Arbitration ruling on sea row with China may come early 2016 – DFA chief

SCSC - Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Thursday said the Netherlands - based arbitral tribunal may hand down a ruling on the Philippines' complaint against China’s massive claim in the disputed South China Sea by the first quarter of 2016.

Manila’s case, which was filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague last January 2013, seeks to invalidate China’s nine - dash line claim, a tongue - shaped encirclement that covers a huge swath of the resource - rich waters, including those that are within Philippine territory. [READ MORE]

Japan Caves to China on Senkaku Island Dispute

SCSC - In order to secure a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe agreed to a significant concession in Tokyo’s ongoing dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands, according to Japanese media outlets.

As Shannon noted earlier today on China Power, Japanese officials now expect there to be a brief meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe during next month’s Asia - Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing. [READ MORE]

U.S. Opposing China’s Answer to World Bank

SCSC - For almost a year, China has been pitching an idea to its neighbors in Asia: a big, internationally funded bank that would offer quick financing for badly needed transportation, telecommunications and energy projects in underdeveloped countries across the region.

With the public backing of President Xi Jinping and a pledge from Beijing to contribute much of the$ 50 billion in initial capital, the plan could be seen as an answer to critics who have long argued that China should take on greater responsibilities as a world power. [READ MORE]

Philippines, US marines conduct exercises near China - held reef

SCSC - Over 6,000 Philippine and US marines carried out a military exercise on a Philippine beach on Sunday (Oct 5) near a disputed reef occupied by Chinese ships which has become a potential regional flashpoint.

The American and Filipino troops, aboard five US amphibious, armoured assault vehicles landed on the deserted beach facing the South China Sea in the latest in a series of combat exercises that began on September 29. [READ MORE]

Code of conduct urgently needed for South China Sea: Dung

SCSC - Peace and stability in the South China Sea is in the interest of China and the 10 - member Asean regional grouping, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has said.

"Peace, stability and maritime safety and security are the shared concerns and interests not only of Asean but the Asian region, as well as international community”, Dung said. [READ MORE]

India, Vietnam call for order in disputed waters

SCSC Ahead of Xi Jinping’s scheduled three-day visit to India, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee traveled to Vietnam for a state visit. At the conclusion of his trip to Vietnam, Mukherjee and his counterpart, Truong Tan Sang, issued a joint communique in which they called for countries to stand for freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

The communique is ostensibly aimed at China, which was engaged in a major stand-off earlier this year with Vietnam after it placed an oil rig within waters Vietnam claims as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). [READ MORE]

EU backs PHL’s arbitration push to settle China sea row

SCSC - The Philippines has found an ally in the European Union in its effort to settle its territorial dispute with China through international arbitration.

President Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission, EU's executive body, renewed calls to settle conflicting claims over resource - rich portions of the South China Sea through the rule of law. [READ MORE]

Is China building on disputed Spratly Islands reefs?

SCSC - A chain of islands in the South China Sea has become the centre of a territorial dispute - and a source of growing tension in the region.

The Spratly Islands are situated in a key shipping route, surrounded by natural resources. [READ MORE]

Vietnam-China Tensions Renewed on Maritime Incident

SCSC - Vietnam on Wednesday accused crew members of Chinese boats of harassing fishing vessels and beating Vietnamese fishermen near the contested Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, but China dismissed the accusations as groundless.

Individuals from the Chinese boats—including two identified as rubber dinghies—searched and seized equipment from three Vietnamese fishing vessels on three separate occasions in August, according to a statement posted on the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry's website. [READ MORE]

PH, Japan lawmakers call for rule of law in sea disputes

SCSC - Six Japanese parliamentarians and 13 Philippine congressmen signed on Wednesday a joint document for cooperation on the promotion of the rule of law amid ongoing tensions with China over disputed waters.

The Japanese delegation headed by Hiroshi Nakada, a member of the Japanese parliament belonging to the Party for Future Generations, said the document aims to bring together lawmakers from both countries in order to promote the resolution of conflicts in a peaceful manner. [READ MORE]

U.S. - China Rivalry Simmers Underseas

SCSC - A close midair encounter between U.S. and Chinese military planes last week reflected long - running tensions in the skies—a rivalry that is building under the waters below, as well.

The Defense Department didn't explain the mission for the U.S. Navy P - 8 aircraft—a plane designed to track submarines—that was intercepted by a Chinese J - 11 fighter over the South China Sea to the east of China's Hainan Island on Aug. 19. U.S. officials say in that encounter, and several others in recent months, Chinese fighter pilots have flown dangerously close to U.S. aircraft. [READ MORE]

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