Tuesday, 19 July 2016

PLA Air Force conducts combat air patrol in South China Sea

Undated photo shows a Chinese H-6K bomber patrolling islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao in the South China Sea. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a combat air patrol in the South China Sea recently, which will become a "regular" practice in the future, said a military spokesperson on July 18, 2016. The PLA sent H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao, said Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force. (Xinhua/Liu Rui)

China to make 'regular' air combat patrols over South China Sea

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a combat air patrol in the South China Sea recently, which will become a 'regular' practice in the future, said a military spokesperson on Monday. http://t.cn/Rtz9LNO


 https://youtu.be/EaSjEMenPr0

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force conducted a combat air patrol in the South China Sea recently, which will become a "regular" practice in the future, said a military spokesperson on Monday.

The PLA sent H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao, said Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force.

During the mission, the aircraft carried out tasks including aerial scouting, air combat and island and reef patrol, fulfilling the patrol's objective, Shen said.

The Air Force aims to promote real combat training over the sea, improve combat abilities against various security threats and safeguard national sovereignty and security, according to the spokesperson.

"To effectively fulfill its mission, the air force will continue to conduct combat patrols on a regular basis in the South China Sea," he said.

Shen pointed out that the South China Sea Islands have been China's territory since ancient times, and China's rights and interests in relevant maritime areas should not be infringed upon.

"The PLA Air Force will firmly defend national sovereignty, security and maritime interests, safeguard regional peace and stability, and cope with various threats and challenges," he said.


Chinese naval commander urges more cooperation with US

The commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy Wu Shengli has stressed that China and the United States have key roles in ensuring peace and stability in the South China Sea, and cooperation between the navies of the two countries is 'the only correct option.'http://t.cn/Rtz9Mir

Wu made the remarks on Monday while meeting with his U.S. counterpart Admiral John Richardson and his delegation to discuss maritime security.

Describing the current security situation in waters around China as "complicated and sensitive" and noting the escalating South China Sea issue, Wu said Richardson's visit will be beneficial for the two countries to strengthen communication, promote trust, resolve doubts and avoid misjudgments.

"We will never sacrifice our sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea," Wu said, stressing that it is China's "core interest" and concerns the foundation of the Party's governance, the country's security and stability and the Chinese nation's basic interests.

Wu said that China will not recede over territorial sovereignty or fear any military provocation, which the Chinese navy is fully prepared to cope with.

"We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands halfway... the Nansha Islands are China's inherent territory, and our necessary construction on the islands is reasonable, justified and lawful," Wu said.

He stressed that "no matter what country or person applies pressure," China will push forward and complete island construction as planned.

According to Wu, China will never be caught off guard, and the number of its defense facilities is completely determined by the number of threats it faces.

Wu vowed that China will never give up its efforts to solve the South China Sea issue peacefully, despite "many negative factors at present," but also warned that "any attempt to force China to give in through flexing military muscles will only have the opposite effect."

Wu expressed his hope that the two countries' air and maritime forces fully follow the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters to avoid strategic misjudgment or exchange of fire, and to jointly ensure the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Wu called on the two sides to promote strategic mutual trust, seek common ground, expand the scope of cooperation and create new momentum for China and the United States to develop a new type of major-power relations between the two countries.


Wu: China won't halt construction in South China Sea

Admiral Wu Shengli, the Commander of the Chinese Navy, has held talks in Beijing with the US Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson, amid tensions in the South China Sea.

South China Sea arbitration award won't hamper China-ASEAN cooperation: experts

SINGAPORE, July 18, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on July 18, 2016 shows the Think Tank Seminar on South China Sea and Regional Cooperation and Development held in Singapore. Organized by the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the seminar attracted more than 20 experts from academic institutes in China and countries in the region, including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)

SINGAPORE, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The so-called South China Sea arbitration award will not hamper cooperation between China and the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), experts said here on Monday.

The ad hoc arbitral tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration, set up at the unilateral request of the former Philippine government, last Tuesday issued an ill-founded award sweepingly sided with Manila, denying China's long-standing historic rights in the South China Sea.

