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Spratly Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jan 242016
 

The Spratly Islands (Chinese: ; pinyin: Nnsh Qndo, Malay: Kepulauan Spratly, Tagalog: Kapuluan ng Kalayaan,[8]Vietnamese: Qun o Trng Sa) are a disputed group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea.[9] The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia, and southern Vietnam. Named after the 19th-century British whaling captain Richard Spratly who sighted Spratly Island in 1843, the islands contain approximately 4km2 (1.5sq mi) of land area spread over a vast area of more than 425,000km2 (164,000sq mi).

The Spratlys are one of the major archipelagos in the South China Sea that comprise more than 30,000 islands and reefs, and which complicate governance and economics in this part of Southeast Asia due to their location in strategic shipping lanes. The islands have no indigenous inhabitants, but offer rich fishing grounds and may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves.[10][11] and as such are important to the claimants in their attempts to establish international boundaries.

The area northeast of the Spratlys is known to mariners as Dangerous Ground and is characterized by its many low islands, sunken reefs, and atolls with coral often rising abruptly from ocean depths greater than 1,000 metres (3,300ft) – all of which makes the area dangerous for navigation.

In addition to various territorial claims, some of the features have civilian settlements, but of the approximately 45 islands, reefs, cays and other features that are occupied all contain structures that are occupied by military forces (from China (PRC), Taiwan (ROC), Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia). Additionally, Brunei has claimed (but does not occupy) an exclusive economic zone in the southeastern part of the Spratlys, which includes the Louisa Reef. These claims and occupations have led to escalating tensions between these countries over the status and “ownership” of the islands.

The Spratly Islands contain almost no significant arable land, have no indigenous inhabitants, and very few of the islands have a permanent drinkable water supply. Natural resources include fish and guano, as well as the possible potential of oil and natural gas reserves.[12]Economic activity has included commercial fishing, shipping, guano mining, and more recently, tourism.

The Spratlys are located near several primary shipping lanes.

The Spratly Islands consist of reefs, banks and shoals that consist of biogenic carbonate. These accumulations of biogenic carbonate lie upon the higher crests of major submarine ridges that are uplifted fault blocks known by geologists as horsts. These horsts are part of a series of parallel and en echelon, half-grabens and rotated fault-blocks. The long axes of the horsts, rotated fault blocks and half-grabens form well-defined linear trends that lie parallel to magnetic anomalies exhibited by the oceanic crust of the adjacent South China Sea. The horsts, rotated fault blocks, and the rock forming the bottoms of associated grabens consist of stretched and subsided continental crust that is composed of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous strata that include calc-alkalic extrusive igneous rocks, intermediate to acid intrusive igneous rocks, sandstones, siltstones, dark-green claystones, and metamorphic rocks that include biotite-muscovite-feldspar-quartz migmatites and garnet-mica schists.[13][14][15]

The dismemberment and subsidence of continental crust into horsts, rotated fault blocks and half-grabens that underlie the Spratly Islands and surrounding sea bottom occurred in 2 distinct periods. They occurred as the result of the tectonic stretching of continental crust along underlying deeply rooted detachment faults. During the Late Cretaceous and Early Oligocene, the earliest period of tectonic stretching of continental crust and formation of horsts, half-grabens, and rotated fault-blocks occurred in association the rifting and later sea-floor spreading that created the South China Sea. During the Late Oligocene-Early Miocene additional stretching and block faulting of continental crust occurred within the Spratly Islands and adjacent Dangerous Ground. During and after this period of tectonic activity, corals and other marine life colonised the crests of the horsts and other ridges that lay in shallow water. The remains of these organisms accumulated over time as biogenic carbonates that comprise the current day reefs, shoals and cays of the Spratly Islands. Starting with their formation in Late Cretaceous, fine-grained organic-rich marine sediments accumulated within the numerous submarine half-grabens that underlie sea bottom within the Dangerous Ground region.[13][14][15]

The geological surveys show localised areas within the Spratly Islands region are favourable for the accumulation of economic oil and gas reserves. They include thick sequences of Cenozoic sediments east of the Spratly Islands. Southeast and west of them, there also exist thick accumulations of sediments that possibly might contain economic oil and gas reserves lie closer to the Spratly Islands.[10][16]

In some cays in the Spratly Islands, the sand and pebble sediments form the beaches and spits around the island. Under the influence of the dominant wind direction, which changes seasonally, these sediments move around the island to change the shape and size of the island. For example, Spratly Island is larger during the northeast monsoon, (about 700 300 meters), and smaller during the southwest monsoon (approximately 650 320 meters).[17]

Some islands may contain fresh groundwater fed by rain. Groundwater levels fluctuate during the day with the rhythm of the tides.[18]

Phosphates from bird faeces (guano) are mainly concentrated in the beach rocks by the way of exchange-endosmosis. The principal minerals bearing phosphate are podolite, lewistonite and dehonite.[19]

Coral reefs are the predominant structures of these islands; the Spratly group contains over 600 coral reefs in total.[9] In April 2015 the New York Times reported that China were using “scores of dredgers” to convert Fiery Cross Reef and several other reefs into military facilities (runways, etc.).[20][21]

Little vegetation grows on these islands, which are subject to intense monsoons. Larger islands are capable of supporting tropical forest, scrub forest, coastal scrub and grasses. It is difficult to determine which species have been introduced or cultivated by humans. Taiping Island (Itu Aba) was reportedly covered with shrubs, coconut, and mangroves in 1938; pineapple was also cultivated there when it was profitable. Other accounts mention papaya, banana, palm, and even white peach trees growing on one island. A few islands that have been developed as small tourist resorts had soil and trees brought in and planted where there was none.[9]

A total of 2,927 marine species have been recorded in the Spratly Sea, including 776 benthic species, 382 species of hard coral, 524 species of marine fish, 262 species of algae and sea grass, 35 species of seabirds, 20 species of marine mammals and sea turtles, etc.[22]

Terrestrial vegetation in the islands includes 103 species of vascular plants of magnolia branches (Magnoliophyta) of 39 families and 79 genera.[22]

