Make your own free website on Tripod.com

SpratlysForumLogo.gif (2161 bytes)Spratlys News
Home ] Forum Opening ] Chinese Navy ] Philippines' Proposal ] Philippino Views ] Latest News ] Mischief & Others ] News from Vietnam ] News from Taiwan ] [ Spratlys News ] New Constructions ] China's Policy ] Chinese Forces ] Paracels Typhoon ] Spratlys Typhoon ] Tonkin Gulf ] Law of the Sea ] Lawyers' Opinion ] RVN WhitePaper75 ] Declarations ] SRVN's View ] Observers' Seat ] China Arguments ] Taiwan Analysis ] Allocation Scenarios ] Naval Battles ] Environments Protection ] Time Line ] Photo Album ] China Next War ] Energy Informations ] Mitchief's Constructions ] Satellite Image ]

 

From  http://lateline.muzi.net/topics/Spratly_dispute/index.shtml

China insists on boat compensation from Philippines

[Lateline News (lateline.muzi.net): 6/4/99] MANILA - China will insist on compensation from the Philippines for the sinking of a Chinese fishing boat in a collision with a Philippine navy vessel in disputed South China Sea waters, diplomatic sources was quoted by AFP as saying Friday. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
China said that the Philippine vessel rammed the fishing vessel off Scarborough Shoal on May 23. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
The Philippines has rejected demands for compensation, saying the two vessels bumped accidentally when the navy tried to arrest the Chinese for illegal fishing. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
One source said China was insisting the fishing boat would not have sunk from an accidental collision. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
China was also saying it was a very expensive boat, in an apparent bid to increase the amount of compensation. It was earlier reported China was seeking 30,000 dollars for the sunken vessel. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
Three Chinese were rescued by the Philippine navy after the collision and were turned over to the Chinese embassy here on the understanding that the mission would make them available for possible prosecution. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
However, earlier this week, Manila said it was dropping charges against the Chinese. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
Scarborough Shoal, where the incident occurred, is located off the western coast of the main island of Luzon. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
China claims the shoal as well as the entire South China Sea, but the Philippines says the shoal is part of the country's territory and has long been patrolled by its navy. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
The shoal is north of the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, where Manila and Beijing are embroiled in a diplomatic storm over Chinese construction of buildings on the Philippine-claimed Mischief Reef. Lateline News http://lateline.muzi.net
Manila defense officials have been pressing their government to file a diplomatic protest against Beijing over the alleged harassment of a stricken Philippine naval logistics vessel by two Chinese warships in the Spratlys on May 15.


Lateline News : Philippine Defends Policy to Allow in U.S.Troops[Lateline News (lateline.muzi.net): 5/18/99]


HONG KONG - The Philippine's president today defended an accord that allows U.S. troops to train in the country, saying it is a necessary precaution against possible "Chinese aggression".

The Visiting Forces Agreement, reached last year by Washington and Manila and up for approval by the Philippine senate, would allow joint military exercises and visits by U.S. ships to the archipelago to resume.

President Joseph Estrada told The Associated Press the deal was ``very necessary'' and wouldprovide a ``balance of power'' against China, which he said has already "encroached on Philippine territory".

Estrada said it was important for Philippine soldiers to get training from their American counterparts.

``I am for the security of my country,'' Estrada said Monday in Hong Kong, where he was attending a business conference.

Communist guerrillas in the Philippines say the accord compromises the country's sovereignty, and have threatened to terminate peace talks if it is approved.

Estrada cited recent Chinese "intrusions" in areas claimed by Manila in the disputed Spratly Islands.

The islands, believed to have oil deposits, straddle strategic sea lanes in the South China Sea. China, Vietnam and Taiwan each claim all the islands while the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim only some of them.

Fear of China fails to help Philippine military modernization Lateline News (lateline.muzi.net): 5/17/99]


MANILA - In one scenario, three enemy destroyers sail into the waters around the Spratly islands. Suddenly, striking from beyond the range of the ships' air defenses, two Philippine Air Force F-5 jets blast them to pieces with laser-guided bombs.

For the time being, this kind of incident exists only in the type of computer simulators displayed at a recent arms exhibition here, where foreign firms showed off the high-tech weaponry they hope to sell to the poorly equipped Philippine military.

Manila has no laser-guided bombs. But it does have a growing fear that China, the largest and most powerful of the claimants to the Spratlys, is taking advantage of Philippine weakness to seize more areas of the disputed South China Sea chain.

The growing Chinese threat has increased public support for the modernization of the Philippine military. But the threat has not prompted either the acceleration or the expansion of the modernization program.

It took Manila several years to pass a bill for a 15-year, 331-billion-peso (8.7-billion-dollar) military modernization program and then to identify the sources of funding.

The program was suspended last year by newly elected president Joseph Estrada due to the Asian financial crisis.

Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim all or part of the allegedly mineral-rich Spratlys. But the Philippines and China have taken center stage in the conflict over Beijing's building activity on Mischief Reef, which is also claimed by Manila.

Eric Morris, a British defense consultant, has said China's targeting of the Philippines was "quite deliberate" and took into account its military weakness and lack of resources to upgrade its forces.

