Duterte wants China to secure Sulu Seas from Pirates — PinoyExchange

Duterte wants China to secure Sulu Seas from Pirates

Duterte wants China to secure Sulu, Celebes Seas from pirates

MANILA, Philippines – After Malacañang said the Philippines needs China for research in Benham Rise, President Rodrigo Duterte now says Southeast Asia may need China to secure its waters from pirates and terrorists.

Duterte, on Wednesday, January 24, said he might call on China to help guard the Sulu and Celebes Seas, an area frequently used by terrorists for transit across borders or by pirates who kidnap and hold for ransom the crew of passing ships.

"Sasabihin ko sa inyo, kung hindi natin kaya (I will tell you, if we can't hack it), we’ll just have to call China to come in and blow them off just like [in] Somalia," said Duterte.

He gave a speech before his flight to India to attend the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit with other Southeast Asian leaders.

Duterte said that the Sulu and Celebes Seas, in the western and southern part of the Philippines, are "vacant" or lacking in security, allowing pirates and terrorists to freely pass through.

But he praised China for being instrumental in helping Somalia catch pirates in their seas.

"Were it not for the presence of the Chinese, piracy would not have ended there," said Duterte.

He also complained about international meetings on security, including the one he was about to participate in in India, with Southeast Asian leaders.

"Kung ganito lang naman (If this is all there is to it), so what’s the use of meeting just once a year? And probably the ministerial level, once every 3 months. They cannot accomplish anything," railed Duterte.

The President repeated his preferred mode of dealing with pirates and terrorists plaguing Southeast Asian waters: blow them up.

"I go for a hardline policy. Blow them up in the high seas. Destroy them. Throw canons at them. Otherwise, if we do not do the extreme measures, we’d always be at the mercy of criminals," he said.

Duterte and Indonesia President Joko Widodo previously agreed to intensify joint efforts to rid their seas of pirates and terror groups. The Sulu and Celebes Seas are between Indonesia and the Philippines.

Some $40 billion worth of cargo aboard ships pass through the two bodies of water every year, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.

The firebrand Philippine leader has been turning more and more often to China.

The Duterte administration approved Chinese-led maritime scientific research in Benham Rise, trusting Beijing will go by the rules even as it has ignored an international ruling that affirmed Philippine claim over the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government also offered to China the lucrative opportunity of helping set up the 3rd telecommunications player in the country.

In return, China has promised grants and loans to help finance the Duterte administration's infrastructure program.


  • Good move. :)
  • without any existing defense agreement with china, this is not yet final. and certainly, there are AFP insiders who will oppose this move. hopefully, this is just another one of digong's hambog moments.

    personally, i do not think that this is a good idea. china will never be our friend because it has grandiose expansionist aspirations and looks beyond the first island chain. hence, we will always and forever have a territorial dispute with its government. the truce between the two countries is just the calm before the storm, so to speak.

    giving china access to our waters will allow their navy to map our seas, the one advantage that we have against invading forces. remember when USS Avenger was sunk by our reef? we can forget about that advantage when china will have already mastered our maritime domain.

    china can also identify and plot submarine routes and courses thereby undermining our and our allies' (future) submarine operations.

    talk him out of this. if he wants transnational cooperation in terms of dealing with local and foreign pirates, he can first ask our traditional allies and the ASEAN.
  • _knorr_
    _knorr_ 2017 Person of the Year
  • Dapat lang. :)
  • China Signaling it May Finally 'Militarize' the South China Sea Officially

    China may be getting ready to overtly “militarize” its island bases in the South China Sea. After years of counter-accusing the United States of militarizing the region while maintaining that its man-made islands were “necessary defense facilities,” Chinese officials are using a recent transit by a U.S. warship to lay the groundwork for deploying real force projection capabilities to its outposts.

    China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that a U.S. Navy destroyer violated its sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal by sailing within 12 nautical miles of the disputed feature in the South China Sea on January 17th. In an unusual step, China was the first to reveal that the transit occurred and may be using it to signal future military deployments to the bases it has built on reclaimed islands in the Spratly Islands.

