Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Manila drops South China Sea hut construction on sandbar after Beijing gripes

Manila drops South China Sea hut construction on sandbar after Beijing gripes

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte, as chairperson of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2017, has the moral obligation to raise the regional bloc's concerns over the spat among claimants of resource-rich West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said on Saturday.

The South China Sea is a vitally important waterway for global commerce and for regional security, with nearly 30 per cent of the maritime trade of the world transiting the South China Sea annually.

"Do not do anything that will disturb the equilibrium that is now present there", he said of the decision, speaking to reporters before flying to Vietnam for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit where Chinese leader Xi Jinping was also due to attend.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also said the two countries will negotiate a military protocol to avoid maritime "miscalculations" following a brief standoff near over a fisherman's shelter on a sandbar near Pag-asa Island. "I would expect any statement from Asean will not be antagonistic to China", Casiple told The Times in a text message.

"Ang sinagot ni President Xi ay nagkasundo na sa framework ng Code of Conduct at ipagpapatuloy ang usapin at inaasahan niyang matapos ito". "So just you read it and you'd know that you are not crossing the boundaries because as of now, it is a contested claim", he added. Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration relies on a concept known as the nine-dash line to mark territorial claims, which extend roughly 1,000 miles from the nation's southern shores.

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"I will tell him straight".

The two lawmakers incurred Duterte's ire when they criticised US President Donald Trump for inviting the Philippine leader to visit the US as well as discuss with him during his visit to Manila of the human rights situation arising from the government's brutal war on illegal drugs. "They are not decorations", he noted.

The Scout Ranger unit conducting the operation, however, said the shot that killed Hapilon came from a heavier weapon mounted on an armored vehicle.

The new dredger, now conducting patrols, is more powerful than previous ones used in the South China Sea, noted Bonnie Glaser, senior Asia advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Duterte said earlier in the week that he planned to ask China to make clear its intentions in the South China Sea. They are expected to start work on the document itself.

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China's sweeping claims overlap with those of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan.

The President has maintained to push for "soft-landing" approach to address the spat on the resource-rich waters despite winning a petition lodged before the global court.

Duterte has sought closer ties with China since taking office a year ago, in clear contrast to a more adversarial approach taken by his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, who took China to an global arbitration court in 2013 to settle the territorial dispute.

Beijing has continued to ignore the ruling, asserting "indisputable sovereignty" over the waters and stepping up island-building and militarization activities instead.

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