June 27, 2017

China, Vietnam Dampen S.China Sea Tensions

17 May 2017, 02:20 | Katie Chavez

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The latest military announcement comes after Duterte ordered the army to occupy all Philippines-claimed islands in the South China Sea. In July past year, an International Court of Justice tribunal ruled there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the disputed waters of the South China Sea or their resources.

He emphasised the deal would have to be "fair and balanced".

China's efforts to cement its claims in the sea in recent years by building artificial islands and expanding a military presence there have added to the tensions.

Duterte, who took office previous year, abandoned the policy of his predecessorBenigno Aquino to forcefully challenge China in diplomatic circles and instead sought to fix bilateral relations.

China had earlier pledged US$15 billion in investment in the Philippines and financing for 15 infrastructure projects, including two railways, a hydroelectric dam and an irrigation system.

Despite his third warm encounter in six months with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday it is not yet time to discuss the arbitral ruling over the South China Sea dispute.

Mr. De Venecia floated the idea in his speech in Beijing last Sunday at the opening ceremony of the China-sponsored "Belt and Road" forum, an global summit on the Asian power's ambitious new Silk Road plan.

"[The] Philippines, China and Vietnam went so far as to venture on a three-way seismic survey that we helped initiate of the disputed areas in the Spratlys chain to assess the area's potential for hydrocarbon exploration and development", he said.

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China's neighbour Taiwan also has rival claims of the South China Sea.

"China will endeavour to build a win-win business partnership with other countries participating in this Belt and Road Initiative, "China President Xi Jinping was quoted by CNBC". "We had already 100 million coming in, another 500 million", he said.

Many experts say that geopolitical realities mean ties are unlikely to take a permanent hit from Duterte's hostility and say the Philippine military's mistrust of China means it will not risk losing its USA support.

"China is consolidating with its strategic objectives, but I don't think China will forget those plans just because Duterte talks nice to them".

Moreover, Hua said China and ASEAN senior officials will talk on China-ASEAN ties and cooperation within the East Asian region on May 19 in Guiyang. In 2005, the previous Philippine President Gloria Arroyo made an agreement with China and Vietnam to study oil deposits across the region but the deal collapsed, causing Arroyo to declare that "you can not trust the Chinese".

In a media briefing in Hong Kong on Saturday, Duterte was asked by a journalist whether the Philippines was in discussions with China about sending domestic workers there.

But the deal collapsed after Filipino politicians questioned its legality.

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