Activities of Claimants


China expresses concerns over US P-8 deployment in Singapore

In regard to recent agreement between the U.S and Singapore about the deployment of the U.S. P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft to Singapore, on December 8, the Information Affairs Bureau of China’s Ministry of National Defense told the media that “the Chinese military pays close attention to the development of related issues and the bilateral defense cooperation of related countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability, not the contrary.” In line with this issue, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said "it is hoped that all relevant parties will do more to genuinely enhance mutual trust among countries in the region and safeguard peace and development of the region. "

Taiwanese official to visit Itu Aba Island

According to China Post on December 12, Taiwanese Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen and Coast Guard Administration (CGA) Minister Wang Chung-yi will lead other government officials in the inspection of Itu Aba island in the disputed South China Sea on December 11 instead of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou. These officials will preside commissioning ceremony for a newly upgraded wharf and a lighthouse. The announcement means Ma will not be presiding over the ceremony as had been previously reported by local media.


Vietnam urged Taiwan to end violations of its sovereignty

On December 13, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Hai Binh, in a response to the recent visit of Taiwanese officials to Ba Binh (Itu Aba) island - part of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago - in the South China sea, said “Vietnam requests that Taiwan (China) immediately end its actions that violate Vietnam’s sovereignty and not to repeat such violations.” “Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence to prove its indisputable sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa archipelagoes,” the spokesperson affirmed, adding that all activities of any side in those areas without Vietnam’s consent are illegal and void. He stressed that Taiwan has seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty, caused tensions and complicated the situation in the East Sea when it sent officials to Ba Binh island in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago and declared to put into operation a number of facilities on the island, in disregard of the concerns of Vietnam, other countries and the international community. Vietnam resolutely opposes these acts, the spokesperson said.

In earlier press conference, when asked to comment about the deployment of US spy planes to Singapore, according to U.S and Singapore’s agreement, Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesperson Pham Thu Hang said “maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea is the interest and responsibility shared by all countries in and out of the region. All actions contributing actively to regional peace and stability are welcomed,” Hang said.

The United States

US gives over 100 military vehicles to Philippines

The Philippines is receiving 114 armoured vehicles donated by the United States, the US embassy in the Philippines said in a statement on December 10, boosting the poorly-equipped military's fight against various insurgent groups in the country. Seventy-seven M113A2 of the donated Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) arrived late December 9 and the rest will come next month, the official said. The vehicles were offered as part of a US military programme of giving away excess equipment, spokesman Colonel Benjamin Hao said.

Regional Snapshots

The United States and Singapore strengthen military tie

On December 12, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, on a visit to the United States, with his the U.S. counterpart Ashton Carter inked an agreement on enhancing defense cooperation agreement (DCA) that will provide a new framework for an expanded defense relationship between the two nations. According to the Joint Statement, Secretary Carter and Dr. Ng reaffirmed the excellent and long-standing bilateral defense relationship between the United States and Singapore. They looked forward to the third deployment in 2016, in line with the United States’ plans to deploy up to four LCS concurrently in the region by the end of 2017. Secretary Carter and Dr. Ng also welcomed the inaugural deployment of the P-8 Poseidon aircraft to Singapore from 7 to 14 Dec. 2015. They noted that the aircraft’s deployment would promote greater interoperability with regional militaries through participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises, while providing timely support for regional HADR and maritime security efforts.

Japan top legislator vows to do more for partnership with Vietnam

In the meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang on December 8, on the occasion of his visit, President of Japan's House of Councilors Yamazaki Masaaki said Japan objects to the use of or threat to use force to change the status quo in the East Sea. Any disputes must be resolved by peaceful means and international law, he said, adding that Japan will continue to strengthen cooperation with Vietnam in the maritime field. For his part, President Truong Tan Sang thanked the Japanese parliament for condemning China’s illegal placement of oil rig Haiyan Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s sovereign waters.

India, Japan oppose unilateral activities in the South China Sea

On December 12, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe have attended India-Japan Summit in New Delhi. According to the Joint Statement after the meeting, both sides underscored the importance of international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and peaceful resolution of disputes without use or threat of use of force; freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in international waters. The two Prime Ministers noting the developments in the South China Sea called upon all States to avoid unilateral actions that could lead to tensions in the region. They were of the view that full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and early conclusion of the negotiations to establish a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea by consensus will contribute to peace and stability of the region. They decided to hold regular close consultations on the issues related to maritime safety and security of sea lanes of communication.