South China Sea - updates

Rappler's latest stories on South China Sea

ARTICLE FINDER

[OPINION] The Air Defense Identification Zone – China’s next South China Sea aggression?

Jul 07, 2020 - 2:18 PM

'[China's] seizing control of the South China Sea is but the maritime step in a much larger strategic goal: dominating Asia by 2050'

U.S. aircraft carriers conduct drills in South China Sea

Jul 04, 2020 - 11:06 PM

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan conduct dual carrier operations in the waterway to 'support a free and open Indo-Pacific'

DRILLS. This US Navy photo obtained October 7, 2019 shows the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)(L), and the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 6) and ships from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group underway in formation while conducting security and stability operations in the US 7th Fleet area of operations on October 6, 2019 in the South China Sea. File photo Navy Office of Information/AFP

PH issues rare warning of 'severest response' vs China drills

Jul 03, 2020 - 7:35 PM

In a rare video message, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr delivers the threat himself: 'Should the exercises spill over to Philippine territory...it will be met with the severest response, diplomatic and whatever else is appropriate'

WARNING. Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr at the Department of Foreign Affairs. File photo courtesy of DFA

Pentagon: China military exercises will 'further destabilize' South China Sea

Jul 03, 2020 - 9:12 AM

Washington rejects Beijing's territorial claim to much of the South China Sea, including the Paracels

PARACEL ISLANDS. An aerial view of Qilianyu islands in the Paracel chain, which China considers part of Hainan province on August 10, 2018. File photo by AFP

Lorenzana: China’s planned air defense zone in West PH Sea breaks rules

Jun 25, 2020 - 4:19 PM

'It is my fervent hope that China would not proceed with this planned action for the continued peace and stability in the entire South China Sea,' says Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

TAKE OFF. A fighter jet takes off from the American carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Philippine Sea on May 26, 2020. Handout photo from the US Navy

Duterte halted VFA termination due to South China Sea tensions

Jun 22, 2020 - 6:29 PM

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr says for President Rodrigo Duterte, 'having a rise in military tensions in the South China Sea was not helping anybody'

DUTERTE'S ALTER EGO. President Rodrigo Duterte chats with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr in Malacañang on January 8, 2018. Malacañang photo

[OPINION] Happy World Oceans Day, Admiral

Jun 08, 2020 - 1:00 PM

'He had so much faith in our potential. Despite the scarcity of maritime security specialists in the country, he believed he could make dedicated ones out of us.'

U.S. urges China to comply with Hague ruling, rejects 'excessive' sea claims

Jun 03, 2020 - 7:55 AM

The United States also calls on China cease its 'provocative activities' in the South China Sea

PATROLS. The USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) in front, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52) transit the South China Sea April 18, 2020. Photo from US Navy

ASEAN states should follow Indonesia, invoke Hague ruling vs China – Carpio

Jun 02, 2020 - 6:28 PM

Retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio says raising the landmark ruling is the 'best and most effective' argument under international law to thwart China's encroachment of Southeast Asian states' waters

FLYING HIGH. Flags of ASEAN member-states and partners at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, November 10, 2017. File photo by Leanne Jazul/Rappler

LOOK: Indonesia invokes Hague ruling in UN note

May 29, 2020 - 7:03 PM

Read the communication where Indonesia backs the 2016 Hague ruling the Philippines won against China

RULE OF LAW. This handout picture taken and released on January 8, 2020 shows Indonesia President Joko Widodo (R) saluting troops during his visit to a military base in the Natuna islands, which border the South China Sea. Handout photo /Presidential Palace/AFP

In rare move, Indonesia raises Hague ruling vs China

May 28, 2020 - 1:04 PM

(UPDATED) The move provides an 'important building block' for Manila, which won the historic award against Beijing, says Asia maritime expert Greg Poling

LAW OF THE SEA. This handout picture taken and released on January 8, 2020 by the Presidential Palace shows Indonesia's President Joko Widodo walking past the country's flag on a navy ship during his visit to a military base in the Natuna islands, which border the South China Sea. Photo by Handout/Presidential Palace/AFP

Chinese aggression, pandemic likely to delay sea code – analysts

May 15, 2020 - 9:41 PM

Still, experts agree that pursuing the code of conduct is a worthwhile investment to show that Southeast Asian nations and China can cooperate to solve disputes

SEA CODE. The long-delayed South China sea code is supposed to set guidelines to avoid conflict in the volatile waters. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

West PH Sea turning into a wasteland – analyst

May 15, 2020 - 5:19 PM

Reclaiming coral reefs, harvesting giant clams, and overfishing – mostly by China – have reduced the contested sea into a 'boneyard,' says Asia maritime expert Gregory Poling

