BienDong.Net

A Deepening Partnership With Vietnam

SCSC - Two decades after normalizing relations with Vietnam, the United States is seeking to forge even closer ties as the two countries face a common challenge in China. To that end, the Obama administration recently eased a longtime ban on providing lethal weapons to Vietnam and approved the sale of technology for a civilian nuclear energy program.

Both initiatives should be carried out with great care so as to ensure regional stability. [READ MORE]

Philippines pushes arbitration in China sea row

SCSC - President Benigno Aquino III said the international arbitration Manila has initiated to challenge China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and a legally binding "Code of Conduct" are the only ways to settle the long - raging disputes peacefully.

The Philippines says that China has been intruding into its exclusive economic zone, including deploying two hydrographic ships in June near an offshore oil well inside Philippine waters. [READ MORE]

David vs. Goliath in the South China Sea: The Philippines vs. China

SCSC - In a dramatic display of strategic naiveté, the Philippines decided (early - October) to suspend the repair and upgrade of its age - old airstrip on the Spratly island of Thitu (Pagasa to the Filipinos), among the biggest and most prized land features in the South China Sea, which can generate its own 200 - nautical - mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The airstrip is critical to the Armed Forces of Philippines’ (AFP) ability to project power and defend its maritime claims beyond its immediate territorial waters.[READ MORE]

LEGAL BATTLE AT THE UN OVER THE HOANG SA ARCHIPELAGO

SCSC - Since early May, a legal battle on sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelago has been sparked at the United Nations with the submission of diplomatic notes and attached materials by Viet Nam and China to the UN.

Viet Nam has sent diplomatic notes three times and position papers twice to the UN to present evidence for its sovereignty claim. China has also sent position papers twice to the UN to present its viewpoints on sovereignty over the Paracels.

THE U.S. NOT “DE - ESCALATE” ON THE EAST SEA ISSUE

SCSC - Some people hold the view that given China’s withdrawal of the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig, the United States no longer takes a strong reaction toward the East Sea issue. This is absolutely not the case. The U.S. continues to keep the “tempo” in its response to the East Sea issue by demonstrating a resolute attitude toward China through both word and deed.

On July 16th, 2014, the U.S. State Department Spokesperson welcomed China’s removal of the oil rig and continued calling upon the “claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law”.

NEW SIGNS IN VIETNAM - US RELATIONS

SCSC - Following the visits to Vietnam by a number of US Senators, from 13th to 16th August 2014, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, visited Vietnam to discuss the future bilateral military cooperation. The visit by the Commander of the United States Army to Hanoi marked the recognition and completion of the process of normalization started by former President Bill Clinton in 1995.

This visit to Vietnam of General Martin Dempsey came alongside news about the lift of the ban on lethal weapon sale to Vietnam which ended a period of sanction and paved way for the US to sell arms to Vietnam.

CHINA “LOSSES” IN HAIYANG SHIYOU 981 OIL RIG INCIDENT

SCSC - After the incident that China placed its Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam, various international analysts have assessed the gains and losses of this incident.

Several international experts believe that China has lost more than what it has been gained. Some even have the opinion that China has only reaped “losses” in this case.

Flashpoint in the South China Sea

SCSC - “Considerably more dangerous internationally than Hong Kong or Tibet is the problem of the South China Sea… The Seventh Fleet needs to be strengthened sufficiently to guarantee continued free passage through the South China Sea and all Southeast Asian sea lanes”.

The words sound like they could have come from today’s headlines, especially after the recent BBC article, “Why is the US Navy Practicing for War with China?” [READ MORE]

Japan Caves to China on Senkaku Island Dispute

SCSC - In order to secure a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe agreed to a significant concession in Tokyo’s ongoing dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands, according to Japanese media outlets.

As Shannon noted earlier today on China Power, Japanese officials now expect there to be a brief meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe during next month’s Asia - Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing. [READ MORE]

China ready to establish ADIZ in South China Sea

SCSC - After carrying out its land reclamation program in the disputed Paracel and Spratly islands, China is planning to establish its second air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea, Moscow's Voice of Russia reported on Oct. 15.

China has recently published photos of airplane runways built on Woody island, the largest of the Paracel chain. It showed that that the PLA Air Force and Navy now have the capability to deploy fighters to the South China Sea. [READ MORE]

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