Daily Archives: April 21, 2012

China top military paper warns of armed confrontation over seas


By Chris Buckley
BEIJING | Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:21am EDT

(Reuters) – China‘s top military newspaper warned the United States on Saturday that U.S.-Philippine military exercises have fanned risks of armed confrontation over the disputed South China Sea.

The commentary in China’s Liberation Army Daily falls short of a formal government statement, but marks the harshest high-level warning yet from Beijing about tensions with the Philippines over disputed seas where both countries have recently sent ships to assert their claims.

This week American and Filipino troops launched a fortnight of annual naval drills amid the stand-off between Beijing and Manila, who have accused each other of encroaching on sovereign seas near the Scarborough Shoal, west of a former U.S. navy base at Subic Bay.

The joint exercises are held in different seas around the Philippines; the leg that takes place in the South China Sea area starts on Monday.

“Anyone with clear eyes saw long ago that behind these drills is reflected a mentality that will lead the South China Sea issue down a fork in the road towards military confrontation and resolution through armed force,” said the commentary in the Chinese paper, which is the chief mouthpiece of the People’s Liberation Army.

“Through this kind of meddling and intervention, the United States will only stir up the entire South China Sea situation towards increasing chaos, and this will inevitably have a massive impact on regional peace and stability.”

Up to now, China has chided the Philippines over the dispute about the uninhabited shoal known in the Philippines as the Panatag Shoal and which China calls Huangyan, about 124 nautical miles off the main Philippine island of Luzon.

China has territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan in the South China Sea, which could be rich in oil and gas and is spanned by busy shipping lanes.


Beijing has sought to resolve the disputes one-on-one but there is worry among its neighbors over what some see as growing Chinese assertiveness in staking claims over the seas and various islands, reefs and shoals.

In past patches of regional tension over disputed seas, hawkish Chinese military voices have also emerged, only to be later reined in by the government, and the same could be true this time.

Since late 2010, China has sought to cool tensions with the United States over regional disputes, trade and currency policies, human rights and other contentious issues. Especially with the ruling Chinese Party preoccupied with a leadership succession late in 2012, Beijing has stressed its hopes for steady relations throughout this year.

Nonetheless, experts have said that China remains wary of U.S. military intentions across the Asia-Pacific, especially in the wake of the Obama administration’s vows to “pivot” to the region, reinvigorating diplomatic and security ties with allies.

The Liberation Army Daily commentary echoed that wariness.

“The U.S. strategy of returning to the Asia-Pacific carries the implication of a shift in military focus, and there is no better strategic opening than China’s sovereignty disputes with the Philippines and other countries in the South China Sea,” said the newspaper.

“The United States’ intention of trying to draw more countries into stirring up the situation in the South China Sea is being brandished to the full,” it said.

(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

Britain reassures banks over Argentina’s Falklands threats


The British Government has told the Falklands and companies working there that it will defend the protectorate against Argentine aggression. Photo: Reuters

The Foreign Office has sought to reassure British and American banks threatened by the Argentine government over their involvement in the Falkland Islands oil industry.

By James Quinn
9:30PM BST 21 Apr 2012

The Government, in a move designed to ease concern among the investment community about the Argentine legal threats, has written to some 15 banks and oil exploration companies operating in the region.

The move comes as Argentina faces international condemnation for its seizure of Repsol’s majority stake in YPF, Argentina’s largest oil company, last week.

In the new letter, the Foreign Office says it is “deeply sceptical” that Argentina would be able to enforce “any penalties” in courts outside its own borders. It adds that the government of the Falklands “is entitled to develop” oil and fishing industries in its own waters “without interference from Argentina.”

“The British Government has no doubt about our sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and surrounding maritime areas,” it adds.

News of the letter follows The Sunday Telegraph’s revelation that the Argentine government had written to banks involved in the Falkland oil industry threatening them with legal action. In writing to the banks concerned, including broker Oriel Securities and Royal Bank of Scotland, the Government has sought to not jeopardies the fledgling Falkland oil industry.

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Edison Investment Research, which has published research on the value of oil around the islands , slammed the attempts to silence it.

“Edison Investment Research firmly believes in the right for all financial institutions, publishers and in particular financial research houses such as ours to be able to exercise their right to provide independent analysis of all quoted companies wherever they are listed and wherever their operations may be carried out,” said Edison’s Fraser Thorne.


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