FISHERFOLK. Children play among docked boats in a fishing village in Masinloc, Zambales. Photo by Jaen Manegdeg/Rappler

ASEAN should rally behind Hague ruling to counter Chinese intimidation, experts say

May 15, 2020 - 5:07 PM

Maritime experts say China will have no choice but to adjust if its Southeast Asian neighbors put up a united front in the strategic waterway

LEGAL VICTORY. Filipinos stage a protest outside the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands on July 12, 2016, the day the tribunal released its ruling. Photo by Jed Alegado/Rappler

Beijing continues South China Sea aggression during pandemic

May 13, 2020 - 4:07 PM

The strategic waterway is choppy as ever as China presses on its expansive claims, leaving countries to battle a pandemic and defend their territories

VOLATILE REGION. A Chinese militia vessel identified by the Philippine Coast Guard during a patrol in Scarborough Shoal. File photo courtesy of the Philippine Coast Guard

Little hope ASEAN can rein in China in sea dispute – analyst

May 08, 2020 - 2:35 PM

The long-delayed, highly anticipated code of conduct in the coveted waterway will unlikely restrain China’s assertive actions, says US-based Asia maritime expert Greg Poling

PAG-ASA ISLAND. This photo from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (AMTI-CSIS) shows the progress of repairs and construction on Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea. Photo from AMTI-CSIS

[OPINION] China’s silent invasion

May 07, 2020 - 1:53 PM

'It remains a mystery as to why the Duterte government locks down everybody else except mainland Chinese, who tour or dock on our shores to extract our minerals, and recklessly expose our people to COVID-19'

PH protests China districts, features in West PH Sea, asserts Hague ruling

Apr 30, 2020 - 5:38 PM

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs says it does not recognize names given to maritime features in the Kalayaan Island Group as well as China’s declaration the area is under the jurisdiction of Sansha City

KAGITINGAN REEF. This satellite image dated January 1, 2018, shows Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) in the West Philippine Sea. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI/DigitalGlobe

U.S. Navy ship sails through Chinese-claimed waters in South China Sea

Apr 30, 2020 - 9:17 AM

'Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose an unprecedented threat to the freedom of the seas,' the Navy says

DISPUTED. An aerial view of Qilianyu islands in the Paracel chain, which China considers part of Hainan province on August 10, 2018. Photo by AFP

Authorize mapping agency to name features in West PH Sea – Carpio

Apr 28, 2020 - 6:05 PM

Retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio says once the country's central mapping agency can approve names for features in the Philippine waters, China's attempts rename features there will lose its bearing

SOLUTIONS. Retired Supreme Court Justice offers a way to counter China's recent naming of districts and features in the South China Sea. Rappler file photo

Joint patrols can counter Chinese intimidation during pandemic – Carpio

Apr 27, 2020 - 10:11 PM

Retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio says doing so sends a message to China that countries harassed in the South China Sea remain united

JOINT PATROLS. A Philippine Navy contingent joined the Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii in June 2018. Photo from the Philippine Naval Public Affairs Office

Carpio hits China's 'pure and simple bullying' in West Philippine Sea

Apr 24, 2020 - 2:05 PM

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal also calls a Chinese warship's targetting of a Philippine Navy vessel a 'provocative and reckless escalation' of tensions in the West Philippine Sea

BRP CONRADO YAP. Spectators raise their flags during the arrival of the BRP Conrado Yap (PS 39) at Pier 13 in Manila in August 2019. File photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

Pompeo urges ASEAN to call out Beijing's moves in South China Sea during pandemic

Apr 23, 2020 - 7:59 PM

'The U.S. strongly opposes China’s bullying and we hope other nations will hold them to account too,' says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

KAGITINGAN REEF. This satellite image dated January 1, 2018, shows Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the West Philippine Sea. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI/DigitalGlobe

PH protests China’s aggressive moves in South China Sea during pandemic

Apr 22, 2020 - 8:11 PM

(UPDATED) Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr says 2 diplomatic protests are filed over the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship and the declaration the Spratlys was part of Chinese territory

PAG-ASA ISLAND. An aerial view of the Philippines' largest outpost in the West Philippine Sea. Photo from the Center for Strategic and International Studies/Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

Beijing names islands in disputed South China Sea

Apr 21, 2020 - 8:04 PM

The notice lists the Chinese names and coordinates of 80 islands, reefs, seamounts, shoals and ridges, 55 of them submerged in water

PARACEL ISLANDS. An aerial view of Qilianyu islands in the Paracel chain, which China considers part of Hainan province on August 10, 2018. File photo by AFP

Del Rosario urges Duterte gov't: Protest new Chinese districts in South China Sea

