Friday, July 29, 2016

US State Sec in Manila tries to quell tensions with China before war erupts

Kerry Tries to Quell Tensions in South China Sea Before War Erupts

SputnikNews


AP Photo/Zha Chunming



Increased militarization by the US and its allies against Beijing tell a very different story as war may ultimately breakout as Washington seems to have "overplayed their hand."

On Tuesday evening, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Manila, conveying Washington’s interest in avoiding a "confrontation" in the South China Sea, following Beijing’s refusal to submit to the judgment of the Hague arbitration court’s ruling that rejects China’s claim to most of the waters in the region.
© AFP 2016/ JIM WATSON
Beijing blasted the ruling and has steadfastly denied its findings, arguing, as a majority of international legal scholars have, that the court lacks jurisdiction over the country under a treaty which requires both parties to a dispute to first submit to being bound by the court’s decisions, what is known as conditional jurisdiction.
China has also expressed its growing disdain with United States meddling in the region, part of the Obama Administration’s "pivot towards Asia," with the express goal of empowering China’s regional competitors to encircle the regime. Chinese President Xi Jinping also warned this weekend against Japan intervening in the territorial dispute, given that Tokyo has no active claim to the waters.
While calling for calm, US Secretary of State John Kerry was reticent to forfeit the leverage garnered by the international tribunal, claiming, "The decision itself is binding, but we’re not trying to create a confrontation."
Kerry called on China and the Philippines to join in two-party talks to try to establish a compromise, one that will certainly leave Beijing with less regional control than they believe themselves entitled to.
"We hope to see a process that will narrow the geographic scope of the maritime disputes, set standards for behavior in contested areas, lead to mutually acceptable solutions, perhaps even a series of confidence-building steps," said Kerry.
The statement comes in the wake of Beijing accusations that the US, Japan and Australia, all not parties to the dispute, are “fanning the flames” of regional tensions by making a joint statement on the South China Sea.
"Now it is the time to test whether you are peacekeepers or troublemakers," said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
As Kerry looks to simmer tensions before they erupt into war, Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with author Patrick Lawrence and activist David Ewing to discuss the situation. Listen

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte with four former presidents, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Fidel V. Ramos and Benigno S. Aquino III prior to the NSC meeting

Meanwhile the National Security Council (NSC), the Philippine principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with senior advisers and Cabinet officials was convened on July 27. The council was last convened in 2002.

NSC meeting, Malacanang, Manila

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