The islands that do have vegetation provide important habitats for many seabirds and sea turtles.[9]

Both the green turtle (Chelonia mydas, endangered) and the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, critically endangered) formerly occurred in numbers sufficient to support commercial exploitation. These species reportedly continue to nest even on islands inhabited by military personnel (such as Pratas) to some extent, though it is believed that their numbers have declined.[9]

Seabirds use the islands for resting, breeding, and wintering sites. Species found here include: streaked shearwater (Calonectris leucomelas), brown booby (Sula leucogaster), red-footed booby (S. sula), great crested tern (Sterna bergii), and white tern (Gygis alba). Little information is available regarding the current status of the islands’ seabird populations, though it is likely that birds may divert nesting sites to smaller, less disturbed islands. Bird eggs cover the majority of Song Tu, a small island in the eastern Danger Zone.[9]

This ecoregion is still largely a mystery. Scientists have focused their research on the marine environment, while the ecology of the terrestrial environment remains relatively unknown.[9]

Political instability, tourism and the increasing industrialisation of neighbouring countries has led to serious disruption of native flora and fauna, over-exploitation of natural resources, and environmental pollution. Disruption of nesting areas by human activity and/or by introduced animals, such as dogs, has reduced the number of turtles nesting on the islands. Sea turtles are also slaughtered for food on a significant scale. The sea turtle is a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture and at times the military personnel are given orders to protect the turtles.[9]

Heavy commercial fishing in the region incurs other problems. Although it has been outlawed, fishing methods continue to include the use of bottom trawlers fitted with chain rollers. In addition, during a recent[timeframe?] routine patrols[by whom?], more than 200kg of Potassium cyanide solution was confiscated from fishermen who had been using it for fish poisoning. These activities have a devastating impact on local marine organisms and coral reefs.[9]

Some interest has been taken[by whom?] in regard to conservation of these[which?] island ecosystems. J.W. McManus[who?] has explored the possibilities of designating portions of the Spratly Islands as a marine park. One region of the Spratly Archipelago, named Truong Sa, was proposed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment (MOSTE) as a future protected area. The site, with an area of 160km2 (62sq mi), is currently managed by the Khanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee of Vietnam.[9]

Military groups in the Spratlys have engaged in environmentally damaging activities such as shooting turtles and seabirds, raiding nests and fishing with explosives. The collection of rare medicinal plants, collecting of wood, and hunting for the wildlife trade are common threats to the biodiversity of the entire region, including these islands. Coral habitats are threatened by pollution, over-exploitation of fish and invertebrates, and the use of explosives and poisons as fishing techniques.[9]

Chinese texts of the 12th century record these islands being a part of Chinese territory and that they had earlier (206BC) been used as fishing grounds during the Han dynasty.[23][not in citation given] Further records show the islands as inhabited at various times in history by Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen, and during the second world war by troops from French Indochina and Japan.[24][25][26] However, there were no large settlements on these islands until 1956, when Filipino adventurer Toms Cloma, Sr., decided to “claim” a part of Spratly islands as his own, naming it the “Free Territory of Freedomland”.[27]

Evidence of man’s presence in the region extends back nearly 50,000 years at Tabon Caves on Palawan. Therefore, it is difficult to say when man first came upon this island group. Within historical times, several groups may have passed through or occupied the islands. Between 600BCE to 3BCE there was an East to West migration by members of the seafairing Sa Hunh culture. This may have led them through the Spratly Islands on their way to Vietnam. These migrants were the forebears of the Cham people that founded the Old Champa empire that ruled what was known for centuries as the Champa Sea.[28][29]

In the Song Dynasty work Zhu fan zhi by Zhao Rugua, the name “Thousand Li Stretch of Sands” (Qianli Changsha , ) and the “Ten-Thousand Li of Stone Pools/Beds” (Wanli Shitang , or Wanli Shichuang ) were given, interpreted by some to refer to Paracel and Spratly respectively.[30]Wanli Shitang is also recorded in the History of Yuan to have been explored by the Chinese during the Yuan dynasty and may have been considered by them to have been within their national boundaries.[31][32][33] They are also referenced, sometimes with different names, in the Ming dynasty.[34] When the Ming Dynasty collapsed, the Qing dynasty continued to include the territory in maps compiled in 1724,[35] 1755,[36] 1767,[37] 1810,[38] and 1817.[39]

A Vietnamese map from 1834 also combines the Spratly and Paracel Islands into one region known as “Vn L Trng Sa”[citation needed], a feature commonly incorporated into maps of the era () that is, a combination of half of the 2 aforementioned Chinese island names, “Wanli” and “Changsha”.[40] According to Hanoi, Vietnamese maps record Bi Ct Vng (Golden Sandbanks, referring to both the Spratly and Paracel Islands), which lay near the coast of the central Vietnam, as early as 1838.[41] In Ph Bin Tp Lc (The Frontier Chronicles) by scholar L Qu n, both Hong Sa and Trng Sa were defined as belonging to the Qung Ngi District. He described it as where sea products and shipwrecked cargoes were available to be collected. Vietnamese text written in the 17th century referenced government-sponsored economic activities during the L dynasty, 200years earlier. The Vietnamese government conducted several geographical surveys of the islands in the 18th century.[41]

Despite the fact that China and Vietnam both made a claim to these territories simultaneously, at the time, neither side was aware that its neighbour had already charted and made claims to the same stretch of islands.[41]

The islands were sporadically visited throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries by mariners from different European powers (including Richard Spratly, after whom the island group derives its most recognisable English name).[42] However, these nations showed little interest in the islands.

