Thursday, July 30, 2015

Patrolling the Pacific: Filipino Front

It's been the bulwark of the AmeriKan Empire's presence in the Pacific for over 100 years:

"Philippine officials say China island building in full swing" Associated Press  June 27, 2015

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines — China is pressing ahead with the construction of artificial islands on at least two reefs that are also claimed by the Philippines, despite Beijing’s pronouncement that some work would end soon, Philippine officials said Friday.

Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon of Kalayaan islands, which are under Philippine control, said he saw dredgers and huge cranes in full swing at Chinese construction sites when he flew last week near Subi Reef.

It’s one of at least seven reefs and atolls in the South China Sea where the United States and the Philippines have expressed concern that islands being built by China could be used to base military planes and ships to intimidate other nations, reinforce China’s claim over virtually the entire area, and threaten freedom of navigation in a busy shipping lane.

Well, if that isn't the superpower pot hollering kettle. 

Beyond that, we see the same repetitive pattern with the World War: shipping lanes, be they resource or supply, are key and vital.

Chinese Embassy officials in Manila did not immediately comment. On June 16, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the land-reclamation projects on some islands and reefs ‘‘will be completed in upcoming days.’’ But the ministry also said on its website that China would follow up by building infrastructure for maritime search and rescue, environmental conservation, and scientific research.


Time to heat things up:

"Philippines asks tribunal to invalidate China’s sea claims; Island building is called effort to control the sea" by Jim Gomez Associated Press  July 09, 2015

MANILA — The Philippines has asked an international tribunal to declare China’s claims to virtually all the South China Sea invalid, saying Beijing’s actions have trampled other nations’ rights and irreversibly damaged vast coral reefs.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told the tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday that China’s strategy was to gradually take control of the strategic waters without sparking a crisis. Philippine officials provided his statement to journalists in Manila on Wednesday.

‘‘China’s positions and behavior have become progressively more aggressive and disconcerting,’’ Rosario told the tribunal. ‘‘Outside observers have referred to this as China’s ‘salami-slicing’ strategy: that is, taking little steps over time, none of which individually is enough to provoke a crisis.

‘‘When these small steps are taken together, however, they reflect China’s efforts to slowly consolidate de facto control throughout the South China Sea,’’ he said.

China’s aggressive moves, including preventing the Philippines from carrying out oil and gas explorations in what Manila considers its territorial waters and the forcible expulsion of Filipino fishermen from a disputed shoal, prompted Manila to take its conflict to international arbitration.

It's about the oil and ga$, and get who the bad guy is here!!

Earlier attempts to resolve the conflict through negotiations, a step that China prefers, proved to be ineffective, Rosario said.

That's real aggressive. Maybe the Filipinos were intransigent; most US allies are.

The tribunal opened hearings to address China’s contention that the five-person arbitration body operating under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea does not have authority to assume jurisdiction over the Philippine complaints. The tribunal could proceed to look into the complaints against Beijing only if it rules that it has jurisdiction over the Philippine case.

‘‘China opposes any action made by the Philippines to initiate and push ahead with the arbitration,’’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a news conference in Beijing Tuesday, adding Manila reneged on an agreement not to take such unilateral steps.

Philippine officials have denied that there was such an agreement, saying Beijing has clearly agreed in the past to resolve the disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations convention, which allows coastal states to exclusively exploit resources within 200 nautical miles of waters from their territory.

China’s ambassador to Manila, Zhao Jianhua, has said his government could not be compelled to follow any decision by the arbitration tribunal, adding Beijing would remain open to negotiations with the Philippines to resolve the disputes.

‘‘The result of the arbitration is not binding as our side is concerned. This is the legal right of China,’’ he told reporters last month.

It's the same argument Israel uses.

China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan have been contesting ownership of the resource-rich South China Sea. 

It's the South What Sea? I think that clears up the ownership, don't you?

Washington and other countries have expressed concern over China’s increasingly assertive actions, including massive island building that they say has damaged vast coral reefs in the disputed waters. Beijing said fears it would eventually limit freedom of navigation and air flights are unfounded.

Yeah, we will have to confront the Chinese in the Pacific theater for the World War III that has already begun.


I wish everyone could just get along and be happy....

"Several hundred lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people held a Gay Pride rally Saturday in the capital to push for LGBT rights and to celebrate the US Supreme Court decision recognizing gay marriages in all US states as a victory for their cause. About 500 people marched around Rizal Park, many carrying placards and streamers and waving rainbow banners (AP)."

There is that offensive flag again. Has nothing to do with gay; I just don't like certain colors.

"In the Philippines on Monday, President Benigno Aquino III said charges will be filed against all those responsible for last month’s factory fire that killed 72 people and blasted government agencies for failing to do their duties. Aquino said an investigation showed Kentex Manufacturing Corp. in Valenzuela city failed to install an automatic sprinkler system and a protected fire exit inside the facility."

And it wasn't caused by the fire at the Philippines slipper factory, either. 

Time to take to sea again and move further north on the Pacific front:

38 dead after Philippines ferry capsizes

"Ormoc, a regional economic and transportation hub of about 200,000 people, is in a disaster-prone region that is regularly hit by tropical storms and typhoons each year.... Death toll from capsized Philippine ferry rises to 50"

With the bad weather having cleared, the AmeriKan fleet can continue it's journey.