» 06/28/2012, 00.00
ASIA - UNITED STATES
South China Sea, tension between Manila, Hanoi and Beijing. A code of conduct useless
By July a new draft of the code should regulate territorial claims in the Asian-Pacific area. But according to experts it will be ineffective. A Vietnamese scholar urges ASEAN countries to form a common front in opposition to China. Beijing continues its "imperialist" policy in the area.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A code of conduct for the South
China Sea will not resolve disputes over territorial boundaries that see
Manila, Beijing and Hanoi pitted against one another. This is what experts and
scholars contend, on the eve of the publication of the draft of a new
"charter" called to determine the portions of the ocean pertaining to
each country. Meanwhile, the level of tension increases between nations in the
region, exacerbated by China's decision to hold a tender for oil exploration in
a disputed area with Vietnam and the trespassing - according to a complaint by
Manila - of vessels from Beijing in a stretch of sea claimed by the
Philippines. Behind the scenes, the diplomatic work of the United States
continues; the U.S. re-issues the invitation to an agreement to guarantee the
free passage of merchant ships and boats in a strategic point, where nearly
half of world trade circulates.
By July, the ASEAN nations - an association that brings
together 10 countries of South-east Asia - and China should ratify a new
"Code of Conduct" (COC), based on a prior agreement reached last
year. It will provide guidelines for resolving disputes relating to the
disputed portions of the ocean; starting next November, with its entry into
force, it will be the point of reference for ensuring peace and stability in
the Asia-Pacific region, replacing the old Declaration of Conduct (DOC) in
2002, which over time proved ineffective. However, experts warn that it will be
largely useless, and the tensions will remain unresolved. Concerning the
matter, one Vietnamese scholar suggests that ASEAN countries should first
establish a common conduct among themselves, and then address - together -
Meanwhile, China continues to promote an "imperialist"
policy in the area, heedless of protests from the other nations concerned and
those calling for calm from Washington. The United States, in particular, is
pushing for the signing of the COC, stressing that it continues to be of
"national interest" to the U.S. that there be free access to the
South China Sea, where almost 50% of water-borne trade travels. In recent days
Hanoi denounced the move by China, which has invited foreign companies to do
exploration in search of oil and gas in an area disputed with Vietnam and rich
in 30 billion tons of crude oil and 16 trillion cubic meters of gas. For the
Vietnamese government, the tender of the China National Offshore Oil
Corporation is "illegal" and constitutes a "threat"
to territorial sovereignty. The nine blocks at heart of the study, according to
Hanoi, fall "in 200 nautical miles" of "exclusive"
Vietnamese jurisdiction. China responds that it involves "normal"
business matters and hopes that "Vietnam will comply with these agreements
and will also performing acts that will complicate the issue."
A second front instead sees the opposition between Beijing
and Manila. The Philippine Navy reports that some Chinese boats are back in the
waters off the Scarborough Shoal, in the north-west region of the country,
where in recent months tensions had already flared between the two governments.
Triggering the crisis, on April 8, was the Philippine Navy's attempt to block
some Chinese fishing boats, which had crossed the boundary that marks the
portion of the sea at the center of contention. This brought about the
intervention of Chinese warships, protecting the boats and national
"interests". Since then, there has been a climate of tension in the
area and diplomatic efforts by the international community have been to no
Among the nations of the Asia-Pacific region, China is the
one making the greatest claims concerning maritime borders in the South China
Sea. Their hegemony in the area has a strategic importance for trade and the
exploitation of oil and natural gas, which are abundant in the subsoil.
Competing with the expansionist ambitions of Beijing are Vietnam, the
Philippines, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Brunei and Taiwan, which are joined by
the defense of U.S. strategic interests in the area. In the area in recent
months there have been several "incidents" between naval vessels or
fishing boats - in an area characterized by an abundance of fish - flying the
flags of Beijing, Hanoi and Manila.
02/07/2013 PHILIPPINES - CHINA
South China Sea: Beijing open to "code of conduct", strained ties with Manila
China and ASEAN countries are trying to resolve tension surrounding maritime conflicts. Thai Foreign Minister praises Beijing’s as move “very significant." But the battle continues with the Philippines, who accuses Beijing of "militarization" in the area. Chinese media call for a "counter-offensive".
22/07/2011 ASEAN – CHINA – UNITED STATES
Beijing tells US to respect China’s “territorial integrity”
US Secretary Clinton urges China to work with ASEAN member states to develop a code of conduct for the South China Sea. However, China does not want outsiders to intervene in an area it sees as part of its sphere of influence.
06/08/2012 CHINA - US – VIETNAM
War of words between Beijing and Washington over South China Sea
Beijing summons the US Embassy's deputy head of mission to protest US "manipulation" of the facts and "interference" in China's affairs. A few days ago, US officials had criticised China's decision to set up a military garrison on the Paracel Islands. Hanoi arrests 50 demonstrators for protesting against Chinese "imperialism".
South China Sea: Beijing close to a deal with Hanoi but far from Manila
China and Vietnam agree to “peaceful measures” to settle their border dispute through cooperation and bilateral relations. Tensions between Beijing and Manila are up as China threatens the Philippines after Manila builds a military structure on one of the Spratly Islands.
06/04/2016 10:01:00 CHINA - VIETNAM - PHILIPPINES
A Chinese lighthouse on disputed islands in the South China Sea
The structure is 55 meters high. According to Beijing it will improve navigation in the area and facilitate relief and emergency response. Construction of two other lighthouses in as many atolls being planned. The commercial value of products in transit in the area is around 5 trillion dollars.
Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
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