Apr 20, 2020 - 5:05 PM

'As we struggle against a pandemic that poses a real threat to our lives, we must not also risk losing our national patrimony,' says former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario

TENSION. Here is a file image of the Spratly and Paracel island groups in the South China Sea. File photo from Google earth

PH raises 'trust' issues with China after it sank Vietnam ship in South China Sea

Apr 08, 2020 - 5:20 PM

The Philippines expresses solidarity with Vietnam, nearly a year after Vietnamese fishermen rescued Filipinos sunk and abandoned by a Chinese ship in Recto Bank

TENSION AT SEA. The China Coastguard Ship 4301 involved in the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat. Photo from Weibo

U.S. warns China not to 'exploit' coronavirus for sea disputes

Apr 07, 2020 - 11:05 AM

China has ramped up self-described research stations and landed special military aircraft in the dispute-rife sea, according to the State Department

NAVY. This aerial photo taken on January 2, 2017 shows a Chinese navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), during military drills in the South China Sea. Photo by STR/AFP

Indonesia detains 'illegal' Vietnamese fishing boats

Mar 05, 2020 - 5:12 PM

Maritime officials say they intercepted 5 fishing boats and apprehended its 68 crew near Indonesia's Natuna islands, which border the South China Sea, most of which is claimed by Beijing

DETAINED. This picture taken in Batam, Kepulauan Riau on March 4, 2020 shows Indonesian officials standing next to Vietnamese fishermen detained by Indonesian authority for illegal fishing in Natuna water. Photo by Teguh Prihatna/AFP

Duterte: 'Let time heal' West Philippine Sea dispute with China

Jan 24, 2020 - 9:36 PM

'We might as well just be friendly, improve our commerce, and let time heal,' says President Rodrigo Duterte as he again shuns the option of asserting the Philippines' rights

COMMANDER IN CHIEF. President Rodrigo Duterte salutes officers of the Philippine Navy at the Port Area in Manila on January 14, 2020. Malacañang photo

China admits fishing in Indonesian-claimed waters

Jan 17, 2020 - 9:00 AM

Indonesia has protested to China over the incident

JOKOWI. This handout picture taken and released on January 8, 2020 by the Presidential Palace shows Indonesia's President Joko Widodo walking past the country's flag on a navy ship during his visit to a military base in the Natuna islands, which border the South China Sea. (Photo by Handout/Presidential Palace/AFP)

What help? Chinese company, gov't officials botch aid to Gem-Ver fishermen

Jan 15, 2020 - 10:46 PM

Rappler traces the origin of F/B Pengyou from Batangas to Occidental Mindoro. The tattered boat is the latest in the government's bungled assistance efforts for the fishermen of Gem-Ver.

Indonesia deploys fighter jets, warships to disputed waters in China spat

Jan 08, 2020 - 2:54 PM

The moves come after Indonesia lodges a 'strong protest' over a Chinese coast guard vessel escorting Chinese fishing boats around the islands in mid-December

This handout picture taken and released by the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) on January 3, 2020 shows commander of region 1 of defense territory joint command, rear admiral Yudo Margono (front L) inspecting Indonesian troops at Natuna military base in Riau islands. - Indonesia is stepping up sea and aerial patrols of islands near the disputed South China Sea, an official said on January 4, following a diplomatic spat over "trespassing" Chinese vessels. Military aircraft and three warships with some 600 navy, army and air force personnel have been deployed to waters around the Natuna islands, which border the South China Sea. (Photo by Handout / Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) / AFP) /

No mention of West Philippine Sea in new military chief’s speech

Jan 04, 2020 - 10:17 PM

Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr praises President Duterte’s ‘localized peace talks’ with communist guerrilla fronts, and vows to focus military efforts on stamping out the rebellion

NEW AFP CHIEF. Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr was installed as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on January 4, 2020. Screengrab from RTVM

The second sinking of Gem-Ver

Dec 27, 2019 - 1:18 PM

Part 1: Rappler returns to San Jose 5 months later, in November, as the crewmen finish their repairs and prepare to sail back to Recto Bank. While Gem-Ver has been patched up, its men have drifted apart.

