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Home Weekly Bulletin Weekly Bulletin 14/11-20/11

Weekly Bulletin 14/11-20/11

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Xi tells Duterte that Scarborough Shoal will stay open to Philippine fishermen; China to begin building two research vessels; USPACOM chief eyes coastal defence artillery for South China Sea; Japan announces plans to enhance defence cooperation with ASEAN…

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Activities of Related Parties

China

China responds to the information that Vietnam is extending a runway on Spratly islands

With regard to that information, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokeperson Geng Shuang said: “China firmly opposes certain country's illegal occupation of and construction of facilities on some of the islands and reefs of China's Nansha islands. We strongly urge relevant country to truly respect China's sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests, immediately stop its illegal occupation and construction, and withdraw their personnel and facilities. We require relevant country to abide by bilateral and regional consensus, avoid taking actions that could complicate the situation, and make due contributions to peace and stability over the South China Sea.”

Xi tells Duterte that Scarborough Shoal will stay open to Philippine fishermen

The Philippine Presidential Communications Office said in a statement that in a meeting with his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru on November 19, Xi said the sea should be turned into a symbol of cooperation. “The Chinese leader [vowed] that the fishermen will continue to have free access to their traditional fishing grounds, apart from offering them training such as in fish culture to sustain their livelihood and families.”

China to begin building two research vessels

The China Ocean Mineral Resources R&D Association on November 18 signed contracts with two ship manufacturers to begin construction on the research vessels with plans to finish the projects in about 28 months. According to the association, the Dayang Erhao will have a displacement of 4,000 tonnes and measure 98 meters long and 17 meters wide. It will contain more than 400 square meters of laboratory space be equipped with over 70 types of research devices.

The Philippines

Duterte to align foreign policy toward China-led Asian economic development

Speaking to China’s President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru on November 19, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said: ““I have given you my word, we will cooperate with you. I said, with my thrust of an independent foreign policy, we will find ourselves mutually agreeing in so many things and align our foreign policy towards the development of Asia, strengthening of ties among the countries in the region, with China leading the way in the economic development.”

The U.S.

PACOM chief eyes coastal defence artillery for South China Sea

Admiral Harry Harris, head of US Pacific Command (PACOM) on November 15 said that the US military needs coastal defence weapons that can threaten adversaries' ships in the Pacific. "I think the army should be in the business of sinking ships with land-based surface-to-ship missile systems," he said, noting that the US Marine Corps could have a similar role. He said PACOM would want that sort of capability in the Western Pacific so it could, if needed, threaten adversaries in the South China Sea, East China Sea, and elsewhere. General David Perkins, head of US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), told reporters in October that army fires systems such as M142 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) wheeled launcher could be used to engage maritime targets

Germany

German President expressed concerns over South China Sea disputes

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on November 13 met with German President Joachim Gauck who was on a state visit to Japan. The German president told a joint news conference after the meeting that he was watching the situation in the East and South China seas "with concern." Abe and Gauck agreed to work together to maintain the international rule of law and would not accept attempts to change the status quo by force.

Regional Snapshots

Japan announces plans to enhance defence cooperation with ASEAN

Japanese defence minister Tomomi Inada unveiled plans for closer security collaboration between Tokyo and the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during a visit to Laos on 16 November, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo. As part of the initiative, dubbed the Vientiane Vision after the Laotian capital where the ASEAN-Japan Defence Ministers' Informal Meeting took place, Tokyo pledged ASEAN members support, cooperation, and assistance in promoting the rule of law and strengthening maritime security in the region. Japan intends to achieve this, Inada said in the statement, through the promotion of awareness of international maritime and aeronautical law as well as by stepping up co-operation in the areas of humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations.

The eighth International South China Sea conference kicks off in Nha Trang, Vietnam

The conference, jointly held by the Diplomatic Academy of Việt Nam (DAV), the Foundation for East Sea Studies and the Việt Nam Lawyers Association, brings together nearly 200 delegates, including close to 60 foreign scholars. A special session will be held for the first time for representatives of naval and law enforcement forces of relevant countries, who will discuss interaction and coordination field measures in order to avoid unexpected clashes and boost maritime cooperation.

Malaysia, Japan assert joint stance on the South China Sea issues

Speaking to reporters after talks with Malaysian leader Najib Razak in Tokyo on November 6, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “The two leaders also agreed on the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. Any disputes there, he added, should be resolved based on international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.” The two leaders also attended a signing ceremony for Japan’s grant of two decommissioned patrol vessels to Malaysia’s coast guard agency.


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