The Philippine military yesterday defiantly redeployed two supply boats to provide food to Filipino marines guarding a disputed shoal in the South China Sea after the Chinese coast guard last week used water cannons to forcibly turn the boats away in an assault that drew angry condemnation and warnings from Manila.
Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana said the two civilian wooden-hulled boats carrying navy personnel left western Palawan province and should reach the marines stationed on a navy ship at Second Thomas Shoal (Renai Shoal, 仁愛暗沙) in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) after an overnight trip.
Lorenzana said the boats were not being escorted by the navy or coast guard in accordance with a request by China’s ambassador to Manila, who assured him over the weekend that the boats would not be blocked again.
A navy plane would nevertheless fly over the remote shoal, which has been surrounded by Chinese surveillance ships in a years-long territorial standoff, when the Philippine boats reach it, Lorenzana said.
“The Chinese ambassador assured me they will not be impeded, but they requested there should be no escort,” Lorenzana said.
Asked if he expected the vessels not to be blocked, he said: “We will see.”
The Philippines says the shoal is in its internationally recognized exclusive economic zone, but China claims almost all of the waterway, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually, with competing claims from Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Beijing has ignored a 2016 ruling by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration that its historical claim is without basis.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte condemned the latest flare-up at an Asian regional summit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who vowed his country would “never seek hegemony, and certainly not bully the small.”
“We abhor the recent event in the Ayungin Shoal and view with grave concern other similar developments,” Duterte told a meeting of the ASEAN and China, using the Filipino name for the shoal. “This does not speak well of the relations between our nations and our partnership.”
Duterte’s remarks were strong for a leader who has fostered warmer ties with Beijing since taking power in 2016 in the hope of extracting promised investment and trade.
It is not clear if Xi was in the meeting when Duterte spoke.
For his part, Xi told the gathering “we must jointly maintain the stability of the South China Sea and build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.”
“China was, is and will always be a good neighbor, good friend and good partner of ASEAN,” Chinse state media quoted him as saying.
INVASION: Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said: ‘A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-US alliance’ Japan and the US could not stand by if China attacked Taiwan, and Beijing needs to understand this, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday. Speaking virtually to a forum organized by Taiwanese think tank the Institute for National Policy Research, Abe said that the Senkaku Islands — known as the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in Taiwan — the Sakishima Islands and Yonaguni Island are only about 100km from Taiwan. An invasion of Taiwan would be a grave danger to Japan, he said. “A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-US alliance. People in Beijing, [Chinese] President
‘BADGE OF HONOR’: Lithuanian lawmaker Dovile Sakaliene, who is on China’s travel ban list, said delegation members joked that they would be joining her on it soon A delegation led by the chairman of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Relations with Taiwan yesterday arrived in Taipei to participate in a conference on democracy later this week. The group, led by Matas Maldeikis, a Lithuanian lawmaker and an outspoken critic of China, touched down at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6:18am yesterday. Maldeikis said at the airport that he expected the trip to enhance understanding between Taiwan and Lithuania after cooperation between the two sides took a big step forward this past year. “This trip will be another step in understanding each other because we are dealing with the same challenges,”
GET A BOOST: After considering the potential for local outbreaks amid an increase in cases abroad, a committee recommended adolescents receive their second shots The level 2 COVID-19 alert is to be extended until Dec. 13, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, as it advised people in six high-risk groups to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. It also recommended that adolescents aged 12 to 17 who had a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine receive a second shot. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the nationwide level 2 alert would remain in place for two more weeks from today. Chen said that during New Year’s events eating and drinking might be allowed in designated areas, while
‘HISTORIC’: The passage of the resolution by both chambers of the French parliament shows their concrete support for Taiwan’s global participation, the foreign ministry said The government yesterday thanked the French National Assembly for adopting a resolution on Monday in support of Taiwan’s international participation, following a similar resolution passed by the French Senate in May. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the resolution’s passage as “historic” and as demonstrating the concrete support of both chambers of the French parliament for Taiwan’s participation in international affairs. Taiwan and France have shared a long-standing partnership characterized by a high level of trust, and based on the shared values of democracy, freedom and human rights, the ministry said. Passed on Monday in a 39-2 vote with three abstentions, the non-legally