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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China.

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China.

Mensaje por ivan_077 Marzo 31st 2014, 01:51

Martes 22 enero 2013 | 7:03 · Actualizado: 7:10
Filipinas lleva a China ante la ONU por conflicto de soberanía por islas

Filipinas interpuso una demanda ante un tribunal de arbitraje de la ONU en el conflicto por la soberanía de varias islas del mar de China Meridional, indicó este martes el ministro filipino de Relaciones Exteriores, Albert del Rosario.

“Filipinas ha agotado todas las vías políticas y diplomáticas para encontrar una solución pacífica a nuestro contencioso marítimo con China”, dijo en una rueda de prensa. “Esperamos que el procedimiento de arbitraje permita una solución duradera al problema”, añadió el ministro.

Filipinas informó al embajador de China, Ma Qeking, de su decisión de llevar el caso ante un tribunal, siguiendo los procedimientos previstos en la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho del Mar, firmada en 1982 por los dos estados.

China reivindica la casi totalidad del mar de China Meridional, un centro de paso vital para el comercio mundial con importantes reservas de petróleo, gas y abundantes recursos pesqueros.

Pekín, que asegura que sus reivindicaciones se basan en “hechos y pruebas históricas”, consiguió a mediados de los años 1990 tomar el control del arrecife de Mischief, en las Islas Spratly, a pesar de las protestas de Filipinas que finalmente renunciaron a él.

Pero el gobierno de Manila quiere ahora defender el atolón de Scarborough y pide al tribunal de la ONU que China “se abstenga de llevar a cabo actividades ilegales que infrinjan los derechos de soberanía y la autoridad de Filipinas” garantizados por la convención de 1982.
Ya se que al nota está vieja, pero creo que aparecerán muchas notas como estas y la quise unir a la noticia que le sucederá. Estoy seguro que habra mas pedos por los mares limitrofes chinos. ¿Se deberia hacer un sólo tema para esa cuestion o seguiran como están, esto es, por paises?

Última edición por ivan_077 el Marzo 31st 2014, 01:58, editado 1 vez

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Las Filipinas demandan a la República China Popular sobre limites maritimos.

Mensaje por ivan_077 Marzo 31st 2014, 01:54

Philippines sues China over sea claims
Philippine lawsuit says China has no 'historical rights' to a section of South China Sea.
Ted Regencia Last updated: 30 Mar 2014 12:36

Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. 201433063050618734_20
China's nine-dash line claim encompasses almost 90 percent of the resource-rich South China Sea [Al Jazeera]

Two years ago, a standoff broke out between the Philippines and China, when Filipino authorities tried to arrest Chinese fishermen suspected of illegally fishing in the Scarborough Shoal.

China blocked the arrest, sending paramilitary vessels to surround the Philippine patrol ships. The face-off lasted two months before the US intervened, securing assurances from both sides to withdraw vessels from the disputed rock formation in the South China Sea. The Philippines left. China ignored the deal and stayed.

After months of diplomatic wrangling, the Philippines filed a lawsuit on Sunday, challenging China before a UN court at The Hague. The case questions the validity of China's "nine-dash line" claim (refering to the line that China puts on maps to justify its claim) and its occupation of Scarborough. The Philippines argues that the U-shaped boundary, which China set out based on "historical rights", encroaches on its territory under international law.

"It is about defending what is legitimately ours," Albert del Rosario, the Philippine foreign minister, told reporters on Sunday. "It is about securing our children's future. It is about guaranteeing freedom of navigation for all nations. It is about helping to preserve regional peace, security and stability."

What China claimed as part of its "indisputable sovereignty" covers almost 90 percent of the South China Sea. It also overlaps the areas claimed by other countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

On Saturday, the Chinese coastguard attempted to block a Philippine naval vessel from delivering supplies to a marooned ship in the Second Thomas Shoal. The Chinese warned the vessel to turn around but were ignored. It was the second incident between the two countries in two weeks in the Spratlys, south of Scarborough.

To maintain order in the region, countries must abide by the UN Convention on the Law of the SEA (UNCLOS), senior justice Antonio Carpio said in a speech in Manila. But, he said, China has disregarded the law which is considered to be the world's constitution on the seas and oceans.