Neighbors worried about China's military, economic might – poll

Dec 06, 2019 - 8:52 AM

A survey by Washington-based Pew Research Center finds that 79% of people across the Asia-Pacific region say they are alarmed by China's growing military strength

Chinese troops march during a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on October 1, 2019, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. (Photo by Greg BAKER / AFP)

China condemns U.S. navy sail-by in disputed South China Sea

Nov 22, 2019 - 12:27 PM

The US Navy says the USS Gabrielle Giffords littoral combat ship sailed near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, and the USS Wayne E. Meyer guided-missile destroyer passed the Paracel Islands

DISPUTED WATERS. This file photo taken on May 5, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a drill in the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Stringer/AFP

Rappler Talk: Law of the Sea expert James Kraska on China and the 'gray zone'

Nov 21, 2019 - 2:02 PM

Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug sits down with Law of the Sea expert James Kraska to discuss the concept of gray zones, the potentials for risk and conflict, and how a country like the Philippines should respond

Least trusted? Malacañang says China can be PH 'role model'

Nov 21, 2019 - 11:59 AM

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also believes Filipinos will 'eventually' appreciate China – despite its aggressive tactics in the West Philippine Sea

LEADERS, FRIENDS. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after anl expanded bilateral meeting in Malacañang on November 20, 2018. Malacañang photo

[ANALYSIS] Will Vietnam take China to court?

Nov 21, 2019 - 9:53 AM

Hanoi looks closely at Manila’s arbitration case

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: The new fishermen of Gem-Ver

Nov 19, 2019 - 9:22 PM

Ten new crew members of fishing boat Gem-Ver prepare to sail again to Recto Bank

NEW CREW. The fishermen and crew of F/B Gem-Ver pose for a group picture on November 15, 2019, in Brgy San Roque, San Jose Occidental Mindoro. All photos by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

In Manila, U.S. defense chief says ‘assert sovereign rights’ in West PH Sea

Nov 19, 2019 - 8:46 PM

Although the US maintains it does not take sides in the sovereignty dispute between the Philippines and China, its defense chief wants smaller countries to pressure the rising power into respecting their rights

PRESSURE CHINA. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper calls on the Philippines and other claimant states in the South China Sea to pressure China into respecting their sovereign rights. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Duterte, Abe discuss comfort women, South China Sea in meeting

Nov 05, 2019 - 10:05 AM

The two leaders also take up the Japan-funded Metro Manila Subway and plans to develop the Subic Bay area

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe pose for posterity prior to the start of their bilateral meeting at the Impact Exhibition and Convention Center in Nonthaburi, Thailand on November 4, 2019. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

U.S. accuses Beijing of 'intimidation' in South China Sea

Nov 04, 2019 - 11:28 PM

'Beijing has used intimidation to try and stop ASEAN nations from exploiting their offshore resources,' says US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien

'INTIMIDATION.' US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien (L) shakes hands with China's Premier Li Keqiang during a bilateral meeting in Bangkok on November 4, 2019, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN Summit. Photo by Romeo Gacad/Pool/AFP

Rappler’s Marites Vitug, Joselito de los Reyes win 38th National Book Awards

Nov 04, 2019 - 8:58 PM

Marites Dañguilan Vitug’s ‘Rock Solid: How the Philippines Won Its Maritime Case against China’ is Best Book in Journalism and Joselito D. de los Reyes’s ‘Finding Teo: Tula/Talambuhay’ is Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in Filipino

Beijing says 'ready to work' with ASEAN on South China Sea rules

Nov 03, 2019 - 3:31 PM

(UPDATED) China's premier Li Keqiang says the first reading of the code of conduct – a chance for all members to comment on the draft terms – is 'a very important landmark'

ASEAN-CHINA SUMMIT. ASEAN leaders and China's Premier Li Keqiang (5th from left) pose for a group photo during the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit in Bangkok on November 3, 2019, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP

Duterte in ASEAN: Let's exercise 'self-restraint' in South China Sea

Nov 03, 2019 - 9:36 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte also calls on ASEAN countries not to choose sides between China and the United States, all while pursuing his 'independent foreign policy' which involves the Philippines' pivot to China

DUTERTE. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries during the 35th ASEAN Summit Plenary at Impact Exhibition and Convention Center in Nonthaburi, Thailand on November 2, 2019. Malacañang photo

Carpio: No need for China recognition of PH ownership in joint exploration

Oct 30, 2019 - 5:01 PM

Retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio says the fact oil and gas exploration will be done through a service contract means China will be recognizing Philippine sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA. Retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio says the Philippines is safe with the memorandum of understading with China on oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

PH, China eye marine research, protection in South China Sea

Oct 29, 2019 - 7:03 PM

The Philippines and China are also considering fisheries cooperation, maritime search and rescue, and maritime safety initiatives

Del Rosario: South China Sea code must incorporate Hague ruling

Oct 28, 2019 - 5:15 PM

'Our region cannot promote the rule of law while ignoring the law as it stands,' says former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario

CODE OF CONDUCT. Former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario says ASEAN states must ensure the South China Sea Code of Conduct abides by the rule of law. File photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler