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Sunday, December 17, 2017

South China News

Map courtesy: AFP

US, Japan Keen to Raise South China Sea at G-7

South China Sea warning looms over G7 summit. The United States is keen to raise the issue of South China Sea at a Group of Seven foreign ministers (G-7) meeting in Hiroshima. The US expects that this move would likely draw an angry response from the government in Beijing. Japan also wants to discuss South China Sea. The Shinzo Abe administration of Japan has been trying to place the South China Sea on top of the agenda at the upcoming two-day meeting in Hiroshima, despite pressing issues of combating terrorism and extremism, and the refugee crisis troubling Europe and the Middle East.

Pic: International Affairs.org

US, Australia and EU Warn China on South China Sea

China was warned by many the United States and the European Union  that it should respect a ruling later this year on its dispute with the Philippines over territory in the South China Sea, reports Reuters. In a message has been sent to China, which is attempting to turn the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea into military strongholds, US warned that its self-serving actions are unacceptable. With the South China Sea in mind, a joint statement by the leaders…

Containership Alliance Launches Asia-Europe Service

Members of the G6 Alliance announced today that their groundbreaking cooperation in Asia-Europe container shipping will begin operation in the first week of March – one month ahead of schedule. “We are eager to roll out our competitive products to benefit customers by offering a comprehensive and increased coverage of 40 ports in the Asia-Europe market with more sailing frequency,” the members said in a statement. The G6 Alliance, serving the Asia-to-Europe-and-Mediterranean market was announced last December.

Photo: Council on Foreign Relations

South China Sea Boils Up

The overlapping territorial disputes in the South China Sea involve China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam have recently been moving from bad to worse. Vietnam is seeking to upgrade its air defences by acquiring western fighter jets and drones, a move which would further militarize a dispute with Beijing over territorial claims in the South China Sea. Taiwan's coast guard has commissioned its biggest ships for duty in the form of two 3,000-ton patrol vessels…

Photo: Hapag-Lloyd

THE Alliance Sets Out Service Plans

The members of THE Alliance announced the details of the plan for their product starting from April 2017. THE Alliance plans to deploy a fleet of more than 240 modern ships in the Asia /Europe, North Atlantic and Trans-Pacific trade lanes including the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf/Red Sea. The start of THE Alliance as the most integrated liner shipping consortia is scheduled for April 2017 (subject to completion of all relevant regulatory requirements). “The product of THE…

ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. Photo by US-ASEAN Business Council, Inc.

US-ASEAN Connect Initiative, Thanks to South China Sea

The United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are taking their relationship to a new level, thanks to heated tensions in the South China Sea. China, a key ally of North Korea, has said its committed to denuclearizing the Northth Korea, but has not been to agree with the US or the United Nations on how to achieve that goal. Asean leaders have reiterated their stand on wanting a peaceful resolution to the overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Official Portrait Photo John Kerry -@JohnKerry

Kerry to Press ASEAN meeting for talks on SCS Disputes

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will urge Southeast Asian nations in meetings in Laos next week to find diplomatic ways to launch talks with China on easing tension over the South China Sea following an international court ruling that denies China's claims in the sea. Kerry travels to Laos' capital Vientiane on Monday for meetings of foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of South East Asia Nations where tensions between China and several ASEAN members, in particular the Philippines and Vietnam, over the South China Sea is expected to dominate talks.

Challenges in the South China Sea. Map by Transatlantic Academy

G7 May Address South China Sea Dispute

AFP reports that the G7 summit would express concern about unilateral efforts to assert sovereignty claims in the disputed South China Sea. John Kirton, director of think-tank the G7 Research Group, has said maritime disputes between China and its neighbours would be on the agenda of the summit in Germany. Japan's Yomiuri newspaper also said Saturday the summit would take up the issue. Citing sources, the paper said a closing statement would express concern about unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

Map source: UNCLOS, CIA

China Justifies Reclamation of Islands in South China Sea

China has justified its reclamation work on some disputed islands in the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea, saying they would be used for military defense and to provide civilian services that would benefit other countries. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying defended China’s island-building work in contested waters saying that it was being used for maritime purposes and not aimed at making claims at the expense of other nations. "We are building shelters…

Map by Transatlantic Academy

China Hooked to South China Sea

Despite US President Barack Obama’s warning  thatthe land reclamation work in the strategically important South China Sea would affect peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in the area, China might press on, reports SCMP. Obama said he had “candid” discussions with President Xi Jinping on Asia-Pacific disputes, voicing concerns about Chinese militarisation of artificial islands in the waters where China has competing territorial claims with several Southeast Asian neighbours.