"China is enforcing its claim through its rapidly growing naval fleet," he said. "If left to stand, China's claim will bring the world back to the turbulent maritime era of 400 years ago, when nations claimed the oceans and seas through the naval cannon, not through the rule of law."

'Historical rights'

Under UNCLOS, which both China and the Philippines ratified, coastal states like the Philippines are entitled to a 322km exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Beyond that is considered the high seas, common to all nations. Scarborough is 220km from the Philippine mainland of Luzon, and 857km from China's Hainan province.

China claimed that its sailors discovered Scarborough 2,000 years ago, and had fished in the region as far back as the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1279 AD. China refers to it as Huangyan Island, while the Philippines calls it Panatag.  

In a foreign policy discussion at the University of Southern California, Chinese scholar Shen Dingli also reiterated China's historical claim over Scarborough and other islands in the region.

"For China, we say our ancestors used to occupy these islands," he said. "So I have this book to show. Look, and my fishermen used to use the islands to avoid the typhoons. It’s all recorded.

"So we consider that a thousand years ago, these people already used this sea lane of communication for China’s interests. Therefore, the ancestors of them have the right to claim."

Al Jazeera tried to contact the Chinese Embassy in Manila for comment, but did not receive a reply. In a statement reported by the state-owned news agency Xinhua, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said: "China has sufficient historical and legal evidence for its sovereignty over the Nansha [Spratlys] islands", and other islands and adjacent waters across the South China Sea.

Wang blamed the dispute on "some countries' illegal occupation" of islands belonging to China since the 1970s.

"Even so, China has always been committed to solving disputes through negotiating directly with countries involved and in a peaceful manner," the foreign minister told Xinhua.

He said that recent "unfounded and untrue rumours" had magnified disputes in the South China Sea and "artificially upped tensions in the region".

Carpio, however, said there is no UNCLOS provision that grants China "historical rights" over vast parts of the resource-rich section of the Pacific Ocean.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei has said that China will not participate in the arbitration proceedings. But experts say that the tribunal will likely give China six months to answer the case.

'David vs Goliath'

China's action in Scarborough leaves the Philippines with no other recourse but to bring the case to the international tribunal, said Bonnie Glaser, an expert on China and Asia-Pacific at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC.

"After the whole Scarborough Shoal incident, it just became clear that the Philippines was not going to be able to defend its rights by itself," she said. "In fact, it could not even rely on the United States. Because at the end of the day, the US did nothing to prevent China from taking over Scarborough Shoal."

She dismissed China's proposal for "bilateral consultations and negotiations" to the dispute, saying it will only benefit China more than the Philippines. Up to the last minute, China had been urging the Philippines to postpone the filing of the case.

"There's a lot of political tension and hostility that make cooperation very, very difficult," Glaser told Al Jazeera.

The Philippines has also learned from its recent history. In 1995, China occupied Mischief Reef, which is also within the Philippines' EEZ. China never left the reef despite Manila's repeated diplomatic protests.

"The only way to really resolve this is going to be through the use of international arbitration," Glaser said. "I don't think bilateral, or multilateral negotiations are going to lead to a resolution."

But Jay Batongbacal, an international maritime law expert and law professor at the University of the Philippines, said that there have been cases before international tribunals where opposing parties reached a settlement. He cited the case between Singapore and Malaysia over the reclamation in the Strait of Johore, which was dismissed before adjudication following a settlement.

As for the relationship between the Philippines and China, Batongbacal said that despite previous disputes, trade between the two countries flourished.

"Unfortunately, it appears that this policy no longer holds true after the Scarborough Shoal standoff in 2012," he told Al Jazeera.

He said that it would take an "enormous amount of skilled statesmanship" on both sides to repair relations adding that both countries "have gone to real extremes, leaving little room for flexibility and compromise".

One of the main reasons why China's leaders are maintaining a hardline stance in South China Sea is domestic politics, Glaser said.

"Compromise that is seen by the public as making concessions to other countries, and weakening the nation, could lead to criticism of the Communist Party and the legitimacy of the party. Of course keeping the regime in power is really the number one priority."

Batongbacal likened the current standoff between the Philippines and China to the battle between David and Goliath.

