Activities of Claimants


Beijing 'plans wave farms' in disputed South China Sea

China is planning to build electricity-generating wave farms near remote islands in the South China Sea to power its radar network, a move expected to strengthen the country's foothold in the disputed waters, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on December 1, citing researchers involved in the project. The floating power stations, each about the size of a soccer field, will transform the constant movement of the seawater into electricity. According to an anonymous researcher, "military radars are power-hungry beasts that must be fed all the time." When operating at full power to detect a distant object, an early warning system may require thousands of kilowatts of energy, tantamount to the total demand of 1,000 average households in the US.

China sends new ship to ferry supplies to South China Sea

PLA Daily, the military's newspaper, reported on its website on November 23 that the ship is a new-generation logistics support vessel for the PLA Army. It is 90 meters long and has a full-load displacement of 2,700 metric tons, making it the largest ship in the Army's watercraft fleet, the report said. The ship is capable of ferrying heavy-duty weapons and accommodating a helicopter. It will be used to transport supplies, weapons and equipment to places in the South China Sea and to conduct search and rescue operations there, the newspaper said.

China rejects South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal.

Speaking in a regular press conference on November 24, China's spokesperson Hong Lei said, "in an attempt to negate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, the Philippine side unilaterally initiated the arbitration in breach of bilateral consensus with China and its commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). Our position is crystal clear: we will neither accept nor participate in the arbitration."


Vietnam supports peaceful East Sea dispute settlement

Vietnam pursues the consistent policy of settling the dispute in the East Sea by peaceful means in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Le Hai Binh told the regular press conference in Hanoi on November 26.  His statement was in response to reporters’ queries about Vietnam’s position on the ongoing hearings regarding the Philippines’s lawsuit against China over the East Sea issue at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).  In that spirit, Vietnam continued sending delegations in the capacity as observers to the hearings at the PCA between the Philippines and China from November 24-30, Binh said. In a press conference on November 27, in a response to current incident when Chinese coast guard and military ships surrounded and threatened to use force against the ship Hai Dang 05 of Vietnam, spokesperson Le Hai Binh said, "Vietnam strongly objects to the use of or threat to use force against its boats and vessels." “These actions infringe international law, run counter to the spirit and wording of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), seriously menace peace and stability in the region, and are completely unacceptable and unjustifiable,” Binh emphasised.

The Philippines

Philippines shopping for arms to beef up maritime security

A senior defence official said on November 28 that Philippine President Benigno Aquino has approved the purchase of 44 billion pesos ($932.74 million) worth of military equipment to help boost maritime security capability as tensions simmer in the South China Sea. Defence Undersecretary Fernando Manalo made the announcement after the government received the first two of a dozen new South Korean-made light fighter jets to enhance the country's air defence capabilities. Aquino authorised the multi-year contract to purchase two frigates, eight amphibious assault vehicles, three anti-submarine helicopters, two long-range patrol aircraft, three aerial radars, munitions for the fighters and close support planes, Manalo told reporters.


India will help keep sea lanes free: Modi

Delivering the 37th Singapore Lecture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on November 23, as he outlined his government's Act East Policy. Modi said, " "India will work with countries in the region and beyond, including the United States and Russia, to ensure that our commons - ocean, space and cyber - remain avenues of shared prosperity, not become new theatres of contests." "India will lend its strength to keep the seas safe, secure and free for the benefit of all," he stressed.

The United States

U.S. raises military aid to Philippines amid sea tension with China

The United States has raised its military aid to the Philippines this year to $79 million, the U.S. ambassador said on November 25, as tension rises in the region over China's new assertiveness in the South China Sea. Since 2002, the United States has provided the Philippines with nearly $500 million in military assistance as well as various types of military equipment. "We have upped our foreign military funding for the Philippines," Ambassador Philip Goldberg told ANC television, without giving a percentage. "It will be somewhere in the range of $79 million this year. It's increasing and what has been proposed is something called a maritime security initiative in the region."

USS Milwaukee, Navy's newest littoral combat ship, commissioned

The USS Milwaukee littoral combat ship, a warship built in Wisconsin, was commissioned November 21 and is now ready to report for duty in the South China Sea. Cmdr. Kendall Bridgewater, the ship's commanding officer, told that the USS Milwaukee and other littoral combat ships bring "incredible change to our Navy." The ships can operate much closer to shore, and sail at faster speeds, than other vessels.

Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer of littoral combat ships said, "Like the USS Fort Worth, the USS Milwaukee represents the best of our nation and our Navy."


Nakatani approves of U.S. nautical maneuvers in South China Sea

On November 24, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani has expressed his support for the U.S. Navy’s sailing of a warship close to one of China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea. Nakatani told reporters in Hawaii after meeting Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, that the U.S. military was at the forefront of the international community’s efforts to protect open, free and peaceful oceans in the region. “The international community will not allow the unilateral changing of the status quo by force, and our country believes the same,” Nakatani said. “The U.S. believes the same, too, and we agreed on this point.” He said Japan would continue to help countries in the region bolster their own maritime forces.

Regional Snapshots

International workshop on East Sea opens in Vung Tau city

More than 200 domestic and foreign scholars have gathered in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau to share information on recent developments in the East Sea and discuss measures to boost regional cooperation. More than 30 reports, focusing on fresh developments, relations among big countries, international law, future prospects, solutions and cooperation in the East Sea, are expected to be delivered during the seventh International Workshop on the East Sea, which opened in Vung Tau city on November 23. The East Sea issue will be seen from different angles including politics, diplomacy and law with a view to seeking opportunities and initiatives to promote mutual understanding and collaboration in the waters based on the principals of international law.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Director of the Diplomatic Acedamy of Vietnam (DAV), raised his concerns over the recent complicated developments in the East Sea and called on the involved parties to weigh mutual benefits and follow mutinationally-recognised legal frameworks and practices for peace purposes.

Hague court begins hearing into South China Sea row

An international tribunal on November 24 began hearing a case brought by the Philippines over disputed islands in the South China Sea, in an increasingly bitter row with China. The hearing, expected to last until Nov 30, is being held behind closed doors. But Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are allowed to have observers present.