In the 1950s, a group of individuals claimed sovereignty over the islands in the name of Morton F. Meads, supposedly an American descendant of a British naval captain who gave his name to Meads Island (Itu Aba) in the 1870s. In an affidavit made in 1971, the group claimed to represent the Kingdom of Humanity/Republic of Morac-Songhrati-Meads,[43] which they asserted was in turn the successor entity for a supposed Kingdom of Humanity established between the two world wars on Meads Island, allegedly by the son of the British captain. This claim to this would-be micronation fell dormant after 1972, when several members of the group drowned in a typhoon.[44][45][46][47]

In 1883, German boats surveyed the Spratly and the Paracel Islands but eventually withdrew the survey, after receiving protests from the Guangdong government representing the Qing dynasty. Many European maps before the 20th century do not even mention this region.[48]

The following are political divisions for the Spratly Islands claimed by various area nations (in alphabetical order):

In the 19th century, Europeans found that Chinese fishermen from Hainan annually sojourned on the Spratly islands for part of the year, while in 1877 it was the British who launched the first modern legal claims to the Spratlys.[51][52]

When the Spratlys and Paracels were being surveyed by Germany in 1883, China issued protests against them. The 1887 Chinese-Vietnamese Boundary convention signed between France and China after the Sino-French War said that China was the owner of the Spratly and Paracel islands.[53][54] China sent naval forces on inspection tours in 1902 and 1907 and placed flags and markers on the islands. The Qing dynasty’s successor state, the Republic of China, claimed the Spratly and Paracel islands under the jurisdiction of Hainan.[54]

In 1933, France asserted its claims to the Spratly and Paracel Islands[55] on behalf of its then-colony Vietnam.[56] It occupied a number of the Spratly Islands, including Taiping Island, built weather stations on two of the islands, and administered them as part of French Indochina. This occupation was protested by the Republic of China (ROC) government because France admitted finding Chinese fishermen there when French warships visited nine of the islands.[57] In 1935, the ROC government also announced a sovereignty claim on the Spratly Islands. Japan occupied some of the islands in 1939 during World War II, and it used the islands as a submarine base for the occupation of Southeast Asia. During the Japanese occupation, these islands were called Shinnan Shoto (), literally the New Southern Islands, and together with the Paracel Islands (), they were put under the governance of the Japanese colonial authority in Taiwan.

Japan occupied the Paracels and the Spratlys from February 1939 to August 1945.[58] Japan administered the Spratlys via Taiwan’s jurisdiction and the Paracels via Hainan’s jurisdiction.[51] Parts of the Paracels and Spratlys were occupied by Republic of China after the 1945 surrender of Japan,[59] since the Allied powers assigned the Republic of China to receive Japanese surrenders in that area,[54] however no successor was named to the islands.[59]

In November 1946, the ROC sent naval ships to take control of the islands after the surrender of Japan.[58] It had chosen the largest and perhaps the only inhabitable island, Taiping Island, as its base, and it renamed the island under the name of the naval vessel as Taiping. Also following the defeat of Japan at the end of World War II, the ROC re-claimed the entirety of the Spratly Islands (including Taiping Island) after accepting the Japanese surrender of the islands based on the Cairo and Potsdam Declarations. The Republic of China then garrisoned Itu Aba (Taiping) island in 1946 and posted Chinese flags and markers on it along with Woody island in the Paracels. France tried, but failed, to make them leave Woody island.[51] The aim of the Republic of China was to block the French claims.[54][60] The Republic of China drew up the map showing the U-shaped claim on the entire South China Sea, showing the Spratly and Paracels in Chinese territory, in 1947.[54] Japan had renounced all claims to the islands in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty together with the Paracels, Pratas and other islands captured from the Chinese, and upon these declarations, the government of the Republic of China reasserted its claim to the islands. The KMT force of the ROC government withdrew from most of the Spratly and Paracel Islands after they retreated to Taiwan from the opposing Communist Party of China due to their losses in the Chinese Civil War and the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.[56] The ROC quietly withdrew troops from Taiping Island in 1950, but then reinstated them in 1956 in response to Toms Cloma’s sudden claim to the island as part of Freedomland.[61] As of 2013[update], Taiping Island is administered by the ROC.[62]

After pulling out its garrison in 1950 when the Republic of China evacuated to Taiwan, when the Filipino Tomas Cloma uprooted an ROC flag on Itu Aba laid claim to the Spratlys and, the Republic of China (now Taiwan) again regarrisoned Itu Aba on 1956.[63] In 1946, the Americans reminded the Philippines at its independence that the Spratlys was not Philippine territory, both to not anger Chiang Kai-shek in China and because the Spratlys were not part of the Philippines per the 1898 treaty Spain signed with America.[51] The Philippines then claimed the Spratlys in 1971 under President Marcos, after Taiwanese troops attacked and shot at a Philippine fishing boat on Itu Aba.[64]

Taiwan’s garrison from 19461950 and 1956-now on Itu Aba represents an “effective occupation” of the Spratlys.[64][65] China established a coastal defence system against Japanese pirates or smugglers.[66]

North Vietnam recognised China’s claims on the Paracels and Spratlys during the Vietnam War as it was being supported by China. Only after winning the war and conquering South Vietnam did North Vietnam retract its recognition and admitted it recognised them as part of China to receive aid from China in fighting the Americans.[67]

In 1988, the Vietnamese and Chinese navies engaged in a skirmish in the area of Johnson South Reef (also called Yongshu reef in China and Mabini reef in Philippines).[68]

Under President Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan stated that “legally, historically, geographically, or in reality”, all of the South China Sea and Spratly islands were Taiwan’s territory and under Taiwanese sovereignty, and denounced actions undertaken there by Malaysia and the Philippines, in a statement on 13 July 1999 released by the foreign ministry of Taiwan.[69] Taiwan and China’s claims “mirror” each other; during international talks involving the Spratly islands, China and Taiwan have cooperated with each other since both have the same claims.[64][70]

It was unclear whether France continued its claim to the islands after WWII, since none of the islands, other than Taiping Island, was habitable. The South Vietnamese government took over the Trng Sa administration after the defeat of the French at the end of the First Indochina War. In 1958, the PRC issued a declaration defining its territorial waters that encompassed the Spratly Islands. North Vietnam’s prime minister, Phm Vn ng, sent a formal note to Zhou Enlai, stating that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) respected the Chinese decision regarding the 12nmi (22km; 14mi) limit of territorial waters.[71] While accepting the 12-nmi principal with respect to territorial waters, the letter did not actually address the issue of defining actual territorial boundaries.