"Not only in the sense that it is a small country doing battle against the large country, but also in the sense that the Philippines must hit the Chinese legal armour at exactly the right spot in order for it to prevail," he said.
P^%!@#$ chinos avorazados estan igual que el p****e putin!

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Re: Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China.

Mensaje por Lanceros de Toluca Abril 6th 2014, 00:34

La Alianza Militar del Pacifico se tiene que hacer Ya.

Lanceros de Toluca
Alto Mando
Alto Mando

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Manila's Aquino - Agrees with Obama on peaceful territorial dispute settlement

Mensaje por ivan_077 Abril 30th 2014, 03:29

ReutersReuters – Mon, Apr 28, 2014
MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on Monday he agreed with U.S. President Barack Obama that territorial disputes should be settled peacefully, after bilateral talks at the presidential palace in Manila.

The Philippines has sought international arbitration over China's "nine-dash-line" claims to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, an important shipping route that is believed to be rich in energy resources. [IDL3N0MI0U1]

Apart from the Philippines, Beijing's territorial claims overlap with that of Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

"Both President Obama and I share the conviction that territorial and maritime disputes in the Asia Pacific region should be settled peacefully based on international law," Aquino said at a joint news conference.

"We affirm that arbitration is an open, friendly and peaceful approach to seeking a just and durable solution."

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal and Erik dela Cruz; Writing by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Última edición por ivan_077 el Abril 30th 2014, 03:31, editado 1 vez

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Obama warns China, backs Philippines

Mensaje por ivan_077 Abril 30th 2014, 03:30

AFPBy Stephen COLLINSON | AFP – Tue, Apr 29, 2014

US President Barack Obama ended an Asian tour Tuesday with a warning to China against using force to resolve territorial disputes, and an "ironclad" promise of military support for the Philippines.

Obama used an address to US and Filipino troops in Manila to again voice concern over the increasingly tense maritime rows between China and US allies in the region, an issue that has dominated his four-nation trip.

"We believe that nations and peoples have the right to live in security and peace, to have their sovereignty and territorial integrity respected," Obama said.

"We believe that international law must be upheld, that freedom of navigation must be preserved and commerce must not be impeded. We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and not by intimidation or force."

The Philippines has been embroiled in one of the highest-profile territorial disputes with China, over tiny islets, reefs and rocks in the South China Sea.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, which is believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas, even waters and formations close to its neighbours.

The Philippines, which has one of the weakest militaries in the region, has repeatedly called on longtime ally the United States for help as China has increased military and diplomatic pressure to take control of the contested areas.

The Philippines and the United States signed an agreement on Monday that will allow a greater US military presence on Filipino bases.

- Obama pledges support -

And Obama sought on Tuesday to reassure the Philippines that the United States would back its ally in the event of being attacked, citing a 1951 mutual defence treaty between the two nations.

"This treaty means our two nations pledge, and I am quoting, 'our common determination to defend themselves from external armed attacks'," Obama said.

"And no potential aggressor can be under the illusion that either of them stands alone. In other words, our commitment to defend the Philippines is ironclad. The United States will keep that commitment because allies will never stand alone."

Nevertheless, Obama did not specifically mention coming to the aid of the Philippines if there was a conflict over the contested South China Sea areas, as his hosts had hoped.

On the first leg of his Asian tour in Tokyo, Obama had made such a pledge of support to Japan, which is locked in another dispute with China over rival claims to islands in the East China Sea.

Obama's nuanced position on the Philippines was part of a tight-rope act he had tried to perform during his trip -- reassuring allies wary about China's perceived increased hostility while not antagonising the leadership in Beijing.

While offering pledges of protection to Japan and the Philippines, Obama also insisted the United States was not seeking to counter or contain China.

- 'Troublemaking allies' -

But an editorial in the state-run China Daily newspaper Tuesday signalled Chinese authorities did not believe Obama's assurances were genuine.

"It is increasingly obvious that Washington is taking Beijing as an opponent," the editorial said.

"With Obama reassuring the US allies of protection in any conflict with China, it is now clear that Washington is no longer bothering to conceal its attempt to contain China's influence in the region."

The editorial warned against believing Obama's "sweet promises" of a new, constructive relationship between the United States and China, and instead outlined what it described as a "grim geopolitical reality".