China has refused to participate in the proceedings, reiterating that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence related to territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation, and has also made clear that it neither accepts nor recognizes the award and the award "is null and void and has no binding force."

China has also reaffirmed that it will continue to endeavor to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea with parties directly concerned through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.

Nearly one week after the so-called award was rendered, more than 20 experts on international law and foreign relations from academic institutes in China and Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia convened here Monday for the Think Tank Seminar on South China Sea and Regional Cooperation and Development, which was organized by the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In a keynote speech at the seminar, Zhao Qizheng, former minister of China's State Council Information Office, reiterated that the ad hoc arbitral tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case.

Zhao said the Philippine tax payers' money was used for a pile of waste paper, blasting the tribunal for "taking big money to do dirty things" and describing its proceedings as "amateurish and unsightly, null and void."

Zhao's remarks were echoed by attendees, who also agreed with Zhao that the disputes can only be settled through dialogue and by deepening China-ASEAN ties.

Kong Lingjie, vice dean of China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, China's Wuhan University, criticized the so-called arbitration, branding it as "a bold interpretation and ambitious development of article 123(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"The most absurd ruling was on the Taiping Island's status as a rock," said Kong, adding that the ruling would deny most of the Nansha Islands' rights to exclusive economic zones.

In this case, Kong said, the arbitration violated the international law and fabricated "an illegal definition of the distinction between islands and reefs."

Experts at the seminar also voiced support for the notion of bringing concerned parties involved in the South China Sea issue back to the negotiating table.

Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, said he believes that China and the Philippines should start the dialogue process to solve the dispute.

"It is not true that a great power has been bullying small countries," Zheng said, noting that certain countries in the region kowtow too much to the United States.

Zheng suggested that China and other concerned parties over the South China Sea issue could firstly initiate cooperation in maritime rescue efforts, fishery and protection of maritime resources.

At the one-day seminar, experts, in addition, all agreed that the arbitration would not impede the cooperation process between China and the ASEAN countries.

Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the seminar that there lies a huge potential for the development of China-ASEAN ties.

"With the strategic opportunity produced by China's 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative, the two sides are planning to upgrade their free trade agreement," Li said.

Zhao Qizheng, meanwhile, underscored the fact that China became ASEAN's biggest trade partner in 2009.

He said that despite the difficulties, including territorial disputes, the intervention of countries outside the region and the not well-established cooperation mechanism, the communication and cooperation between China and the ASEAN members has never ceased and has brought great benefits to all countries.

"It is beyond doubt that maintaining regional peace and stability, and keeping the momentum of cooperation and development is in the best interest of all," Zhao said.

- by Zhang Ning, Lin Hao Xinhua

Experts: 'Award' won't settle disputes

Nearly 30 legal and political experts from China and Southeast Asian countries have compared notes on the South China Sea arbitration case at a think-tank seminar in Singapore.

Biased award in South China Sea arbitration has no binding force: expert


SINGAPORE, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The biased award rendered by an arbitral tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration has no binding force as the ad hoc tribunal violated international law principles and standards, an expert said here on Monday.

Sienho Yee, chief expert at the Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies of Wuhan University, said the arbitral tribunal adopted an excessively expansive interpretation of the jurisdictional grant, played a game of words, and distorted the text of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The wrongful exercise by the tribunal did a substantial damage to the international rule of law, he said, adding that it had failed to consider and respect the limitations imposed by UNCLOS and China's intents and purposes in invoking its explicit right under the convention to exclude disputes concerning maritime delimitation and historic titles.

"It is manifestly clear that the tribunal abuses its power and as a result the award is null and avoid," he told Xinhua during a think tank seminar on South China Sea and regional cooperation and development.

Yee also pointed out that the arbitral award was not generally accepted, so they would be with no binding force.

"The large number of states supporting China's positions seems to show that the decisions of the tribunal are not generally acceptable and therefore are without binding force," he said.

The Chinese government said the ad hoc arbitral tribunal established at the unilateral request of the Philippines has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and the award rendered by it is null and void with no binding force.

