PH can sue China for war threat - Justice Carpio

by Garry Watts May 26, 2017, 13:09
PH can sue China for war threat - Justice Carpio

BEIJING (AP) — A framework agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea marks a potentially significant step toward cooling tensions in the strategic waterway, analysts said Friday.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said the text of the framework would remain secret for now, and Philippine officials said it would be submitted to foreign ministers for consideration in August. But he called on others to stay out, in an apparent coded message to the United States.

All countries involved have agreed not to release the framework document, but to maintain it as an internal document at this time since the consultation will continue and they do not want any external interference, Liu said.

Christopher Roberts, Associate Professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy campus of the University of New South Wales said he believes any agreement between China and ASEAN will be "code-of-conduct lite". ASEAN has always been divided over the issue of the South China Sea, with some of the non-claimant states in particular (with the notable exception of Indonesia and Singapore) having expressed reservations about pushing back too hard against Beijing on the issue.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday that "it is very inappropriate" that the joint statement made by Japan and New Zealand this week involves the South China Sea.

Regardless of the ruling in favor of the Philippines, the next Philippine leader, Rodrigo Duterte, has declared his "realignment" with China and has agreed that China and the Philippines should hold joint naval drills, even though he did order the Philippine Navy to boost its presence on the islands under Philippine control. The terms were reached at a meeting in the southwestern province of Guizhou.

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Reuters reported that the Fiery Cross Reef is administered by China but also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Sta. Romana said the Philippines and China will pursue possible areas of maritime cooperation in the South China Sea "without prejudice to our respective claims".

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, a key shipping lane that is believed to be rich in mineral and marine resources.

With a view to creating a sound atmosphere for the healthy and steady growth of bilateral relations and for the smooth progress of practical cooperation in various fields, both sides exchanged views on the importance of addressing concerns in the South China Sea and handling incidents and disputes in the South China Sea in an appropriate manner.

Chito Santa Romana, Philippine Ambassador to China, says that Manila didn't get the assurances it wanted from the United States and the worldwide community that they would support the Philippines in any conflict with China over the South China Sea.

The 72-year-old Philippine leader said he was making the threat public to dispel allegations by critics, including former foreign affairs officials, that he was being soft in dealing with China with regards to the dispute.


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