"Ganging up with its troublemaking allies, the US is presenting itself as a security threat to China," it said.

However, reflecting the difficulties of Obama's balancing act, there were also complaints in the Philippines that he had not offered explicit support in the event of a conflict over the contested South China Sea areas.

"No firm commitment from US to defend PH," said the front-page headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer after Obama met president Benigno Aquino on Monday but did not pledge South China Sea backing.

And after Obama made his speech on Tuesday, Aquino ally Senator Antonio Trillanes said the Philippine leadership was now fully aware that US troops would not join Filipino troops in a potential conflict with China over the South China Sea.

"So at least it's very clear that there are no false expectations and we just have to deal with that by ourselves," Trillanes said.

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Imperialism 2.0

Mensaje por ivan_077 Abril 30th 2014, 03:44

The long, strange dance between the U.S. and China in the Philippines.

BY Gina Apostol
APRIL 29, 2014

On March 9, as the world turned its attention to the mythical disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the appearance of China's Coast Guard in Philippine waters off Ayungin Shoal went unnoticed. Eight Philippine soldiers guard the shoal, part of the contested Kalayaan (or Spratley) Islands in the South China Sea, on the ship Sierra Madre -- a rotting dinosaur of a World War II vessel. The Chinese coast guards refused to allow the Philippines to drop its bimonthly supplies to its Marines, leaving them stranded, starved, and unprotected.

On Sunday, April 27, a day before President Barack Obama landed in Manila, the United States and the Philippines signed an agreement allowing the U.S. military much greater access to bases across the islands -- possibly including Subic Bay, where U.S. bases were ejected as unconstitutional in 1992. As China flexes its might, staking claims to most of the South China Sea, Washington's diplomatic moves with Manila are both self-serving and, to many Filipinos, sadly necessary. In one of Beijing's last challenges in May 2012 -- a three-week standoff with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal -- U.S. officials stated that Washington would help build the Philippines' sea patrol capability, but would not take sides. When push comes to shove, the island nation has only its solitary rage to bear. Obama in Manila underscores the Filipinos' position: stuck between a bully and an opportunist.

But despite the Philippines history of anti-imperialist clamor, Obama has Filipino sentiment on his side. The United States government delivered more than $90 million in aid after November's Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms in history. And this aid was key. That is to say, Filipinos remember generosity though they forget history. And the United States, for its part, has always seen the Philippines in relation to China. Historian Stuart Creighton Miller writes that China was central to the United States' expansion as early as 1785, and in the 1890s the recently acquired U.S. territories of "Hawaii, Midway, and Pago-Pago were pictured as stepping-stones" for trade to China. In the debate over annexation of the Philippines in late 19th-century United States, Miller notes both imperialists and anti-imperialists understood the islands' importance as a coaling station for ships to China. Just as Spanish galleons made Spain's possession, Manila, a trading post that satisfied its appetite for Chinese goods, the Philippines' value to the United States has always been its strategic location in relation to its colossal neighbor, and its viability as a military outpost for the U.S. fleet in the Pacific.

But China's incursions also enflame a curious aspect: Chinese blood and culture are indelibly part of Filipino heritage -- an estimated 20 percent have Chinese ancestry. Trade, intermarriage, and cultural assimilation with Chinese, especially Fujianese, go back to pre-Hispanic times, before 1521; but fear and suspicion of China are also a dismal fact of history. In Tagalog and other Filipino languages, the predominant term for the Chinese is "instik," which means uncle, and is often taken as derogatory. Otherwise, "Chinese," in English, is used to reference Chinese Filipinos.

The history of Filipino prejudice is, of course, not separate from its colonial history. When the United States claimed the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, it carried its fear of the "yellow peril" to its new possession. Historian Richard Chu notes that just as Spain limited Chinese travel and labor in the Philippines, the Americans also followed the previous colonizer's bias: It extended the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which limited Chinese immigration, refused citizenship to resident aliens, and proscribed Chinese labor because "it endangered the good order of certain localities."

