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August 12, 2016

Vietnam entered the disputed South China Sea a new rocket launcher

Vietnam entered the disputed South China Sea a new rocket launcher

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Vietnam has heightened tensions over the South China Sea dispute, by positioning a new mobile rocket launcher, capable of reaching Chinese runway and military facilities being built in the middle of important international shipping trade routes. Reuters reported diplomats and military intelligence, indicating that Hanoi has repositioned the launchers onto the Spratly Islands from the mainland in recent months, a move that could raise tensions with Beijing.

Launchers are hidden from aerial reconnaissance, they are not yet armed, but can be armed within three days. However, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry says information is “inaccurate”, but did not elaborate.

Deputy Defence Minister, Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh, told Reuters in Singapore in June, Hanoi had no such transmitter or weapons in the Spratlys but reserved the right to take any such measures.

Vietnam military strategists worry that China’s construction of a runway, a radar tower and other military facilities has left Vietnam’s southern and island defences increasingly vulnerable. The development is the most important defence Vietnam has made on the South China Sea for decades.

Hanoi also wants radio transmitters in place, because it expects tensions with China to rise, after a landmark judgment in the International Court of arbitration in the Philippines, which ruled China does not hold sovereign rights over the territory in the South China Sea.

Vietnam, China and Taiwan claim all of the Spratly Islands, while Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim some of them.



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July 14, 2016

UN tribunal dismisses Chinese claims to South China Sea

UN tribunal dismisses Chinese claims to South China Sea

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

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On Tuesday, a United Nations (UN) tribunal in The Hague dismissed China‘s sovereignty claims to the South China Sea, a body of water connecting to the Pacific Ocean which is also bordered by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Court battles over the claims between China and the Philippines go back to 2013.

These claims were established by China during the reign of its Nationalist government in the 1940s, marked by a demarcation line nicknamed its Nine-dash line. Its line stretched hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland, including about nine tenths of the entire sea. The South China Sea is a valuable property, providing passage for about US$5 trillion in trade by planes and boats every year. China is not the only country to claim large parts of the sea; notably, Taiwan and Vietnam have also done so, but other large-scale claimants have been less militarily active about their claims than China.

China has built several artificial islands and military bases in the South China Sea. The tribunal scolded the impeding of fishing and exploration in the sea by China, which it deemed against the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), signed by China in 1982. The tribunal also concluded China knowingly permitted the poaching of endangered turtles and clams as well as destroyed coral reefs to construct artificial islands.

UNCLOS permits countries to claim a 200-nautical mile area from their mainland, referred to as an exclusive economic zone. It also permits freedom of navigation, allowing unimpeded exploration through “high seas”: international waters also available for the use of fishing and trade passages.

There is no process to enforce the decision. UNCLOS allows countries to exclude themselves from “compulsory binding procedures for the settlement of disputes” as defined in Part XV, Section 3 – Article 298. China exercised this right to exclude themselves from compulsory binding procedures on August 25, 2006. They reject the jurisdiction or authority of the tribunal’s findings. Various other countries have also exercised Article 298 partially or fully, such as Australia, Canada, the UK, Russia, and France.

Many nations made statements after the decision. The Chinese government opposed the decision, calling it “ill-founded”. It said “China neither accepts nor recognizes” the decision. The Philippine government referred to the decision as a “milestone decision”. The US, a key ally with many of the countries claiming parts of the sea, said it was an “important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea”.



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September 30, 2015

VIETNAM’S PRESIDENT URGES WASHINGTON TO LIFT ARMS EMBARGO TOWARDS VIETNAM

Vietnam’s president urges Washington to lift arms embargo towards Vietnam

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Truong Tan Sang

Speaking on Monday’s interview with the AP as world leaders gathered at the UN, Vietnam’s president Truong Tan Sang urged Washington to fully lift a ban in lethal weapons sales to Vietnam. He believes that act will demonstrate Vietnam-US relations have been fully normalized after 40 years since the end of Vietnam War.

“The moment the United States fully lifts the ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam will send a signal to the whole world that the Vietnam-U.S relations have been fully normalized” and there’s no mistrust between the two nations, Sang said.

He also said that President Obama’s visit to Vietnam this autumn is expected to consolidate a comprehensive partnership formalized when Sang visited Washington in 2013.

When asked about his attitude towards China’s acts, he said the concerns of Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries are “obvious and easy to understand because the acts by China seriously affect the maritime safety and security in the sea. He emphasized “the importance of a peaceful environment to realize new goals for sustainable development just agreed at the UN”.

Also, in another interview with VOA, he called on the claimants to pursue peaceful resolution to the South China Sea dispute.

“Vietnam would like to resolve the issue through international laws, and that is the only way to go forward. Regarding bilateral issue between Vietnam and China, we will negotiate with other bilaterally,” Sang said. “Other multilateral ones such as the Spratly issue, which is related to six parties, then all sides should deal with China.”



