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China’s President Xi to visit PH on Nov. 20-21

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 19 November 2018 10:35 AM

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the first meeting of the French-Chinese business council in Beijing, China, January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool

MANILA, Philippines –China’s President Xi Jinping is set to arrive on Tuesday (November 20) to Wednesday (November 21) for a two-day state visit through a personal invitation from President Rodrigo Duterte.

This is the first time that a Chinese President will step foot on Philippine soil after 13 years since the state visit of former Chinese President Hu Jintao during the time of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005.

The two countries’ diplomatic ties went through rough sails when tensions over territorial claims escalated.

Xi and Duterte’s meetings are expected to rekindle ties and bolster cooperation between the two countries.

“These face-to-face meetings are so important because they promote understanding and goodwill between the leaders and also show a good example to their citizens that you know Philippines and China should cooperate more closely and again, cooperation comes from understanding each other’s position very well,” said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier announced that the highlight of Xi’s visit will be the Philippines signing in to China’s Belt and Road Initiative – a development strategy that involves massive infrastructure development as well as trade and investments in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the South Pacific.

Xi’s visit will also involve the signing of agreements on financial assistance from China to fund the Duterte administration’s infrastructure projects.

Though China’s offer will bring huge benefits to the Philippines, Secretary Dominguez clarified that the provisions of the Belt and Road Initiative and other deals will still be reviewed before final signing.

“We will certainly review it again, this belt and road agreement,” he assured.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with President Duterte in Davao City last month to facilitate the arrival of the Chinese President. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Analyst: ICC case vs China’s Xi Jinping faces challenges

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 22 March 2019 08:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The complaint filed by two former high-ranking Philippine officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing many challenges, a maritime law expert said on Friday (March 22).

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario filed the complaint on March 13 on behalf of Filipino fishermen, accusing Xi and other Chinese government officials of committing crimes against humanity for implementing “systematic plan to control the South China Sea.”

“Over the several years, Chinese President Xi Jin Ping has ordered engineers to pile sand onto some of the sea’s disputed offshore reefs, mostly in the Spratlys, with the apparent goal of building military bases there,” the group stated in their communication.

“[Chinese Foreign Minister] Wang Yi is the Primary promoter of China’s plan in the South China Sea,” the complainants said.

“As China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Xiao Jianhua defends, promotes and facilitates the crimes stated in this communication,” they added.

The complainants said the situation is both unique and relevant because “it presents one of the most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the environment on humanity’s history.”

“It adversely affects and injures not only myriad groups of vulnerable fishermen, including 320,000 Filipino fishermen, but also present and future generations of people across nations,” the complainants added.

But Prof. Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said the complaint faces many challenges, including questions on whether ICC has jurisdiction of the case.

“’Yung loss of livelihood kasi it doesn’t per se fall under categories of crimes sa ICC. Medyo maraming magiging paliwanag pang kailangan kung talagang papasok iyon (the loss of livelihood does not per se fall under the ICC”s categories of crimes. It needs more explanation on whether it really falls under its jurisdiction),” Batongbacal said.

Despite reports on China’s alleged harassment against Filipino fishermen in the contested waters, massive reclamation of reefs and militarization in the region, the analyst thinks the complaint is lacking in certain elements.

“Hindi siya nag-involve ng tinatawag na use of force in international law, iyong aktibong pag-atake at paggamit ng dahas. Tapos in terms of injuries, hindi naman natin makita ‘no kung mayroong physical injury talaga, kahit nangyari iyon sa [Vietnamese fishermen], pero sa atin walang report. Threat lang o banta (The issue doesn’t involve what we call use of force in international law. There is no active armed attack. In terms of injuries, we do not see any physical injuries, even if it happened to Vietnamese fishermen, but in Filipinos, there was no report. Just threats),” he explained.

