Activities of Claimants


Wang Yi Holds telephone talks with Secretary of State John Kerry of US

On Dec. 20, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi held telephone talks with Secretary of State John Kerry of the US. During the talks, Wang Yi noted that the world is indeed facing various global challenges that require concerted efforts of all sides. When seeking cooperation with China, the US should respect the core interests and major concerns of China. Wang Yi asked the US side to halt its arms sale to Taiwan and stop sending ships and planes to the waters near islands and reefs of China's artificial Islands to showoff military power.

China holds war games in South China Sea

According to China’s Military, the amphibious dock landing ship Jinggangshan with a landing ship flotilla of the South China Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy conducted a replenishment-at-sea drill with a new-type comprehensive supply ship in an unnamed sea area of the South China Sea on December 21, 2015. In an earlier event, Dec. 14, China's military carried out war games in the disputed South China Sea, with warships, submarines and fighter jets simulating cruise missile strikes on ship.

China continues to reject the artbitration on South China Sea

Speaking in a regular press conference on Dec. 12, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said, “The Chinese side will neither accept nor participate in the South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines.” He continued, “It is the Chinese people rather than any other individuals or institutions that master China's territorial sovereignty. When it comes to issues concerning territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation, China will not accept any dispute settlement approach that resorts to a third party. The Chinese side urges the Philippine side to cast aside illusions, change its course and come back to the right track of resolving disputes through negotiations and consultations.”

China deploys three new vessels join South China Sea Fleet

A ceremony marking the beginning of military service of the three vessels, the supply ship Luguhu, the electronic reconnaissance ship Neptune and the pelagic survey vessel Qian Xuesen was held at a naval port in the South China Sea on Dec. 26. These three vessels are all independently designed and built by China.

The Type 904B supply ship Luguhu (Hull No. 962) is designed to provide material supply for the troops stationed in the Spratly islands, The Type 815G electronic reconnaissance ship Neptune (Hull No. 852) is able to conduct continuous all-weather reconnaissance of various targets within a certain range. The Qian Xuesen is the third ship of the Type 636A (Hull No. 873) is mainly to conducts survey of oceans and reefs, marine meteorology observation and layout of hydrometeorological buoys to provide basic data to guarantee navigation safety and carry out marine scientific research.

China to Build School in Contested Paracel Islands

China has begun building a school on a remote island in the South China Sea to serve the children of military personnel and others, expanding the rugged outpost it created two years ago to strengthen its claims to disputed waters and islands.

When China created so-call “Sansha” in July 2012, the outpost had a post office, bank, supermarket, hospital and a population of about 1,000. By December, it had a permanent population of 1,443, which can sometimes swell by 2,000, according to the their government. Now it has an airport, hotel, library, five main roads, cell phone coverage and a 24-hour satellite TV station, according to the government. It also has its own supply ship that brings in food, water, construction materials and people. Regarding to this matter, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry Spokespersonreiterated that China’s activities in Paracels is illegal and void.

The Philippines

Philippines vows stronger military to back South China Sea claim

Philippine President Benigno Aquino, at the 80th anniversary of the armed forces, Dec. 12, vowed to leave behind a stronger and a more capable armed forces to face maritime challenges in the South China Sea when he leaves office next year. He said, “We're planning to acquire new frigates, strategic sealift vessels, long-range patrol and close air support aircraft and other equipment.” Aquino promised to spend about 83.90 billion pesos ($1.77 billion) in a five-year period until 2017 to strengthen the military as China asserts its claims to most of the waters.

Filipino youths sail to Thitu isle

On Dec. 26, a group of 47 young Filipinos is camping on remote Thitu Island, in the Spratly archipelago, in a symbolic stand against China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea. Organizers of the group, calling itself Kalayaan Atin Ito.“Kalayaan,” the Filipino word for “freedom.” The government had opposed the landing, initiated by a former Philippine Navy officer, Capt. Nicanor Faeldon.But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Sunday the government understood the group’s intentions.

Regional Snapshots

India, Russia likely to sign deal for 4 stealth frigates

Russia and India signed a clutch of defence and energy deals on Dec. 24 as prime minister Narendra Modi visited Moscow to reaffirm one of the world’s most valuable military relationships. Collectively, the defence deals to be announced during Modi’s visit would be worth upwards of $10 billion. India is likely to sign a multi-billion dollar deal for four improved Krivak or Talwar class stealth frigates with Russia — expected to cost upwards of USD 3 billion. This will be in addition to the two helicopter deals expected to be signed and the announcement on purchase of five S-400 Triumf air defence systems. With these deals Russia is likely to emerge once again as the top supplier of military hardware to India which in the last few years was taken over by the U.S.

S. Korea to set up new marine training center in Myanmar

According to official media reported Dec. 22, the opening of the international-level training center is prompted by the recent discussion between Myanmar and S. Korea on bilateral cooperation in maritime education. There are about 3,000 local maritime officers, and 60 percent of them have worked on international shipping lines including those of South Korea.