In 1999, a Philippine navy ship (Number 57 – BRP Sierra Madre) was purposely run aground near Second Thomas Shoal to enable establishment of an outpost. As of 2014[update] it had not been removed, and Filipino troops have been stationed aboard since the grounding.[72][73]

Taiwan and China are largely strategically aligned on the Spratly islands issue, since they both claim exactly the same area, so Taiwan’s control of Itu Aba (Taiping) island is viewed as an extension of China’s claim.[53] Taiwan and China both claim the entire island chain, while all the other claimaints only claim portions of them. China has proposed co-operation with Taiwan against all the other countries claiming the islands. Taiwanese lawmakers have demanded that Taiwan fortify Itu Aba (Taiping) island with weapons to defend against the Vietnamese, and both China and Taiwanese NGOs have pressured Taiwan to expand Taiwan’s military capabilities on the island, which played a role in Taiwan expanding the island’s runway in 2012.[74] China has urged Taiwan to co-operate and offered Taiwan a share in oil and gas resources while shutting out all the other rival claimaints. Taiwanese lawmakers have complained about repeated Vietnamese aggression and trespassing on Taiwan’s Itu Aba (Taiping), and Taiwan has started viewing Vietnam as an enemy over the Spratly Islands, not China.[75] Taiwan’s state run oil company CPC Corp’s board director Chiu Yi has called Vietnam as the “greatest threat” to Taiwan.[74] Taiwan’s airstrip on Taiping has irritated Vietnam.[76] China views Taiwan’s expansion of its military and airstrip on Taiping as benefiting China’s position against the other rival claimaints from southeast Asian countries.[65] China’s claims to the Spratlys benefit from legal weight because of Taiwan’s presence on Itu Aba, while America on the other hand has regularly ignored Taiwan’s claims in the South China Sea and does not include Taiwan in any talks on dispute resolution for the area.[77]

Taiwan performed live fire military exercises on Taiping island in September 2012; reports said that Vietnam was explicitly named by the Taiwanese military as the “imaginary enemy” in the drill. Vietnam protested against the exercises as violation of its territory and “voiced anger”, demanding that Taiwan stop the drill. Among the inspectors of the live fire drill were Taiwanese national legislators, adding to the tensions.[78]

On 23 May 2011, the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, warned visiting Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie of a possible arms race in the region if tensions worsened over disputes in the South China Sea. Aquino said he told Liang in their meeting that this could happen if there were more encounters in the disputed and potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands.[79]

In May 2011, Chinese patrol boats attacked 2 Vietnamese oil exploration ships near the Spratly Islands.[80] Also in May 2011, Chinese naval vessels opened fire on Vietnamese fishing vessels operating off East London Reef (Da Dong). The 3 Chinese military vessels were numbered 989, 27 and 28, and they showed up with a small group of Chinese fishing vessels. Another Vietnamese fishing vessel was fired on near Fiery Cross Reef (Chu Thap). The Chief Commander of Border Guards in Phu Yen Province, Vietnam reported that a total of 4 Vietnamese vessels were fired upon by Chinese naval vessels.[verification needed] These incidents involving Chinese forces sparked mass protests in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,[81] and in various Vietnamese communities in the West (namely in the US state of California and in Paris) over attacks on Vietnamese citizens and the intrusion into what Vietnam claimed was part of its territory.[82]

In June 2011, the Philippines began officially referring to the South China Sea as the “West Philippine Sea” and the Reed Bank as “Recto Bank”.[83][84]

In July 2012, the National Assembly of Vietnam passed a law demarcating Vietnamese sea borders to include the Spratly and Paracel Islands.[85][86]

In 2010, it was reported that the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad believed Malaysia could profit from China’s economic growth through co-operation with China,[87] and said that China “was not a threat to anyone and was not worried about aggression from China”, as well accusing the United States of provoking China and trying to turn China’s neighbours against China.[88] Malaysia displayed no concern over China conducting a military exercise at James Shoal in March 2013.[89] Malaysia also suggested that it might work with China with Malaysian Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein saying that Malaysia had no problem with China patrolling the South China Sea, and telling ASEAN, America, and Japan that “Just because you have enemies, doesn’t mean your enemies are my enemies”.[90] However, until present Malaysia still maintained a balance relations with the countries involved in this dispute.[91] But since China has start enroaching its territorial waters,[92] Malaysia has become active in condemning China.[93][94]

The editorial of the Taiwanese news website “Want China Times” accused America for being behind the May 2014 flareup in the South China Sea, saying that Vietnam rammed a Chinese vessel on 2 May over an oil rig drilling platform and the Philippines detained 11 Chinese fishermens occurred because of Obama’s visit to the region and that they were incited by America “behind the scenes”. “Want China Times” claimed America ordered Vietnam on 7 May to complain about the drilling platform, and noted that a joint military exercise was happening at this time between the Philippines and America, and also noted that the American “New York Times” newspaper supported Vietnam.[95]

In a series of news stories on 16 April 2015, it was revealed, through photos taken by Airbus Group, that China had been building an airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef, one of the southern islands. The 10,000-foot-long (3,048m) runway covers a significant portion of the island, and is viewed as a possible strategic threat to other countries with claims to the islands, such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

Various factions of the Muslim Moro people are waging a war for independence against the Philippines. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of Nur Misuari declared its support for China against the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute, calling both China and the Moro people as victims of Philippine colonialism, and noting China’s history of friendly relations with the Sultanate of Sulu in the region.[96] The MNLF also denounced America’s assistance to the Philippines in their colonization of the Moro people in addition to denouncing the Philippines claims to the islands disputed with China, and denouncing America for siding with the Philippines in the dispute, noting that in 1988 China “punished” Vietnam for attempting to set up a military presence on the disputed islands, and noting that the Moros and China maintained peaceful relations, while on the other hand the Moros had to resist other colonial powers, having to fight the Spanish, fight the Americans, and fight the Japanese, in addition to fighting the Philippines.[97]

