Sabado, Nobyembre 16, 2013

China, Ph urge resort to Bilateral Talks on Disputed Islands

By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

Mainland China's Aircraft Carrier


Is former five-time Speaker Jose de Venecia vindicated about his  proposed formula that to solve the brewing conflict between China and the Philippines in their claims in the South China Sea (SCS) the duo should engage in a bilateral talk for a joint exploration of the territorial dispute between the two countries on the SCS?
Many of us do not know our two neighbors Vietnam and Brunei Darusallam that claim too, some islets and water of the SCS, have been talking since last year with Mainland China.

Vietnam, where the Chinese sunk four of her warships if not damaged them and killed 53 of her soldiers in the battle of Paracel Islands in January 19, 1974has been nearing a bilateral agreement with China.
According to news report they will establish a bilateral working group to discuss joint maritime development, a move analyst said is a “breakthrough” for the neighbors to peacefully handle disputes.
The working group began its discussion in May last year on a joint development in the water outside the mouth of Beibu Gulf.
The two countries will establish two other working groups regarding infrastructure and financial cooperation according to Premier Li Keqiang and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung who told reporters at a news conference after their talks last Sunday in Beijing.
According to Asia News NetworkMCT, the three working groups send a positive signal of the bilateral readiness in solving difficult problems through cooperation in the area that has been considered by the Philippine and its patron the United States as flash point.

Meeting Speaker de Venecia in Dagupan City
When I stumbled recently with Speaker de Venecia at the “100 Days Report” of Mayor Belen Fernandez at the Stadia, I asked him about his take on China building a concrete barriers at the Scarborough Shoals which is just near Zambales Peninsula.
“There is no physical evidence that they are putting barriers. These could be rocks. There are no confirmed statements from the Philippines armed forces or the Philippine government. I think they are all rocks. But I don’t know, “Speaker de Venecia, who just arrived from Azerbaijan as observer of the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International that he heads explained to me.
In September 13, 2013 Defense News of the Gannet Company published that “Manila has expressed concern over the discovery of 75 squares concrete blocks found near the entrance of the Scarborough Shoal, which is within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea but China has claimed as sovereign territory. Manila is accusing China of laying the foundation for a permanent facility in violation of international maritime law and ignoring Manila’s call for international arbitration for a peaceful resolution”.
The same news website said: “However, it is still unclear if the concrete blocks will be used to tether fishing boats or be used as the foundation of a facility, Thayer said.
Chinese Navy J-15 Flying Shark Jet
“First of all, I think we should not jump to conclusions,” said Ian Storey, a maritime specialist at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Despite claims by Manila, “this is not the typical pattern of Chinese construction,” which normally begins with “wooden structures on stilts; then octagonal wooden structures, and then a concrete fortification?”
“The photographs provided by Manila show what appears to be a “random pattern of concrete blocks scattered around the reef,” and it is “not immediately obvious that these blocks can or will be used as the foundations for a Chinese structure.”
“One school of thoughts is that the blocks were dropped by Chinese fishermen and used to tie up their boats”
Speaker de Venecia told me what the Philippines and China would do is a comprehensive joint exploration of the disputed area
“That is when we need a joint fishery for us to prevent confrontation in the sea. Secondly, we need a joint exploration and joint development for the hydro carbon and gas so that both sides of claimants should benefit”.
Proposed partnership between China and the Philippines has precedence in Europe
The former five-time Speaker explained to me before at his coastal mansion in Dagupan City about his formula that was not new since it was tested already by Great Britain, Germany, and Norway when I asked  him of a precedence of this partnership formula in my 2011 meeting with him. Excerpts of that conversation:
Mortz C. Ortigoza (MCO): Is there a precedent model of your consortium’s formula?
Jose de Venecia (JDV): Just like that in the North Sea after World War II, England is here (as he lifted the empty coffee cup and the sandwich of the interviewee to put on the other parts of the table to emphasize his point). This is England; the oil field is here in Ecofisk in the North Sea. They took a median line partition so the oil flows to Stavanger in Norway. The oil is in Teesside in England. And the natural gas goes to Crimea, German. I landed here in the Ecofisk which is above 20 stories high. The platforms from the sea, very stormy seas but (they were composed of) hundreds of oil wells! And siguro mga (Just like) several stories high buildings and platforms from the sea.
MCO: So nobody own these areas? The consortium owns them?

JDV: They have agreed. This part belongs to Norway! (Lifting again the sandwich and coffee cup of the interviewer by putting them to another part of the table to emphasize his point)This part belongs to England! This part belongs to Germany! In the meantime we jointly developed.
MCO: Is the North Sea’s model the only model the claimants in the Spratly’s can replicate?
JDV: Puwedi nating gawin ito( We can copy it). This is one model. The other model is that we will drill together and the profit we split. You see? So we shelve the issue of sovereignty. This is the formula that will solve the problems of China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Therefore that will solve the problem between China and Vietnam in the Paracel. This (in) the Spratly claim, Vietnam went to war over there a dozen years ago. This is the same formula that should be used because (by) Japan in Diaoyu Strait, what the Chinese call the Senkaku Strait. This is the third formula that could be used on the Sea of Japan and the East Sea, between Japan and South Korea.
Will U.S Block any Bilateral Talk between Ph and China?
Since his wife Congresswoman Maria Georgina de Venecia excitedly called him to come at the stage for pictorial with Mayor Fernandez and members of the city council, I failed to ask him about his take on the scheme of the Philippines and the United States government to build a mini-Subic at Oyster Bay in Palawan – a military strategical location where the Philippine government spent half a billion pesos already in building it because of its proximity to the disputed islets and water in Scarborough shoals and Spratly Islets.
In case the talks between China and Vietnam and China and Brunei bear fruits, would this give the United States goose bumps as the Philippines would emulate it especially with de Venecia at the sideline pressuring his country with reasons and precedence to follow suit?
 Would Uncle Sam pressure the Philippines too not to capitulate with the come-on of China (psst, the Sinos this year got a U.S $ 189.3 billion foreign aid for good will with other countries that want to have economic and political intercourse with her) and the insistence of Speaker Joe for bilateral talk by dangling more economic quotas in the huge U.S market or more military hand me down goodies just for the Flips to maintain its indispensable tactical alliance with her in the oil rich South China Sea?
You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at totomortz@yahoo.com)

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