naval exercises in the South China Sea late last week. War games involving its only aircraft carrier have unnerved neighbors with which it has long had rival claims in the waters.

China lays claim to almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the waters that have rich fishing grounds, along with oil and gas deposits.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of man-made islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and expressed concern they could be used to restrict free of movement.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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.

Gordon lauds Locsin for filing diplomatic protest vs China’s new law

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A senator on Thursday commended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for filing a diplomatic protest against a new law passed by China that allows its coast guard to shoot foreign vessels in the contested areas in South China Sea.

“I commend Secretary Locsin for taking a very important and valiant action by standing up for our rights. He did right by our country, and we support him wholeheartedly,” Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Senate Committee on justice and human rights, said in a statement.

Locsin on Wednesday said he has filed a diplomatic protest against China for its new law, which he called a “verbal threat of war” to any country that defies it.

China’s legislative body last week passed the law that allows 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.

“When another country claims the oceans surrounding us, which we claim, even threatens to demolish our fishing boats or fishing boats of any country that get to that ocean or that sea, this is a serious cause for concern. This is a shot in the bow of all the claimants in the territories,” Gordon said.

Other senators have also expressed concern over the measure that could endanger the lives of Filipino fishermen who venture in the disputed parts of the West Philippine Sea.

The law is expected to stoke tensions anew in the 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 3 other South China Sea claimants, are currently negotiating for a more binding code of conduct in the contested waters. 

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