The dominance of Chinese businessmen in local trade and in national corporations has long created easy resentment. Thirteen of the 20 richest Filipinos are Chinese, with department store magnate Henry Sy at the top of the list. His malls are renowned for ruthless, predatory expansion. And while it is clear that the rapacity of the Sy empire is a matter of corporate greed rather than racial heritage, those issues seem indivisible among many Filipinos, most obviously in rants on Facebook pages.

Bigotry against Chinese, fueled by nationalist fury, remains embarrassingly prevalent in articles about Philippine rights to the Kalayaan, contested as they are by bullying incursions from China. Buoyed by the twin gifts of China's bellicosity and Filipino nationalist rage, stoked by historic prejudice and modern economic resentments, Obama is signing a treaty that further erodes Philippine sovereignty.

The Philippines will extend once more the rights of a foreign military power on its islands -- and it will welcome the continuing betrayal of its constitution. But a national unconscious also drives it, creating emotional binaries, and a lack of alternatives in this game of chess over Philippine seas. In a weird nesting-doll of historic inversion, Filipinos will accept U.S. planes and warships on its soil, spurred by anti-Chinese animosity once legalized by old U.S. biases, tying it once again to U.S. interests -- while China remains ascendant. Meanwhile, eight Philippine Marines wait for their provisions on their ruinous battleship, stranded guardians of kalayaan, or freedom, on the shoal.

Malacanang Photo Bureau via Getty Images

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Sea dispute dominates Southeast Asian summit

Mensaje por ivan_077 Mayo 18th 2014, 17:59

Sea dispute dominates Southeast Asian summit
Ten-member bloc's annual meeting in Myanmar comes after China relocated oil rig into territory claimed by Vietnam.
Last updated: 11 May 2014 07:20

Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. 201451155736556580_20
There were protests after Beijing controversially relocated an oil rig into territory also claimed by Vietnam [EPA] Sí, ya sé que parecen un grupo de ñoras verduleras, pero estamos hablando de Vietnam, asi que...

Concerns over China's aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea are at the centre of the first Southeast regional summit hosted by Myanmar, which is hoping to demonstrate the progress it has made since emerging from a half-century of brutal military rule.

A standoff between Chinese and Vietnamese ships near the Paracel Islands, as Beijing controversially relocated a deep-water oil rig into territory also claimed by Hanoi, had already heightened tensions this week as the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit convened on Sunday.

The South China Sea is one of the world's most important shipping lanes, rich in fish and believed to contain significant oil and gas reserves.

However, some ASEAN members are wary of upsetting their political and economic relationship with their giant neighbour and regional powerhouse.

A draft of the closing statement to be read by host Myanmar, obtained by the AP news agency, made no direct mention of China.

International arbitration

Let us uphold and follow the rule of law in resolving territorial disputes in order to give due recognition and respect to the rights of all nations.

Benigno Aquino, Philippine president

While little was expected beyond a joint statement made by foreign ministers on Saturday, who expressed concern and called for self-restraint, Philippine President Benigno Aquino had made it clear before the leaders sat down on Sunday that he wanted firmer action.

Aquino said he would raise his country's own territorial dispute with Beijing, while calling for support to resolve its conflict through international arbitration.

"Let us uphold and follow the rule of law in resolving territorial disputes in order to give due recognition and respect to the rights of all nations," Aquino said in a statement.

"We cannot rely just on dialogues between only two nations to settle issues that affect others in the region."

China's foreign minister spokeswoman Hu Chunying responded to the criticism late on Saturday by saying that the South China Sea dispute is not a problem between China and its ASEAN neighbours.

"The Chinese side is always opposed to certain countries' attempts to use the South Sea issue to harm the overall friendship and cooperation between China and the ASEAN," the Reuters news agency quoted her as saying.

Tit-for-tat response

Observers have said Beijing's decision to relocate the deep-water oil rig could have been a tit-for-tat response to a recent visit to the region by US President Barack Obama, who reaffirmed support for Asian allies the Philippines and Japan, which is locked in its own maritime territorial dispute with China.

Beijing claims sovereign rights to almost the whole of the South China Sea, but the area is also claimed in part by ASEAN members Brunei and Malaysia as well as Taiwan.

Beijing prefers to negotiate directly with its smaller, weaker neighbours on a bilateral basis, a policy that is rejected by its rivals.