China Cruise Ship to Visit Disputed Islands

China's plans to sail a cruise ship to the Paracels Islands in the South China Sea ahead of the nation's coming May Day holiday likely to escalate tensions. China is planning to let tourists visit the Xisha Islands (the name China has given to the Paracels Archipelago) ahead of the forthcoming May Day holiday, according to  Vietnam's Thanhnien News, citing a  China state news agency Xinhua  report. An unnamed 47,000 tons cruise ship owned by Haihang Group with accommodation for 1,965 passengers is ready for sailing.

Photo: Public Relations Office, Cabinet Office and Office of Global Communications, Japan

G7 Meeting to Tackle Sea Row in Asia Pacific

Group of Seven (G7) leaders will call for respect for the rule of law and peaceful resolution to conflicts in a joint statement to be issued Friday at the end of their two-day summit, taking a swipe against China's territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, reports Nikkei. The leaders, without singling out China, will dismiss “unilateral actions that could alter the status quo” in a declaration to be issued after their summit, the sources said. The document will not explicitly name Beijing.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying attends the press conference on May 4, 2015. Photo: fmprc.gov.cn

Stop Provocation on South China Sea, China Tells Philippines

China has urged the Philippines to stop "malicious hyping and provocation" on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, says a report in Xinhua. Earlier, Philippine foreign ministry alleged that China's construction on islands in the South China Sea after the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002 had violated the DOC. The core reason of the two countries' disputes in the South China Sea was the Philippines' illegal occupation of some of China's islands since 1970s, he said.

Flag of the Coast Guard Administration - Taiwan

Taiwan Launches New ships as South China Sea Tensions Rise

Taiwan's coast guard on Saturday commissioned its biggest ships for duty in the form of two 3,000-ton patrol vessels, as the island boosts defences amid concerns about China's growing footprint in the disputed South China Sea. The new vessels will be able to dock at a new port being constructed on Taiping Island, the largest of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, before the end of this year. Taiwan's coast guard has had direct oversight of the 46-ha (114-acre) island, also known as Itu Aba, since 2000.

 Map showing disputed territory in the South China Sea. Credit: NPR.org

China Slams G7 Criticism on South China Seas

China has strongly hit out at the G7 nations for blaming it for tensions in East and South China seas, warning that the country is ready to respond if its sovereign rights and territorial integrity are infringed. Beijing accused G7 members of bias, ignoring the facts and irresponsibility as it rejected a statement made by the group targeting, but not naming, China over maritime tensions. "What the G7 members have said and done are too far from the facts," Hong Lei, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Photo: Council on Foreign Relations

China Slams G7 on Maritime Disputes

China reacted with anger Tuesday after the Group of Seven foreign ministers released a statement a day earlier voicing strong opposition to “unilateral actions” in the East and South China seas. "China is strongly dissatisfied with relevant moves taken by G-7," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said. His statement added: “We urge the Group of Seven member states to honor their commitment of not taking sides on issues involving territorial disputes and respect the efforts by regional countries…

Image: Official Website of the United States Navy

US Plans More Maritime Drills in Asia

The United States will increase the number of drills it conducts in the Asia-Pacific as part of its new strategy to counter to China’s expansion in the South China Sea, Reuters quoted the Philippine military as saying. Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, discussed the Pentagon’s recently drafted Asia Pacific Maritime Security Strategy with his Filipino counterpart, General Hernando Iriberri, during a visit to Manila, Reuters reported. The talks outlined Washington’s actions in the disputed South China Sea and East China Sea…

Map by Middlebury College

China Invites India to South China Sea

In a dramatic turn of events, China has asked India to play a "constructive and positive" role in safeguarding peace and stability in the disputed South China Sea, reports PTI. This statement comes as a guarded reaction to Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's call for ensuring freedom of navigation in the strategic waters amid escalated Sino-US tensions. "We hope that countries who really care about freedom of navigation in the South China Sea (SCS) can play (a) constructive and positive role" in peace and stability of the region, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying said.