While the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a peace deal with the Philippines, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) did not and renewed armed resistance against Philippine rule in Zamboanga; on September 15, 2013, in response to the MNLF’s fighting against the Philippine Army, the New York Times published an article crediting every Philippine government for having struggled to bring peace to the Muslims of Mindanao since 1946 when it became independent and claimed that it is the belief of the Muslims that they are being subjected to oppression and exploitation by the Christians that is the problem which is causing the conflict and the newspaper also claimed that the conflict stretched back to 1899 when Moro insurrectionists were quelled by the American army.[98] On January 26, 2014 the New York Times published another article claiming that “every Philippine government” has “struggled to bring peace to Mindanao” and claimed that reports of exploitation and oppression by the Filipino Christians originated from what Muslims “say” and the newspaper also praised President Benigno S. Aquino III’s “landmark peace deal” with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).[99] The New York Times labelled Moro fighters as “Muslim-led groups” and as “violent”.[100] The New York Times blamed “Islamic extremist groups” for carrying out attacks in the Philippines.[101] The New York Times editorial board endorsed Philippine President Benigno Aquino’s planned peace deal and the passage of “Bangsamoro Basic Law”, blaming the “Muslim insurgency” for causing trouble to the “largely Catholic country”.[102] The New York Times claimed that “Islamic militants” were fighting the Philippine military.[103]

The New York Times claimed the peace deal between the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “seeks to bring prosperity to the restive south and weaken the appeal of the extremist groups”, and linked the winding down of an American military counterterrorism operation to increased American military cooperation with the Philippines against China.[104] The New York Times hailed Mr Aquino’s “peace agreement” as an “accomplishment” as it reported on Aquino raising the “alarm” on China in the South China Sea.[105] The New York Times editorial board published an article siding with the Philippines against China in the South China Sea dispute and supporting the Philippines actions against China.[106][107] The New York Times editorial board endorsed aggressive American military action against China in the South China Sea.[108][109]

American and Filipino forces launched a joint operation against the Moros in the Mamasapano clash, in which Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters manage to kill 44 Filipino police commandos and caused massive blow back for the botched raid, putting a decisive halt to American plans for its Asia military “pivot” in the Philippines.[110] Moros have reported that 4 caucasian-looking (American) soldiers were killed in the Mamasapano clash along with the 44 Filipinos.[111]

The Moro National Liberation Front published an open letter to the United States President Barack Hussein Obama and demanded to know why America is supporting Philippine colonialism against the Moro Muslim people and the Filipino “war of genocide” and atrocities against Moros, reminding Obama that the Moro people have resisted and fought against the atrocities of Filipino, Japanese, American, and Spanish invaders, and reminding Obama of past war crimes also committed by American troops against Moro women and children like the Moro Crater massacre at Bud Dajo.[112]

The Moro National Liberation Front accused the Philippines, Japan, America, and Spain of conspiring against the Moros and recounted their invasions, imperialism, and atrocities against the Moros and demanded that they end the current colonization against the Moro people, the MNLF recounted that the Spanish were greedy colonizers, that the Americans committed massacres of Moro children and women at Mount Bagsak and Bud Dajo, and that the Japanese “exhibited tyranny, cruelty and inhumanity at its lowest level”, and “had to suffer their worst defeat and highest death mortality at the hands of the Bangsamoro freedom fighters”, demanding an apology from Japan for crimes committed against the Moros.[113]

The Moro National Liberation Front questioned the humanity and morality of the Philippines, Japan, America, and Spain, noting that they have done nothing to end the colonialism and war inflicted upon the Moros and reminded them that they have resisted and fought against Japanese, American, and Spanish atrocities and war crimes while the Filipinos bent over, capitulated and submitted to the invaders, the MNLF brought up the massacre committed by American troops at Bud Dajo against Moro women and children and boasted that compared to the Japanese casualty rate in the Visayas and Luzon, the amount of Japanese imperialists slaughtered by the Moro freedom fighters was greater by the thousands and that there was no capitulation like the “Fall of Bataan” to the Japanese by the Moros while the Luzon Filipinos submitted.[114] The MNLF said that the Japanese, American, and Spanish cruelty has been continued by Filipino rule.[115]

Japanese scholar Taoka Shunji criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for trying to falsely portray China as a threat to Japan and that it was invading its neighbors like the Philippines, and pointed out that the Spratly islands were not part of the Philippines when the US acquired the Philippines from Spain in the Treaty of Paris in 1898, and the Japanese ruled Taiwan itself had annexed the Spratly islands in 1938 and the US ruled Philippines did not challenge the move and never asserted that it was their territory, he also pointed out that other countries did not need to do full land reclamation since they already control islands and that the reason China engaged in extensive land reclamation is because they needed it to build airfields since China only has control over reefs.[116]

Champa historically had a large presence in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese broke Champa’s power in an invasion of Champa in 1471, and then finally conquered the last remnants of the Cham people in an invasion in 1832. A Cham named Katip Suma who received Islamic education in Kelantan declared a Jihad against the Vietnamese, and fighting continued until the Vietnamese crushed the remnants of the resistance in 1835. The Cham organisation Front de Libration du Champa was part of the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races, which waged war against the Vietnamese for independence in the Vietnam War along with the Montagnard and Khmer Krom minorities. The last remaining FULRO insurgents surrendered to the United Nations in 1992. Vietnam has settled over a million ethnic Vietnamese on Montagnard lands in the Central Highlands. The Montagnard staged a massive protest against the Vietnamese in 2001, which led to the Vietnamese to forcefully crush the uprising and seal the entire area off to foreigners.

