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South China Sea thoughts?

This is a discussion on South China Sea thoughts? within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by db2646 There you go, your first words...sound very patronizing and condescending. How may I conduct myself when ...


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Old May 14th, 2013   #61
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Originally Posted by db2646 View Post
There you go, your first words...sound very patronizing and condescending. How may I conduct myself when I'm making an argument? What kind of tone is acceptable, may I ask? Shall I give you a heads-up first before I post to see if the tone of my post meets approval?
Or I could have simply meant good for you. That was what was meant and repeated in response to your posts on my profile. I admit my patience with you is at end as you insist on being respected and heard but feel no hesitation in demanding others back up their statements despite the fact you often provide no real evidence of you position.
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Old May 14th, 2013   #62
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Todjaeger's numbers are correct in principle. but are a little out of date. The most recent official figures for Filipino workers in Taiwan, from Taiwan's Council of Labor [sic] Affairs, as of end March 2013,
Indeed my numbers were a little old. They were from the latest reports I could find from the Philippine gov't on overseas workers, so some of them were from 2010. Thanks for locating more up to date information.

As had been brought up later on though, what sector the Filipinos work in, or even their average level of education is not particularly important. What IS important is whether as a group, OFW's in Taiwan can/are earning enough to send significant remittances back to the Philippines. In this case, the ability to send back an average of ~$1,700 p.a. per working in Taiwan is significant since that is nearly half the per capita (PPP) GDP. In effect, one of the Philippines most significant exports is workers, and another country threatening to place restrictions on that 'export' can be significant.

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Old May 14th, 2013   #63
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South China Sea thoughts?

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Originally Posted by swerve View Post
Todjaeger's numbers are correct in principle. but are a little out of date. The most recent official figures for Filipino workers in Taiwan, from Taiwan's Council of Labor [sic] Affairs, as of end March 2013, are -
Total: 87516
In services (this includes all the domestic workers, hospital workers, etc): 23015
In manufacturing: 63151

Of which the main employers are -
Electronic parts & components: 26593 (i.e. more than in all services)
Electronic & optical products: 6630
Fabricated metal products: 6508
Machinery & equipment: 4388

Source
TVBS News Report on Taiwan's reaction after the lapse of dateline

Initial indications are that the Taiwan Government was not satisfied with Philippines' official response and it was reported as lacking in sincerity and failed to meet the conditions imposed. News sources report the following: "Taiwan freezes hiring of Philippine workers over fisherman's death".
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Originally Posted by OPSSG View Post
...This shooting-at-sea incident once again demonstrates the incompetence of the Philippine Government in the area of crisis management (its chronic misguided sense of self-importance and lack of urgency in a crisis). This incompetence will again have unfortunate consequences for their citizens abroad and make life more difficult than necessary for those seeking to leave Philippines to earn a living in Taiwan...

<snip>

...Pinoy pride is likely to prevent a quick settlement that may result in a period of hostility and tensions. The second and third order effects following from the incident is unfortunate and counter-productive for countries sharing a maritime border...
As predicted two days ago pride prevented a quick settlement. A second batch of 8 new sanctions being planned at a later time, with another dateline imposed. Details on the 8 new sanctions to be applied later is lacking, as a press conference will be held later, today. I am waiting for a Taiwan based English language media source for confirmation later in today or tomorrow. Likewise this latest development has not been reported by international media, like CNN or BBC, at the moment. Given that there is no invasion fleet (only a show of force in disputed EEZ waters), with little or no danger of war between Taiwan and the Philippines, this latest development is not deemed news worthy by the international media.

Edit: Taiwan English language news source with more details -Gov't unsatisfied with Philippines' response. It seems that the Philippines failed to reach agreement with Taiwan on how to compensate for the death of the 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman. The Philippines will send MECO Chairman Amadeo R. Perez, the de facto Philippines embassy in Taiwan in lieu of diplomatic ties, to Taiwan today as a special envoy to express condolence and apology to Hung's family.

IMHO, the answer is simple from Taiwan's point of view. An ultimatum has been given and missed. Therefore, Taiwan must make good on their promise to freeze Filipino immigration and work permits, with further additional economic sanctions to follow.
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Old May 15th, 2013   #64
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Desired and likely outcome will determine what happens next.

The situation is quite confusing, with so many interested parties, conflicting accounts, and more importantly the unspoken political agendas. It would probably be easier to just ignore what you hear and see on the ground, on the seas, and in the relevant domestic media (foreign media to most of us). If you look at the situation from a desired outcome perspective, you can get a better feel for what will likely need to happen to achieve that desired outcome.

For China, the best outcome is for Taiwan to partner up and present an united stance, politically and militarily. That would be the dream come true for China, as it can kick start some sort of reunification process; remember that China and Taiwan already share very deep racial and cultural ties, are still technically at war, and each side still claims the other as its own.

On the other hand, as often happens in schoolyard fights, the antagonists have a tussle, and then make up and turn into the best of friends. I think it would be far more likely that the Philippines and Taiwan will make good, and embark on some enhanced level of cooperation - while being guided (goaded) by the big man in the room, the USA, who is supposedly neutral. The reasons for this more likely outcome is that: 1) nobody wants to actually fight; 2) nobody wants to team with China - at least for now; 3) The leaders can appear mature and wise by turning what appears to be an inflammatory and escalating armed situation, into greater understanding and friendship; 4) Taiwan, for all its military capabilities, has more than its hands full with the Taiwan Straits situation vis-a-vis China; 5) Despite its one China policy, the USA can't let Taiwan slip closer to China; 6) the Filipino attack was probably accidental, or acted out by a loose canon (they may even have thought the ROC ship was PROC - and Filipinos have a bigger axe to grind with China). I'm 99.9% certain the act was not officially sanctioned. As such, it's easy for the Philippine government to acknowledge the mistake, make amends, and earn some respect, credibility, and emotional capital.

If the desired and most likely outcome is where the Philippines and Taiwan make good, then I think you will see a few things:

i) The situation will escalate a bit more until both sides' pride run into some undetermined dangerous threshold.
ii) Then one side or both will acknowledge mistakes were made, followed by some joint apologetic statements and expressions of regret or remorse.
iii) Both sides will form some committee or process to tighten cooperation in the political and maritime spheres. The stated goals will be to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring, but a partial intent is to present an united front against China's rising maritime assertiveness.
iv) Everybody walks away happy. Even China, which won't lose anything, but has said a few things and so may plausibly claim they influenced a positive outcome.
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Old May 15th, 2013   #65
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For China, the best outcome is for Taiwan to partner up and present an united stance, politically and militarily. That would be the dream come true for China, as it can kick start some sort of reunification process; remember that China and Taiwan already share very deep racial and cultural ties, are still technically at war, and each side still claims the other as its own.
What has race got to do with this shooting-at-sea incident between Philippines and Taiwan?