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Vietnamese president urges lifting arms embargo

Vietnamese president urges lifting arms embargo

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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File photo of Truong Tan Sang (November 2011).
Image: Presidencia Perú.

Vietnamese president Truong Tan Sang has called for an end to the US arms embargo against his country, as a final step in the restoration of ties between the two countries. The embargo has been in force since the end of the Vietnam War in April 1975. Lifting it would “send a signal to the whole world that the Vietnam-U.S relations have been fully normalized” he said, speaking to Associated Press at the start of the United Nations General Assembly.

He also said that President Obama’s visit to Vietnam this autumn is expected to consolidate a comprehensive partnership formalized when Sang visited Washington in 2013.

When asked about his attitude towards China’s acts, he said the concerns of Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries are “obvious and easy to understand because the acts by China seriously affect the maritime safety and security in the sea. He emphasized “the importance of a peaceful environment to realize new goals for sustainable development just agreed at the UN”.

Also, in another interview with VOA, he called on the claimants to pursue peaceful resolution to the South China Sea dispute.

“Vietnam would like to resolve the issue through international laws, and that is the only way to go forward. Regarding bilateral issue between Vietnam and China, we will negotiate with other bilaterally,” Sang said. “Other multilateral ones such as the Spratly issue, which is related to six parties, then all sides should deal with China.”



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August 13, 2014

India urges peaceful settlement of disputes at South China Sea

India urges peaceful settlement of disputes at South China Sea

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File photo of USS Freedom crossing the South China Sea in 2013.
Image: U.S. Navy.

As the tensions continue to grow over the disputes in the South China Sea, External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj asked on Sunday for all nations involved to resolve this issue in a peaceful and coherent manner.

Addressing the fourth East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Form (ARF) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar on Sunday, she said “India opposes the use or threat of use of force” and backs the freedom of navigation with due acceptance of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. She further emphasised India urges for the implementation of the guidelines within the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

A petroleum company based in India, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), operates in a number of oil blocks under South China Sea with consent of Vietnam, in the same Phu Khanh basin. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) identified that basin as potentially containing large hydrocarbon deposits. India’s ONGC was given exploration permits in blocks 127 and 128; there are already drilling operations of US‘s ExxonMobil, three permits; and Australian Santos, in block 123; as well as other operators such as Origin Energy, Chevron, Plains Exploration and Neon Energy.

China has objected against the Indian presence, calling for foreign countries to stay out of the South China Sea, maintaining China’s claims there as indisputable. China’s sweeping sovereignty claims in the South China Sea clash with several ASEAN nations such as Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.



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January 23, 2013

Philippines seeks United Nations arbitration on South China Sea claims

Philippines seeks United Nations arbitration on South China Sea claims

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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The Philippines said yesterday it will take China to an arbitration tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on a series of territorial disputes involving the South China Sea.

According to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Manila chose this move after exhausting “almost all political and diplomatic avenues.” He also says he has already informed the Chinese ambassador in Manila.

Disputes such as those involving the Scarborough Shoal and China’s Nine-dotted line map are likely to be tackled. The Philippines has stated the map issued by China is unlawful under UNCLOS, which includes both countries as signatories.

The Philippines and China are involved in a variety of disputes in the South China Sea along with Taiwan and ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The current chair of ASEAN, Brunei, has stated it seeks a legally-binding “code of conduct” for the disputes.



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November 21, 2012

Philippines to host four-country meeting about South China Sea disputes

Philippines to host four-country meeting about South China Sea disputes

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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South China Sea maritime claims, June 2011.
Image: Voice of America.

The Philippines announced today it will host a meeting on December 12 in Manila regarding territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The meeting of deputy foreign ministers is to be attended by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the host country.

The meeting is a new step in attempts to solve disputes between these countries and China. China has previously stated it wishes to solve the disputes bilaterally instead of multilaterally. It comes after the failure of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to produce a consensus on how to solve the disputes during a summit this month. Cambodia, an ally of China, is the current chair of ASEAN.

Current disputes in the South China Sea include areas such as the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal. China and Taiwan each claim nearly the whole sea while the countries attending the meeting claim parts of it.

The area contains abundant fishing grounds and important shipping lanes. Large fossil fuel deposits are believed located in the area.



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January 28, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 28, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, January 28, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

EU official resigns over anti-piracy treaty

Rapporteur to the European Parliament Kader Arif has resigned yesterday in protest over the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by 22 members of the European Union on Thursday. He said “I will not participate in this masquerade.”

Reaction to the signing treaty, which has still to be ratified, was strong in Poland; thousands protested in Poznan and Lublin, and in the Polish Parliament members of the Palikot’s Movement donned Guy Fawkes masks in protest.

