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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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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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South China Sea maritime claims

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

The meeting is a new step in attempts to solve the disputes between these countries and with 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 come up with a consensus on how to solve the disputes. Cambodia, a well-known ally of China and the current chair of ASEAN, refused to take-up the disputes during the recent summit in November.

Current disputes in the South China Sea are likely to be discussed in the meeting. These include areas such as the Spratly Islands, the Paracel Islands, the Pratas Islands, the Scarborough Shoal, and Macclesfield Bank. China and Taiwan claims the whole sea while the countries attending the meeting claim parts of it.

The area is abundant in fish and marine life and is also an important shipping lane. Large fossil fuel reserves, such as petroleum and natural gas, are believed to be located in the area.



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November 21, 2011

Myanmar dissident Suu Kyi to run for parliament in by-elections

Myanmar dissident Suu Kyi to run for parliament in by-elections

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Monday, November 21, 2011

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Myanmar political dissident Aung San Suu Kyi will run for a seat in parliament in upcoming by-elections, National League for Democracy (NLD) senior official Nyan Win announced today. The NLD decided Friday to participate in the by-elections, but Suu Kyi did not say directly then that she would run.

The by-elections include 48 seats in Parliament, all of which the NLD intends to contest. Dates for the elections have not yet been set.

Suu Kyi was released from house arrest last year. She had stated she would only accept an unconditional release, not a release on conditions. On Friday, in advocating participation in the upcoming by-elections, she remarked, “Some people are worried that taking part could harm my dignity. Frankly, if you do politics, you should not be thinking about your dignity.”

The military junta of Myanmar held elections last November, which NLD boycotted since many dissidents — including Suu Kyi — were not allowed to run. The junta responded by legally revoking the NLD’s status as a political party. The NLD voted Friday to re-register as a party.

Last year’s election was the first since 1990, when the NLD won a landslide that the military junta refused to acknowledge. A year later, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Various parties have acknowledged recent signs of political reform in Myanmar, such as the relaxing of the law that had prevented Suu Kyi and many other political dissidents from participating in elections last year. Suu Kyi in a speech last Monday was cautiously positive about recent developments. US President Obama announced Friday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Myanmar in December, an unprecedented move since the military coup in Myanmar in 1962. The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) at its recent summit decided to allow Myanmar to hold ASEAN’s rotating chair in 2014.



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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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January 21, 2009

ASEAN basketball league moves closer to reality

ASEAN basketball league moves closer to reality

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tony Fernandes of AirAsia will be one the major backers for the new basketball league

The formation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Basketball League this week almost certainly ensures that a professional basketball league will be run across southern Asia. In planning for almost two years a US$5 million backing from Malaysian business tycoons Tony Fernandes of AirAsia and Indonesian media mogul Erick Thoir should see the league commence in September this year. The goal is to boost the mainstream popularity of basketball which, according to organizers of the new league, is already the second most popular team sport behind football.

Fernandes believes using overseas professional players will help increase the competitiveness and skills of the local ASEAN players. Fernandes said, “The aim is to develop local talent. Foreign players from outside ASEAN will be role models. Maybe one day our players will play in the NBA.”

Singapore Slingers John Fitzgerald. The Slingers are planning to confirm participation in the new league shortly.
Image: Bjorn Engelhardt.

Singapore’s The Straits Times quoted secretary general of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Patrick Baumann, as saying “Asia was ready for a professional league but warned organizers will have to ensure it doesn’t fade away after a few years. The time is right but it is not going to be simple to sustain the league”. He further added that “there has to be good entertainment. The clubs need to be managed professionally and well funded. You cannot have the league for one or two years and then stop.”

Addressing concerns over the current financial crisis and its possible impact on the launch of the league Fernandes said, “Yes, there will be a lot of obstacles and road blocks. But no mountain will stop us. During an economic downturn like now, this new league will create jobs.”

The composition of the league is still under discussion however it is expected that at least eight teams will part of the series this year. Each nation will be permitted a maximum of two privately owned teams. Other details including prize money, sponsorship and number of games is still in planning. The league will be organised by the South-east Asian Basketball Association which governs basketball across the region.

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Singapore Slingers are expected to be one of the first confirmed teams in the new competition. Bob Turner, CEO of the Slingers, said “We are definitely very interested. We believe that this will take the sport to the next level and we hope to confirm our entry as soon as possible.”

The league is tentatively scheduled to start in September 2009 and continue until February 2010. It will initially consist of eight teams that will play on a home-and-away basis. The champion will be the last team standing after a knock-out playoff round.

