South China Sea arbitration ruling brings no closure to regional disputes – Nikkei Asian Review

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak heading for the signing ceremony of the ASEAN community on Nov. 22 2015 (Photo: Simon Roughneen)

JAKARTA — The international tribunal decision against Beijing’s claims to much of the South China Sea has provoked a mixed response in the region, with indications that it may tone down some rivalries while sharpening others. Most revealingly, after years of acrimony with China over rival claims in the disputed waters, the Philippines initially took a conciliatory tone, inviting China to bilateral talks over the matter. Despite a jubilant reaction from his countrymen following the July 12 ruling, which was overwhelmingly in favor of Manila, the normally strident new President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not “flaunt” the decision. Instead, he reiterated his desire to improve relations with China, his country’s biggest source of imports. “War is not an option,” Duterte said. “So, what is the other side? Peaceful talk.” Despite Duterte’s muted response, China has refused to compromise — insisting that any talks must exclude mention of the tribunal’s verdict. The tribunal, convened at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, suggested that Chinese naval maneuvers in waters around islands near the Philippines are illegal. Yet Beijing has continued to block Filipino fishermen from working around Scarborough Shoal, 190km off the Philippine coast and 800km from mainland China.

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Tribunal’s blunt ruling against China fuels South China Sea tensions – Nikkei Asian Review

New Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte campaigning in Angeles City on March 19 2016 ,  prior to the May 9 2016 elections (Photo: Simon Roughneen)

TOKYO/JAKARTA — China’s claims to historical rights in the South China Sea have no legal basis, an international tribunal at The Hague ruled on Tuesday. In the first international ruling on artificial islands and military facilities built by Beijing in the disputed waters, the tribunal sided with the Philippines, flatly denying China’s historic claim to the “nine-dash” line, which encompasses most of the sea. A panel of five judges at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in the Netherlands also noted that no maritime feature claimed by China along the Spratly Islands constitute a fully entitled island, and therefore cannot generate an exclusive economic zone or a continental shelf. The tribunal, established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, said there was “no evidence” China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters in the South China Sea or its resources. Moreover, the tribunal said any historical rights “were extinguished” when the U.N. convention established EEZs.

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South China Sea issue trumps terrorism – Nikkei Asian Review

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the ASEAN and related summits in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 21 (Photo: Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — Pushing global terrorism into the background, the simmering South China Sea territorial dispute dominated discussions Sunday at the East Asia Summit that brought together world powers — including China, Japan and the U.S. — and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The 10th annual summit had been expected to focus on the threat of international terrorism following remarks made by President Barack Obama on Friday. However, many of the U.S. president’s counterparts turned out to be more concerned about the dispute with China. “The South China Sea was the central issue,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters afterward.

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Despite terror threat, South China Sea dispute dominates – Nikkei Asian Review

Benigno Aquino and Joko Widodo, the Indonesian President, chat at the ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur on Nov  21 (Photo: Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — Earlier this week Southeast Asia’s foreign ministers “reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, freedom of navigation in and overflight of the South China Sea,” according to an account given Friday by Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman. In comments possibly aimed at China, Anifah added that “the ministers remain seriously concerned over the ongoing developments and urged all parties to exercise self restraint.” He added that clearer rules over rights and responsibilities in the South China Sea are needed, including a long discussed but yet to be finalized code of conduct.

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What happens when the fighters come home? – Nikkei Asian Review

Memorial at the site of the 2002 Bali bombing  (Photo: Simon Roughneen)

JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR – To counter ISIS in Indonesia, the Widodo government is considering further measures, according to Ahmad Suaedy, coordinator of the Abdurrahman Wahid Center for Inter-Faith Dialogue and Peace. “The Indonesian government is now looking for the legal basis to prohibit and provide sanctions that deter Muslims from involvement with [Islamic State] and other forms of radicalism and terrorism,” he said.

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Is historical claim behind the mystery group of armed Filipinos in Borneo? (blog) – Christian Science Monitor

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2013/0215/Is-historical-claim-behind-the-mystery-group-of-armed-Filipinos-in-Borneo?nav=88-csm_category-topStories Malaysian troops are negotiating with about 100 men from the Philippines who have identified themselves as the ‘royal...