The tribunal had exemplified the philosophy of "the end justifies the means" by excessively expansive interpretation of the jurisdictional grant and the sweeping final award, in a bid to exhibit its determination to settle any dispute that may exist in its view, while disregarding any other issues such as respect for the sovereignty of the states involved, said Yee.

"The danger of this philosophy to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the international legal system, international rule of law and the world order at large is clear, and we must guard against this danger," he said.

Unmasks manipulator behind South China Sea arbitration


Citing a survey from the Xinhua News Agency, a People’s Daily article has unmasked Shunji Yanai as a manipulator behind the null South China Sea arbitration.


Shunji Yanai (Photo: www.itlos.org)

Published on Monday, the article names Yanai, a Japanese diplomat and former president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), played a key role in the case. He appointed four of the five-member arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea case, the fifth appointed by the Philippines.

Yanai appointed the four members because China did not agree to the arbitration.

Rightist, hawkish, pro-American, unfriendly to China...these are the labels people often associate with Yanai, the article said. His closeness to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also no secret. Such an academic and political background also speaks for his political inclination during his tenure in the ITLOS.

Coming from a diplomatic family, Yanai entered the Japanese Foreign Ministry upon graduation in 1961, where he was involved in sensitive projects related to the Diaoyu Islands and the Japan-US security alliance.

But in 2001, he left the Foreign Ministry along with three other officials amid a series of embezzlement scandals within the ministry.

However Yanai, on recommendation of Japan despite his tainted record, became a judge of the ITLOS in 2005 and president of the organization from 2011 to 2014.

After the Philippines unilaterally initiated the arbitration case against China in 2013, a five-member arbitral tribunal was created by Yanai, the then president of the ITLOS.

The Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, adopted by the UN to better maintain justice, stipulated that the extra-judicial activities conducted by the judges and arbitrators should not contradict their work or impede the judicial process.

However, Yanai also served as a mastermind of the Japanese government on military actions and security policies when he worked for the ITLOS.

With close ties to Abe, Yunai served as chairman of an expert panel advising the prime minister on security laws. In May 2014, his panel presented a report to Abe, advising to revise the country's constitution and lift the ban on Japan sending its military overseas.

As a result, Japan, in 2015, ended its 70 years of pacifism by enacting controversial security laws that allow for Japan to dispatch troops overseas to engage in armed conflict.

As conflicts between China and Japan over the sovereignty and delimitation of the Diaoyu Islands increased in recent years, Yanai advocated to lift the ban on Japan sending its military overseas and expanding the Japan-US military alliance to gain a military edge.

Given the maritime conflicts and historical issues between China and Japan, as well as Yanai's political leanings, he is not the right person to engage in the South China Sea issue. Also, it is not surprising that Yanai generally chose arbitrators that were biased against China.

In addition, the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary also clarify that in exercising rights, judges shall always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of their office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.

However, Yanai has a clear political position as a rightist. During his term on the private panel, he repeatedly told Japanese media that the country has not given up its right to collective self-defense as prescribed in their constitution.

In a program by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, he also asked Japan to resort to the Japan-US Security Treaty for security assurance, claiming that the UN is useless in this regard, thus exposing his double-sided nature.

"From the results of the arbitration, people can see that it was conducted by a bunch of people who knew very little about South China Sea issues," said Motofumi Asai, a former official of the Japanese Foreign Ministry in charge of China affairs and a former colleague of Yanai.

"The arbitration was obviously conducted in accordance to the will of the Abe administration," he said.

All these facts prove that Yanai’s political background and leaning run counter to the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary. Yanai’s tribunal was flawed in both justice and validity from the very first day of its establishment, the article concluded. -  (People's Daily Online)

Related:  

Japan's interference makes summit unlikely

 

 Philippine media: Gov't spent $30 mln on arbitration

Philippine media report that the government spent 30 million US dollars on the South China Sea arbitration case over the past three and half years. Neither the Philippines nor the tribunal have given details of that spending. But we can get some idea from published charges and past tribunal fees.


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