Do you even read the thread you post in?!? At least back read the last 3 pages of this thread on the current topic being discussed, before posting again. Our patience with people who post without reading the thread is limited.

BTW, China is comprised of over 50 ethnic groups; and Taiwan has its own indigenous peoples, too (and not just Chinese). Further, the Chinese are comprised of various dialect groups (with their own unique spoken dialect and customs). As you may be aware, there are many political and economic differences between China and Taiwan, in terms of systems of government, stage of economic development and political culture. In terms of written language alone, Taiwan uses the complex character set, whereas, China uses the simplified character set - these are all political choices, made by politicians/leaders in both sides of the Cross Straits divide. For China, 'putong hua' is a relatively recent historical and political construct, used as a unifying language for the different dialect groups in China (i.e. a political tool, used to 'unify' China). Likewise 'kuo yu' or national language is a political construct, used as a unifying language for the different ethnic groups in Taiwan. In broad terms, these differences negate simple claims of common political culture that transcends political divides, when there is quite a bit of diversity in the so called 'Chinese' diaspora in Asia. This means the myth of a 'Han Chinese' in Asia, is just that a myth when you look at the details (i.e. an over simplified stereotype that is often used for political purposes by commentators). IMHO, what we are seeing is the development of distinct brand of Taiwanese nationalism, from this incident.

If you don't mind, I would say that it would be more accurate to say that being Chinese is an ethnic identity, rather than racial identity. Please do not bring this point on race again, in such a stereotypical manner (as racism relies on the use of negative stereotypes). While what you have said does not cross the line, please be aware that it is forum policy to immediately ban all racists (see rule 12 of forum rules). Read the prior warnings and directions issued by the Moderators and Super Moderators in this thread. No reply or further clarification, by you, on this point will be necessary.

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Originally Posted by Sun View Post
On the other hand, as often happens in schoolyard fights, the antagonists have a tussle, and then make up and turn into the best of friends.
What school yard fight!?! School yard fights do not result in 52 bullet holes and death (we will only know more once the investigation is completed and further information released by the Philippine Authorities). In the mean time, have some respect for the Taiwanese fishermen who have died in the past in this disputed fishing area in the hands of law-enforcement authorities.

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Originally Posted by Sun View Post
I think it would be far more likely that the Philippines and Taiwan will make good, and embark on some enhanced level of cooperation...
How is this relevant now? Think before posting.

There is a huge difference between having a wishful political opinion or political advocacy of a position versus having a sound technical understanding of the military and economic levers available to the Government of Taiwan (in its options for escalation, in the event of non-compliance). For example, Taiwan can just cancel prior self-imposed limits they had set in terms of naval patrols in the disputed EEZ areas, to deny access to Philippine law enforcement. Reading the thread before posting would help prevent a discussion from going in circles.

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Originally Posted by Sun View Post
The reasons for this more likely outcome is that: 1) nobody wants to actually fight; 2) nobody wants to team with China - at least for now; 3) The leaders can appear mature and wise by turning what appears to be an inflammatory and escalating armed situation, into greater understanding and friendship; 4) Taiwan, for all its military capabilities, has more than its hands full with the Taiwan Straits situation vis-a-vis China; 5) Despite its one China policy, the USA can't let Taiwan slip closer to China; 6) the Filipino attack was probably accidental, or acted out by a loose canon (they may even have thought the ROC ship was PROC - and Filipinos have a bigger axe to grind with China).
Your whole discussion quoted above is not useful enabling other members understand the options available to Taiwan, as they bring more pressure to bear on the Philippine authorities, with the 8 new sanctions.

Be aware that reading the thread before posting is a requirement in this forum.

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Originally Posted by Sun View Post
I'm 99.9% certain the act was not officially sanctioned. As such, it's easy for the Philippine government to acknowledge the mistake, make amends, and earn some respect, credibility, and emotional capital.
That is not the issue. The issue at hand is that Philippines law enforcement authorities in a bigger and faster boat (a 115.45 ton vessel and over 30m in length) killed an unarmed Taiwanese citizen by firing at least 52 rounds at his smaller fishing boat (a 15.15 ton vessel at 14.7m in length). Which is why Taiwan and external parties like the US welcome the conduct of a transparent Philippine investigation on this latest shooting-at-sea incident.

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Originally Posted by Sun View Post
The situation will escalate a bit more until both sides' pride run into some undetermined dangerous threshold.
No, this is a wrong assessment.

In 2 prior posts I have covered escalation options and Taiwan's mastery of it (please read them before posting another reply to this post). There is no Philippine invasion threat or any such hostile intention to attack the forces of another country by the Taiwanese. It has been stated that Taiwan's Navy and Coast Guard will not enter Philippine territorial waters. Further, the Taiwanese Navy is NOT going to attack and sink Philippine ships; given the disparity of naval and air power between the parties a show of force by Taiwan is intended to demonstrate Philippine naval impotence. As I mentioned before, the Philippines has a very poor hand in escalation options; but their pride prevents a quick settlement.

In essence, this is a fisheries dispute between Taiwan and Philippines, with Taiwan applying economic sanctions to motivate the Philippines authorities and therefore it is hardly even news worthy for international media. Just turn on TV and watch BBC or CNN and they are not reporting the latest developments as a headline news item.

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Originally Posted by Sun View Post
Everybody walks away happy. Even China, which won't lose anything, but has said a few things and so may plausibly claim they influenced a positive outcome.
How so? More magical thinking by you, I see.

China's opinion stated through the editorial comments in news sources controlled by them and condemnation has caused more resentment in the Philippines and as I mentioned earlier, complicates the options currently available to Taiwan. The Taiwanese may not be appreciative of China's acts and deeds, if they do intervene. If China was a leader, it has few willing followers. Check-book diplomacy (and often acknowledged as such by client states of China) and naked displays of force can increase tensions in the region. Do not mistake fear/concern as respect.

As for your quib on positive outcome, the family of the fisherman killed will never get him back. A responsible Taiwanese government would want to prevent such an incident from recurring, and statements of support made by China has been of no help to Taiwan. On the other hand, Taiwan's unilateral demand for an investigation will help start the process of ensuring transparency and shine a light on Philippine law enforcement practice and ROEs.

See the latest news report, which demonstrates Taiwanese determination to motivate the Philippine Government.

