World China concerned about US military exercise during Xi’s Philippine visit -

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By: The Associated Press

1 day ago

US, Philippines increase number of joint military activities
The Philippine military said Friday its joint defense and security activities with U.S. forces, including annual combat exercises, will increase next year in a show of the treaty allies' continuing robust relations.

By: The Associated Press
Roque did not elaborate on what particular drill China was concerned about. Philippine military officials said they’re unaware of any U.S. military exercisewith Filipino forces next month.

The Philippine government will ensure that nothing will mar Xi's first visit to the country, which both sides agree will "further cement" their already-strong relations, Roque said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila “will do all that it can to make sure that President Xi’s visit will be fruitful and as productive as we would want it to be,” he said.

Philippine warship runs aground in disputed South China Sea
A Philippine navy frigate has run aground on a shoal in the disputed South China Sea and efforts are underway to retrieve it and its crew who were unhurt.

By: The Associated Press
After taking office in 2016, Duterte worked to repair relations with China which had been damaged by the two countries' territorial disputes in the South China Sea. He announced early in his presidency that he would end annual combat drills with the U.S. military in an effort not to offend China, but the drills have continued.

China has opposed American-led military exercises, especially in the disputed waters, accusing Washington of intervening in a purely Asian dispute. The U.S. has pressed on with the exercises and military patrols to promote freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

US and Philippines to step up joint military activities amid China concerns over American nuclear bombers

China has expressed concern in the past over the countries’ defence exercises near the disputed South China Sea

25 Sep 2018
The Philippine military said Friday that its joint defence and security activities with US forces, including annual combat exercises, would increase next year in a show of the treaty allies’ continuing robust relations.

Top US and Philippine military officials agreed to increase the number of joint security activities next year to 281 in areas that include counterterrorism, maritime security and humanitarian aid. There are 261 such joint activities this year, a military spokesman, Colonel Noel Detoyato, said.

The Philippine military chief, General Carlito Galvez, and Admiral Philip Davidson, the US Indo-Pacific commander, led an annual meeting of the allied forces at the military headquarters in metropolitan Manila on Thursday.

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to end many of the military’s combat drills with the US military and the presence of American troops in the southern Philippines when he took office in 2016, while working to revive strained ties with China.

Duterte said he wanted joint combat drills with the US stopped because they may offend China, where he has sought infrastructure money and trade and investment.

China has expressed concern in the past over joint military exercises near the South China Sea, where it has been locked in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan for decades.

“It’s a bilateral issue between the Philippines and US,” Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said in Manila when asked to comment on the increased Philippine-US military activities.

“What we hope is that the military relations between those two countries will contribute to the peace and stability of this region.”

Zhao opposed the flight early this week of two nuclear-capable US B-52 bombers over the strategic waterway, where US ships have also sailed close to Chinese man-made islands to promote freedom of navigation in a region where Washington has repeatedly protested China’s assertive actions to fortify its claims.

“Of course we are concerned ... it’s a strategic bomber, it’s also far away from the US,” Zhao told reporters. “I think the general relative peace and stability of the region do not require the flight of that kind of plane.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: US, Philippines raise number of joint military activities


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I wonder if China will worry about Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei as well:

Duterte, Vietnam PM discuss delineation of maritime boundaries

Published October 12, 2018 12:10pm

President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuân Phúc on Thursday met in Indonesia to discuss the delineation of maritime boundaries concerning both countries.

Duterte disclosed the development upon his arrival in Davao City on Friday from the Indonesian resort island of Bali, where he attended the Association of Southeast Nations Leaders’ Gathering.

“I told him that in due time, but we will take a longer period for we have to establish even our continental shelf limits,” the President said.

“We both committed to work more closely to achieve shared goals for stability in the region,” he added.

The Philippines’ only maritime boundary treaty so far is with Indonesia. In May 2014, Manila and Jakarta signed an agreement on the delimitation of overlapping exclusive economic zones in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea.

Duterte, meanwhile, said he personally conveyed to to Indonesian President Joko Widodo the Philippines’ condolences to the Indonesian people who suffered successive earthquakes and tsunami.

Duterte and Phúc previously met at the 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore in April where both leaders discussed the South China Sea dispute.

In that meeting, Duterte assured his Vietnamese counterpart that the Philippines was not abandoning the decision of the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in 2016 that invalidated China's excessive claims in the South China Sea.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on April 27 that Phúc praised the Philippines' position even as Duterte stressed that the decision “is only binding to the parties in the arbitration.”

The Palace official added it was Phúc who raised the matter because the Vietnamese leader was seeking support for the joint submission of Malaysia and Vietnam to the UN in 2009 that lays claim on the continental shelf in the southern part of the disputed waters.

Beijing has since refused to recognize the ruling, which Duterte temporarily set aside in order to forge closer ties with China, the world's second largest economy.

Calls for an early conclusion of a code of conduct have heightened in recent years due to a series of confrontations between China and its smaller Southeast Asian neighbors with overlapping territorial claims, especially Vietnam and the Philippines.

Other claimants include Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. — Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News

Philippine, Vietnam leaders discuss disputed sea boundaries

MANILA, Philippines — Oct 12, 2018, 9:27 AM ET
The Associated Press
Outgoing Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano talks to the media as he bids farewell to his staff during the lowering of the flag ceremony Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Cayetano, who resigned this week to run for a seat in the Philippine Congress for next year's mid-term elections, confirmed in a news conference Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in a meeting in Indonesia, discussed efforts by their countries to delineate their maritime boundaries in the disputed South China Sea, most of which is claimed by China. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)more +

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnam's prime minister have discussed efforts by their countries to delineate their maritime boundaries in the disputed South China Sea, most of which is claimed by China.

Duterte said Friday, without elaborating, that he told Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in a meeting in Indonesia that such boundary talks may take longer because the Philippines is still establishing its continental shelf limit, or the country's outermost boundary.

"I told him that in due time, but we will take a longer period for we have to establish even our continental shelf limits," Duterte said he told Phuc in a meeting on the sidelines of a gathering of Southeast Asian leaders on Indonesia's Bali island.

Vietnam initiated the on-and-off talks years ago.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia, which belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with China and Taiwan have been locked for decades in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Tensions flared after China turned seven disputed reefs into islands which it later equipped with surface-to-air missile defense systems, in moves that triggered alarm and protests.

"Vietnam is our ASEAN brother and they have been supporting us in many ways and we have been supporting them," Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters.

"But they're also claimants like us. They also have features that are inside our EEZ," Cayetano said, referring to the stretch of waters in which a coastal state enjoys internationally recognized rights to exclusively fish and extract oil and gas in the seabed.

Carl Thayer of the University of New South Wales, Canberra, said China would oppose the Philippine-Vietnam talks because Beijing claims most of the strategic waterway where the two Southeast Asian neighbors want to define their maritime boundaries.

Efforts by the two Southeast Asian nations to define their maritime boundaries are significant because ASEAN and China are negotiating a regional code to prevent clashes arising from overlapping claims. China, however, has not clearly defined its sweeping claims, Thayer said.

Some Southeast Asian countries have successfully forged agreements to delineate their overlapping exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the past, he said.

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