Filipino daughter thanks Vietnamese fishermen for saving dad who lost at sea for 17 days

Filipino daughter thanks Vietnamese fishermen for saving dad who lost at sea for 17 daysAnding Nadie Repil was thrown overboard after his boat collided tossing him into the ocean. He survived by clinging on to a plastic can and eating seaweed, reports say.

After his miraculous rescue by Vietnamese fishermen, his daughter spoke of her immense gratitude to the men who saved her Dad’s life.

“We can’t image life without my father… We couldn’t even do something because of this pandemic as we are in a lockdown,” she said.

“God used the Vietnamese fishermen to save our father. To all Vietnamese that helped and saved our father, you are all a hero.”

Her 52-year-old father has told the authorities he went fishing alone on March 19 on a small boat from the port of Candria in the Philippines. He was asleep when his boat was struck by a cargo ship, tossing him into the water around 40km off the coast of the Philippines.

“I was wearing a life jacket. When the boat sank I could only hug a plastic can and began to drift.”

“On April 5, a small Vietnamese boat appeared but it could not accommodate many people, so the fishermen on board gave me a basket boat and some food,” he said.

Twelve days later he was picked up by another boat which took him ashore and handed him over to the authorities in Binh Dinh province.

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Vietnam: A model of COVID-19 prevention and control

A model of COVID19 prevention and controlMr. Jonathan Moore expressed his thanks to Vietnam for production cooperation and presentation of medical protection products to the US. Considering Vietnam a model in COVID-19 prevention and control, he said that the two countries can share experiences on fighting the pandemic and on economic recovery, one of current priorities of the US Government.

Relating to the situation in the East Sea, Mr. Moore inquired after fishermen on Vietnamese fishing boats sunk in the East Sea in early April 2020 and protested behavior threatening fishermen and violating the sovereignty in the East Sea.

In terms of ocean cooperation and environment, the US side desires to boost cooperation with Vietnam and ASEAN members through projects on marine environmental protection and diminishing ocean litter and fighting against water resource and air pollution, including environmental projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city.

In terms of Mekong cooperation, the US supports raising the US-Mekong Partnership relation to together cope with water resource security and environment in the region; supports mechanisms such as Mekong River Commission in research on impacts of Upper Mekong hydroelectric works on the Lower Mekong, especially drought; continues to cooperate with Vietnam and countries in technological application to management, natural resources protection, and minimizing impacts of natural calamity in the region.

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China brazenly violates international law in the East Sea

China brazenly violates international law in the East SeaIn an interview with VOV, Kraska said China’s announcement about “Xisha” and “Nansha” is a way to flex its muscles on the “Four Sha” plan that China introduced in 2017, which is really just a variation of the “9-dash line” rejected by the the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016.

Professor Kraska said that China's creation of its "Xisha" and "Nansha" is seriously detrimental to regional stability, infringing another country's sovereignty, sovereign rights, and political independence. China's deployment of its military forces to these districts violates Article 2.4 of the UN Charter, which China also violated in 1974 by using armed force to illegally occupy Hoang Sa archipelago, Kraska added.

Kraska said China’s act is a violation of Article 87 and 58 of the 1982 UNCLOS, which clearly establish freedom of navigation and aviation in this region. It’s obvious that China is using other countries’ efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as cover for pursuing its strategic objectives in the East Sea, he said. He called for a stronger world protest against China’s unlawful acts.

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Ministry: China’s suspension of fishing in Vietnam’s waters meaningless

China suspension of fishing in Vietnam waters meaninglessHanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on May 11 said that China’s suspension of fishing in waters within Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea carries no weight whatsoever.

In a document sent to the People’s Committees of coastal cities and provinces, the ministry said the Chinese Bureau of Fisheries is implementing the suspension of fishing from 12am on May 1 to 12am on August 16 in various waters, some of which are within Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea.

The cities and provinces were required to encourage fishermen to continue fishing in Vietnam’s waters and to ask them to go fishing in groups to support each other.

Vessels licensed to go fishing in the Gulf of Tonkin’s joint fishing area during 2019-2020 are not allowed to move to the east of the Gulf of Tonkin delimitation line.

Authorities of the cities and provinces must direct competent agencies to enhance management and inspections over the exploitation of fisheries products in waters, especially the departure times of fishing vessels.

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Vietnam rejects China’s “Four Sha” claims in East Sea

Vietnam rejectsHanoi (VNA) - In late 2019 and early 2020 China announced its “Four-Sha” sovereignty claims over the East Sea in two diplomatic notes sent to the UN Secretary-General, with the aim of replacing the so-called “nine-dash line” that had been previously rejected by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

It claimed in the notes that it holds “undeniable sovereignty” over the Dongsha (Pratas Islands), Xisha (Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago), Nansha (Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago), and Zhongsha (Macclesfield Bank) Archipelagos.

China said those are archipelagos so it can use the straight baselines to define baselines and waters, adding that these groups of islands have archipelagic waters, territorial waters, 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones, and continental shelves calculated from the straight baselines.

