KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - It was just a six-paragraph statement issued by the Defence Ministry. It was the outcome of a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington DC between United States Defence Secretary James Mattis and his Malaysian counterpart Mohamad Sabu. After one reading, most would dismiss it as a discussion on defence and security issues. But the second paragraph of the Mindef statement issued on Tuesday (Sept 25) and reported by several local media has caught the attention of Malaysian officials. The line in the statement issued by Mindef reads: “The discussion among others touched on the issue of peace in the South China Sea where Malaysia will continue its stance of neutrality.” Several questions came to mind. When is Malaysia neutral on South China Sea? Does Malaysia now have a new policy on its maritime claims in the South China Sea? Is Malaysia no more a claimant state? If we are still one, then Malaysia cannot afford to be neutral. … [Read more...] about The danger of being neutral on South China Sea issue: Star Columnist
South china sea issue
MANILA - Vice-President Leni Robredo on Tuesday encouraged Filipinos to fight for their freedom against present-day oppressors that threaten human rights, right to affordable commodities, and territorial sovereignty. "Sa panahon ngayon, tila humaharap na naman ang ating kalayaan sa iba’t ibang mukha ng panganib: mula sa paglaganap ng kahirapan kasabay ng pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin hanggang sa kawalan ng hustisya," Robredo said in a statement. (Today, it seems that our freedom is once again threatened by different faces of danger: from widespread poverty alongside rising prices of commodities to the lack of justice.) "Mula sa pagsasantabi ng karapatang pantao hanggang sa pag-angkin sa ating mga teritoryo ng dayuhang pwersa," she added. (From setting aside human rights to the claiming of our territories by foreign powers.) Last week, the Duterte administration drew flak for allegedly allowing China to encroach upon and militarize islands and reefs in the South China Sea that … [Read more...] about News VP Robredo alludes to South China Sea issue, inflation in Independence Day message
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte keeps on insisting that taking a stronger stance on against China's militarization in the South China Sea would mean going to war. Justifying his administration's soft stance on the maritime dispute, Duterte said that he would have taken a stronger and more "violent" position on the matter but that would "probably be a great loss to the nation and probably end up losing a war." As opposed to the president's pronouncements, the Philippines' options are not limited to waging a war to resolve the dispute. READ: Duterte explains soft stance on West Philippine Sea dispute: We can't win The Philippines actually has legal, diplomatic and security policy options following the July 2016 ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal on the Sout China Sea, according to an April 2017 report titled "South China Sea Lawfare: Post-Arbitration Policy Options and Future Prospects." Legal policy options Jay Batongbacal, director of the University … [Read more...] about Does the Philippines have limited options on the South China Sea issue?
Watch more in iWantv or TFC.tv MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte should stop blaming others for China's continuing militarization of its artificial islands in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, a former solicitor general said Sunday. Lawyer Florin Hilbay, who was solicitor general during the time of President Benigno Aquino III, said the Duterte government should file a formal protest against China's installation of military equipment in the disputed seas. "I think we should stop blaming other countries and other administrations for whatever precedes the failure they may have committed. The ball is now with the administration to find ways to enforce that decision," he told ANC. Duterte last Friday hit the United States and former President Aquino for their supposed failure to stop China’s militarization of the disputed South China Sea. "The only country who could have stopped the Chinese… was America," Duterte said in a speech in Davao City. … [Read more...] about News Ex-SolGen tells Duterte: Stop blame game on South China Sea issue
US wants conducive environment for talks on South China Sea code MANILA, Philippines – Negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea will only be effective if the dialogue will be held in a conducive environment, a US government executive said. Patrick Murphy, US Department of State principal deputy assistant secretary for Southeast Asia, stressed that the South China Sea issue is among Washington's top priorities. The developments in the South China Sea was discussed during the US-ASEAN Dialogue in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Tuesday. "We noted efforts to achieve a meaningful Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China. That’s a process that was recently launched and will continue going forward," Murphy said in a phone press conference on Thursday. Washington considers the negotiations on the COC as "good news" as it is inclusive, where all 10 ASEAN member-states and China are involved. "We also shared concerns about the need to create … [Read more...] about US wants conducive environment for talks on South China Sea code