Actitivies of Claimant


China continues rejecting the South China Sea Arbitration

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying in a regular press conference on December 1 said that “The Philippines' unilateral initiation and obstinate pushing forward of the South China Sea arbitration is a political provocation under the cloak of law. It is in essence not an effort to settle disputes but an attempt to negate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. With regard to the issues of territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China will not accept any solution imposed on it or any unilateral resort to a third-party dispute settlement.”

Senior Chinese figure urges Japan to hush over South China Sea

On December 4, at Beijing, in a meeting with Japanese delegation led by secretaries general of the Liberal Democratic Party Sadakazu Tanigaki, Yu Zhengsheng, member of the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to be prudent in what he says about territorial disputes in the South China Sea. While touching on China's rapid construction activities on reclaimed islands in the disputed sea, Yu said that these have been carried out in the country's own territory and are "normal," and requested Japan not to "overreact" to them. Yu added it is important for Chinese and Japanese leaders to be "discreet with words and deeds, and maintain the principle of (both countries) not becoming a threat to each other."


Vietnamese fisherman allegedly shot dead by foreigners in Vietnam’s waters

On November 26, according to Nguyen Thanh Hung, chairman of the Binh Chau Commune Fishery Association in the province’s Binh Son District, one member of a crew of 15 aboard a Vietnamese fishing boat from the central province of Quang Ngai was reportedly shot dead by a group of foreigners from an unidentified foreign vessel when the local boat was sailing off Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago. The sea area where the shooting happened is the traditional fishing ground of Vietnamese fishermen, the association said, adding there had been no attacks on local fishing vessels by foreign ships in the waters before the November 26 incident. On December 1, in response to the incident, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is liaising closely with relevant agencies and has ordered Vietnam’s representative agencies in countries bordering the East Sea to promptly clarify issues related to that serious incident. “In any circumstances, we condemns and strongly protests against inhuman treatment of, use of or threat to use force against Vietnamese fishermen,” he stressed.

The Philippines

Philippines official confident in South China Sea arbitration case

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte on November 30 said that "we have been able to present all of our arguments ... to support the main thrust of our case that the nine-dash line has no basis in international law." "We have a good case and we are hoping that after this round we will be able to secure a decision from the tribunal in about six months' time," she said. "It's not about the territory itself, but really for standing up for what is right in the proper forum," Valte added. Regarding to this issue, on December 2, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario urged the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague to show that the law applies even to "great powers" like China in resolving the Philippines's case on overlapping maritime claims over the South China Sea. "International law is the great equalizer among states. It allows small countries to stand on an equal footing with more powerful states," Del Rosario said upon the conclusion of the proceeding. China’s island building not only undermines regional stability, but also the rule of law. It is moreover inflicting massive environmental damage on the most diverse marine environment in the world. Del Rosario strongly believed that PCA’s decision will help to bolster peace, stability and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

The United States

'Freedom of navigation' basic right of any navy: U.S. Navy spokesman

Phát biểu với các nhà báo Hàn Quốc đang đi thăm tàu USS Lassen tại căn cứ Yokosuka ngày 1/12, Người phát ngôn hải quân Mỹ Ron Flanders nhấn mạnh, “Tự do hàng hải là nguyên tắc căn bản nhất để phát triển lực lượng hải quân trên phạm vi toàn cầu. Đừng ngạc nhiên nếu Hải quân Mỹ triển khai các hoạt động tự do hàng hải tại Tây Thái Bình Dương, Biển Đông và các vùng biển khác. Đây là biện pháp nhằm bảo đảm các bên đều tuân thủ luật pháp quốc tế.”

Được hỏi về việc trao đổi liên lạc giữa tàu USS Lassen và các tàu chiến Trung Quốc khi  tàu chiến USS Lassen đi quanh đảo nhân tạo của Trung Quốc tại Biển Đông vào tháng 10 vừa qua, ông Flanders tỏ ra thận trọng khi cho rằng đây là hoạt động mang tính chuyên môn, “Các tàu hải quân hiểu rõ về nguyên tắc tự do đi lại. Hải quân Trung Quốc cũng triển khai các hoạt động tự do hàng hải. Lực lượng hải quân Mỹ “sẽ đi tới bất cứ nơi nào theo mệnh lệnh, phù hợp với luật pháp quốc tế”.

On December 1, Cmdr. Ron Flanders, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Forces Japan, told a group of South Korean reporters during a tour of the USS Lassen at the Yokosuka base that “freedom of navigation is the most basic right of any navy in the world”. "No one should be surprised that the United States Navy conducts freedom of navigation operations in the Western Pacific, South China Sea, Mediterranean, the Baltic. We do it 365 days a year, all over the world," he said. When asked about the communication between the USS Lassen and Chinese vessels during the operation in late October,   the commander said that "the communication was professional". "Professional navies understand that there are rules of the road." He added, "we're sailors. We go where we're told to go, go where we're allowed to go under international law. We will continue to do so.”

Regional Snapshots

The Tribunal decided to provide China opportunity to comment on hearing

On Monday, 30 November 2015, the Tribunal concluded the hearing on the merits and remaining issues of jurisdiction and admissibility in the arbitration initiated by the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the “Convention”). By 18 December 2015, the Philippines may submit further written responses to the questions posed by the Tribunal during the hearing, as well as  related materials.

In line with the Tribunal’s duty under Article 5 of Annex VII to the Convention to “assure each party a full opportunity to be heard and to present its case,” the Tribunal has decided to provide China with the opportunity to comment in writing, by 1 January 2016, on anything said during the hearing or submitted in writing subsequently by the Philippines. Also in the 9th Press Release, PCA acknowledged the Philippines’ position that “China’s claims to sovereign rights jurisdiction, and to “historic rights”, with respect to the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the so-called “nine dashed line” are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements expressly permitted by UNCLOS.”

Indo-Russian exercise to develop common procedures for maritime security

The detachment of Pacific fleet ships arrived at the main naval base of India to participate in the international exercise Indra Navy-15, reported RIA the chief of Department of information support the press service TSB captain 1st rank Roman Martov on December 06. The composition of the task force included the missile cruiser Varyag, a destroyer Fast, tanker Boris Butoma and salvage tug Alatau. The visit and the teachings of Indra Navy-15 will last seven days from 6 to 12 December and will be held on the beach and in the sea. “The main aims of teaching will be working out and improving the organization for the conduct of joint operations at sea. The active phase of doctrines will take place from 10 to 12 December in the waters of the Bay of Bengal,” said Martov.

Vietnam, Japan hold sixth strategy dialogue

Vietnam and Japan agreed to boost collaboration at international and regional forums at their 6th strategic dialogue in Tokyo, Japan on December 4.

At the dialogue, Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ho Xuan Son and his Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama exchanged their views on each country’s policies of external affairs and defence-security alongside global and regional issues of mutual interest.

The two sides reiterated the importance of safeguarding peace, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overhead flight at sea in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to maintain peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world as a whole.