Miriam to China, “Ano sila sinusuwerte?”

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago expressed her beliefs that China just bluffs their warning to block illegal ship pass through their territorial claims in the South China Sea since January 1, 2013.

“Ano sila sinusuwerte? Ito namang China na ito talagang nagpo-provoke lang iyan ng public attention. Alam naman niyang hindi niya magagawa iyan at pipigilan talaga iyan ng Amerika”, said Santiago.

According to the former chairman of the Senate committee on foreign relations, China also knows that the blocking of their Ships pass through the South China Sea cannot be happen but still tried to levitate to know the reaction of America as well as other countries Europe and Asia.

“China is testing the waters,” Santiago said in a radio interview.

 

Officers To South China Sea Garrison Were Appointed By China

The defence ministry announced the appointments Thursday, the China Daily said, two days after China said it had established the city of Sansha on an island in the area, along with the military garrison. China has appointed military officers at a newly-established garrison in the South China Sea, state media reported Friday, the country’s latest step to bolster claims to disputed islands in the area.

Appointed were Senior Colonel Cai Xihong as the garrison’s commander and Senior Colonel Liao Chaoyi as its political commissar, China Daily reported, quoting ministry spokesman Yang Yujun.

Yang said that the garrison has responsibility for defence mobilisation, guarding the city and disaster relief, among other functions.

However, he added that a separate maritime garrison under the Chinese navy was responsible for maritime defence and military combat, appearing to suggest that the Sansha garrison would not have such responsibilities.

“Whether a military establishment has combat forces or not depends on its military tasks,” he said, according to China Daily.

Vietnam and the Philippines condemned China’s decision earlier this week to set up the garrison, with Hanoi on Tuesday filing a formal protest and Manila lodging a complaint with China’s ambassador.

Yang said how China deploys its military within its own borders is irrelevant to other countries, China Daily said.

The city of Sansha lies on the island of Yongxing in the disputed Paracel Islands. The region is also north of the Spratly Islands, which are also subject to rival claims.

China says it owns much of the South China Sea, though Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia each claim portions of it.

The dispute has simmered for decades, though tensions have risen markedly recently as China has moved to more strongly assert its territorial claims.

The Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) at a summit earlier this month failed for the first time in 45 years to issue a joint statement, as members were unable to agree how to refer to China’s behaviour in the disputed waters.

China says it is acting within its rights, though its moves have raised alarm bells in the region and beyond.

Beijing is also involved in a separate dispute with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.

China is seen as unlikely to alter its stance, despite growing international criticism.

“China will certainly continue reinforcing its political and military control over Sansha as it has drawn lessons from maritime disputes in the past,” Zhang Zhexin, a US studies expert with the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, was quoted by China Daily as saying.

DFA Chief Calls For Patriotism

In the interview yesterday of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, he said that resolving the territorial argument between China would not be easy as he called for a position of “patriotism” among Filipinos and sacrifice if the Philippines is tested.

While the consultations are yet to resolve the standoff in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal which is also called or knows as Bajo de Masinloc, it should be pursued, Del Rosario mentioned that the Philippines should continue to stand up and defeat its sovereign rights over the shoal and the West Philippine Sea in general.

“We need to defend what is ours. We need to stand up even as we look for ways to solve the disputes peacefully. We need to stand for what is ours. In order for us to do this, I think it is not going to be easy – and as you see it is not easy,” Del Rosario said before the Makati Business Club and the Management Association of the Philippines.

“We need to get our people to bond together. We need to unite. We need to take a position of patriotism that what is ours is ours and we will stand for it. And it is possible that we may be tested and if we are tested, it is possible that everyone will need to make a sacrifice,” he added.

Del Rosario repeated that the Philippines is looking at different strategies to defend its claims and position in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) in general which includes the legal track of dispute settlement mechanisms, including the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“Do we have to have China with us when we go to this dispute settlement mechanism, the answer is no. There are mechanisms there where we believe we can pursue our objectives without China being with us,” he uttered.

A map was prepared by the USA Armed Forces in 1903 and was given to Del Rosario during his last visit to Washington.

The map included Panatag Shoal as part of the island groups of the Philippines, contrary to China’s claim that it is not included in the Philippine boundaries under the Treaty of Paris.

Del Rosario said that he and the Chinese Ambassador Ma Xeqing had began to discuss the pullout of ships in Panatag Shoal when they were engaged in consultations prior to the fishing ban China announced this week, but the two sides did not arrive at a conclusion or agreement.

China Warned the Republic of the Philippines

China told its citizens Thursday they were not safe in the Philippines and its state media warned of war, as a month-long row over rival claims in the South China Sea threatened to spill out of control.

Chinese travel agencies announced they had suspended tours to the Philippines, under government orders, and the embassy in Manila advised its nationals already in the country to stay indoors ahead of planned protests.

“Avoid going out at all if possible, and if not, to avoid going out alone. If you come across any demonstrations, leave the area, do not stay to watch,” the embassy’s advisory said.

The safety alerts came as government-controlled media in China warned the country was prepared to go to war to end the stand-off over Scarborough Shoal – small islands in the South China Sea that both nations claim as their own.

“No matter how willing we are to discuss the issue, the current Philippine leadership is intent on pressing us into a corner where there is no other option left but the use of arms,” the China Daily said in an editorial.

“Manila is living in a fantasy world if it mistakes our forbearance for timidity.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was committed to a peaceful resolution but the editorial echoed other warnings in recent weeks in the state-run media that China was prepared to use its massive military advantage to crush the Philippines’ challenge for the shoal.

The two nations have had non-military vessels stationed at the shoal since April 8 in an effort to assert their sovereignty to the area.

The dispute began when Philippine authorities detected Chinese ships fishing there. They attempted to arrest the crew, but were blocked by Chinese surveillance vessels that were quickly deployed to the area.

The Philippines insists its claims to the area are backed by international law, as the shoal is well within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

The shoal sits about 230 kilometers (140 miles) from the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. The nearest major Chinese landmass is 1,200 kilometers northwest of the shoal, according to Filipino navy maps.

But China claims virtually all of the South China Sea as its territory, even waters close to the coasts of the Philippines and other Asian countries.

Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia also claim parts of the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas resources. The rival claims have for decades made the waters one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints.

The Philippines, which admits to having an extremely weak military, has repeatedly said it wants to solve the stand-off over the shoal through diplomatic means.

But it has also said it secured a pledge from the United States, its main military ally, to protect the Philippines from attacks in the South China Sea.

A coalition of Filipino activist groups is planning to hold rallies at Chinese embassies around the world on Friday to support the Philippines in the dispute.

Organizers are hoping thousands of people will attend what they expect to be the biggest of the rallies, in Manila, and the Chinese embassy’s safety alert was circulated chiefly to warn its nationals about that protest.

But Jackson Gan, a Filipino-Chinese businessman who is one the rally’s organizers, said there was no need for such a warning because the protest would not target individuals and there had been no inciting of violence.

“This is going to be peaceful. No burning of Chinese flags, just singing of patriotic songs and making our presence felt,” Gan told AFP.

Philippine foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez also said Chinese nationals were in no danger of being attacked because of the diplomatic tensions.

“The Philippines remains a safe and welcoming country,” he told AFP, adding Friday’s protesters would not target Chinese people.

“There is nothing for our Chinese friends to be apprehensive about regarding this protest action.”