Quote:
May 15 -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah announced... the initiation of a second wave of sanctions against the Philippines in retaliation for the fatal May 9 shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman. The eight measures taken in the second wave of sanctions include issuing a red travel alert for the Philippines to discourage sightseeing or business trips, and suspending high-level exchanges, such as a ministerial-level meeting at the World Health Assembly next week. Taiwan is also suspending economic exchanges and business promotion activities, bilateral agricultural and fishery cooperation, technology research exchange and cooperation projects, bilateral aviation rights negotiations, visa-free treatment for Filipinos, and is mounting a joint exercise involving the Ministry of National Defense and the Coast Guard Administration in waters south of Taiwan...

<snip>
Moderator's Note: A member that is banned from posting will have their handle's color change, as shown in the case of db2646. He also had a number of posts deleted for breach of Forum Rules and we are a little tired of having to ban members like him (who do not follow forum rules). I would strongly suggest you read the rules before posting again. Be aware that forum rules will be enforced in this forum.
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Old May 21st, 2013   #66
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According to the Manila Times report dated 20 May 2013, 'PH official bungles talks with Taiwan'. See quote below for details.
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20 May 2013 -- Officials of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) on Monday also revealed that two letters presented by the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) to Taiwan were deemed acceptable at first but were scrapped after a “secret phone call” from the official, who has not been named. The phone call “blew up everything” previously agreed upon, David Chen, TECO’s assistant to the representative, told reporters during a luncheon briefing in Makati City. He said the phone call was made to Antonio Basilio, MECO’s resident representative in Taipei, merely minutes after a third “acceptable” letter was handed to Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin...

According to Chen, the fourth and final version of the letter was “unacceptable and beyond imagination”... All four letters, which were presented between 8 p.m. and midnight of May 14, were signed by Basilio but the last version had a second copy signed by MECO Chairman Amadeo Perez Jr., President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s personal representative to Taipei.

Chen said the first and third letters were acceptable to Taiwan because the “regret and apology” over the incident were conveyed by the “Philippine government” and not by the “Filipino people” as mentioned by the second and fourth versions.
It seems that Philippines and Taiwan were so close and yet so far apart over the details of the apology letters, particularly, the 4th version of the letter. In other words, an ultimatum was given with conditions; and that Taiwan had some expectation that Philippines would meet those terms. From Taiwan's point of view, an ultimatum has been given and missed. Therefore, Taiwan made good on their promise to freeze Filipino immigration and work permits. The freeze bars new work permits, and the 88,000 Filipino workers in Taiwan now must leave once their contracts end. Contracts of this sort usually cover three years. According to Forbes, when Taiwan banned importation of Filipino labor in over a civil aviation dispute 14 years ago, the number of migrant workers onshore dropped from about 114,000 to just under 73,000 between 1999 and 2001. There is no word on how long the current freeze will last. Further, Filipinos working in Taiwan remit more than US$650 million in total to the Philippines each year, according to a statement made by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila.

Another issue at hand is the ongoing investigation by the Philippines law enforcement authorities, in the shooting-at-sea incident; where there is thus far limited cooperation between the relevant Philippines authorities and Taiwan, with parallel investigations. Taiwan claims that the shooting was “a disproportionate response by the Philippine authorities.” If Taiwan admits that it was a response to something, what then were the Philippine law enforcement authorities responding to? By way of background, the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel - PCG-BFAR MCS-3001 involved in the in the shooting-at-sea incident was a bigger and faster boat (a 115.45 ton vessel and over 30m in length) killed an unarmed Taiwanese citizen by firing over 50 rounds at a smaller Taiwanese fishing boat (a 15.15 ton vessel at 14.7m in length), in a fisheries law enforcement incident. According to a Taiwanese source, 'Shipboard data refutes Manila’s claim'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taipei Times
22 May 2013 -- The US is calling on both Taiwan and the Philippines to quickly complete their separate investigations into the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman. “We have not seen final reports from either investigation, from either side,” US Department of State spokesman Patrick Ventrell said on Monday. “We hope these will be released soon and will help clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident,” he said. Speaking at a daily press briefing, Ventrell said that although US Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun was going to the region he would not become directly involved in any negotiations involving the incident...
This is why external parties like the US, welcome the conduct of a transparent Philippine investigation on this latest shooting-at-sea incident; as a means to resolve the crisis. Unfortunately, with the lack of cooperation between the parties this is going to be another sticky point that would not go away.

IMHO, neutral parties should start to question how this incident has been handled by both parties - with their desire to take positions even before the end of investigations. This crisis, seems to look like a series of mis-steps by both parties that does not do credit to the credibility of either. Taiwan's ability to apply military and economic levers against Philippines is limited; but their are not without options. One of options that I mentioned earlier:- Taiwan can just cancel prior self-imposed limits they had set in terms of naval patrols in the disputed EEZ areas, to deny access to Philippine law enforcement.

An absolute freeze Filipino immigration and work permits for period beyond 6 months hurts Taiwan too; and is a crude tool. But they can change such a measure to a relatively large 'annual processing fee' for each Filipino immigration and work permit processed; which will give employers a choice of paying more for Philippine workers or using another country source (substitution effect). This will filter out the low end of some parts of the complex OFW market in Taiwan, while giving Taiwanese employers an option to retain better valued employees for a fee. And a variety of these sort of measures have been implemented in other countries to keep a lid on immigration. The Taiwanese Government could also provide tax breaks for greater automation, which will a side effect of reducing demand for workers in factories.

Options like the above can be very painful for the Philippine Government to bear; and if carefully calibrated, Taiwan can inflict pain on the Philippine Government without a US response.
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Old May 23rd, 2013   #67
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Looks like Taiwan is considering abolishing the southern boundary for fishing protection, it will be interesting to see how long Taiwan will keep the patrols up and what the response from the Philippines government will be


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By Adam Tyrsett Kuo ,The China Post
May 21, 2013 - The government is moving toward abolishing Taiwan's southern boundary for fishery protection, an act which would extend the formal operational area of the Navy, the Coast Guard and local fishermen further south within Taiwan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) toward the Philippines.

The boundary is currently set at the latitude of 20 degrees north.

In light of the recent fatal shooting of a local fisherman by Philippine coast guards, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and the Fisheries Agency (FA) are currently in the process of revising the government's fishery protection procedures to achieve an equal basis for negotiations with the Philippines over a possible fishery pact.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said that fishery talks are one of four demands made following the shooting incident, adding that the Foreign Ministry hopes to demarcate operation procedures between Philippine and Taiwanese fishermen.