The Vietnamese government fears that evidence of Champa’s influence over the disputed area in the South China Sea would bring attention to human rights violations and killings of ethnic minorities in Vietnam such as in the 2001 and 2004 uprisings, and lead to the issue of Cham autonomy being brought into the dispute, since the Vietnamese conquered the Hindu and Muslim Cham people in a war in 1832, and the Vietnamese continue to destroy evidence of Cham culture and artefacts left behind, plundering or building on top of Cham temples, building farms over them, banning Cham religious practices, and omitting references to the destroyed Cham capital of Song Luy in the 1832 invasion in history books and tourist guides. The situation of Cham compared to ethnic Vietnamese is substandard, lacking water and electricity and living in houses made out of mud.[117]

The Cham in Vietnam are only recognised as a minority, and not as an indigenous people by the Vietnamese government despite being indigenous to the region. Both Hindu and Muslim Chams have experienced religious and ethnic persecution and restrictions on their faith under the current Vietnamese government, with the Vietnamese state confisticating Cham property and forbidding Cham from observing their religious beliefs. Hindu temples were turned into tourist sites against the wishes of the Cham Hindus. In 2010 and 2013 several incidents occurred in Thnh Tn and Phc Nhn villages where Cham were murdered by Vietnamese. In 2012, Vietnamese police in Chau Giang village stormed into a Cham Mosque, stole the electric generator, and also raped Cham girls.[118] Cham Muslims in the Mekong Delta have also been economically marginalised and pushed into poverty by Vietnamese policies, with ethnic Vietnamese Kinh settling on majority Cham land with state support, and religious practices of minorities have been targeted for elimination by the Vietnamese government.[119]

In 2005, a cellular phone base station was erected by the Philippines’ Smart Communications on Pag-asa Island.[122]

On 18 May 2011, China Mobile announced that its mobile phone coverage has expanded to the Spratly Islands. The extended coverage would allow soldiers stationed on the islands, fishermen, and merchant vessels within the area to use mobile services, and can also provide assistance during storms and sea rescues. The service network deployment over the islands took nearly one year.[123]

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Spratly Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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China defends reclamation of islands in disputed territory

 Islands  Comments Off on China defends reclamation of islands in disputed territory
Apr 112015
 

Analysts say the pictures show how China is attempting to create facts in the water to bolster its sovereignty claims

7 AREAS: Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr presents photos of China’s reclamation projects in West Philippine Sea

The Philippines one of the most vocal of China’s neighbours in defending its competing territorial claim reacted strongly, calling for the Asian giant to “dismantle” the reclaimed land. (READ: PH fears ‘miscalculation’ in West PH Sea)

“They have to dismantle it,” said Peter Paul Galvez, spokesman for Manila’s defense department. “It is a concern not only of our country and region but of the whole international community.”

A series of satellite images posted on the website of the Center for Strategic and International Studies show a flotilla of Chinese vessels dredging sand onto Mischief Reef and the resulting land spreading in size.

Before-and-after images of other outcrops in the Spratly Islands record runways appearing from jungle, smooth-sided solid masses where coral once lay, and man-made harbors replacing natural reefs.

Analysts say the pictures show how China is attempting to create facts in the water to bolster its sovereignty claims.

Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea, including areas close to the coasts of other littoral states, using a nine-segment line based on one that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all have overlapping claims.

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Gerakan: Does IGP really know the law?

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Mar 282015
 

More pressing matters for police instead of clamping down on free speech, says Andy Yong.

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan Youth has questioned whether the Inspector-General of Police truly understands the law, while carrying out a crackdown on free speech and peaceful assembly, and criticised his misplaced priorities.

Andy Yong, deputy leader of the youth wing, said the IGP appeared to be defning seditious tendency according to his own wishes, Malaysiakini reported.

He said the security of the country, and illegal activities, were more pressing matters for the police rather than sedition as defined by the IGP and peaceful protests.

I urge the police to concentrate more on reducing crime instead of being perceived as being used as a political tool, he was quoted as saying.

Yong pointed out that the Peaceful Assembly Act provided every citizen the right to assemble, whether or not notice was given to the police.

Yong questioned the police forces intent in criminalising the right to assemble. Until there actually is a report of violence escalating during the rally, there is no need for the police to enforce the PAA, he was reported to have said.

Malaysia should emulate countries Hong Kong or Britain, where police were present to ensure public order and security.

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IGP: Freedom of speech is not to defame others

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Mar 212015
 

IGP says crackdown on seditious statements is necessary especially in a multi-racial country like Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR: The right to freedom of speech should not be used as an excuse to legitimise actions or statements which are seditious in nature which can threaten peace and public security.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said despite the numerous police warnings on the matter some still persisted on committing it.

I have warned many times especially political leaders and non-government organisations to be careful when expressing opinions and views specifically on social media because it can result in a situation which threatens public security.

I feel now I dont want to give warnings but instead any individual who breaks any rule will be immediately dealt with. And they should not seek cover behind freedom of speech, he said.

Khalid was speaking in a special interview with the media in conjunction with the 208th Police Day Memorial here, today. The event is to be celebrated on March 25.

Commenting on claims he was trying to curb freedom of speech when giving a directive via his Twitter account for action to be taken against any individual who made seditious statements, Khalid said it was necessary to prevent the spread of such statements.

My aim in issuing the directive via Twitter is for fast action against sedition and the spread of untruths.

I think this method is effective to prevent society from being influenced by untruths which should be immediately stopped, he said.

Police, he said, always respected the right of freedom of speech but freedom had its limits specifically in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia.

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IGP: Freedom of speech is not to defame others

China expands islands on disputed reefs in South China Sea

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Mar 092015
 

New satellite images show China has rapidly expanded several artificial islands it is building atop disputed reefs in the South China Sea, raising fresh concerns across the region and in Washington about Beijing’s intentions.

Dredging and sand reclamation over the last year at Hughes Reef, a shoal in the Spratly Islands, which are claimed by five nations, has created a 90,000-square-yard island with two piers, a helicopter pad and what appears to be an anti-aircraft tower or radar facility, according to HIS Janes, a defense research company.

A satellite photo taken in March showed only a small concrete platform jutting above the reef at high tide. Another photo of the same area, taken in late January, shows an inhabited island bustling with construction projects.

As The Times reported on Jan. 28, U.S. officials worry that the buildup indicates a Chinese push to establish de facto control over resource-rich waters and islets also claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and Vietnam. Washington has urged China and the five other nations to resolve the territorial dispute peacefully.

Artificial islands also have grown substantially over the last year at Gaven Reef, South Johnson reef and Fiery Cross Reef, other outcroppings in the Spratly Islands occupied by China, according to Janes and a new report by a policy group that follows Asia maritime issues

At Fiery Cross Reef, Chinese dredgers created a land mass that spans the entire existing reef and is approximately 3,000 meters long and 200-300 meters wide, according to a Feb. 18report by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.