The European Commission website maintains that “Anything you can do legally today is still legal after the ratification of ACTA.”



French troops to end Afghan combat role a year early in 2013

Speaking yesterday after a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced France will end its Afghan combat missions in 2013 — a year earlier than planned.

Following the death of four French soldiers at the hands of an Afghan soldier last week, Sarkozy had threatened early withdrawal of French troops.



United States and Philippines discuss enhanced defense cooperation

The United States and the Philippines are discussing the possibility of enhanced defense cooperation, according to officials of both countries. However, there are no plans for bases along the lines of the former United States bases at Subic Bay and Clark Air Base.

The talks come in the context of a shift of United States strategic focus toward Asia, and Chinese claims in the South China Sea.





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January 18, 2012

India and China to develop friendly relations

India and China to develop friendly relations

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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India and China planned to resolve boundary disputes peacefully and develop friendly relations with each other in the 15th round of boundary talks begun Monday. Shivshankar Menon, National Security Advisor, represented India while Dai Bingguo represented China.

To control the Sino-Indian border effectively, Liu Zhenmin, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister, and S. Jaishankar, India’s ambassador to China, signed an agreement titled “Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs”. The text of the agreement, as released by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, states, “[The mechanism will] undertake other tasks that are mutually agreed upon by the two sides but will not discuss resolution of the Boundary Question or affect the Special Representatives Mechanism.”

The agreement allows live contact between the countries’ foreign offices for problems along the Sino-Indian border, officially called the Line of Actual Control (LOAC). Also, meetings are to be held in each of the two countries alternately, once or twice annually. The two sides see the agreement as an important step in gaining trust and strengthening each other.

Relations between the two countries have not been good since the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The relations lapsed in 2011 due to visa rows and exploration of oil in South China Sea. Further, the Dalai Lama’s refuge in India has caused friction with China. China also claims 90,000 square kilometers of land governed by India in the Tibetan region and India claims 38,000 square kilometers of Kashmir held by China.

Analysts say China is facing both economic problems, and difficulties with neighbouring countries. Its major allies North Korea and Pakistan have their own troubles. China maintains unfavorable relations with other neighbours like Vietnam, Australia, and Japan.

The ‘return to Asia’ strategy of the United States focuses on China, and India figures in it as an important ally.

Dai wrote in a newspaper column, “What we face is a golden period to grow China-India relations. The world has enough space for China and India to achieve common development, as there are so many areas for us to work together”. He further added during the session, “While working hard to develop itself, China is fully committed to developing long-term friendship and cooperation with India.”

Dai claimed trade between the two countries has increased by a factor of 20 in the last ten years. He summarized, “As neighbors and two big countries with a combined population of 2.5 billion, China and India can join hands, seize the historic opportunity, and work together to further advance our friendship and cooperation”.

The boundary talks were to be held in November, but were postponed over Chinese disapproval of India allowing the Dalai Lama into a Buddhist meet in New Delhi.



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July 3, 2011

Philippine Foreign Secretary Del Rosario to visit China amid South China Sea territorial dispute

Philippine Foreign Secretary Del Rosario to visit China amid South China Sea territorial dispute

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

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Location of the Spratly Islands
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on June 23, 2011.
Image: United States Department of State.

Del Rosario with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Image: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey.

Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario is scheduled to visit China from July 7 to 9, raising hopes that a territorial dispute between the two countries may be resolved.

A six-nation dispute has escalated in the sea concerning territorial claims to several islands including the Spratly Islands. The area is thought to be rich in natural gas and oil. Both the Philippines and China wish to have a peaceful resolution to this conflict. “I’ve been invited to Beijing and we’re looking for peaceful means to settle the challenges facing us,” said Del Rosario.

The news comes after the United States and the Philippines began a series of naval exercises last week in the South China Sea, scheduled to last for 11 days. A Philippine military commander stated that the drills are part of an annual series of activities taking place under a defense agreement between the two countries and have nothing to do with the territorial dispute.

The Philippines maintains a close relation with the U.S. as a former territory of the nation.

The drills come at a time when several competing disputes in the South China Sea have begun to intensify. “Since February 25th, we actually have noted as many as nine intrusions of different varieties, but clearly becoming more aggressive and more frequent,” said Del Rosario. Several countries in Asia, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan, have territorial claims in the area spanning the Spratly and Paracel Islands. The region may be rich in oil and gas reserves. The US and Philippines have urged the (ASEAN) to address the conflict.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has argued that the United States would remain neutral regarding the disputes. She has also said that the United States has a “national interest” in freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and unimpeded, lawful commerce in the South China Sea.” Both countries are bound by a 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

On June 27, the US Senate unanimously passed a motion condemning “the use of force by naval and maritime security vessels from China in the South China Sea.” China, on the other hand, has stated that it will not use force to resolve disputes in the South China Sea.



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