Collecting evidence and investigating the case, however, are currently the higher priorities for the ministry, Kao said, adding that the commencement of fishery talks will depend on whether the case can be resolved.

Given that fishery protection operations conducted by the Coast Guard Administration and the Navy are not limited by the southern boundary, the boundary itself, which was announced by the Council of Agriculture, is effectively void, even though as a formal guideline it still exists.

After the government announced that protection operations will not be limited by the boundary, four Taiwanese fishing boats operating in the Bashi Channel crossed it yesterday morning to fish further south, while three approached waters close to the Philippines' Batanes Islands and Babuyan Islands.

Since Taiwan and the Philippines are at a critical juncture with regard to talks over a joint investigation into the shooting, the CGA's three vessels stuck close to the southern boundary yesterday morning, apparently to avoid giving rise to more tension.
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Old May 24th, 2013   #68
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25 May 2013 -- Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said... the NBI has “bits and pieces of initial findings” and is beginning to draft a report. The STAR learned from a source that coast guard personnel manning the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) patrol vessel may face criminal and administrative charges for possible violations of rules of engagement, excessive use of force, and neglect of duty. PCG personnel admitted having fired warning shots at two Taiwanese vessels some 39 nautical miles off Bantayan Island in the Balintang Channel. Authorities said such warning shot is not allowed under the rules of engagement.

There is excessive use of force if the 50 bullet holes reportedly found on the fishing vessel can be proven to have come from the firearms of PCG personnel.

In its incident report submitted to the NBI, the PCG confirmed that its personnel left the site after firing at the fishing vessel without checking on the victim...

<snip>

...MECO head Amadeo Perez, however, said visas had already been issued to eight NBI agents and forensic experts and that De Lima already agreed to the demand of Taiwanese investigators that they be allowed to see the video footage of the May 9 encounter...

<snip>
According to a news report from the Philstar, a source said that coast guard personnel manning the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) patrol vessel may face criminal and administrative charges for possible violations of rules of engagement, excessive use of force, and neglect of duty. However, as the final investigation report is not out, let us not jump to conclusions at this point. A lingering source of tension between Taiwan and Philippines over this incident, will be the reports (when they are eventual published) produced by both sides, as Taiwan, Philippines to launch parallel probe into fisherman's death.

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Looks like Taiwan is considering abolishing the southern boundary for fishing protection, it will be interesting to see how long Taiwan will keep the patrols up...
I understand that there is a fishing season (which is not too long but I don't have the details on hand) for certain types of fish in that area. They don't have to be there all the time; and these patrols should be there to follow and protect Taiwanese fishermen (until an agreement is reached with the Philippine Government). If that does not occur, Taiwan might have to do it again for a few months, next season; and the Taiwan lobby in the US should go to work and shortly, we shall see Think tanks explain Taiwan's perspective of the incident to US Congress. The Taiwan lobby will also work to ensure support from members of US Congress; and urge them to speak on this issue. These include:-
(1) Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) wrote a letter to the Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia - urged Manila to work with Taipei to expeditiously and peacefully resolve the issue to the satisfaction of both parties, including an apology, appropriate compensation for the victim's family, the conduct of a thorough investigation into this incident, ensure accountability, and work together on a fishery agreement);
(2) Rep. Howard Coble (R-North Carolina) wrote a letter to Taiwan's President Ma - expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the dead fisherman, 65-year-old Hung Shih-cheng);
(3) Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), who wrote to the Philippine ambassador;
(4) Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), who wrote to Taiwan's President Ma;
(5) Rep. Robert Brady (D-Penn.), who wrote to both Taiwan's President Ma and the Philippine ambassador;
(6) Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) issued a statement in support of Taiwan;
(7) Rep. Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) issued a statement in support of Taiwan; and
(8) Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) issued a statement in support of Taiwan.
Taiwan was the 10th largest investor the Philippines in 2012 (at US$58.54 million or 0.85 percent of total FDI); and each month that this dispute drags on, 2,500 OFW jobs in Taiwan are affected (the number of work permit applications, per month, before the freeze). Technically, the hiring freeze from Taipei is technically more of a “slowdown.” Visa processing has not stopped, but the 7-day processing period has lengthened to 14 days. Taiwan was the 9th top exporter to the Philippines with a total value of exports of US$1.92 billion; and was 4th top import country with a total value of imports of US$4.83 billion in 2012. Peaceful resolution is in everybody's interest - for both Philippines and Taiwan. In related news, see this story on an event in Taiwan: 'Young Taiwanese show solidarity with Filipinos'.

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Originally Posted by neocloud View Post
...what the response from the Philippines government will be.
The logical Philippine response is to monitor the Taiwanese presence; and do nothing more to avoid any escalation. On 23 May 2013, President Ma Ying-jeou said Taiwan is a peace-loving country and it is not seeking to flex its military muscles, while receiving the French representative to Taipei at the Presidential Office:
"While we have to take measures to protect our fishermen operating within our 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone, none of these actions should be misconstrued as military exercises or flexing our military muscles."
Despite President's Ma's statement, that is not how the Philippines would see it. In President Aquino III’s speech at the Philippine Navy’s anniversary on 21 May 2013, he said (translated from Filipino):
“We have a clear message to the world: The Philippines is for Filipinos, and we have the capability to resist bullies entering our backyard.”
The link enclosed is what a reporter Rigoberto D. Tiglao of Manila Times, thought of President Aquino III’s speech quoted above; namely, Aquino rattles non-existent saber. As I said in another thread, war is unlikely between the Philippines and it's neighbours to the north, like China (2012 defence spending of US$166 billion) or Taiwan (2012 defense spending of US$10.7 billion). This is because the power disparity between China or Taiwan versus the Philippines (2012 defense spending of US$2.97 billion) is just too great for war to occur.
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Old July 1st, 2013   #69
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majority of filipinos approves US, Japan Basing

because of a very weak armed forces, the philippines have no choice but to sekk the help of friendly countries like the US and Japan. the proposed basing of foreign military forces has the approval of the majority of the filipinos. china doen'st respect a small neighbor like us and the latest threat of a "coutnerstrike" smacks of arrogance in the highest form that can only be countered with the presence of strong friendly forces. the philippines tried to sought the collective stance of asean member countries but each has their own agenda. myanmar and cambodia for one are more pro-chinese than pro-territorial rights. while malaysia only said they "respect" the philippines' right to invoke the unclos. as aside, asean is irrelevant!
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Old July 2nd, 2013   #70
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I would like to question the reporter's reliability.

