From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 29): More US allies defy China
SINO CARRIER SAILS TOWARD WEST PHILIPPINE SEA The first aircraft carrier of China is steaming toward the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) where it has disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan over islets and reefs believed to contain vast gas and oil deposits. Manila says the deployment of the carrier to the area raises tensions in the region. AP/XINHUA
South Korean and Japanese flights through China’s new maritime air defense zone added to the international defiance Thursday of rules Beijing says it has imposed in East China Sea but that neighbors and the US have vowed to ignore.
While China’s surprise announcement last week to create the zone initially raised some tensions in the region, analysts say Beijing’s motive is not to trigger an aerial confrontation but is a more long-term strategy to solidify claims to disputed territory by simply marking the area as its own.
China’s lack of a response so far to the flights—including two US B-52s that flew through the zone on Tuesday—has been an embarrassment for Beijing. Even some Chinese state media outlets suggested Thursday that Beijing may have mishandled the episodes.
“Beijing needs to reform its information release mechanism to win the psychological battles waged by Washington and Tokyo,” the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid published by the Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily, said in an editorial.
Without prior notice, Beijing began demanding Saturday that passing aircraft identify themselves and accept Chinese instructions or face consequences in an East China Sea zone that overlaps a similar air defense identification zone overseen by Japan since 1969 and initially part of one set up by the U.S. military.
But when tested just days later by US B-52 flights—with Washington saying it made no effort to comply with China’s rules, and would not do so in the future—Beijing merely noted, belatedly, that it had seen the flights and taken no further action.
South Korea’s military said Thursday its planes flew through the zone this week without informing China and with no apparent interference. Japan also said its planes have continuing to fly through it after the Chinese announcement, while the Philippines, locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with Beijing over South China Sea islands, said it also was rejecting China’s declaration.
Technical ability questioned
Analysts question China’s technical ability to enforce the zone due to a shortage of early warning radar aircraft and in-flight refueling capability. However, many believe that China has a long-term plan to win recognition for the zone with a gradual ratcheting-up of warnings and possibly also eventual enforcement action.
“With regard to activity within the zone, nothing will happen—for a while,” said June Teufel Dreyer, a China expert at the University of Miami. “Then the zone will become gradually enforced more strictly. The Japanese will continue to protest, but not much more, to challenge it.”
That may wear down Japan and effectively change the status quo, she said.
The zone is seen primarily as China’s latest bid to bolster its claim over a string of uninhabited Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea—known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Beijing has been ratcheting up its sovereignty claims since Tokyo’s privatization of the islands last year.
But the most immediate spark for the zone likely was Japan’s threat last month to shoot down drones that China says it will send to the islands for mapping expeditions, said Dennis Blasko, an Asia analyst at think tank CNA’s China Security Affairs Group and a former Army attache in Beijing.
The zone comes at an awkward time. Although Beijing’s ties with Tokyo are at rock bottom, it was building good will and mutual trust with Washington following a pair of successful meetings between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, the zone feud now threatens to overshadow both the visit by Vice President Joe Biden to Beijing next week and one by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expected before the end of the year.
China’s defense and foreign ministries offered no additional clarification Thursday as to why Beijing failed to respond to the US Air Force flights. Alliance partners the US and Japan together have hundreds of military aircraft in the immediate vicinity.
China on Saturday issued a list of requirements for all foreign aircraft passing through the area, regardless of whether they were headed into Chinese airspace, and said its armed forces would adopt “defensive emergency measures” against aircraft that don’t comply.
Beijing said the notifications are needed to help maintain air safety in the zone. However, the fact that China said it had identified and monitored the two US bombers during their Tuesday flight seems to discredit that justification for the zone, said Rory Medcalf, director of the international security program at Australia’s Lowy Institute
“This suggests the zone is principally a political move,” Medcalf said. “It signals a kind of creeping extension of authority.”
Along with concerns about confrontations or accidents involving Chinese fighters and foreign aircraft, the zone’s establishment fuels fears of further aggressive moves to assert China’s territorial claims—especially in the hotly disputed South China Sea, which Beijing says belongs entirely to it.
Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun confirmed those concerns on Saturday by saying China would establish additional air defense identification zones “at an appropriate time.”
For now, however, China’s regional strategy is focused mostly on Japan and the island dispute, according to government-backed Chinese scholars.
China will continue piling the pressure on Tokyo until it reverses the decision to nationalize the islands, concedes they are in dispute, and opens up negotiations with Beijing, said Shen Dingli, a regional security expert and director of the Center for American Studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University.
“China has no choice but to take counter measures,” Shen said. “If Japan continues to reject admitting the disputes, it’s most likely that China will take further measures.”—
The activity was facilitated by the staff of Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA)-Southern Mindanao (SouthMin) Regional Management Office and BDA-Central Management Office (CMO).
The BCVs of Barangays Libi, Tuyan and Lun Masla in Malapatan, Sarangani Province converged on November 18 to 19, 2013 for the training at the Training Center of Lun Masla.
On November 20 to 21, 2013, BCVs of Barangays Ticulab, Maguling and Mindupok in Maitum, Sarangani Province, gathered at the Community Learning Center in Maguling for the same activity.
The facilitators discussed the block grant installments and requirements and the financial reporting system.
The participants learned the flow of funds, financial management principles and fiscal responsibilities, and identified the different supporting documents required for every transaction. Workshops on preparing all financial related documents were also conducted.
The participants thanked BDA for the training which they said they seldom acquire from other institutions.
The BCVs will soon formalize into People’s Organization (PO) who will take charge in implementing sub-projects in their respective Barangays.
The BDA Staff have been facilitating the capability-building trainings for the BCVs which are part of the social preparation through the Community Driven Development (CDD) process.
CDD is an approach in implementing the Mindanao Trust Fund Reconstruction and Development Program (MTFRDP).
In the CDD process, the community, through the PO, is provided necessary knowledge and skills in assessing their priority needs, identifying sub-projects that will promote confidence building and social cohesion, implementing sub-projects and sustaining the operation of the completed subprojects.
MTF-RDP was launched on March 27, 2006 with the aim to assist economic and social recovery in the conflict-affected and vulnerable areas of Mindanao. The World Bank serves as the Fund Administrator and Secretariat.
The program is supported by Australian Aid for International Development (AusAID), New Zealand Aid for International Development (NZAID), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), United States Aid for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, and the European Union (EU). It had been successfully implemented for three (3) consecutive Program Partnership Agreements (PPAs).
Nine Barangays benefit the MTFRDP in Sarangani which include Barangays Lumasal, Daliao and Amsipit from the Municipality of Maasim.
Most of the proposed subprojects are post-harvest facilities such as solar drier with warehouse, mobile corn sheller and rice thresher.