RP-Vietnam Flirtation Serves G7 Lies, Shortchanges Our National Interest

By Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan

Part Two: Unholy Anti-China Soft Alliance on the rocks?

Now that the Philippine Coast Guard has caught the ire of the Vietnamese, over its meaningless placement of buoys, will the American investments in information war introducing dissonance between China and the Philippines go up in smoke?

Maybe, but Albert del Rosario must already be turning in his grave.

 According to Teresita Daza, Foreign Affairs undersecretary, the Philippines has filed 461 diplomatic protests against China. Of this, 262 had been lodged from 2016 to 2021, 195 in 2022, and four so far as of January 26, 2023.

In April 2023, a total of 9089 Vietnamese fishing vessels with 52197 tracking points were recorded by the AIS in the whole #SouthChinaSea, increasing compared with 8012 the previous month.

Did the DFA issue any note verbale against Vietnam, on account of these intrusions? Nope.

How many note verbales has the DFA issued against Vietnamese intrusions since 2016? I must be slowing down because I could not find any in the internet. So, I am assuming zero.

Could the reason behind this was Vietnam’s immediate recognition of the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration with the caveat “positively acknowledged ruling without any calls for compliance”.

Finally, I found something close – A note verbale by Vietnam rejecting the drawing of straight baselines around the Paracel or Spratly Islands, after Malaysia’s recent submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Notably the note, dated March 30, 2020, objects to China’s historic rights in the South China Sea and any other maritime claims that exceed the limits provided in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In an analysis of Vo Ngoc Diep, a researcher at the East Sea Institute, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam that was printed by the Asia Maritime Transparency Institute, an adjunct of the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, she hints the Philippines share “a number of common views regarding the legal status of features in the Spratly Islands even while their dispute over the sovereignty of the islands remains.”

Vietnam and China hold distinctively opposing opinions with respect to the interpretation and application of UNCLOS provisions, it appearing that Vietnam’s positions are compatible with the key findings of the 2016 South China Sea arbitration award.

Suffice it to say, based on this “common ground”, our Department of Foreign Affairs as an act of reciprocity, has made it an implicit policy to turn a blind eye on the abuses of the Vietnamese in the South China Seas, especially the Spratly Islands.

Could the reason behind this was Vietnam’s immediate recognition of the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration with the caveat “positively acknowledged ruling without any calls for compliance”.

Finally, I found something close – A note verbale by Vietnam rejecting the drawing of straight baselines around the Paracel or Spratly Islands, after Malaysia’s recent submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Notably the note, dated March 30, 2020, objects to China’s historic rights in the South China Sea and any other maritime claims that exceed the limits provided in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In an analysis of Vo Ngoc Diep, a researcher at the East Sea Institute, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam that was printed by the Asia Maritime Transparency Institute, an adjunct of the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, she hints the Philippines share “a number of common views regarding the legal status of features in the Spratly Islands even while their dispute over the sovereignty of the islands remains.”

Vietnam and China hold distinctively opposing opinions with respect to the interpretation and application of UNCLOS provisions, it appearing that Vietnam’s positions are compatible with the key findings of the 2016 South China Sea arbitration award.

Suffice it to say, based on this “common ground”, our Department of Foreign Affairs as an act of reciprocity, has made it an implicit policy to turn a blind eye on the abuses of the Vietnamese in the South China Seas, especially the Spratly Islands.

On the other, Vietnam has remained silent too on the issue of the arbitral award sustaining Article 121(3) that provides that a rock – defined as an island that cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of its own, shall have no exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf.

The arbitral award called the features that we are claiming within what we call the Kalayaan Island Group, as “mere rocks”, thus demolishing our Presidential Decree 1596 s1978, as a regime of islands or an archipelago entitled to its own EEZ. Note that if we accept the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, we have entirely lost the claims of President Marcos’ PD 1596 in the sense that:

  1. It is no longer to be considered as an archipelago or a regime of islands. The raison d’etre behind the claim – the three bases for the Philippines’ legitimate rights to the territory namely contiguity with the Philippine archipelago, historical title, and the lapsing of others’ claims – has been nulled and voided.
  2. The baselines indicated in the decree, demarcated to form a polygon, have been  rendered moot and academic.
    “From a point [on the Philippine Treaty Limits] at latitude 7°40′ North and longitude 116°00′ East of Greenwich, thence due West along the parallel of 7°40′ N to its intersection with the meridian of longitude 112°10′ E, thence due north along the meridian of 112°10′ E to its intersection with the parallel of 9°00′ N, thence northeastward to the intersection of the parallel of 12°00′ N with the meridian of longitude 114° 30′ E, thence, due East along the parallel of 12°00′ N to its intersection with the meridian of 118° 00′ E, thence, due South along the meridian of longitude 118°00′ E to its intersection with the parallel of 10°00′ N, thence Southwestwards to the point of beginning at 7°40′ N, latitude and 116° 00′ E longitude.”
  3. The ruling also invalidated the 200 nautical miles EEZ provided in the succeeding Presidential Decree 1599 as it pertains to the creation of the KIG, as the ruling noted the claimed features are mere rocks that UNCLOS says cannot generate an EEZ.
  4. The eleven rocks Marcos claimed to occupy on the principle of “terra nullius” could be considered as islands but only entitled to 12 nautical miles of territorial sea, and not 200 nautical miles of EEZ.
    (One the islands, Pugad, was stolen from us by Vietnam in 1975 and has been excluded in the PD 1596.
    (https://therhk111philippinedefenseupdates.blogspot.com/2021/03/how-come-nobody-asking-vietnam-give-back-pugad-island.html)(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southwest_Cay)
  5. The ruling also did not specify that those islands that are entitled to 12 nautical miles territorial sea, belong to the Philippines, as UNCLOS does not have the power and jurisdiction on sovereignty issues.