While Onodera did indeed say that Japan supports Philippine's claim(1), he made no mention of bases.

Philippine defence minister Gazmin did say that Philippine needs allies(2), but he said it in context of allowing US and Japan to use Philippine naval bases, which is different from a foreign base in their territory.

I am doubting that the writer for World Socialist Web Site is interpreting the statements correctly. As an opinion piece the article might be defensible, but as news it wasn't confirmed. I checked two Philippine defence forums and the website of the newspaper Philippine Star (philstar.com) prior to writing this and I see nothing that could be construed as verification. One would think that the news of Japan establishing a base in the Philippine would have set them abuzz, but there was absolutely nothing about this. There are some support for asking the US to reuse Subic again, but absolutely nothing about Japan. It seems that the part about Japan establishing a base in the Philippine is entirely the reporter's misinterpretation.

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Old July 2nd, 2013   #71
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18 point reply to: (i) gemarcher23's emotional rant; and (ii) tonnyc's excellent first post, spread across three posts to put the latest developments in context.

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Originally Posted by gemarcher23 View Post
because of a very weak armed forces, the philippines have no choice but to seek the help of friendly countries like the US and Japan. the proposed basing of foreign military forces has the approval of the majority of the filipinos.
1. We really prefer members who contribute rather than post childish emotional rants (without sources), that deserve a little correction on the 3 Cs of candor, competence, and conviction - all of which are lacking in the ruling political oligarchies of the Philippines. What you see now, is years of under-investment in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by a political leadership that is deeply skeptical of the military, given the number of prior attempted coups conducted by rogue elements of the AFP since the fall of Marcos. The AFP has a problem with its reputation because from 1972 to 1981, it was an army that had a country (not a country with an army). Further, the local media hysteria with respect to the grounding of USS Guardian on 17 Jan 2013 showed the degree of Pinoy ambivalence to US military presence.

2. As the saying goes, lions do not care for the opinions of sheep, and you belong to a herd of sheep. Let me expand your limited understanding the harsh geo-strategic realities of the world, with three conceptual issues that you may not have considered:-
One, resourcing the AFP is the responsibility of the Government of the Philippines -- it is NOT the responsibility of the US or Japan to pay for your country's defence. Normal people in other countries understand this. There is a world of difference between having capability gaps and being not capable.

Two, not only is your defence spending on the low side (at about 0.9% to 1.2% of the country's GDP), the money is spent poorly. Let me illustrate with an over-simplified comparison between the Philippines (a country with a population of about 92 million and a 2011 GDP of US$213.13 billion) with Brunei (a country with a population of about 380 thousand and a 2011 GDP of US$15.5 billion).
Brunei has built a navy is more capable and advanced that that of the Philippines. It's not just in area of brand new, 80 metre Darussalam Class OPVs, where they are superior. Brunei also operates CN 235MPAs, which give them an over-the-horizon targeting ability. The Philippines' annual defence budget is about 5 times more than Brunei's defence budget. Yet, they have a more capable navy with a over-the-horizon targeting ability. Think of the standards set by Brunei as the 42 inch high hurdle of minimum naval capability for a self-respecting ASEAN nation. The recent Philippine acquisition of two over 40-year old former US coast guard vessels represents clearing a 16 inch hurdle of basic naval capability. Buying harpoon missiles to arm them and equipping them with a hull mounted sonar, can be likened to raising the bar by another 16 inches, to the total height of 32 inches (ten inches lower than a standard hurdle).
Three, despite the fact that the Philippine Navy in 2006 created 15-year 'sail plan', the plan does not match the resources. No wonder nothing gets done. Technologically, the Philippines has the least advanced naval ships of any claimant in the South China Sea. Normal people understand that, if the AFP is incapable of defending itself (against external and internal enemies), the country is not sovereign. Patrolling your EEZ waters is your country's own responsibility. This role cannot be outsourced to an ally. If you don't or cannot effectively patrol your country's waters, you are not sovereign in those waters.
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Originally Posted by gemarcher23 View Post
china doen'st respect a small neighbor like us and the latest threat of a "coutnerstrike" smacks of arrogance in the highest form that can only be countered with the presence of strong friendly forces.
3. I've got news for you. It's not only China's media. Be honest. Who would demand respect a navy or an air force that can be spanked by any other claimant? Tiny Brunei's missile equipped navy can spank your navy that is armed like a coast guard, at any time. The continued presence of numerous insurgent groups within your borders, and their continued and occasional killing members of the AFP, means local insurgents do not respect the AFP. For others to respect you, you must first respect yourself. There are 3Cs lacking in any discussion about Philippines, namely, the lack of candor, the lack of competence, and the lack of conviction. Let us look at the three inter-related factors for some context:-
One, your politicians lack the candor to tell the Philippine electorate that building and sustaining a proper navy and a proper air force requires money and sacrifice (against other competing domestic priorities). Instead, of a commander-in-chief, you have elected a beggar-in-chief; where you have Philippine politicians begging other countries to give your country ships or aircraft. Media coverage of the disputes in the South China Sea from the Philippine press perspective is not comprehensive, and most analysis based on this sort of bias in coverage is misleading; it is misleading because it misses the 'real action' of the geo-strategic chess game being played among competing powers in Asia.

Two, your politicians lack competence in defence and alliance management. In December 2011, the Philippine President spoke about asking the US for EDA F-16s. As we know now, the US answer is NO. Why NO? Your President spoke out of turn because he did not know that your country's air force does not have the institutional capability to train fighter pilots, nor the ability to sustain F-16s even if they were given to the Philippines. The fact that the Philippine President spoke out of turn, is a reflection of chronic incompetence. It is not in US interest to embarrass the Philippine Presidency. Your country's incompetence in alliance management, laid bare how poorly your air force is regarded in professional circles. President Aquino III amplified his incompetence with a speech at the Philippine Navy’s anniversary on 21 May 2013. Like most external obsevers, Rigoberto D. Tiglao of Manila Times, also thought poorly of President Aquino III’s speech at the Philippine Navy’s anniversary on 21 May 2013. He describes it as: "Aquino rattles non-existent saber". This editorial opinion suggests that your President is incompetent, when speaking on matters of defence. Respect is earned and it is hard to respect a leader that has demonstrated incompetence more than once.

