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Home Weekly Bulletin Weekly Bulletin 21/8-27/8

Weekly Bulletin 21/8-27/8

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Vietnam objects to Taiwan’s live-fire drill in Truong Sa; Duterte won’t fight China over Sandy Cay; Naval accidents no setback to U.S. South China Sea operations…

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Activities of the Reated Parties

Vietnam

Vietnam objects to Taiwan’s live-fire drill in Truong Sa

Responding to reporters’ question about the recent live-fire drill of Taiwan, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said on August 24 that: " Vietnam has sufficient legal foundation and historical evidence testifying to its sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa archipelagos.” Taiwan’s live-fire drills in the sea area surrounding Ba Binh Island of Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago for many times seriously violated Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty over this archipelago, threatened peace, stability, safety, and security of navigation, caused tensions and complicated the situation in the East Sea (South China Sea), she said.

The Philippines

Duterte won’t fight China over Sandy Cay

Asked to react on the alarm raised by Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that Sandy Cay, located some 2.5 miles off Pag-asa Island, was being “seized – to put it mildly – or being invaded – to put it frankly – by China,”Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he was given assurances by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and the Chinese Foreign Ministry that Beijing has no plans to occupy or build structures over Sandy Cay. Duterte again said that the Philippines cannot afford to confront China.

Filipino officials: Chinese navy stalked Philippine area

Two senior Philippine security officials told on August 22 that three Chinese navy ships, a coast guard vessel and 10 fishing boats began keeping watch on Sandy Cay on August 12 after a group of Filipino fishermen were spotted on the sandbars. The Filipinos eventually left but the Chinese stayed on. The two spoke on condition of anonymity, saying only the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila has been authorized to publicly discuss issues related to the country's territorial disputes with China.

PLP alleged China of planting flag on a sand cay in the South China Sea

 Gary C. Alejano, a Philippine congressman, on August 22 said that Chinese flag was planted on a sand cay seven nautical miles off Kota Island (Loai Ta Island). He said it is an indication of China’s incursions amid warmer relations between the two countries. Responding to that information, Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said: "I inquired about that and apparently, as of this stage, there is no flag. You know, as of this stage."

PH Navy gets radar system from U.S.

Philippine Navy spokesman Commander Lued Lincuna on August 22 said the United States donated a Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) to the Philippine Navy to boost its capability to monitor maritime and air traffic amid continuing concerns in the South China Sea. TARS is a balloon-borne radar that uses Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) technology. It is widely used by the US to monitor its borders, mostly to prevent trafficking of drugs and people. Earlier on July, the Philippine Air Force officially received two Cessna C-208B Grand Caravan aircraft from the United States as part of a grant to the Philippines.

Malaysia

Malaysia launches its first French-designed LCS as Navy moves to modernize

Malaysia on August 24 has launched the first of its new littoral combat ships ordered under a $2 billion contract signed in 2011. Malaysia’s LCS design is based on the French Gowind 2500 corvette, and the first ship is expected to enter service with the Royal Malaysian Navy in the first half of 2019. All six of the program’s ships are scheduled to be in service by 2023.

Indonesia

Indonesia to buy S$1.55 billion worth of Russian jets

Indonesia will buy 11 Sukhoi fighter jets worth US$1.14 billion (S$1.55 billion) from Russia in exchange for cash and Indonesian commodities, two Cabinet ministers said on August 22. Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said in a joint statement with Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu that details of the type and volume of commodities were "still being negotiated".

The U.S.

Naval accidents no setback to South China Sea operations

Speaking at a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur, General Terrence J. O‘Shaughnessy, U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander, stated that recent U.S. naval accidents in the Asia Pacific region will not interrupt “freedom of navigation” movements in the disputed South China Sea. “We stand firm that we are going to sail and fly anywhere where international rules allow.” Earlier, USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on August 21.

Regional Snapshots

Vietnamese, Australian defence ministers hold talks

On August 24, Vietnam’s Defence Minister Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich held talks with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne who was on an official visit to Vietnam. At the talks, the ministers discussed regional security issues of shared concern and orientations for bilateral defence cooperative activities in the coming time. They shared the view that the two countries’ defence cooperation is substantive, stable, and sustainable, and it is in line with the memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation inked in 2010. Minister Payne thanked the Vietnamese Defence Ministry for its support for Australia’s initiative to hold the ADMM annually, and asserted that Australia will continue contributing to the success of this important mechanism.

Vietnamese Party chief starts Indonesia visit

VietnameseParty General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong pays a three-day official visit to Indonesia from August 22 at the invitation of President Joko Widodo. At the talks between VietnameseParty chief and Indonesian President on August 23, they reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region, ensuring security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea (South China Sea), peacefully resolving disputes, and complying with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. The two sides also pledged to accelerate and soon conclude negotiations on the demarcation of exclusive economic zones towards devising overall solutions, including settling issues related to fishing boats and fishermen in the spirit of humanity, friendship and solidarity within ASEAN, in line with the bilateral strategic partnership and on the basis of respect for each country’s independence and sovereignty.

Vietnam, Myanmar call for a peaceful resolution for the South China Sea disputes

Vietnam and Myanmar issued a joint statement on their comprehensive cooperative partnership on the occasion of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s State visit to Myanmar from August 24 to 26. The joint statement read: " They repeated the commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, resolving disputes by peaceful means, not using force or threatening to use force, and complying with broadly recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. They also reiterated their support for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and soon finalisation of a code of conduct (COC) in the waters on the basis of the approved COC framework."


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