Analyst Vo Ngoc Diep, therefore, celebrates the Philippines’ getting the Vietnamese vote favoring its “nebulous” arbitral victory invalidating China’s nine-dash line. But Vietnam remains mum on the sovereignty issue of the eleven “islands” (mere rocks) that the Philippines claims.  Awkwardly, the Philippines likewise stay silent on the sovereignty claim of Vietnam for the entirety of the South China Seas, including the Spratlys, and its nefarious activities in the area.

Frankly, I do not see any reciprocity here. What is covered up by semantics is that our diplomats have allowed themselves to be fooled by the Americans in the information war opposing China.

President Bongbong Marcos made it clear a year ago last May 26, 2022 that he will defend Philippine territorial rights in the SCS, including upholding the Permanent Court of Appeal’s 2016 ruling, not realizing the implications of what he was talking about and becoming a pawn of the West against China.

Up to a few days ago, this is what is being taken advantage by the West – his stupidity, if not his jaundiced appreciation of the issues involved as obviously he has not yet read Rigoberto Tiglao’s explanation and my historiography on the matter.https://asiancenturyph.com/2023/05/10/historiography-debunks-fake-arbitration-china-is-nine-dash-line-successor-in-interest/

G7 in Hiroshima, Japan – US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a working dinner at the Iwaso Hotel in Hiroshima, Japan.

On May 20, 2023, leaders of seven of the world’s most powerful democracies or the G7 issued a communique declaring support for the 2016 international arbitral ruling voiding China’s massive maritime claims, and asking Beijing to stop its militarization of the South China Sea where it has built military bases on reclaimed land features.

G7 also declared that they “are determined to work together and with others to support a free and open Indo-Pacific and oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.”

But there was no mention of Vietnam’s stirrings in the South China Seas, much more the Spratlys.

The modus vivendi that obviously has been planted by the American adjunct Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute, however, must now be seriously reviewed.

Given the navigational buoys incident, could start heading to the rocks!

The “biggest elephant in the room” or dominant occupier of features in the South China Seas is not China, as the United States would like everyone to believe. It is Vietnam. Here is the 2023 breakdown of occupied features by each claimant:

China: occupies 7 outposts (Fiery Cross, Mischief, Subi, Cuarteron, Gavin, Hughes, and Johnson reefs); the outposts on Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi include air bases with helipads and aircraft hangers, naval port facilities, surveillance radars, air defense and anti-ship missile sites, and other military infrastructure such as communications, barracks, maintenance facilities, and ammunition and fuel bunkers

Malaysia:  occupies 5 outposts in the southern portion of the archipelago, closest to the Malaysian state of Sabah (Ardasier Reef, Eric Reef, Mariveles Reef, Shallow Reef, and Investigator Shoal); all the outposts have helicopter landing pads, while Shallow Reef also has an airstrip

Philippines: 
occupies 9 features (Commodore Reef, Second Thomas Shoal, Flat Island, Loaita Cay, Loaita Island, Nanshan Island, Northeast Cay, Thitu Island, and West York Island). Thitu Island (Pagasa) has the only Philippine airstrip in the Spratlys

Taiwan: maintains a coast guard outpost with an airstrip on Itu Aba Island

Vietnam: occupies about 50 outposts spread across 27 features, including facilities on 21 rocks and reefs in the Spratlys, plus 14 platforms known as “economic, scientific, and technological service stations,” or Dịch vụ-Khoa (DK1), on six underwater banks to the southeast that Vietnam does not consider part of the disputed island chain, although China and Taiwan disagree;

Spratly Islands outposts are on Alison Reef, Amboyna Cay, Barque Canada Reef, Central Reef, Collins Reef, Cornwallis South Reef, Discovery Great Reef, East Reef, Grierson Reef, Ladd Reef, Landsdowne Reef, Namyit Island, Pearson Reef, Petley Reef, Sand Cay, Sin Cowe Island, South Reef, Southwest Cay, Spratly Island, Tennent Reef, West Reef; Spratly Island includes an airstrip with aircraft hangers; the six underwater banks with outposts include Vanguard, Rifleman, Prince of Wales, Prince Consort, Grainger, and Alexandra; over the past few years, Vietnam has continued to make modest improvements to its outposts, including defensive positions and infrastructure

To be continued. Next: Where the pressure is actually coming from.

 
<strong>Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan</strong>
Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan

is the anchor of Ang Maestro – the Unfinished Revolution at Radyo Pilipinas1, co-host of Opinyon Ngayon at Golden Nation Network Television, a political analyst, and author of books.

His third book, The Poverty of Power will soon be off-the-press. It is a historiography of controversial issues of spanning 36 years leading to the Demise of the Edsa Revolution and the Rise of the Philippine Phoenix. Paglinawan’s past best sellers have been A Problem for Every Solution (2015), a characterization of factors affecting Philippine-China relations, and No Vaccine for a Virus called Racism (2020) a survey of international news attempting to tracing its origins. These important achievements earned for him to be named one of the 2021 international laureates for the Awards for the Promotion of Philippine-China Understanding. Ado, as he called for short, was a former press attaché and spokesman of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and the Philippines’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Facebook
 

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