Joint Communiqué of the G7 FMM: Settlement of disputes in the SCS must comply with int’l law

On 10-11 April 2017, the Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Group of Seven countries (G7) held in Lucca, Italy issued the Joint Communiqué addressing major international issues that impact global peace and security, including maritime security.

The Joint Communiqué of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting clearly states as follows:

China’s aggressive activities in the Johnson South Reef violate Vietnam’s sovereignty

SCSC - Spratly archipelago of Vietnam has an important strategic location in the world’s busiest maritime route in the South China Sea, which is considered the “pharynx” connecting the Pacific Ocean with the Indian Ocean.

International strategists say anyone who controls the Spratly can dominate the South China Sea. That’s why, Beijing authorities have attempted and sought ways to occupy the islands.

China’s militarization of the South China Sea is a regional threat

SCSC - On December 21, 2016, US scholar Mark Valencia, currently adjunct senior scholar at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Haikou, Hainan, China wrote an article titled “China is not the only one 'militarising' the South China Sea” on the South China Morning Post, providing a biased and untruthful reflection of reality in the South China Sea.

Mark Valencia used criticism from US experts and press of China’s militarization in the South China Sea (after the Center for Strategy and International Studies (CSIS) of the US released an image of Beijing locating air defense and anti-missile systems in artificial islands that China constructed in the Spratly) to write pretext for his article.

Australia should stay vigilant against China

BDN - In a joint press conference during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Australia on February 2, 2017, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop seemed to hint that Australia might divert in its South China Sea policy since she has not mentioned the South China Sea issue and the Arbitral Tribunal’s Award.

Australia seems to show its closer relation with China through boosting economic cooperation, especially after US President Donald Trump announced the US’s withdrawal from TPP and the Philippines’ changes under the Rodrigo Duterte administration. However, Australia needs to stay vigilant because of China’s big ambition.

What Rodrigo Duterte Is Giving Up

There’s one international power that doesn’t seem particularly bothered by Duterte’s excesses. “The Chinese side fully understands and firmly supports the Duterte administration’s policy that [prioritizes] the fight against drug crimes,” said Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua in a speech last month.

He went on to express his satisfaction at the “friendly interactions’ between the two countries since the new president began his term, predicting that the sun “will shine beautifully on the new chapter of bilateral relations.” [READ MORE]

Beijing’s Opening Bargain with Manila

Nothing has been finalized at this point, but the story offers a glimpse into Chinese thinking. A minor concession on fishing access for Filipino fishermen may be just enough for Duterte to save face at home.

The volatile Philippine president has shown little interest in rallying diplomatic pressure against Beijing’s South China Sea claims, but in the face of domestic pressure, he has promised to raise the issue during his trip. [READ MORE]

Vietnam gives thumbs-up to U.S. regional role as pivot stumbles

Vietnam supports U.S. "intervention" in the Asia-Pacific if it helps keep peace and stability, the defense ministry said, in a timely endorsement of a continued U.S. presence amid uncertainty over Washington's faltering "pivot".

Vice defense minister, Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh, met on Monday with Cara Abercrombie, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, and told her Vietnam backed a positive U.S. role. [READ MORE]

A toned-down Duterte takes the show from the Philippines to Beijing




BEIJING — Here is a word rarely used to describe Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte: soft.

He is famous for lighting rhetorical fireworks where a single match might suffice. He used a slang term that translates as “son of a whore” while blasting President Obama. He offered the European Union an unequivocal (and unprintable) “f‑‑‑ you.” [READ MORE]




What’s wrong with the United States’ Southeast Asian allies?

The Philippines and Thailand are not acting like US treaty allies are supposed to. While the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte seems somewhat of an outlier, his anti-Americanism is only the latest instalment of instability in the US–Philippines relationship.

Thai–US relations have also suffered since the 2014 military coup and Thailand now appears to be seeking closer military ties with China. [READ MORE]

In China, Rodrigo Duterte and Philippines May ‘Pivot’ Away From U.S.

BEIJING — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, one of America’s closest allies in Asia, has said he wants to reduce American military influence in his country and build closer ties with China.

But he has stopped short of offering to do what China would like most: scrapping an accord that gives the United States access to five military bases in the Philippines. [READ MORE]

Page 7 of 137