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ASEAN basketball league closer to reality

Filed under: ASEAN,Asia,Basketball,Culture and entertainment,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tony Fernandes of AirAsia will be one the major backers for the new basketball league

The formation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Basketball League this week almost certainly ensures that a professional basketball league will be run across southern Asia. In planning for almost two years a US$5 million backing from Malaysian business tycoons Tony Fernandes of AirAsia and Indonesian media mogul Erick Thoir should see the league commence in September this year. The goal is to boost the mainstream popularity of basketball which, according to organizers of the new league, is already the second most popular team sport behind football.

Fernandes believes using overseas professional players will help increase the competitiveness and skills of the local ASEAN players. Fernandes said, “The aim is to develop local talent. Foreign players from outside ASEAN will be role models. Maybe one day our players will play in the NBA.”

Singapore Slingers John Fitzgerald. The Slingers are planning to confirm participation in the new league shortly.
Image: Bjorn Engelhardt.

Singapore’s The Straits Times quoted secretary general of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Patrick Baumann, as saying “Asia was ready for a professional league but warned organizers will have to ensure it doesn’t fade away after a few years. The time is right but it is not going to be simple to sustain the league”. He further added that “there has to be good entertainment. The clubs need to be managed professionally and well funded. You cannot have the league for one or two years and then stop.”

Addressing concerns over the current financial crisis and its possible impact on the launch of the league Fernandes said, “Yes, there will be a lot of obstacles and road blocks. But no mountain will stop us. During an economic downturn like now, this new league will create jobs.”

The composition of the league is still under discussion however it is expected that at least eight teams will part of the series this year. Each nation will be permitted a maximum of two privately owned teams. Other details including prize money, sponsorship and number of games is still in planning. The league will be organised by the South-east Asian Basketball Association which governs basketball across the region.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Will the ASEAN Basketball League be a success?
Add comment

Singapore Slingers are expected to be one of the first confirmed teams in the new competition. Bob Turner, CEO of the Slingers, said “We are definitely very interested. We believe that this will take the sport to the next level and we hope to confirm our entry as soon as possible.”

The league is tentatively scheduled to start in September 2009 and continue until February 2010. It will initially consist of eight teams that will play on a home-and-away basis. The champion will be the last team standing after a knock-out playoff round.

Sources

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 25, 2008

‘King Taksin operation’ enters second day, Thai government disrupted

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

PAD founder Sondhi Limthongkul speaking at a rally in 2006.
Image: exceedcharge.

Billing their campaign of disruption as the ‘King Taksin operation’, the Thai anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) succeeded yesterday in having the day’s parliamentary session cancelled. In moving into the second day of blockades and protests, they have expanded their operations to disrupt government business.

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Taksin (not to be confused with the fugitive ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra) was an 18th century Siamese monarch noted for his prowess in warfare, the unification of Thailand, and expelling Burmese influence. One tale of his exploits details ordering rice bowls to be broken before a battle, the implication being his troops would not eat until victory was achieved. Within Thailand he is known as ‘Taksin the Great’, and the association the PAD is trying to make is in line with their claim to be pro-monarchy.

PAD protesters had begun massing on Sunday, and yesterday morning they besieged the parliament building, forcing the joint MP and Senate sessions to be cancelled. A call for a parallel strike by public sector workers met with apathy; it had been hoped this would further disrupt the running of the country and help bring down the People’s Power Party (PPP) government of Somchai Wongsawat.

With parliament out of action, PAD protesters began targeting additional offices of the government. Key among these is the temporary home of the cabinet, Don Mueang, the old Bangkok international airport. The government has been operating out of some of the mothballed buildings at the airport since the PAD seized the main Government House compound and buildings in late August.

The government asserts that the constitutional changes which the PAD is vehemently opposed to were not on the agenda for Monday’s session. Instead Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) related legislation was to be discussed. As the current chair of ASEAN, concern has been expressed that Thailand may lose face if unable to ratify a variety of treaties at the upcoming meeting in Chiang Mai, north Thailand. The protesters have vowed to disrupt parliamentary sessions until it goes into recess, or the government stands down.

Thaksin Shinawatra at the Pentagon in 2005.

In the aftermath of last month’s clashes, where two protesters were killed when police used tear gas, the authorities have avoided any confrontation that could turn violent. When protesters massed at parliament, police allowed them to lay siege to the empty building. Similarly, the protest outside the old international airport has been unimpeded. Measures are in place to prevent occupation of the buildings, but no clashes have occurred. Operation of domestic flights from other parts of the airport have continued without disruption although travellers have been warned to allow extra time getting to the airport due to traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, the PAD’s arch-nemesis, the deposed ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, has stated his intention to return to Thai politics and condemned the UK government for revoking his visa. In an interview with Abu Dhabi’s Arabian Business, Thaksin stated, “With me at the helm I can bring confidence quickly back to Thailand. We have to find a mechanism under which I can go back, that is why I must tell you that I will go back into politics.” The full interview is due to be published this Sunday.