Several other countries have built small military outposts on parts of the Spratly Islands, but they are dwarfed by the Chinese construction.

Taiwan has stepped up construction at Itu Aba, the only island it occupies in the South China Sea.

Taiwan is expanding the port to accommodate frigates and coast guard cutters and improving a 1,200 meter runway that is mostly used by C-130 cargo planes, the report said.

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Anwar Ibrahim’s Children Launch "March 2 Freedom" Campaign in Malaysia – Video

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Feb 272015
 



Anwar Ibrahim's Children Launch “March 2 Freedom” Campaign in Malaysia
Anwar Ibrahim's children launch the “March 2 Freedom” campaign in Malaysia, aimed at securing his release from prison. Full Story: Malaysian opposition leade…

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Is China building new islands in disputed waters?

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Feb 222015
 

Story highlights China is building islands in disputed waters in the South China Sea Land reclamation taking place at five sites, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly says. China creating ‘chain of air and sea capable fortresses’

Satellite images from late January analyzed by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly show that China is reclaiming a significant amount of land at three sites in the Spratly Islands, in addition to two other sites previously documented by the defense publication.

“Where it used to have a few, small concrete platforms, it now has full islands with helipads, airstrips, harbors, and facilities to support large numbers of troops,” James Hardy, Jane’s Asia Pacific editor, told CNN.

“We can see that this is a methodical, well-planned campaign to create a chain of air and sea capable fortresses across the center of the Spratly Islands chain.”

In November, the publication reported that China was building an “air strip capable” island at least 3,000 meters long on Fiery Cross Reef.

The South China Sea is the subject of numerous rival — often messy — territorial claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters.

The areas in dispute include fertile fishing grounds and potentially rich reserves of undersea natural resources.

READ: China’s military not ready ‘to fight and win future wars’

The latest images show for the first time reclamation at Hughes Reef — a “large facility” is being constructed on 75,000 square meters of reclaimed land. Jane’s also said that significant progress has been made at Johnson South and Gaven Reefs.

“The buildings on Hughes Reef and Gaven Reefs have almost identical footprints: that of a main square building with what appears to be an anti-aircraft tower or radome at each corner.

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Is China building new islands in disputed waters?

China to project power from artificial islands

 Islands  Comments Off on China to project power from artificial islands
Feb 192015
 

HONG KONG (UPDATED)- China’s creation of artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is happening so fast that Beijing will be able to extend the range of its navy, air force, coastguard and fishing fleets before long, much to the alarm of rival claimants to the contested waters.

Reclamation work is well advanced on six reefs in the Spratly archipelago, according to recently published satellite photographs and Philippine officials. In addition, Manila said this month that Chinese dredgers had started reclaiming a seventh.

While the new islands won’t overturn U.S. military superiority in the region, Chinese workers are building ports and fuel storage depots as well as possibly two airstrips that experts said would allow Beijing to project power deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

“These reclamations are bigger and more ambitious than we all thought,” said one Western diplomat. “On many different levels it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to counter China in the South China Sea as this develops.”

China claims most of the potentially energy rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

All but Brunei have fortified bases in the Spratlys, which lie roughly 1,300 km (810 miles) from the Chinese mainland but much closer to the Southeast Asian claimants.

Beijing has rejected diplomatic protests by Manila and Hanoi and criticism from Washington over the reclamation, saying the work falls “within the scope of China’s sovereignty”.

The Philippines began expressing growing concern in mid-2014, in particular, accusing Beijing of building an airstrip on Johnson South Reef.

Satellite analysis published by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly this week showed a new installation being built on Hughes Reef. It described a “large facility” having been constructed on 75,000 square metres of sand reclaimed since August.

It also published images of Fiery Cross Reef, which now includes a reclaimed island more than 3 km (1.8 miles) long that experts said would likely become a runway.

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China to project power from artificial islands

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Report: China building new islands in disputed waters

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Feb 182015
 

Story highlights China is building islands in disputed waters in the South China Sea Land reclamation taking place at five sites, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly says. China creating ‘chain of air and sea capable fortresses’

Satellite images from late January analyzed by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly show that China is reclaiming a significant amount of land at three sites in the Spratly Islands, in addition to two other sites previously documented by the defense publication.

“Where it used to have a few, small concrete platforms, it now has full islands with helipads, airstrips, harbors, and facilities to support large numbers of troops,” James Hardy, Jane’s Asia Pacific editor, told CNN.

“We can see that this is a methodical, well-planned campaign to create a chain of air and sea capable fortresses across the center of the Spratly Islands chain.”

In November, the publication reported that China was building an “air strip capable” island at least 3,000 meters long on Fiery Cross Reef.

The South China Sea is the subject of numerous rival — often messy — territorial claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters.

The areas in dispute include fertile fishing grounds and potentially rich reserves of undersea natural resources.

READ: China’s military not ready ‘to fight and win future wars’

The latest images show for the first time reclamation at Hughes Reef — a “large facility” is being constructed on 75,000 square meters of reclaimed land. Jane’s also said that significant progress has been made at Johnson South and Gaven Reefs.

“The buildings on Hughes Reef and Gaven Reefs have almost identical footprints: that of a main square building with what appears to be an anti-aircraft tower or radome at each corner.

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Report: China building new islands in disputed waters

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China builds islands in disputed waters

 Islands  Comments Off on China builds islands in disputed waters
Feb 182015
 

Story highlights China is building islands in disputed waters in the South China Sea Land reclamation taking place at five sites, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly says. China creating ‘chain of air and sea capable fortresses’

Satellite images from late January analyzed by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly show that China is reclaiming a significant amount of land at three sites in the Spratly Islands, in addition to two other sites previously documented by the defense publication.

“Where it used to have a few, small concrete platforms, it now has full islands with helipads, airstrips, harbors, and facilities to support large numbers of troops,” James Hardy, Jane’s Asia Pacific editor, told CNN.

