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Weely News 21 – 28 March

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- (Inquirer 25/3) Vietnam poachers nabbed in Palawan - A Philippine law enforcement team onboard two slow outrigger boats caught six Vietnam nationals poaching inside Palawan waters using a speedboat fitted with three 60 horsepower engines.

- (Breitbart 24/3) Manila set to pursue oil development in S. China Sea, China piqued+

- (Sify News 24/3) Indian, Singaporean navies hold war game in China's backyard - the exercise aimed at enhancing the interoperability and mutual understanding between the two navies, an Indian Navy press release said here Thursday.

- (Energy & Capital 24/3) China's Next Oil War - China’s energy demand is insatiable. The country's state-owned oil firms are on an international buying spree and a disputed group of islands in the South China Sea could be the catalyst for the next oil war.

- (Inquirer 23/3) Philippines set for oil drilling amid China spat

Asked to confirm the contractor's work plan, Energy Undersecretary Ramon Allan Oca told Agence France-Presse Wednesday: "I think that's a fairly correct statement." Asked to comment, Chinese embassy spokesman Sun Yi requested a copy of the Forum Energy announcement, but did not return subsequent calls by AFP.

- (Manila Standard Today 23/3) UK oil firm completes South China Sea survey

“We have now met our contractual commitments with the Energy Department under service contract 72 and look forward to making further investments into the project,”, Robin Nicholson,executive chairman of Forum Energy Plc of the UK

- (Asia Times 23/3) Philippines embraces US, repels China

A recent tussle over the Spratly Islands has dampened warming China-Philippine relations and has reinvigorated Manila's strategic partnership with the United States. The diplomatic realignment, forged over a territorial dispute, could have important strategic implications depending upon Beijing's reaction to Manila's more overt pro-US orientation.

- (The Diplomat 22/3) Teamwork Time Against China

First, the Philippines should join Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia in asserting that the Spratlys don’t deserve EEZs or continental shelves of their own, or at least deserve little of these maritime zones. And second, the smaller countries in the disputes should start to exploit their numbers advantage

- (Chronicle Herald 21/3) No need to panic over Chinese warship off coast of Libya

One of the most ironic developments in the Libyan crisis is the reaction of American military pundits to China dispatching a warship to the Mediterranean Sea.

The warship Xuzhou, which media outlets described as a "4,000-ton frigate, fully armed with air defence missiles," or simply as a "Chinese missile ship," would appear to a layperson to be both massive and powerful. The rationale that American analysts give for the Chinese deploying the Xuzhou is "projecting China’s power off the coast of Libya."

However, If the Americans have anything to fear from the Chinese, it should be that Chinese banks underwrite most of the U.S. foreign debt, not that a solitary warship is sailing off the coast of Libya.

-(ISRIA 20/3) Philippines - Continuing Dialogue Essential on the South China Sea

The Chinese Government has given its reply to the Philippines' Note Verbale seeking an explanation on the 2 March 2011 Reed Bank incident, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario. The two countries have agreed to keep the channels of communication open on the matter.

- (Phil Star 20/3) China's military dominance over Spratlys affecting international trade – report 

China’s military dominance over the hotly-contested Spratly Islands will affect the free flow of international trade in the area classified by local and foreign military planners as a strategic link between the world’s east and west economies, according to a report by local military strategists. On top of this, the seabed in that part of the South China Sea is believed to contain and hold the world’s largest oil deposit, which China wants to have overall control of, the report said. “Control of this archipelago means control of sea lanes from Persian Gulf to South China and the Pacific,” the local military strategists said.

- (Phil Star 20/3) Mixed signals

In the light of diplomatic skirmishing and the recent statement by the Chinese ambassador, Rodolfo Severino’s “Where in the World is the Philippines? Debating its National Territory” comes as a timely reminder. We are inviting trouble because we have not defined our national territory. Instead we have a jumble of laws and agreements including the Constitution, sometimes contradicting each other.

Severino says the Philippines is probably the only country that defines its territory in its Constitution. He cites the provision. 

Severino’s book should push the new government to make a lasting legacy by defining Philippine territory. The problem of the Spratly claim is already on top of us. China has stated categorically that it would abide by UNCLOS. But without defining what constitutes Philippine territory, what will we negotiate about?

 


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