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Abe aims for fivefold increase in marine resources engineers

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday announced a campaign to increase by fivefold the number of engineers engaged in developing marine resources by 2030 as the government looks to expand the economy by growing that sector.

The target, revealed at a ceremony in Tokyo commemorating the Marine Day national holiday, is also aimed at securing the nation’s oil and gas interests as China continues gas development in the East China Sea, observers said. [READ MORE]

US Commander Joins South China Sea Surveillance Flight During Philippines Trip

The new U.S. commander of the Pacific Fleet participated in a surveillance flight over the disputed South China Sea in an American spy plane as part of his inaugural trip to the Asia-Pacific. Admiral Scott Swift, who assumed command of the Fleet in May, joined a seven-hour maritime surveillance mission on board a P-8A Poseidon plane this weekend.

According to the U.S. Pacific Command, he took part “to witness firsthand the full range of the Poseidon’s capabilities.” The P-8A Poseidon is designed for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance missions as well as long-range anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. [READ MORE]

US Not ‘Neutral’ in South China Sea Disputes: Top US Diplomat

The United States is not neutral when it comes to following international law in the South China Sea and will come down forcefully to ensure that all parties adhere to the rules, Washington’s top diplomat for East Asia said Tuesday.

The United States has repeatedly said that while it takes no position on competing sovereignty claims over disputed land features in the South China Sea, it does want these maritime claims to be advanced in accordance with international law and without the use of coercion (See: “The Case for a Bolder US South China Sea Policy“).

That hedged position has led some to incorrectly read the U.S. stance on the issue as being ‘neutral,’ with China in particular accusing Washington of ‘taking sides.[READ MORE]

Indonesia Is Building New Military Base in South China Sea

Indonesia is developing a plan to build a new military base in the South China Sea, according to local media reports. On Friday, the Jakarta Post reported that Indonesian officials are preparing a plan to build a new military base somewhere in the South China Sea, which has seen an uptick in tensions over competing sovereignty claims.

The report said Indonesia’s Defense Ministry and the The National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) held a meeting on Friday to discuss the potential locations for such a base. [READ MORE]

China Steps Up Harassment of Vietnamese Fishermen

As Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, wrapped up an historic visit to the United States, reports emerged in the Vietnamese press that a Vietnamese fishing boat was pursued and sunk by two Chinese vessels.

According to Vietnam’s Tuoitre News, a fishing boat operated by 11 Vietnamese fishermen off the coast of Quang Ngai was intercepted, harassed, and sunk by two Chinese ships in waters off the Paracel archipelago. [READ MORE]

Obama, Vietnam leader discuss South China Sea in landmark meeting

U.S. President Barack Obama and the head of Vietnam's ruling communist party discussed concerns over China's activities in the South China Sea during a historic White House meeting on Tuesday marking two decades of engagement between the former foes.

Nguyen Phu Trong met with Obama in the Oval Office, where they had "candid" discussions over differences about human rights and religious freedom as well a pending Pacific trade agreement with the region, Obama said. [READ MORE]

Philippines tells tribunal: South China Sea case has world impact

MANILA, Philippines - The formal hearings on the South China Sea dispute started on Tuesday at The Hague, Netherlands with the Philippine delegation asking the United Nations arbitral tribunal to declare its jurisdiction to handle the case against China.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario urged the Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration should declare its jurisdiction over the South China Sea case because of its global impact. [READ MORE]

Here's why Indian strategists should worry about China's $46 billion funding to Pakistan

SCSC - There is only one way of looking at the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s maiden visit to Pakistan during which the two countries India has fought wars with signed 51 agreements between them. If monetised, it would mean that China would pour a whopping $46 billion into Pakistan once these agreements come to fruition.
This sum would be a good $15 billion more than the United States has pumped into Pakistan since 2002. [READ MORE]

PROTESTS IN HONG KONG IMPACT THE EAST SEA

SCSC - In late September and early October 2014, massive protests occurred in Hong Kong. Let us look into this incident to understand more about Beijing’s policy on the East Sea.

The protests in Hong Kong evolved from student - led movements protesting against Beijing’s decision on elections in Hong Kong and demanding for a completely free and direct election in 2007 as agreed between Britain and China upon the transfer of Hong Kong to China.

H.RES.714 (113TH CONGRESS)

SCSC - Reaffirming the peaceful and collaborative resolution of maritime and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea as provided for by universally recognized principles of international law, and reaffirming the strong support of the United States Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia - Pacific region.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA (for himself, Mr. CHABOT, Mr. ENGEL, Ms. ROSLEHTINEN, and Ms. BORDALLO) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. [READ MORE]

Kerry: US will defend allies in Asia-Pacific

SCSC - The United States wants stronger ties with China but is committed to defending allies in the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.

Kerry said he and US President Barack Obama would be working for the interests of their allies in the South China Sea when they meet leaders of the Asia Pacific region at two summits in Beijing and Myanmar this month. [READ MORE]

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