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Re: Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China.

Mensaje por ivan_077 Mayo 18th 2014, 18:06

China 'building airstrip' on disputed reef
Philippines accuses China of reclaiming land to build an airstrip on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Last updated: 14 May 2014 09:42
Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. 201293012170204734_20
The Spratly Islands are also claimed by neighbouring China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei [Al Jazeera]

The Philippine foreign ministry has accused China of reclaiming land on a disputed reef in the South China Sea and said it appeared to be building an airstrip.

Foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose told Reuters news agency on Wdnesday that China had been moving earth and materials to Johnson Reef in the Spratly Islands over recent weeks.

It also said China was reclaiming land in violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, an informal code of conduct for the region.

The ministry had already lodged a protest with the Chinese and raised the issue behind closed doors at last weekend's summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations in Myanmar, Jose said.

A senior Philippine government official, who spoke to AP news agency on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk about the issue, said China could be building an offshore military and resupply and refuelling hub.

The government estimates that the reclamation has turned the submerged reef and a sand bar into a 30-hectare land mass that transformed the underwater outcrop into an islet, a senior Philippino diplomat told the AP on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to discuss the issue.

It is the latest territorial spat between the Asian neighbours that have ratcheted tensions in the potentially oil and gas-rich region, which also straddles one of the world's busiest sea lanes.

Vietnam and China have separately been engaged in a dangerous standoff off the Paracels Island after Beijing deployed a mobile oil rig backed by dozens of security vessels.

China pareciera estar moviendo las piezas de un juego en el que le tocó el primer turno.

Última edición por ivan_077 el Mayo 18th 2014, 18:09, editado 1 vez

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Las Filipinas contra el Dragón: Conflicto por el mar del Sur de China. Empty Entre el águila y el dragón

Mensaje por ivan_077 Mayo 18th 2014, 18:08

The Philippines' strategic dilemma: Between an eagle and a dragon
The Philippines granted the US precious access to its military bases, but failed to garner full support against China.
Last updated: 14 May 2014 11:34

US President Barack Obama's recent trip to Asia (April 23-29), where he met leading allies across the region, marked an important attempt at demonstrating Washington's commitment to remain an anchor of stability in the region. The trip had both geopolitical and economic dimensions, with the Obama administration demonstrating eagerness to resuscitate ongoing negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement, and expand its military footprint in East Asia. In many ways, however, the trip was long overdue.

In October 2013, Obama's no-show at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits set off alarm bells among regional partners. As Republicans and Democrats in the US Congress bitterly squabbled over fiscal issues, Obama's official trips to Malaysia and the Philippines - two pivotal Southeast Asian countries that have been increasingly alarmed by China's territorial assertiveness in the South China Sea - were also cancelled. Meanwhile, Chinese leaders, President Xi Jinping and Premiere Li Keqiang, took the centre-stage, using Obama's absence as an opportunity to deepen Beijing's economic and political linkages across Asia.

This year, however, Obama wasted no time to remind the world that the Pivot to Asia (P2A) policy was alive and kicking, as he embarked on a state visit to four critical nations in East Asia, namely Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines. During his trip, Obama demonstrated Washington's commitment to stand by its allies against emerging threats from North Korea and China, while pushing Japan and South Korea to iron out their territorial differences as well as historical spats over Tokyo's militaristic past. In Malaysia, Obama managed to strike a new "comprehensive [strategic] partnership" agreement, delicately guiding Kuala Lumpur out of China's sphere of influence in the ASEAN.

The highlight of Obama's Asia visit was certainly the Philippines (April 28-29), where he celebrated the formalisation of a new security pact, the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Under the new defence agreement, the US has gained inexpensive, convenient access to Philippine bases. After two decades of absence, US troops can finally re-access the Subic and Clark bases, Washington's two biggest overseas military outposts during the Cold War era.

Desperate to stave off China's growing territorial assertiveness in the South China Sea, the Philippine government was quick to hail the EDCA as a concrete manifestation of a deepening military alliance between the Philippines and its principle ally, the US. But critics were quick to dismiss the deal as a strategic blunder, which will further increase the Philippines' dependence on Washington and fuel an already combustible dynamic in the South China Sea, with Beijing lambasting the new basing agreement as a component of the US-led allege encirclement strategy against China.