Map by USC US-China Institute

Hague Court Begins Hearing On South China Sea Issue

A United Nations arbitral tribunal in The Hague heard some of the Philippines’ territorial claims over the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday. A delegation of nearly 50 lawyers and representatives for the Philippines gathered to present their case for territorial claims and usage rights in the South China Sea. The move to bring the issue to court was prompted by China’s program of building airstrips and defenses on some of the islands. Other countries involved in the dispute…

South China Sea disputes increasing demand for US security presence: Pentagon

Chinese Navy Ramps up Drills in Disputed Sea

The Chinese navy has conducted live-fire exercises in the disputed South China Sea , reports Reuters. China claims almost all of the energy-rich waters, through which more than US$5 trillion of maritime trade passes each year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims. China's defence ministry said the drills were routine, even though other countries have made claims over various parts of the disputed territory. "The People's Liberation Army Navy in recent days organised a fleet to go to relevant seas in the South China Sea…

PLA Destroyer 'Qingdao': Photo credit Wik CCL

China Navy Beefs Up South China Sea Presence

A People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy fleet has entered territorial waters in the South China Sea for patrol and training missions. Comprising the missile destroyer Qingdao and the missile frigates Yantai and Yancheng, the fleet entered the South China Sea after a five-hour passage through the Bashi Channel (between Taiwan and the Philippines' Luzon Island). The three ships, all from the North China Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy, are scheduled to carry out patrol missions and multi-type training exercises in the South China Sea over the next few days.

India's Vice President Hamid Ansari and Sultan of Brunei, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah.  Photo Credit: PTI

India, Brunei Discuss South China Sea Dispute

Underscoring that India and Brunei have equal stakes in the security and prosperity of a "shared Asian neighbourhood", both countries held discussion on Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea which has the potential to affect free maritime traffic in Southeast Asia, reports the Hindu. Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari said that both the countries have an interest in maintaining the safety of the sea-lanes in the region, after his discussion with Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and crown prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah.

Hong Kong Dock Strike: Shipping Industry Hit Hard

Estimates by the Port Development Council show container volumes through the 9 Kwai Tsing container ports fell 5.9 per cent in March. While the month-long dockers strike is costing Hongkong International Terminals a reported HK$5 million a day, the actual cost of the dispute is costing the maritime and logistics industry much more as ships and cargo are diverted to other ports, reports the South China Morning Post. Citing the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association, the South China…

China's Maritime Expansion Big Worry for the World, Says Japan

Japan says its concerns over China's military buildup in the South and East China Seas are shared by many other countries. The issue is expected to be discussed at upcoming talks between the two countries, says a report in Reuters. "Honestly speaking, not only the Japanese people but also states of the Asia-Pacific region and the international community have big worries," Kishida said. Ties between China and Japan, the world’s second- and third-largest economies, have long been plagued by a territorial dispute, regional rivalry and the legacy of Japan’s World War Two aggression.

Map: Mediterranean Shipping Company

MSC Enhances Transpacific Service

 Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has announced the launch of its sixth service, named SEQUOIA, from Asia to the U.S. West Coast.   The new trade provides a direct connections from South China to Long Beach, as well as a shuttle service from South China and transit time of 12 days from Ningbo to Long Beach.   The service will start operating from Chiwan on Friday, December 9, SAFMARINE MULANJE 649N.   The rotation will be: Chiwan, Yantian, Ningbo, Long Beach.  

HK Container Terminal Strikers Camp on Owner's Doorstep

Striking dockers step up their action outside owner Li Ka-shing's office building to urge Asia's richest man to intervene. According to the South China Morning Post research has shown that the industrial action could have cost the port operator, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, HK$100 million in revenue since the strike began. The dockers, on their 21st day off the job, moved their base from the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals after they failed to resolve their pay dispute at a recent meeting with Global and Everbest Port Services. Source: South China Morning Post