Many scholars, however, declared that China’s claims are completely contrary to international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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Sansha and the expansion of China’s South China Sea administration

On April 18, China’s State Council announced its decision to establish two new districts in Sansha City, a prefecture-level city () headquartered on Woody Island which governs the bulk of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Some observers may dismiss the creation of these districts as a symbolic but ultimately inconsequential demonstration of Beijing’s resolve. A closer look at the development and role of administrative institutions in Sansha City indicates otherwise. This structural adjustment will improve China’s administrative control over the South China Sea and could introduce new policymaking dynamics.

The State Council established Sansha City as a prefecture-level city belonging to Hainan province in July 2012. The city’s jurisdiction supposedly encompasses over 280 islands, shoals, reefs, and other features along with their surrounding sea areas, amounting to nearly 800,000 square miles of sea and land area. This includes much of China’s claims within its nine-dash line, including the Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands, and Zhongsha Islands (中沙群), generally understood to refer to Scarborough Shoal and Macclesfield Bank.

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China’s South China Sea plan unfolds regardless of the coronavirus

South China Sea planRecent developments in the South China Sea might lead one to assume that Beijing is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to further its ambitions in the disputed waterway. But it’s important to note that China has been following a long-term game plan in the sea for decades. While it’s possible that certain moves were made slightly earlier than planned because of the pandemic, they likely would have been made in any case, sooner or later.

One of China’s greatest weapons in the sea is simply patience. In the mid-90s, Beijing reassured Manila that its new stilted structure at Mischief Reef, located in the Spratly islands just 217 km (135 miles) from a Philippine coast, was a fishermen’s shelter. By 2018 the reef had been turned into a militarized artificial island complete with anti-ship cruise missiles. The transformation was likely Beijing’s intention all along, even though in September 2015 Chinese president Xi Jinping promised the Spratlys would not, despite all appearances, be militarized.

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Vietnam's note berbale on the South China Sea

Malaysia’s recent submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf has triggered a note-verbale debate between claimants in the South China Sea. After China and the Philippines, Vietnam is the latest to join the debate with a note to protest not only Malaysia’s claims, but China’s as well.

Vietnam’s note verbale, dated March 30, 2020, concisely explains Vietnam’s positions in legal terms which are compatible with the key findings of the 2016 South China Sea arbitration award. The note objects to China’s historic rights in the South China Sea and any other maritime claims that exceed the limits provided in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It also opposes the “four shas” doctrine, a Chinese endeavor to claim maritime zones from four groups of islands in the South China Sea as if they were each a single entity. But most interestingly, the note seems to indicate, for the first time, an official Vietnamese position on the legal status of all high-tide features in both the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

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The South China Sea situation during the first months of 2020

1st month 2020For the first quarter of 2020, “big waves”, literally and figuratively, have not broken on the South China Sea shore, yet still water runs deep. Literally speaking, as the rainy season has yet approached, fishermen are free from sudden storms in the region. In the figurative sense, the South China Sea has not witnessed serious encroachments for the past few months, unlike in 2019 (the case of the Haiyang Dizhi 8 Geological Survey Ship), since China’s focus has fully shifted to fighting the epidemic outbreak of acute pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus Covid-19. However, Beijing never ceases their nibbling in the South China Sea.

According to certain sources, although China has postponed their annual large-scale military exercise in Inner Mongolia (every year, the Chinese military organizes large-scale joint exercises in the Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base, with the participation of all forces including infantry, air force, missiles and logistics) due to the Covid-19 epidemic in Wuhan, they have yet forgotten the South China Sea. In fact, China continues to patrol and conduct a number of exercises to strengthen their presence in the region.

China’s "nine-dash line" in the South China Sea is challenging a “win-win” outcome

9 dash lineIn 2009, China’s "nine-dash line" map in the South China Sea was made public to the world for the first time, reflecting Beijing's official stand on maritime boundary and accordingly, China’s ambitious claim. Almost immediately, many experts, scholars as well as politicians, regional and non-regional alike, even those in China, commented that the "nine-dash line" was too vague and unreasonable, as it ran too close to many neighboring countries’ coastlines, covering an area that accounted for more than 80% of the South China Sea, penetrating the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of most Southeast Asian countries. At the same time, the line has seriously violated the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982). Since then, attendants in many international conferences on the sea or East Sea have shared that China's "nine-dash line" was an illogical and unacceptable border concept. As a result, there has been a surge of interest in the origin of the dotted worm-like claim which caused such a controversy, and curiosity as of those who have made it public and recognized it, so China could insist that the line had been there “since ages”, and it was "indisputable" and undoubtedly China’s "natural sovereignty".

Upon studying, researchers found the “nine-dash line" to be of no ancient history, and had nothing to do with the conquest and borders expansion by generations of Chinese feudal empires. This line was neither designed nor planned by the government of the People's Republic of China. It turned out that such line was the brainchild of Chen Sun, a Navy Colonel under the Republic of China (ROC) Government. He came up with the claim back in October 1946, while he was commanding a naval fleet to take over islands in the South China Sea occupied by the Japanese during World War II and now returned to the Allies. Next, based on Chen’s report alone, the Interior Ministry of the ROC drew up a map consisting 11 dotted lines surrounding these islands in the South China Sea, but only for "internal circulation" purpose.

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