A geopolitical rollercoaster

Historically, the US has served as the backbone of the Philippines' national security. Throughout the Cold War, the Philippines represented a critical ally against Soviet expansionism in Asia. The eventual collapse of the Soviet Union (1991), however, sparked a nationalist-populist wave in the Philippines, as leading legislators called for the abrogation of the US military bases in the country.
Inside Story - Philippine rebels: A challenge to peace?

Eventually, the US was forced to vacate the Subic and Clark bases, which were expensive to maintain and increasingly superfluous in a new strategic landscape in Asia. The Philippine government, in turn, pushed for a military modernisation programme to enhance its self-reliance and national security. In 1994, China forcibly wrestled control of the Mischief Reef, a South China Sea feature formerly held by the Philippine forces. It didn't take long before the Philippines invited back US forces, but now under a more flexible, minimalist Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which didn't significantly enhance the Philippines' military capabilities. As a result, the Philippines had to rely on bilateral and regional diplomacy to rein in China's territorial assertiveness.

Thanks to the ASEAN-brokered Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), the Philippines and China were able to de-escalate their bilateral territorial tensions. Meanwhile, the Bush administration called on the Philippines to join the Global War on Terror (GWOT), with the southern Philippine island of Mindanao emerging as a critical battleground against al-Qaeda-affiliated groups. Soon, however, an overbearing Washington alienated the Philippines, which began to diversify its foreign relations by flirting with an economically ascendant and increasingly appealing China.

Under the Arroyo administration (2001-2010), the Philippines embarked on a historic rapprochement with China, which culminated in a series of high-profile infrastructure, defence, and trade agreements. Above all, the two countries decided to consider joint-development schemes in the disputed features in the South China Sea. Arguably, the mid-2000s marked the "Golden Age" of Philippine-China relations.

Obama to the Rescue

Towards the twilight years of the Arroyo administration, however, a series of corruption scandals undermined large-scale Chinese projects in the Philippines. To make matters worse, China also began to step up its territorial claims in the South China Sea, undermining earlier diplomatic efforts by the Arroyo administration - increasingly seen as corrupt and too cosy with Beijing.

Upon assuming power in 2010, the Aquino administration embarked on a confrontational path towards China, warmly welcoming the Obama administration's P2A policy. In response, China more assertively pursued its maritime ambitions, increasingly encouraged by the relative decline of the West in the aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession.
101 East - Stray Bullets

It didn't take long before the Philippines was dragged into a wider geopolitical rivalry between the US and China, as the two powers jostled for strategic dominance in the Western Pacific. The Aquino administration, meanwhile, was more than eager to solicit maximum amount of military support against China, offering basing access to external powers such as the US and Japan.

After all, thanks to chronic corruption, low defence spending, lack of strategic vision, and age-old battles against domestic insurgencies, the Philippines failed to even develop a minimum deterrence capability.

During his trip to Manila, however, Obama made it very clear that the Philippine-US Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) didn't guarantee automatic US military support if a conflict were to erupt over disputed territories in the South China Sea. Obama emphasised Washington's refusal to take any position over the sovereignty of the disputed territories, reassuring China that the EDCA was not aimed at it. At one point, Obama went so far as saying "it's inevitable that China is going to be a dominant power in [Asia] region", encouraging the Philippines to pursue a diplomatic, rule-based solution to prevent conflict.

Soon after Obama's trip, tensions flared up when the Philippines seized a Chinese boat on charges of illegally catching endangered species in the South China Sea, prompting China to demand the immediate release of the apprehended Chinese citizens. Signalling its commitment to defend its claims in the South China Sea, China, in turn, moved an oil rig into Vietnam's hydrocarbon-rich EEZ, provoking uproar in Hanoi and further raising the risks of maritime conflict in the South China Sea.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration is still primarily concerned with freedom of navigation in international waters and considers China its most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century. As a result, Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines have little choice but to re-calibrate their diplomatic approach towards China, having failed to garner full US military support.

