South China Sea

Chinese fishermen on front line of marine dispute in South China Sea

Tanmen fisherman find rich marine stocks in the South China Sea, some parts of which are under territorial dispute. Photos: AFP

The tropical waters of the South China Sea are among the most contested on earth, but Chinese fishermen who sail in them shrug off the dangers of navigating between multiple competing claimants.

Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Taiwan's all-volunteer military could leave garrisons short

Taiwan Defence Minister Kao Hua-chu (centre) gave a briefing on the voluntary system. Photo: AFP

Kuomintang legislator Lin Yu-fang said the embarrassing situation was due mainly to Taiwan's introduction of an all-volunteer military, which had made it difficult to recruit servicemen for posting on Pratas Island and on Taiping Island, the largest in the Spratly archipelago.

6 Mar 2013 - 4:26am

Manila to tackle sea row 'with or without China' at UN

Ma Keqing, deputy director general, Department of European Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: Ricky Wong

The Philippines is about to wade into unchartered waters in its relations with China over the South China Sea.

Once China ignores - as expected - a 30-day deadline expiring today to appoint its own UN arbitrator to handle a legal challenge from the Philippines over its controversial claims, Manila will be free to push ahead without China's consent in a rare move.

21 Feb 2013 - 9:37am

China rejects Philippine UN mediation effort

Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario (left) delivers a statement on territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Photo: EPA

Beijing said on Tuesday it has rejected the Philippines’ attempt to seek international arbitration over conflicting claims to territory in the South China Sea.

19 Feb 2013 - 11:28pm

Manila stores to pull Chinese-made globes showing claims to islands

A Chinese-made globe depicting the nine-dash line, which is disputed by the Philippines, on sale in Manila. Photo: Alan Robles

The globes show the so-called "nine-dash line", long used by Beijing to depict the extent of its claim to sovereignty over waters and islands that are also claimed by other Asian nations, including the Philippines.

13 Feb 2013 - 7:32am 3 comments

Manila's lonely path over South China Sea

The Pagasa Island in the Spratlys, known as the Nansha Islands in China. Photo: Reuters

It is probably just as well that Philippine lawyers and officials spent months quietly working out the strategy and legal steps required to force China to UN arbitration over the South China Sea. For, nearly three weeks after Manila launched its unprecedented action, it is increasingly clear that theirs will be a lonely road.

12 Feb 2013 - 2:45am 1 comment

Japan to give patrol boats to Manila amid China tensions

A Japan Coast Guard patrol ship (left) shoots water at a fishing boat carrying Taiwanese activists near the Diaoyu Islands last month. Photo: Reuters

Japan plans to donate patrol boats costing US$11 million each to the Philippines, ramping up regional efforts to monitor China’s maritime activity in disputed waters, a newspaper said on Monday.

The Japanese government plans to finance the deal in its fiscal this year budget starting in April and hopes to officially sign it early next year, the Nikkei business daily reported.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

How a non-existent island became China's southernmost territory

An aerial view of the city of Sansha on an island in the disputed Paracel chain. Photo: AFP

Where is the "southernmost point of Chinese territory"? It's a controversial question and the least controversial answer might be Hainan Island . More controversial options would be the Paracel (Xisha) islands or the Spratlys (Nansha). But officially the southernmost point is even further south - as far south as the James Shoal, about 100 kilometres from the coast of Borneo.

9 Feb 2013 - 6:37am 21 comments

Letters to the Editor, February 5, 2013

Sensible use of a smartphone is important. Photo: AP

China should get involved in arbitration

I refer to the article ("Message in a battle", January 26).

5 Feb 2013 - 2:36am

China must leave its foreign policy to the experts

Illustration: Henry Wong

For years, China's leaders have been struggling to find a new concept to reset, if not redefine, the Sino-US relationship. So far, they has come up with only vague ideas such as "peaceful rise" and, more recently, "a new type of international relations between major countries".

5 Feb 2013 - 3:03am

Soft-power strategy to rebalance Asia

Soft-power strategy to rebalance Asia

After months of tension over the South China Sea, Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping's meeting with Natsuo Yamaguchi, Japan's envoy and leader of the junior party in the ruling coalition, sends an unmistaken signal that while neither side is persuaded by the other's territorial claim, both realise that escalating confrontations can only make matters worse.

1 Feb 2013 - 3:02am

Philippines to buy 12 South Korean fighter jets

Officials and military staff look at a FA-50 fighter jet model at Baghdad's International Fair for Defence and Security. Photo: AFP

The Philippines will buy 12 South Korean FA-50 fighter jets to strengthen its poorly-armed military amid increasing maritime tensions with China.

30 Jan 2013 - 9:08pm

Japanese PM Abe calls for summit with China amid territorial row

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Photo: AP

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday suggested a summit with China would improve a relationship that has been badly troubled for months.

“A high-level meeting should be held because there is a problem. If necessary, there might be a need to build the ... relationship again, starting with a summit meeting,” he told a television show.

29 Jan 2013 - 9:29pm

South China Sea code of conduct between Asean and China in peril

The Philippines has asked an international tribunal to intervene in its long-standing South China Sea territorial dispute with China and declare that Beijing's claims are invalid. Photo: Reuters

If China needed any further excuses to place on the back burner negotiations with Asean over worsening tensions in the South China Sea, the Philippines' actions in the past week may have provided them with one.

29 Jan 2013 - 1:42am

Legal route to resolve South China Sea dispute a political minefield

Legal route to resolving South China Sea dispute a political minefield.

The legal process begun by the Philippines to challenge claims by China to the South China Sea surprised the region. International arbitration is allowed under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, but the move adds urgency and new elements to a trying political scene.

29 Jan 2013 - 2:55am 6 comments