Three, AFP procurement officials lack the conviction to learn from past mistakes. Despite all the talk, it is clear that your country has not fixed the slow and broken procurement system - instead the Philippine Department of Defense pretends to do work by sending out a never ending stream of press releases. Since 2012, the AFP openly discussed acquiring Lead-In-Fighter-Trainer and Surface Attack Aircraft (LIFT/SAA) from South Korea (an essential tool if the Philippine Air Force were to go back into the business of training fighter pilots again). Till today, no contract has been signed between the parties for any LIFT/SAA. So enough with the modernisation by press release. Please get your country's act together.
4. Beyond the fact that the Philippine Senate voted not to renew the lease to US bases in 1991 (resulting in their closure), we also have to look back to some events in the 2003 to 2004 period for another example of this lack of reliability by the Philippines. On 20 May 2003, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) spoke of "unshakable resolve" in their support for the US in the White House on the 'War on Terror' (after the US invasion of Iraq on 19 March 2003). In return, the Bush II Administration provided Philippines with US$1 billion in benefits on the generalised system of preferences, increased quotas on textiles from the Philippines and a US$200 million special line of credit. Unfortunately, James Tyner (2005), writing on "Iraq, Terror and the Philippines will to War", described your country's approach at page 94:-
(i) as "a member of the Coalition of Opportunists", who tried to capitalize on the Iraqi reconstruction efforts and angle for a piece of the action. Tyner quoted the then Philippines Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo as saying: "We have the names of 1 million workers, from skilled mechanical engineers to crane operators, with passports and are ready to go... But, when it comes to skilled labour, we definitely have the value added..."; and

(ii) fourteen months later, that "unshakable resolve" collapsed. In April 2004 a Filipino was abducted and in July 2004, another Filipino truck driver was abducted. In GMA administration's attempt to get the 2nd Filipino abductee released, Philippines gave in to the demands of the abductors and ordered the withdrawal of the Philippines' 51-strong contingent from Iraq. Subsequently, the GMA administration also banned Filipinos from working in Iraq.
5. The above incident clearly demonstrated to the Americans that when the going gets tough, the Philippines get going. Given the lack of candor, the lack of competence, and the lack of conviction on the part of the Philippines to fix what is broken, there is limited patience with unresolved issues in the US-Philippine alliance. Following the short but sharp down turn in the relations with the US (after the withdrawal of the AFP contingent from Iraq), Manila upgraded its relations with Beijing. This included annual defence talks and a visit to China by GMA in September 2004. In return the PRC donated US$1.2 million in heavy engineering equipment to the Philippines (6 bulldozers and 6 motorgraders). Despite the ups and downs of the US-Philippines relations, the US is traditionally interested in peace time and contingency access for its forces passing through the Philippines (or via over-flight).

6. If I may be candid with a person like you? Especially one that lacks competence on the larger geo-political issues. You have failed to take into account three important issues:-
(i) Obama's Asia pivot (which other ASEAN diplomats like to call re-balancing) is not a Philippines pivot. The Philippines is not in the list of other nations to be visited by Obama for the remainder of 2013, although he would in the neighborhood — in Indonesia (his third visit) for the APEC summit and to Brunei for the ASEAN meet both in October. For perspective, the Philippines will join Vietnam and Laos as the only countries among the ASEAN 10 that Obama has not visited (demonstrating your country's lack of relevance to the Americans); and

(ii) the Americans are increasingly looking for burden sharing partners and not an unreliable ally that is traditionally a burden. IMHO, the Philippines is a burden that the US; and they are seeking Japan's help in this case to jointly carry the burden. While both US and Japan are concerned about China's rise, they are not openly hostile to China. In reality the North East Asian powers of South Korea and Japan are far more concerned about a nuclear North Korea than your economic interests. The US and Japan need to work with China to manage the North Koreans. Along with other American allies and partners, the Chinese Navy (PLAN) has been invited by the US Navy to participate in the “Rim of the Pacific” exercise, RIMPAC 2014 (an invitation the PLAN accepted). As the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, said on 1 June 2013:-
'Building a positive and constructive relationship with China is also an essential part of America’s rebalance to Asia. The United States welcomes and supports a prosperous and successful China that contributes to regional and global problem solving. To this end, the United States has consistently supported a role for China in regional and global economic and security institutions, such as the G20. We encourage our allies and partners to do the same.'
(iii) Kindly note Japanese policy makers do not mention the Philippines or ASEAN, given the lack of advanced naval capabilities in the littoral states with maritime claims to stand as counterweight in the South China Sea. As Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister noted with regards to his concept of a security diamond:
'The ongoing disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea mean that Japan’s top foreign-policy priority must be to expand the country’s strategic horizons. Japan is a mature maritime democracy, and its choice of close partners should reflect that fact. I envisage a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific. I am prepared to invest, to the greatest possible extent, Japan’s capabilities in this security diamond...

...I would also invite Britain and France to stage a comeback in terms of participating in strengthening Asia’s security... The United Kingdom still finds value in the Five Power Defense Arrangements with Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. I want Japan to join this group...

...I, for one, admit that Japan’s relationship with its biggest neighbor, China, is vital to the well-being of many Japanese. Yet, to improve Sino-Japanese relations, Japan must first anchor its ties on the other side of the Pacific; for, at the end of the day, Japan’s diplomacy must always be rooted in democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.'
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Old July 2nd, 2013   #72
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the philippines tried to sought the collective stance of asean member countries but each has their own agenda. myanmar and cambodia for one are more pro-chinese than pro-territorial rights.
7. Normal people should not blame other countries that have been trying to help your country, for things your country fails to do. I am also sure you are not aware that recently, the Singapore Defence Minister spoke-out for Philippine concerns in his speech at the fifth plenary session of 2013 SLD. Other members of ASEAN, do believe in standing together with the Philippines and are not neutral, but its another thing entirely to demonstrate open hostility to a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Demonstrating open hostility to China, as permanent member of the UN Security Council is against the national interest of other ASEAN members, especially since the US has said that it wants to work with China. ASEAN members have limited patience with your country's chronic political bullsh!t of blaming others for your country's inability to execute.

