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Home Weekly Bulletin Weekly Bulletin 31/10-6/11

Weekly Bulletin 31/10-6/11

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Vietnam welcomes Philippines’s settlement of fishermen issue; China still controls Scarborough Shoal; Indonesian President Joko Widodo says 'no compromise on sovereignty'; US, Royal Cambodian Forces Combine for CARAT Cambodia 2016…

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China

China still controls Scarborough Shoal

Regarding the reports say that the Chinese coast guard okayed Philippine fishermen's fishing near Scarborough Shoal, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “The Chinese side has always been exercising normal jurisdiction over Huangyan Dao (Scarborough Shoal). The situation there is and will remain unchanged. We have seen all-round improvement of China-Philippines relations following President Duterte's visit to China. Under such circumstances, the Chinese side makes proper arrangements based on the friendship between China and the Philippines in response to the issue of President Duterte's concern.

Vietnam

Vietnam welcomes Philippines’s settlement of fishermen issue

Asked about information regarding the Philippine President’s decision to release 17 Vietnamese fishermen, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Le Hai Binh said: “After the Vietnamese fishermen were arrested in the Philippines on September 8, the Foreign Ministry directed the Vietnamese embassy in the host country to approach them and promptly work with the host authorities to ensure their legitimate interests. During the talks between President Tran Dai Quang and his Philippine counterpart, the Philippine side informed about the release. The Vietnamese embassy later held working sessions with the host authorities to make a list of fishermen, and the form and time for the release.” Vietnam welcomes the Philippine President’s settlement of fishermen issue in humanitarian spirit in line with the bilateral strategic partnership, he added.

The Philippines
Philippines to seek solution with China for Scaroborough Shoal issue

Philippine National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon on October 31 said the Philippines and China had reached a “friendly” understanding allowing Filipinos to fish around Scarborough Shoal during Mr. Duterte’s visit to China. “There is no agreement… but our President believes that our fishermen will no longer be harassed because he already brought up this matter” during his visit to China, Esperon told reporters. “The Coast Guard of China is there, but their Navy is gone. And now, our fishermen are no longer being accosted, no longer being forced out, so we can say things are now friendly,” he added. He said Mr. Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to sidestep the issue to repair frayed ties.

Duterte frees 17 Viet fishers to boost ties

Saying that Filipinos now live in a world with “very complicated international relations,” President Duterte on November 2 released 17 Vietnamese fishermen caught on waters off Ilocos Sur province. The Philippine Navy and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources filed charges of poaching against the Vietnamese fishermen in September. The Navy also confiscated the fishermen’s boats. The charges, however, were dismissed by an Ilocos Sur prosecutor in Vigan City. The prosecutor accepted the fishermen’s story that they were forced to cross into Philippine territory to avoid Typhoon “Ferdie,” according to Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo says 'no compromise on sovereignty'

Speaking to Fairfax Media ahead of his arrival to Australia, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo as defied China's ambitions to take ownership of almost all of the South China Sea, affirming Indonesia's sovereignty over waters also claimed by China. "There is no compromise on sovereignty," he said. China is laying claim to 90 per cent of the South China Sea, but its so-called "nine-dash line" includes waters surrounding Indonesia's Natuna Islands. According to him, Natunas was a priority because “there are 169,000 people out there and we want to build our fishery industry there.”

Australia

Australian Government considers joint patrols with Indonesian Navy

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed on November 1 Australia is considering joint patrols with Indonesia in the contested South China Sea. “We have agreed to explore options to increase maritime cooperation and of course that would include coordinated activities in the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. "This is all consistent with our policy of exercising our right of freedom of navigation."The Foreign Minister said the Australian Navy already conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea with India and the US and had notified other nations in the region. The possibility of joint patrols was raised by Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu uring an annual meeting with Ms Bishop and Australia’s Defence Minister Marise Payne.

Regional Snapshots

Royal Australian Navy HMAS Warramunga arrives at Cam Ranh

The warship HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152) made a port call at Vietnam's strategic naval base at Cam Ranh Bay, the Australian Navy said on November 2, beginning a six-day visit. It provides a unique training opportunity that helps the two nation’s navies foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. During the visit, the 400 officers and crewmembers of the Warramunga will also play friendly volleyball matches with their Vietnam counterparts and take in some sightseeing of popular tourist destinations in the region.

US, Royal Cambodian Forces Combine for CARAT Cambodia 2016

U.S. and Royal Cambodian navy (RCN) service members kicked off the 7th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in Cambodia with an opening ceremony at Ream Navy Base, Oct. 31. Held consecutively since 2010, CARAT Cambodia is a bilateral training exercise to increase cooperation and enhance maritime security between the U.S. and Cambodian navies. Approximately 150 U.S. Sailors and 200 Royal Cambodian sailors are participating in CARAT Cambodia 2016. The U.S. 7th Fleet Band will also perform for local communities around Sihanoukville at the M'Lop Tapang Orphanage, Don Bosco Technical School, Ream Primary School, Village D'enfant, as well as a public concert.

Malaysia, China pledges to handle South China Sea disputes bilaterally

Speaking to reporters, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said after a meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his visiting counterpart, Prime Minister Najib Razak, “Leaders of the two sides agreed to further advance the proper settlement of the South China Sea issue with dialogue through a bilateral channel. “China and Malaysia are littoral states of the South China Sea so we need to enhance our cooperation to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea and enhance our mutual trust.” Also, Malaysia has agreed to buy four Chinese naval vessels. The vessels are known as littoral mission ships, small craft that operate close to shore. Two will be built in China and two in Malaysia.

Four Ships of Russian Pacific Fleet arrive in Jakarta

Four ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet arrived in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta’s port of Tanjung Priok to take part in the Indo Defence 2016 Expo & Forum, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. The Indo Defence 2016 Expo & Forum will be held on November 2-5 in Jakarta. Russian delegation, headed by the Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Mikhail Petukhov, is expected to meet with the Indonesian military and security forces officials. Russian defense industry complex will demonstrate models of multi-purpose super-maneuverable fighter SU-35, T-90S tank, anti-aircraft missile complex Buk-M2E and BMP-3M infantry combat vehicle among others.


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