Richard Javad Heydarian is a specialist on Asian geopolitical/economic affairs and author of "How Capitalism Failed the Arab World: The Economic Roots and Precarious Future of the Middle East Uprisings"

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

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As Tensions Rise in the South China Sea: The Philippines' Military Modernizes
Peter Chalk

June 19, 2014

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is presently engaged in a concerted effort to modernize its military into a force capable of projecting a posture of credible external deterrence. The overarching goal of that transformation is to equip the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the necessary capabilities to protect the territorial integrity of the state, offset evolving foreign defense challenges, and ensure the attainment of Manila’s strategic maritime interests—particularly as they relate to claims in the South China Sea (SCS). To that end, three central innovations have been emphasized in the short-to-medium term.

First is the establishment of “appropriate strategic response forces,” developed in all branches of the military, to undertake integrated defensive missions and deter potential external threats that could harm the country’s core national security interests.

Second is the creation of an enhanced C4ISR system to support the joint command and control of strategic defense operations and improve situational awareness through the faster collection, structural fusion, analysis and dissemination of shared information.

Third is the development of a modern, space-based satellite communications network to work alongside improved C4ISR platforms in availing nationwide coverage for Philippine sovereignty surveillance and reconnaissance.

Two factors, in particular, have been instrumental in driving the reform process:

- A more benign domestic security environment due to diminished (though not entirely absent) threats from Communist-inspired insurgency, Moro Muslim ethno-religious separatism and Islamist jihadi terrorism.

- Heightened territorial competitiveness in the SCS, where China has adopted an increasingly forward-leaning posture to enforce its self-proclaimed historic jurisdiction over the disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands, the Scarborough Shoal and Macclesfield Bank.

President Benigno Aquino III has sought to address Beijing’s claims in the SCS by reorienting defense expenditure away from internal to external security. Problematically, his administration’s planned upgrades are unlikely to be enough to credibly deter PRC assertiveness in the short term. And the government has yet to articulate a viable strategy for overcoming the fiscal constraints that a complete re-modeling of the Philippine military would require over the medium term.

One viable solution to that predicament is to revisit current and future procurement plans for advanced aircraft, ship and intelligence capabilities and instead concentrate available national resources on creating an effective land-based system of anti-ship missiles (ASMs). Establishing an integrated network of this sort would be far cheaper than attempting to institute a complete process of defense transformation. It could also be put into service relatively quickly and if properly configured should be able to provide adequate coverage of Manila’s claims in the Spratlys and possibly even the Scarborough Shoal.

The United States has a vested interest in supporting the Philippine government’s current defense transformation plans—not least because it could help to counter Beijing’s assumed intent to exert uncontested sovereignty over the SCS. But actively assisting Manila in procuring advanced aviation, naval and communication platforms in the numbers required to credibly offset China’s own growing military prowess would be both expensive and potentially dangerous in terms of further straining what is already a stressed political relationship between Washington and Beijing. Helping with the establishment of a mobile coastal defense system would be far cheaper and much less contentious. Just as importantly, it would help to engender a capable and self-reliant partner more readily positioned to resist undue pressure from Beijing.

Now that the Philippines has reoriented its defense priorities from internal to external security, should Australia realign its own aid package—which has traditionally prioritized law enforcement capacity building—to a more concerted focus on promoting military force projection? The answer is no, for at least two reasons.

First, the Philippine police and judicial system remains weak, continuing to confront an array of difficulties that include corruption, inefficient case management, intra-agency competition, inadequate investigative skills and intelligence stove piping. Prematurely terminating ongoing Australian initiatives to address those problems would represent a significant waste of resources and could lead to a domestic enforcement void that once again allows internal threat actors to assume prominence.

Second, it could exacerbate tensions with Canberra’s main economic partner—China. Adopting an explicit posture of military support for Philippine claims in the SCS would likely reinforce a perception in Beijing that the current Abbott administration is fully committed to working with Washington in strategically containing the PRC in the Asia-Pacific. At best, that could complicate the consolidation of future economic/trade agreements; at worst, it could encourage China to search for new (non-Australian) sources of energy resources and alternative markets for its exports.

Peter Chalk is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. This post is a summary of Peter’s latest ASPI Special Report, Rebuilding while performing: military modernization in the Philippines, available for download for free here. This article was originally posted on ASPI’s The Strategist Blog here.

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