Author Topic: Who owns the Spratlys? Palace invokes pro-PHL arbitral ruling vs. China for the  (Read 1112 times)

adroth

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Who owns the Spratlys? Palace invokes pro-PHL arbitral ruling vs. China
Published April 12, 2019 9:18pm
Updated April 13, 2019 12:23am
By VIRGIL LOPEZ, GMA News

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/691107/palace-invokes-pro-phl-arbitral-ruling-vs-china/story/?utm_source=GMANews&utm_medium=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR3UIwuwiTjdmvGSvZU8L2Dfd_3Y2OqFjeibuRN6m1_T3vJknxPYc389p5I

Malacañang on Friday for the first time invoked the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that invalidated China's historic claims over most of the South China Sea including the Philippines exclusive economic zone.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo made the remark after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that the Spratly Islands or Nansha, as the Chinese call them, were part of Chinese territory.

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See also:

Award: PCA Case No. 2013-19 -- the Philippines vs. China

Re: Retitled: Pag-asa rehabilitation moving ahead . . . at last

Duterte insists West PH Sea et. al. belong to PH

adroth

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"Buying time", as laid out in "Kobayashi Maru" scenario, was bound to be tested sooner than later. Only the geopolitically unaware would have thought that China would not respond, in one way or another, to Philippine attempts to buttress is position.

https://amti.csis.org/philippines-launches-spratly-repairs/

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Philippines Launches Spratly Runway Repairs
Published: May 25, 2018

The Philippines has begun long-delayed repairs to its crumbling runway at Thitu, or Pag-asa, Island, the largest of its nine outposts in the Spratly Islands and home to upwards of 100 civilians and a small military garrison. Thitu sits just over 12 nautical miles from China’s air and naval base at Subi Reef, and was the site of a tense standoff with a Chinese flotilla last August. Philippine defense officials in April 2017 announced that they would be upgrading facilities at the country’s occupied islands and reefs, but little work was apparent until now. In addition to the runway repairs, a comparison of recent imagery with photos from February 2017 shows minor upgrades to facilities on Thitu and three other outposts in the last year.



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Satellite imagery from May 17 shows two barges anchored just off the western edge of the Thitu Island runway, which collapsed into the sea years ago. It appears that a grab dredger, consisting of a crane with a clamshell bucket, is installed on the smaller barge to the west, while the other carries a backhoe. Loose sediment from dredging can be seen in the water around the two barges and freshly-deposited sand is visible along the northern edge of the runway.

This method of dredging is similar to that used by Vietnam at several of its outposts in recent years. While still harmful to the marine environment, it affects surrounding reefs at a smaller scale and is far less environmentally destructive than the suction cutter dredging undertaken by China, which destroyed thousands of acres of reef from late 2013 to early 2017.



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According to 2014 reports, when repairs were previously mooted, the repair process would involve two steps. First, dredgers would clear a small harbor on Thitu near the runway. The coral reef surrounding Thitu makes it impossible for large ships to approach, as evidenced by the rusting hulk of the BRP Lanao del Norte, a Philippine Navy ship that ran aground in 2004 while trying to dock. Once dredgers have cleared a harbor and an approach, larger ships carrying the heavy machinery necessary to repair the runway would be able to dock and begin the second step, focused on the runway.

The airstrip at Thitu Island was originally constructed in the 1970s and was the first runway in the Spratly Islands. It is officially 1,300 meters long, but the real figure is closer to 1,200 due to the collapse of the western end. That, along with the poor condition of the runway surface, makes landings and takeoffs difficult for Philippine C-130s like the one that carried Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr., then chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to the island in May 2015:

In addition to the start of work on the runway, other upgrades are visible around Thitu. At least seven new buildings have been constructed in the last year, with four near the residential area on the eastern side of the island, one near the administrative facilities at its center, another along the northern shore, and one at the western end next to the island’s basketball court, which has received a fresh coat of paint. Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in November that the country had started building a new beach ramp to more easily bring in supplies, but that site cannot be seen in the May 17 imagery due to cloud cover and no new ramp was visible as recently as February.






While Philippine defense social media favors discussions about the acquisition of military hardware . . .

USS WASP LHD 1 and the PHILIPPINE NAVY's BRP Tarlac (LD 601) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS 16) steam together in the South China Sea during Exercise Balikatan, which wraps up this week after training to reinforce maritime security, territorial defense capabilities, and disaster response.

https://www.facebook.com/USPacificFleet/photos/a.141807462969/10157046811602970/?type=3&theater&ifg=1



. . . the low hanging fruit for China would be to choke the Philippines economically.

So rather asking how soon the latest and greatest equipment will be bought and arrive, a more pressing concern for the Defense of the Republic of the Philippines is:

How far along are the Philippines' preparations for the inevitable 2nd PH-CN Banana (et. al.) War?

http://defenseph.net/drp/index.php?topic=305.0

adroth

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China rebuffs PH officials, maintains Spratly Islands is its territory
Published April 12, 2019, 5:21 PM
By Roy Mabasa

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/04/12/china-rebuffs-ph-officials-maintains-spratly-islands-is-its-territory/?fbclid=IwAR1J3lGfqHGUgOHBLmrQ9DYo6RJJgYnui3g8SljoAR7qIOc8M3RLL4In9Wc

China has rebuffed statements earlier made by some Philippine officials regarding the situation in Spratly Islands (known as Nansha in Chinese), saying that the area is “within China’s territory” and the rights of its fishermen “should not be challenged.”

“We have taken note of those remarks made by the Philippine officials. The Nansha Islands are within China’s territory, for which we have sufficient historical and legal basis. For thousands of years, Chinese fishermen have been fishing in these waters in the South China Sea. Their rights should not be challenged,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said during a press conference in Beijing on Thursday.

The Chinese foreign ministry official was apparently referring to statements made by Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo telling Chinese fishermen swarming around Pag-asa Island they have no business being there and “should go away.”

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