He bemoaned the decision of the British government to cancel his visa; now in self-imposed exile and facing a two year prison sentence, should he return to Thailand, he is believed to be staying in Dubai. According to The Bangkok Post, the UK decision now makes him a wanted man on the run.


Related news

Sources

  • Jonathan Head “Thailand protesters extend action”. BBC News Online, November 25, 2008
  • “Parliament paralysed”. The Bangkok Post, November 25, 2008
  • “Breaking face”. The Bangkok Post, November 25, 2008
  • Thai News Agency “Ministers flee as protesters move on temporary Govt House”. MCOT, November 24, 2008
  • “PAD set to launch ‘king taksin operation'”. The Nation (Thailand), November 24, 2008
  • “‘I’ll be back'”. The Bangkok Post, November 24, 2008


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

June 19, 2007

Supporters of Myanmar\’s Suu Kyi mark detained leader\’s 62nd birthday

Filed under: Archived,ASEAN,Myanmar,Thailand — admin @ 5:00 am

Supporters of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi mark detained leader’s 62nd birthday

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

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Aung San Suu Kyi at the NGO Forum on Women, Beijing, China (1995).
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained leader of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar marked her 62nd birthday today, still under house arrest, where she has spent most of the past 17 years.

About 250 supporters met at the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon, not far from Suu Kyi’s home, and held a rally calling for her release. Doves and balloons were released into the air, under the watchful eyes and video cameras of around 50 plainclothes police officers, who were stationed across the street.

The police force was augmented by a dozen truckloads of members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association, the political arm of the State Peace and Development, the junta that rules Myanmar.

“The doves symbolise peace. We also released colourful balloons, which rise like her prestige when they fill the sky,” NLD women’s wing leader Lai Lai was quoted as saying by Agence France Presse.

With the party marking marking Suu Kyi’s birthday as “Myanmar Women’s Day,” Lei Lei read out a statement at the ceremony, calling Suu Kyi “irreplaceable” and praising her “honesty, bravery and perseverance.”

Security was beefed up around Suu Kyi’s lakeside home on University Avenue, which is usually open to traffic during daytime, but is closed on significant anniversaries such as Suu Kyi’s birthday or the May 30 anniversary of her detention.

NLD supporters said police were also watching their homes.

“Plainclothes police circled around my house on their motorcycles last night until dawn,” Su Su Nway, 34, was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse. She was arrested on May 15 with 60 others during a prayer rally for Suu Kyi in Yangon, and was released for health reasons on June 7. She said around 52 NLD supporters were still in custody.

Suu Kyi is generally barred from receiving visitors, so she spent the day alone. Except for her maid, a personal physician, a dentist and an eye specialist, the only other person to visit with Suu Kyi in the past year was United Nations Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari, whom she met for one hour last November at a government guest house.

Winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 11 of the past 17 years, continuously since 2003. Her National League for Democracy won a landslide election in 1990, but the military, which has ruled Myanmar since 1962, refused to honor the results. The country is also known as Burma, but the military government renamed it Myanmar in 1989.

Calls for Suu Kyi’s release have been issued by the NLD, various world bodies and other countries, but the pleadings have been met by no response from the generals.

“In our view, until their constitution is ratified, she will not be released,” Sann Aung, a Bangkok-based leader of the Burmese government-in-exile was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“They are worried that she will be a threat to the National Convention and the referendum,” he told Reuters, referring to the planned national referendum on a new constitution that is being written by the generals.

The Nation newspaper in Bangkok marked Suu Kyi’s birthday with an editorial, saying that sanctions against the Myanmar regime have been ineffective.

“The junta has earned huge amounts of foreign revenue from oil and gas exports, with prices jacked up many times over. With rich mineral resources, energy hungry countries have been attracted to Burma despite the repressive nature of the junta,” the editorial said, also making note of a recent deal that Russia has made to build nuclear reactor in Myanmar.

The paper also said Myanmar bodes ill for the 10-member regional grouping.

“As long as Aung San Suu Kyi remains incarcerated, ASEAN’s reputation and the group’s international standing will be tarnished. Asean leaders have repeatedly appealed to the Burmese junta to free her, but to no avail … today, Burma is the black sheep of ASEAN. Without any current provisions for sanctions, Burma will remain as intransigent in the future as it is today.”

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