Is China unstoppable in the South China Sea?

22 May, 2017, 16:41 | Author: Sam Montgomery

During the visit, China and the Philippines agreed to a US$72 million grant, instead of loans, for social and economic planning.

Liu Zhenmin, vice foreign minister of China, stated during yesterday's press conference that the guidelines have taken every related party and their interests into consideration.

China and Southeast Asian countries agreed on Thursday to a framework for a long-mooted code of conduct for the disputed South China Sea, China's foreign ministry said, as both sides step up efforts to ease tension in the strategic waterway.

Many global non-claimant nations, particularly the United States, however, want the South China Sea to remain as worldwide waters considering the fact that a high proportion of the world's trade passes through this region.

"We are very realistic and practical", said the source, who declined to be identified.

At the same time, China can never represent Taiwan at the negotiations with regard to the South China Sea, he added.

On his return to Manila on Tuesday Duterte said he was open to exploring the sea's natural resources with China and Vietnam, but did not mention the other claimants.

"There was no need to mention the arbitral ruling in the sections on the South China Sea".

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"If it's legally binding, which court can the parties go to?" China appears to have installed the systems in order to protect the island from Vietnamese combat divers.

In a landmark ruling last July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, delivered a sweeping rebuke of China's behavior in the South China Sea, including the creation of islands that could be used for military purposes, and found that its claim of sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis.

China has not responded to Duterte's latest comment.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for photographers prior to their bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, May 15, 2017.

Christopher Roberts, Associate Professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy campus of the University of New South Wales said he believes any agreement between China and ASEAN will be "code-of-conduct lite". The Philippines can not ally with China because China wants to grab for itself the West Philippine Sea and the Spratlys.

Paraphrasing his conversation with Xi, Duterte said he told the Chinese president: "We intend to drill [for] oil there".

A code of conduct is the key objective of a 2002 Declaration on Conduct, large parts of which China has ignored, particularly a commitment not to occupy or reclaim uninhabited features.

Aside from Liu and Chee Wee, the senior officials in attendance include Maria Hellen Barber-Dela Vega of the Philippines, Emaleen Abd Rahman Teo of Brunei Darussalam, Kah Pharidh of Cambodia, Jose Antonio Morato of Indonesia, Phongsavanh Sisoulath of Laos, Joji Samuel M C Samuel of Malaysia, U Myint Thu of Myanmar, Busaya Mathelin of Thailand and Nguyen Quoc Dzung of Vietnam.

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