Sunday, June 12, 2011


China warns neighbors: Stop oil search in Spratlys

Published: Thursday, June 9, 2011 7:45 a.m. MDT

MANILA, Philippines — China warned Asian neighbors Thursday to stop searching for oil near the Spratly Islands and vowed to assert its sovereignty over the potentially petroleum-rich territory in the South China Sea that several nations claim.

China and the Philippines have swapped diplomatic protests over the islands, with Filipino officials accusing Chinese forces of intruding into Manila-claimed areas six times since February and of firing shots at least once. Beijing denied the allegation Thursday and said it would use violence only when attacked.

Vietnam, meanwhile, has accused China of flaring tensions in Vietnamese waters by hindering the operation of a oil and gas exploration boat for the second time in two weeks.

The Spratlys, which are believed to be atop vast oil and gas reserves, have long been feared as a potential flash point of armed conflict in Asia.

The chain of barren, largely uninhabited islands, reefs and banks are claimed wholly by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and partly by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

Addressing Manila's complaints for the first time, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao denied that his government committed any intrusion.

He said China has not started to drill for oil there and warned others to stop any oil exploration in the area without Beijing's permission. China claims the entire South China Sea.

"We're calling on other parties to stop searching for the possibility of exploiting resources in these areas where China has its claims," he told reporters.

He said China is open to engaging other countries in joint oil and gas exploration.

Asked what would happen if countries defy China, Liu said that Beijing would assert its right over the disputed region diplomatically. "We will never use force unless we are attacked," he said.

In Vietnam, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said in a press briefing Thursday that a Chinese fishing boat supported by two patrol vessels that morning damaged the exploration cable of the seismic survey boat operated by state-owned PetroVietnam.

She said the actions of the Chinese boats were "completely premeditated" and "seriously violating Vietnam's sovereign rights."

The incident came just two weeks after Chinese patrol boats cut another cable on a survey boat off its central coast. Hanoi says both incidents occurred well within the 200 nautical miles guaranteed to Vietnam as an exclusive economic zone by international law.

Nga said Vietnam's Foreign Ministry officials met Thursday with Chinese Embassy officials to lodge protests. Last weekend, in rare protests spurred by Facebook and text messages, thousands of Vietnamese took to the streets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, demanding that China stay out of Vietnamese waters.


Bacongnon man aco said...

While it is necessary for the Philippines to file a diplomatic protest on China's actions on the Spratley Islands to defend its sovereignty, it would be interesting to see how it can back up its complaints, given the overwhelming military superiority of China over its immediate neighboring countries. The Philippines cannot rely on the US for assistance under the Mutual Defense Agreement because of the limitation that any action or support will be based on both countries (US & Philippines) "mutual interests". The claim on the Spratleys is singularly that of the Philippines only and does not involve the US at all.

Anonymous said...

love it!

California said...

Vietnam a very small country defeated the great military giant, the U.S. Vietnam has never been afraid of China. Vietnam was invaded by China in the 1970s but had to leave in a few days.

A small country like the Philippines, must never be afraid of a giant bully like China. It must have the will to resist.

I understand Baconnon Man Aco's practical but defeatist attitude. But a nation must not live in fear. We must live to the ideals of Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, the Lunas, and those brave people who resisted the Janpanes occupiers.
The Chinese? Bring them on.

Metro Manila said...

We resisted the colonialist Spaniards for centuries. We resisted the American occuopiers in 1898 and early 1900s. We fought the Japanese occupiers in World War II. We kicked out dictators like Marcos.

Filipinos should not start now by being scared of a giant.

As a Filipino, I could not live in fear of a Chinese.

Basud said...

Cowards are normally rational, analysers and practical people.

Bacongnon man aco said...

I don't think being practical is defeatist. It is being realistic. There is no way the Philippines can match the military power of China, at this point, other than to rely on the help of the US.

The Vietnam example is not relevant nor comparable to the Spratlys. The US lost that war in the US, from the anti-war movement which sapped the morale of the US military. That complemented the tenacity and the determination of the Vietnamese people.

Vietnam won their war against a democratic country still devoted to the rule of law and the law of the international community. In the Spratlys, we are faced with a Communist country that would suppress dissent and any opposition with violence, extreme, if necessary.

I'm sure there is a Filipino "will to resist" as exemplified by the revolution against Spain, the guerillas against Japan. We had the heroes of the revolution and the wars. But there has not been any war the Philippines was involved in that it won by itself. Always, there was a foreign power that helped it. The ejection of Marcos is a false comparison because we did not have a foreign enemy. That was Filipino against Filipino.

It's great to say, bring the Chinese on. It might be reassuring to say we should not live in fear of the Chinese. But this is not a case of bravado. It should be a question of what should the Philippines do to protect its interests on the Spratlys against a giant (and, admittedly, a bully) military power that China is, without having to rely on the US.

Thank you California and Metro Manila for making this a lively conversation.

Oh, and this is not a case of cowardice. It is extreme naivete and, sadly, lack of rational thinking to think that being practical, rational and normal (not my words)is being cowardly. I think though that use of personal insults and aspersions is a sign of the absence of any valid argument and a lack of ability to think logically.

California said...

To Bacongnon Man Aco: Great commentary, great analysis, very logical. As usual.

However, I do believe from studies and personal observations that COWARDS do make brilliant analysis of issues and when confronted of possible difficulties, danger or failures they always opt for the easiest solution, give up and surrender.
Yes, truly Cowards are never naives, they are too realistics in fact.

But thanks Bacongnon for your brilliant repartee.

Metro Manila said...

I think Vietnam won because of sheer bravery and heroism on their part against a great military giant the U.S. It's a bit of a BS that the U.S. lost because the American people were against the war. The Americans were against the war because the American soldiers were dying like flies.

Bacongnon Man Aco, you are very wrong or in denial on this issue.

Basud said...

The great might of the Soviet Union did not prevail over the Afghans in the 1980s. They forced to leave. Even now the soldiers of the superpower of the U.S. is struggling against the Afghan Talibans. History is often replete of stories of small countries defeating mighty armies. In ancient times, the celebrated 300 Spartans against the Persian hordes. In the Bible we have David against Goliath, and more.

Herosim and courage does not follow any brilliant analysis or logic or reality. Heroes sometime do things considered reckless against great danger to their lives. They often offer the ultimate sacrifice so that others may live in freedom.

I really resent the idea that we should relinquish our rights to China out of fear. It is an outright surrender before a fight even begins.

Manila said...

Bacongnon Man Aco, listen to yourself. Analyze what you are writing here. I really believe you are willing to offer in a silver platter the sovereignty of the Philippines to China out of great fear. You call that realistic, practical and logical? Brilliant?