8. Before you criticise ASEAN (which is actively engaged in diplomatic efforts), kindly take note of three key facts:-
(i) On the boat that is ASEAN, the various Philippine administrations have often behave like a tantrum throwing passenger, instead of rowing along with other ASEAN crew members. Your country is noted for neither providing leadership nor contributing effectively as a member of ASEAN. Reflecting the lack of commitment to resource the AFP, the Philippines is a power in relative decline viz-a-viz all other founding members of ASEAN. Frankly speaking, Philippines is a benefit taker and seldom a benefit giver, as the examples below illustrate:-
one, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei are playing a role in the Philippines with their peace negotiations in Mindanao by contributing to the International Monitoring Team;

two, after Typhoon Bopha in Dec 2012, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management deployed assets and provided relief) and further, the Indonesian government donated four tons of relief goods and US$1 million to the Philippines. The donation was handed over to the AFP; and

three, the Sultan of Brunei, as Head of State and Chairman of ASEAN (with Brunei holding the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2013) has traveled extensively and visited every capital of each dialogue partner, to advance ASEAN and the Plus Eight discussions; and working together with Thailand (the ASEAN Dialogue Coordinator with China), they are trying hard to advance discussions relating to the management of maritime disputes in the South China Sea. US State Department officials have not only noted the hard work done to keep lines of communications open but they also understand that when the talking stops, shooting may start.
(ii) With the Philippine administrations' misguided sense of self-importance and lack of urgency, the Philippine administration in power, at times, can be difficult partners for other ASEAN members and other plus 8 partners in a range of matters (eg. The prior GMA administration expressed an interest in signing a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SVFA), each, with Australia, Singapore and Japan, but failed to follow up after the respective draft SVFAs have been circulated and 6 to 7 years later, the Aquino Administration only successfully submitted the SVFA with Australia to the Philippine Senate for ratification - which occurred on 24 July 2012).

(iii) Further, on 21 Nov 2012, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario demonstrated their ability to make an announcement (that Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam will meet on 12 Dec 2012) without doing the ground work necessary (or win support from fellow ASEAN claimants to hold a meeting). This sort of failure is your country's own fault.
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Originally Posted by gemarcher23 View Post
while malaysia only said they "respect" the philippines' right to invoke the unclos. as aside, asean is irrelevant!
9. I agree that ASEAN is not relevant. ASEAN is not relevant because it, as an organisation, is not a party to a bilateral maritime dispute between China and the Philippines. Further, while the rest of ASEAN would occasionally like to accommodate Philippine concerns, progress in managing the relationship with China will not be held hostage by the current Philippine agenda. As US Secretary of State John Kerry said at the US-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on 1 July 2013:-
'And with regard to the South China Sea, I will say this: As a Pacific nation, and the resident power, the United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. As we have said many times before, while we do not take a position on a competing territorial claim over land features, we have a strong interest in the manner in which the disputes of the South China Sea are addressed and in the conduct of the parties. We very much hope to see progress soon on a substantive code of conduct in order to help ensure stability in this vital region.'
10. Your unfounded whining about ASEAN reflects on your inability to understand the issues (see these comments on ASEAN by Tim Huxley for details). ASEAN is dynamic regional organisation that is occasionally envied for its ability to punch above its weight in international matters. Instead of blaming others, blame your incompetent politicians for your country's inability to work in-concert with other ASEAN members. Like the US, ASEAN itself is not a party to the maritime disputes in the South China Sea. ASEAN member states:-
(i) are finding a way to move on to manage the issue with China (including the crucial task of keeping the lines of communications open between China and ASEAN member states). Most ASEAN members seek to improve their relationship with the US and China at the same time with some more beholden to aid from one side;

(ii) have given voice to concerns of the Philippines at numerous international events (to assist the Philippines in voicing its concerns); and

(iii) understand that tact is required to navigate the shoals of Philippine nationalism, but will not be willfully blind to your country's failings (including its status as, the least prepared, among the five founding ASEAN members, to meet current security challenges).
If you are still unhappy with the candor in the above conversation, please petition your Philippine Government to leave ASEAN, and stand alone. Or will you lack the courage to demand meaningful change from your incompetent politicians?

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Originally Posted by tonnyc View Post
I am doubting that the writer for World Socialist Web Site is interpreting the statements correctly. As an opinion piece the article might be defensible, but as news it wasn't confirmed.
11. I understand where you are coming from and why you are skeptical of the source. In this case, they have broken the news faster than Philippine sources. RAPPLER on 2 July 2013 reported that President Benigno Aquino III said:
'There are only two strategic partners that we have. It is America and Japan.... If we don't coordinate with them and fix our systems for a possible disturbance, I think that is wrong preparation. That is the absence of preparation.'
12. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the government is drafting plans to allow US forces to spend extended time on the Philippines' military bases. He said the same plan will be offered to Japan's military. The plan drew mixed reactions.

13. Further since late 2001/early 2002, US Special Forces have been operating in the Philippines under the guise of providing aid to their ally in foreign internal defence (FID) against terrorist groups operating in the Philippines. These types of FID missions are focused on community out-reach and in providing training to improve the effectiveness of Philippine forces. However, this does not mean that the US is not aware of the chronic and unresolved problem of extrajudicial killings in the Philippine political system. See this link dated 23 June 2012, where the US embassy in Manila said that the US Congress withheld US$3 million in Foreign Military Financing from the Philippine government in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012:-
'To obtain these funds, the Philippine government must demonstrate it is continuing to take effective steps to implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings; strengthening government institutions working to eliminate extrajudicial killings; investigating, prosecuting, and punishing military personnel and others who have been credibly alleged to have violated internationally recognized human rights; and ensuring the Armed Forces of the Philippines is not engaging in acts of violence or intimidation against members of legal organizations who advocate for human rights.''
If you read carefully, the US Congress is aware that rogue members of the AFP are directly involved in extrajudicial killings; and this is a current problem.
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Old July 9th, 2013   #73
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I checked two Philippine defence forums and the website of the newspaper Philippine Star (philstar.com) prior to writing this and I see nothing that could be construed as verification.
14. See this RAPPLER article on 'Give Australia, ASEAN access to PH bases'', and this picture thread on ASEAN (and ADMM Plus) Military Exercises for context. Brunei should be proud of how well they executed in their role as host country in the recently concluded ADMM Plus HADR and MM exercise. ADMM-Plus has moved bodly, with the conduct of a joint HADR and MM exercise involving over 3,200 personnel from the 18 ADMM-Plus militaries with two other ADMM-Plus full troop exercises - in maritime security and counter-terrorism later this year. That the ADMM-Plus can move from dialogue to cooperation within a span of a few short years is a significant achievement at the political, policy and operational levels.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ananda View Post
Philippines will also facing some internal challenges it self on opeing bases for foreign troops, after they close down Subic 2 decades ago. However considering what most Philippines public mood right now on the matter of China and SCS issue, I do feel it will be minority.