“Ang concern ay loss of fishing resources, iyong pag-regulate sana, paghinto sana ng illegal fishing sa ating EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), iyong mga gano’n pwede iyong pag-usapan sa ibang bodies tulad ‘nung within the UN (United Nations) System (The obvious concern here is the loss of fishing resources, the regulation or stoppage of illegal fishing. Those kind of concerns may be discussed by other foreign bodies within the UN system),” he added.

The Philippines’ formal withdrawal from the Hague-based body could also obstruct the case filed by del Rosario and Carpio-Morales, aside from the fact that China has never been a member of the ICC.

“Mayroong malaking obstacle diyan, iyong fact na hindi naman ever naging miyembro ng ICC ang China. Tapos pangalawa na iyong tayo, nag-withdraw pa tayo kasi supposedly, dapat iyong partido diyan ay involved iyong mga state, (There is a very big obstacle here, the fact that China is not a member of the ICC. Next is the Philippines’ withdrawal from the body. Supposedly, the states who are parties to the case should be involved with the ICC)” Batongbacal said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has lauded the “bold, unprecedented” move of Carpio-Morales and del Rosario to call the attention of the ICC on the plight of local fishermen affected by the maritime dispute.

“It’s in fact a masterstroke na nagpapakita kung bakit kailangan manatili tayo sa ICC. Kasi kung ganyan na foreign aggressor ang involved eh saan tayo pupunta? Kundi sa isang independent international body with universal jurisdiction (that shows why we really need to remain in the ICC. Because if a foreign aggressor is involved in the case then where will we go? To an independent international body with universal jurisdiction),” de Lima said in a statement.

READ: Duterte: ICC case vs Xi won’t strain PH-China ties

President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, expressed confidence that the case won’t affect the stronger diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Mai Bermudez)

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Duterte denies Bacolod mayor’s involvement in illegal drugs

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 22 March 2019 12:33 PM

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia | Photo from Mayor Leonardia’s Facebook page

President Rodrigo Duterte denies the involvement of Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia in illegal drugs.

A video was posted on the president’s Facebook page, where he reiterated his support for Leonardia and his candidacy.

He also called out former Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella to stop splicing videos just to discredit Leonardia.

“But I want to tell mga taga Bacolod, wala akong sinabi about diyan. But kung tanuning ninyo kung sino para sa akin, I do not want a guy na making a fraud sa lahat ng sinasabi ko, (I did not say anything about the matter. But if you are going to ask me, I do not want a guy making a fraud out of everything I say.)” the president said.—Aileen Cerrudo

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Duterte: ICC case vs Xi won’t strain PH-China ties

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 22 March 2019 12:11 PM

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping of People’s Republic of China pose for a photo prior to their expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañan Palace on November 20, 2018. | PCOO\King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte remains positive that the stronger diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China will not be jeopardized by the case filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Duterte expressed the remark on Thursday (March 21) after two former high-ranking Philippine officials filed a communication against Xi before the ICC for China’s supposedly aggressive militarization and reclamation in the disputed territories in the South China Sea.

“No, I’m sure it won’t,” Duterte said when asked if the case would affect the ties between the two countries at the sidelines of the 122nd Anniversary celebration of the Philippine Army in Taguig City.

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario filed the complaint on behalf of Filipino fishermen allegedly injured and persecuted by China’s “most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the environment on humanity’s history” in the South China Sea.

Carpio-Morales and Del Rosario also accused Xi and other Chinese officials of committing crimes against humanity for implementing “systematic plan to control the South China Sea.”

The complainants said that China’s “atrociously inhumane actions” that “adversely affects and injures not only myriad groups of vulnerable fishermen, including 320,000 Filipino fishermen, but also present and future generations of people across nations” remain unpunished.

“They are entitled to file the case. They are Filipino citizens and I think we’ll just also have to defend our position vis-à-vis sa kanila. They think they have a good case and I would say that there is no jurisdiction over this country and of China,” Duterte said.

“The Philippines is a democratic country and anybody can bring a suit against anybody, but whether or not it would prosper, or whether or not we have the jurisdiction, that’s something else,” he added.– Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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