Philippines to China: Stop Scarborough Shoal plan

al jareeza 11 hours ago

Diplomatic protest planned against Beijing as President Duterte calls for regional guidelines to resolve sea disputes.

Chinese ships spotted last September at Scarborough Shoal, which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone [AP File]

The Philippines plans to file a “strong” protest against China after it announced preparatory work for an environmental monitoring station on a shoal in the South China Sea, as President Rodrigo Duterte called for regional guidelines governing the disputed area.

Justice Minister Vitaliano Aguirre told reporters in Manila on Tuesday the government would file a complaint against Beijing’s plan to construct a radar station on Scarborough Shoal.

“The case which will be filed is fairly strong I think,” Aguirre said.

READ MORE: China rolls out the red carpet for Rodrigo Duterte

Aguirre said the Philippines would also renew its strong ties with the US in the face of China’s aggressive action in the shoal, which is 229km from the Philippine island of Luzon.

“As a matter of fact, we’re strengthening the relationship with the United States,” he told reporters.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella also said in a statement that the country would take necessary action to defend and protect its sovereignty and entitlements in the disputed maritime borders.

“President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly asserted that the Philippines is not giving up its claims and our entitlements over the area,” he said.

The news comes as Duterte urged Southeast Asian leaders to complete rules on the South China Sea, “to maintain the peace and stability in the region”.

“We recognise too that respect for freedom of navigation and overflight is in the interest of all countries within and outside the region,” said Duterte following a meeting with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in Bangkok.

Prayut said Thailand, which also claims parts of South China Sea, supports a resolution to disputes through international mediation.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha welcomes Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Bangkok on Tuesday [Reuters]

‘I can’t stop China’

Only two days earlier on Sunday, Duterte was quoted as saying the Philippines “cannot stop China” from proceeding with its plan.

“What do you want me to do? Declare war against China? I can’t. We will lose all our military and policemen tomorrow and we [will be] a destroyed nation,” said Duterte.

The president’s statement alarmed Philippine legal scholars, including Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, who said the president has the constitutional responsibility to defend the country’s territory.

Five years ago, China started blockading the Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop within the Philippines’ 322-km exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and the United States has warned Beijing against carrying out the land reclamation work there.

Last week, the mayor, who is in charge of administration of the disputed South China Sea islands and reefs controlled by China, said preparatory work was being planned this year to build monitoring stations on a number of islands, including in the Scarborough.

China until late last year had two to three coastguard ships guarding the shoal and stopping Filipinos from tapping its vast fish stocks.

An international tribunal ruled last year that Beijing violated Manila’s entitlements and no country has sole rights to fish there.

However, just days after Duterte visited China and heralded a new era of ties, Filipinos returned to fish at the periphery of the shoal, unimpeded by Chinese vessels.

China has put missiles and radar on some of its seven manmade islands in another part of the South China Sea, a strategic waterway claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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This entry was posted in Biển Đông (SCS), Philippines and tagged , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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