Former Philippine president Fidel Ramos warned last week that in the face of the situation in the Spratlys, the Philippines "must pursue the modernization of the armed forces. It is the only way to maintain an effective defense system and a credible defense posture."

But lack of funds and complex bureaucratic procedures make it doubtful that the Philippines will receive any significant new weaponry before the next century, officials said.

Estrada revived the procurement program last month when he set up a modernization trust fund with an initial deposit of six billion pesos (157.9 million dollars).

"What's happening in the Spratlys has nothing to do with the program," said Colonel Roberto Sylim, assistant director of the modernization program.

"It is not premised on the Spratlys. It is premised on the overall defense of the country," he added.

Sylim said so far, the modernization program has already reached the stage of soliciting bids from foreign firms shortlisted to supply three offshore patrol vessels and 12 multi-role fighter jets over five years.

But even this process remains delayed while they await a Justice Department opinion on whether potential suppliers will be required to post a bond first, Sylim admits.

Even after this is cleared, it will take at least six months to evaluate the bids and at least six more months to negotiate the contract. After that it will take between one to three years before the first aircraft or patrol boat arrives, Sylim said.

The programs for the patrol boats and fighter jets are the most advanced.

The military is still shortlisting potential suppliers of air defense radar systems, long-range patrol aircraft and rifles while plans for a new command and control system, armoured vehicles, artillery and helicopters are still undergoing "project definition."

Other items on the military's wishlist, such as engineering equipment, transport aircraft, corvettes and transport ships are not yet in the pipeline.

Even without the Chinese, the Philippine military has its hands full dealing with internal threats like communist insurgents and Moslem separatist guerrillas in the south.

For the short term, it appears that the Philippine military will remain one of the most poorly equipped but also one of the most beleaguered in the region. [AFP]


Ex-ASEAN military chiefs say Spratlys remains biggest flashpoint[Lateline News (lateline.muzi.net): 5/14/99]


MANILA Rival claims on the Spratly islands remains the "number one flashpoint" in southeast Asia, former regional military chiefs was quoted by AFP as saying on Thursday.

The retired Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) generals also agreed the best response to the problem was "continued peaceful diplomatic negotiations," said their spokesman, former Philippine defense secretary Renato de Villa.

The meeting "very clearly pointed out what China has undertaken," de Villa said, referring to China's "expansion and fortification" of "structures" built on Mischief Reef in the Spratlys. The reef is also claimed by Manila.

De Villa said the former military chiefs also recalled ASEAN members had supported Manila in expressing concern over China's "structure" on the reef.

He would not say that the former officers considered China a threat.

However, he admitted one development ASEAN must carefully watch is China's "aggressive" modernization of its navy.

"Heretofore, China's navy (had a) mission to support its land forces in the mainland and protecting its land forces from aggression from the sea."

"The new mission of the navy now is to modernize and secure the Chinese territory. They have declared a long time ago that the Spratlys, the whole South China Sea ... belongs to China," de Villa warned, adding "that will affect us."

De Villa however said that "our people in the whole region, including China, recognize that nobody benefits in an armed conflict."

He would not say if the former military chiefs had recommended any stronger action against China.

Former Indonesian defense chief Benny Murdani also briefed the former officials on the situation in Indonesia, de Villa said, adding they were all interested in seeing the results of elections in that country in June.

Former military and defense chiefs of the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei met as part of the ASEAN Defense Technology Exchange, a defense conference in Manila.

ASEAN also includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam.

The Philippines and China, along with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, all claim all or part of the Spratlys, a chain of islands in the South China Sea.

The former military officials also identified the tensions in the Korean peninsula, India and Pakistan's development of nuclear arms and tensions in the Taiwan strait as possible flashpoints but de Villa said the Spratlys was the only problem area within southeast Asia.



Malaysia shows interest in soccer matches on Spratlys.
[Lateline News (lateline.muzi.net): 4/28/99]


MANILA - Malaysia has expressed interest in playing soccer matches on the disputed Spratly Islands, Philippine Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado said Tuesday.

Mercado was quoting Malaysia's ambassador to the Philippines as saying his country is interested in participating in soccer matches on the disputed islands to build confidence in the area.

On April 5, the Philippines and Vietnam agreed to hold soccer games and joint search and rescue operations on the Spratlys, which are also being claimed in part or in whole by Brunei, China, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

''We now have three teams,'' Mercado beamed, adding he also planned to invite China to join the friendly games, which have yet to be scheduled.

Mercado added the Philippines has started preparations for the games, which are to be held on the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island.

Malaysia has expressed interest in playing soccer matches[Lateline News (lateline.muzi.net): 4/28/99]


MANILA - Malaysia has expressed interest in playing soccer matches on the disputed Spratly Islands, Philippine Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado said Tuesday.

Mercado was quoting Malaysia's ambassador to the Philippines as saying his country is interested in participating in soccer matches on the disputed islands to build confidence in the area.

On April 5, the Philippines and Vietnam agreed to hold soccer games and joint search and rescue operations on the Spratlys, which are also being claimed in part or in whole by Brunei, China, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

''We now have three teams,'' Mercado beamed, adding he also planned to invite China to join the friendly games, which have yet to be scheduled.  Mercado added the Philippines has started preparations for the games, which are to be held on the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island.