Vietnam calls for a peaceful resolution for South China Sea disputes; China flies nuclear-capable bomber in South China Sea; Manila will not help US on patrols in South China Sea; US Senator introduces Bill targeting Chinese aggression in South China Sea…
Activities of Related Parties
The new cruise ship, named Nanhai Zhi Meng, has a maximum capacity of 893 people. The cruise ship has finished a trial voyage and will start its maiden voyage in late December from Sanya to the Paracels. The ship is scheduled to make the voyage four to six times each month.
China flew a long-range nuclear-capable bomber outside China for the first time since President-elect Donald Trump spoke with the president of Taiwan, two US officials told Fox News. The Chinese H-6 bomber flew along the disputed "Nine-Dash line" on December 8. It was the first long-range flight of a Chinese bomber along the U-shaped line of demarcation since March 2015.
The UN General Assembly yesterday convened a plenary meeting at the UN’s headquarters in New York, the US with a focus on Agenda Item 73, themed “Oceans and the law of the sea”. Attending the plenum of the UN General Assembly, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga has said that all countries, regardless of big or small, must have goodwill and responsibility to comply with regulations in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS). She affirmed that this Convention is the most important legal document stipulating all ocean and sea-related activities, and is also a comprehensive and effective framework to peacefully resolve disputes. It contributes to peace and security while ensuring safety, security and freedom of navigation and overflight at sea.
Speaking to reporters on December 8, Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says US ships and aircraft could use bases in Guam, Okinawa or fly from aircraft carriers to patrol the disputed waters instead of those bases in the Philippines. Lorenzana said Duterte will not likely allow that to happen also because the country wants “to avoid any provocative actions that can escalate tensions in the South China Sea.”.
Speaking to PTI on December 10, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said: “"We do not want this region to become a battlefield between big countries. Economic costs will be too expensive if there is a conflict (in this region)." Underlining the importance of peace in the worlds busiest shipping routes, he said that "all disputes must be resolved peacefully... There must always be respect for diplomatic and legal processes." Indonesia continues to accelerate the preparation of the Code of Conduct between China and ASEAN.
In a statement on December 10, The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), from the Naval Region Command 1 (Mawilla 1), said that it seized a Vietnamese boat on for fishing in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). “Further inspection found that none of the crew had valid identification documents, or a valid permit to fish in the EEZ. “They have (therefore) committed an offense under the Fisheries Act 1985,” the statement read.
The bill, called the “South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act of 2016” , proffers a plan to sanction Chinese individuals and entities “that participate in Beijing’s illegitimate operations in the East Sea and East China Sea,” according to a release by Rubio’s office. The bill would represent an ambitious change in U.S. policy. If it becomes law, it would require the U.S. president to execute a range of punitive sanctions against Chinese individuals and entities for activities in the East Sea and in turn sanction third-party financial institutions that interact with those entities knowingly.
In a meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 9, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said that Vietnam supports and encourages Indian oil and gas companies to invest in the new oil field discovered in Vietnam’s continental shelf. On his part, India’s PM confirmed that India advocates the settlement of disputes via peaceful means and international law.
A naval ship of the Philippines, the PF-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz, docked at Cam Ranh International Port in the central province of Khanh Hoa on December 5 for a four-day cordial visit. During the stay to December 8, officers and sailors on the ship will call on the Commander of the Naval Zone 4 and leaders of Khanh Hoa province. They will also hold an exchange with their Vietnamese counterpart.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada on December 7 met in Tokyo to affirm an enduring alliance of peace, stability and security within the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. “Today, our alliance, which we see as the cornerstone of regional stability, has never been stronger or more capable of contributing to security throughout the region and beyond,” Carter said during a joint news conference.
India and Indonesia officially brought up on December 11 the issue of disputes in South China Sea as they urged all parties to show utmost respect to UNCLOS which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans. "Regarding the South China Sea, the two sides stressed the importance of resolving disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law including the UNCLOS," said the joint statement issued by the two countries after a meeting between PM Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi.
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