Japan already supporting Philippines coast guard, but they also done similar thing with Indonesian Coast Guard. However coast guard mostly are civilian entity, and for me it will open to see, what Japanese internal politics moved when they talked about cooperating and supporting foreign military entity on long term policies.
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One would think that the news of Japan establishing a base in the Philippine would have set them abuzz, but there was absolutely nothing about this.
15. You have got to put this in context of this older US idea of 'places not bases' (during the era of Robert Gates as Defense Secretary), where the US and Japan want access to Philippine bases (but not quite a return to the days of pre-1991 Subic and Clark bases, in this period of budget austerity for the US). When the US talks about a 'pivot' to Asia, there are distinct phases, where the US had in the past pivoted away from Asia, and this happened more than once in modern history.
The first US pivot away from Asia occurred in mid-1970s, with the Paris Peace Accords, which resulted the US withdrawal of ground troops from South Vietnam (i.e. the US pivot away from mainland South East Asia). While South Vietnam, was an official US ALLY, and it was allowed to fail, as a state. I see the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975, as the date on which the US pivoted away from mainland SE Asia. For Thailand, this was a pivotal moment, when they understood that they were an US ally, and if they lost against the communists, they would also be allowed to fail. This turning point and the failure of the Republic of Vietnam (aka South Vietnam), showed Thailand that it must build relations with China to manage the threat presented by Vietnam, back then.

The second US pivot away from Asia occurred in the early-1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991. It is at this moment that the Philippines decided that they no longer needed the US and refused to renew the leases to the American bases in the 1991/2 period. For all of maritime South East Asia (i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), this was a pivotal moment - in which Singapore understood to be an event not in ASEAN's interest (which is why Singapore, at that moment offered to host a logistics presence for US forces). Citizens of Philippines do not understand their country's role is forcing US out of maritime South East Asia (during the peace dividend, after the fall of the Soviet Union).
16. This latest report on Japan looking at basing is conceptually not very different from the Japan Self-Defense Force setting up a Liaison Office in Djibouti for counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden (see this CTF-151 news release) and is not even ground breaking for the Japanese in their current approach of hedging to manage the changing geo-strategic environment. For context, kindly note the following:
One, other ASEAN states, like Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam do hedge against the rise of China by being extra-welcoming of US port visits and some even in participating in US led exercises abroad; US forces and ships like the littoral combat ship (LCS) are already operating from Singapore - under the 2005 US-Singapore Strategic Framework Agreement (a partnership in defence and security). In Singapore, the Americans has long had a military presence, mostly to handle logistics, but that has now grown; and eventually will also include up to four LCSs.

Two, Thailand and US already co-host large annual exercises like Cobra Gold (see the Cobra Gold Execise facebook account) and so on, where Japan, South Korea and select members of ASEAN are invited.

Three, this behaviour of hedging is not new and has been in place in ASEAN and other Asian countries for years - in the triennial Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force's 2012 International Fleet Review, the Australian and Singaporean navies were invited (but the Philippines was not). The number of US Marines deployed in Darwin will rise from its current 250 troops to 1,000 in 2014. In fact, US leaders have encouraged Japan to expand its military and to strengthen the alliance by working with other US allies and partners - the May 2013 report that Japan will provide coast guard patrol ships to the Philippines, is part of the Japanese out-reach efforts.

Four, do not mistake the silence kept by other ASEAN states as ignorance of the policy failures of successive Philippine administrations. On 25 November 2005, in a press interview, the then commanding general Lt. Gen. Jose Reyes Jr. of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) admitted the country will have to make do without any air defense until 2011 when internal threats are hopefully addressed. It is now July 2013, and the PAF still has not been able to sign a contract for LIFT/SAA - making announcements of future plans of the PAF, a joke.

Five, the Philippine Government operates at such a snail like pace that it is surprise to me that that they have taken this long to come to the same conclusion as other ASEAN states. For that, we must blame the lack of strategic culture in the ruling political oligarchies of the Philippines - in a country that decided not to renew the leases to US bases at Clark and Subic in 1991 and thereafter disband the PAF's last fighter squadron without replacement by budget choice in 2005.

Six, with the notable exception of the Philippines, most ASEAN members are fluent in the management of military escalation without further provocation; but from what I have seen, Philippine leaders do not seem to understand the difference between escalation and provocation, notwithstanding the AFP's lack of relevant basic naval capabilities. Often times, Philippine politicians are too feeble and weak domestically to enter into sensible compromise - but I do admire Philippine political genius at blaming other countries in front of their electorate, instead of working to fix what is broken domestically.
This behaviour of hedging is only new to the Philippines because it has been beneath Philippine ruling class notice due to their chronic geo-strategic myopia. The issue at hand is not whether to hedge or not to hedge, rather, it is the inability for the Philippines to execute, to deliver a credible hedge.

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Originally Posted by tonnyc View Post
There are some support for asking the US to reuse Subic again, but absolutely nothing about Japan. It seems that the part about Japan establishing a base in the Philippine is entirely the reporter's misinterpretation.
17. As you can see, in this case it is not; but I do think that this development with Japan and the US 'pivot' is being a little 'over-sold'. What is to stop US or Japan from pivoting away again, when it suits them? Further, Japan's defense posture takes into consideration in South Korean defense planning in a manner outside observers often greatly underestimate - Japan as a power does not only compete with China, it also competes with the Koreans.

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18. There is no need in this case. But first, let me thank you for your great first post - a real contribution. Your rational, fact driven approach is much appreciated by me and noted by others in the forum.
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Old July 16th, 2013   #74
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because of a very weak armed forces, the philippines have no choice but to sekk the help of friendly countries like the US and Japan. the proposed basing of foreign military forces has the approval of the majority of the filipinos. china doen'st respect a small neighbor like us and the latest threat of a "coutnerstrike" smacks of arrogance in the highest form that can only be countered with the presence of strong friendly forces. the philippines tried to sought the collective stance of asean member countries but each has their own agenda. myanmar and cambodia for one are more pro-chinese than pro-territorial rights. while malaysia only said they "respect" the philippines' right to invoke the unclos. as aside, asean is irrelevant!
1.) How many countries in Asia could claim that they could hold off and defeat the PRC without outside help?

2.) Last time I checked, the ASEAN isn't a military alliance. Google "ASEAN".
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Old July 16th, 2013   #75
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I find the notion of US/Japanese bases highly unlikely.
I doubt they would achieve anything to stop the PRC implementing its current SCS policy. I would also question the stability of the Philippine state and that any nations that station troops on bases there, would risk exacerbating problems and risk being sucked in to its internal problems.

China and ASEAN nations are talking both bilaterally and collectively with regards to the implementation of the Codes of Conduct mechanism. This means that neither the US or Japan would be willing to confront the PLAN directly over disputed reefs etc. Given this and that the PLA is not planning any Invasion of the Philippines Archipelago, what exactly do people think such bases would achieve?
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