    Lu Kang, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the U.S. ship’s passage gravely threatened the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel in the area, but did not elaborate how. He went on to say that China would take “necessary measures” to safeguard its sovereignty.

    The Scarborough Shoal is claimed by both China and the Philippines. Starting in 2012, China effectively occupied the shoal, using maritime law enforcement and paramilitary Maritime Militia vessels to evict Filipino fishermen. In early 2016 the United States apparently believed that China might attempt to begin land reclamation at Scarborough Shoal as a prelude to constructing military facilities similar to what it has done in the Spratly Islands, prompting the head of the U.S. Navy to voice rare public concern over China’s impending moves. Analysts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies speculated that China’s intended reclamation efforts were only stymied following intense behind-the-scenes diplomacy and deterrent signaling.

    Since there are no structures on Scarborough Shoal to support the deployment of military equipment, unless China again tries to build an artificial island on the shoal those “necessary measures” probably just mean a heavier Chinese maritime presence in the area. But other Chinese commentary points to the possibility that China may use the Hopper’s transit as pretext for militarization elsewhere in the South China Sea.

    Militarization is a sensitive topic in the strategic waters of the South China Sea. To quell concern about its robust island-construction campaign, China’s President Xi Jinping said that China “did not intend” to militarize the Spratly Islands in 2015 remarks at the White House. Those reclaimed islands are now home to extensive communications and sensor facilities, long runways, and hardened hangars and ammunition storage bunkers. Chinese officials have long explained away this construction as “necessary defense facilities” but not militarization.

    As early as 2016, U.S. intelligence assessed that China’s Spratlys bases could, or could shortly, host forces like fighters, bombers, and long range anti-ship or land-attack missiles that were capable of projecting power far beyond any defensive requirements. But to date, China has only deployed short-range missiles and point-defense weapons that cannot project control over the seas or skies around the islands, allowing Chinese officials to sustain a thinly plausible claim to be staying within President Xi’s promise that China would not militarize them. But Chinese officials now appear to be laying the narrative foundation to claim that the strategic situation in the South China Sea will force China to deploy the more robust military capabilities those Spratlys bases can accommodate.

    Chinese officials have floated the premise that the United States was forcing it to deploy increasing military capabilities to the region for defensive purposes before. In 2016, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman invoked this explanation when he responded to a U.S. think tank report revealing new defensive weapons on China’s Spratlys bases by saying that “If somebody is flexing their muscles on your doorstep, can’t you at least get a slingshot?”

    China’s recent statements signal that deployments could be more imminent.

    Following the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ comments, the official People’s Daily newspaper published an editorial saying that the U.S. presence in the South China Sea would “hit a brick wall.” It went on to warn that the United States activities would force China to “strengthen and speed up” its buildup of capabilities in the South China Sea to ensure peace and stability in the region. An editorial in the Global Times tabloid claimed even more explicitly that China had exercised restraint in its responses to the United States’ military presence in the South China Sea and that eventually China would “militarize the islands.”

    Claims that U.S. freedom of navigation represents a threat to its islands is more plausibly pretext for militarization. The United States excels at over-the-horizon strike, using long range missiles to hit targets from beyond ranges that they would be subject to easy counterattack. If the United States was going to attack China’s built-up facilities in the South China Sea, there is little reason that its warships or bombers would close within visual range of the islands to do so.

    It is doubtful, then, that the Hopper’s transit had any effect on China’s plans. China has been building up its islands’ capabilities for some time, with deployments perhaps restrained only by a desire to mitigate backlash from the United States and other countries in the region. It’s also possible that the United States’ 2016 assessments were optimistic about the islands’ readiness to accommodate sustained deployments.

    The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative recently released a report revealing China completed over 70 acres of new construction and facility improvement on its bases in the South China Sea, last year. That construction provides some context to recent reports from Chinese official media about the special facilities and preparations required to support a deployment of fighter jets to the Paracel islands last year. Details on the special accommodations the Chinese military had to make for the tropical conditions in the South China Sea like sealed, thermostabilized airplane hangars, suggests that its bases in the Spratlys are only now reaching a level of completion that can confidently support advanced combat forces, and all China needs now is an excuse to justify the deployments.
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