“We can see that this is a methodical, well-planned campaign to create a chain of air and sea capable fortresses across the center of the Spratly Islands chain.”

In November, the publication reported that China was building an “air strip capable” island at least 3,000 meters long on Fiery Cross Reef.

The South China Sea is the subject of numerous rival — often messy — territorial claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters.

The areas in dispute include fertile fishing grounds and potentially rich reserves of undersea natural resources.

READ: China’s military not ready ‘to fight and win future wars’

The latest images show for the first time reclamation at Hughes Reef — a “large facility” is being constructed on 75,000 square meters of reclaimed land. Jane’s also said that significant progress has been made at Johnson South and Gaven Reefs.

“The buildings on Hughes Reef and Gaven Reefs have almost identical footprints: that of a main square building with what appears to be an anti-aircraft tower or radome at each corner.

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China builds islands in disputed waters

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Indonesia falls in global press freedom ranking

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Feb 162015
 

Press freedom in Indonesia fell six places in the latest ranking from Reporters Without Borders, which places Southeast Asia’s largest economy below Afghanistan and Brunei in its 2015 World Press Freedom Index.

The lower ranking comes following a year of intense election coverage and just four months after President Joko Widodo took office promising to ease barriers to foreign investment and embrace transparency.

In the 2015 index, Indonesia ranked 132 out of 180 countries, with an overall score of 40.75 out of 100, up from 38.15 in 2014. A higher score indicates less press freedom based on metrics such as pluralism, media independence, self-censorship and transparency. In a related index of abuses, which measures the level of violence and harassment encountered by journalists and news organisations over the course of a year, Indonesia scored 27.08.

Indonesia was twice placed at the top of the global news agenda last year, once in July when Mr. Widodo defeated former special forces commander Prabowo Subianto in the presidential election, and again in December when an AirAsia Indonesia aircraft crashed into the Java Sea.

The ranking pits Indonesia lower than many countries in Africa and elsewhere in Asia but above most of Southeast Asia. Cambodia is one rank below at 139, with the Philippines – one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist – at 141 and Malaysia at 147. Brunei is ranked at 121, while Singapore, which in the last year has charged political bloggers with offences such as contempt of court and defamation of the prime ministers, is ranked 153.

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Indonesia falls in global press freedom ranking

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China's man-made islands in disputed waters raise worries

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Jan 292015
 

China is rapidly building five man-made islands from tiny reefs and shoals in the South China Sea, U.S. officials say, sparking concern that Beijing is growing more assertive in the disputed waters even as the United States boosts its own forces in the western Pacific.

Dredging around Fiery Cross Reef, a former outcropping in the Spratly Islands, over the last year has created a new island nearly 2 miles long and several hundred yards wide.

U.S. officials say it is large enough for China to build its first airstrip in the remote archipelago, one long enough for most of its combat and support aircraft. Satellite photos also reveal a small port under construction.

U.S. officials worry that the buildup indicates a Chinese push to establish de facto control over the resource-rich waters and islets also claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and Vietnam.

Except for Brunei, those nations all maintain small airstrips or symbolic military outposts in the Spratlys, but the Chinese military dwarfs others in the region and could undermine the tense status quo. Confrontations have broken out over fishing, oil and gas drilling and military maneuvers in recent years.

India is the latest country to express alarm about Beijing’s growing military clout, partly because the Chinese navy has sent nuclear submarines into the Indian Ocean, rattling New Delhi’s defense community.

During a three-day visit to New Delhi that ended Tuesday, President Obama signed a joint statement with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for “safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea.” They urged all parties “to avoid the threat or use of force.”

White House aides portrayed Obama’s trip as a way to emphasize his attempt to focus more military and other resources on Asia and the western Pacific, a pivot intended in part to offset China’s influence. The Pentagon has sent more warships and troops to the region and has forged closer military ties with several of China’s neighbors.

A military-grade airstrip and dredged harbor on Fiery Cross Reef, which lies on the western edge of the Spratly archipelago, clearly would expand China’s ability to operate in an area considered a potential tinderbox. Land reclamation is also underway at Johnson South Reef, Johnson North Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Gaven Reef.

“China appears to be expanding and upgrading military and civilian infrastructure including radars, satellite communication equipment, antiaircraft and naval guns, helipads and docks on some of the man-made islands,” according to a report last month by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was set up by Congress.

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China's man-made islands in disputed waters raise worries

OneCoin event in Kuching, Malaysia, 7 Nov 2014 – Video

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Jan 162015
 



OneCoin event in Kuching, Malaysia, 7 Nov 2014
One Coin better than Bitcoin !? http://www.onecoin.eu/signup/matik OneCoin is not a copy of a BITCOIN. It is new generation of cryptic currency. You can find same, proven qualities from OneCoin…

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Freedom of expression and respect are equally important

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Jan 152015
 

Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE Sin Chew Daily

The acts of hugging and kissing tudung-clad female fans by South Korean K-pop band B1A4 at a recent concert have triggered an uproar, being interpreted by some local Muslim groups as molestation or sexual harassment. Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen received a few death threats and was arrested over his tweet which allegedly accused the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) of promoting extremism every Friday.

The two incidents took place in Malaysia in recent days are worthy of serious reflection, as the former highlighted the sensitive issue derived from cultural differences and religious taboos, while the latter triggered a debate on where is the bottom line of the freedom of expression.

It must be stressed that Paulsen’s remarks cannot be compared with the incident of Charlie Hebdo in France, but they both have sparked a vexed issue, namely whether some have gone beyond the boundaries of freedom of expression?

After French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s tragedy, France and many European countries launched the “I Am Charlie” movement as an expression of support for press freedom and freedom of expression. However, if Charlie really appears everywhere in the world, what would happen? Therefore, there are also voices of “I Am Not Charlie” in France, to condemn the brutality of the gunmen, while expressing their disagreement with Charlie Hebdo’s acts of insulting Islam and other religions. London-based editor and executive producer Salah-Aldeen Khadr also questioned whether the Charlie attack was really against the freedom of expression, and opined that it would be more appropriate to describe it as “a clash of extremist fringes”.

It showed us a fact that we must take seriously, namely whether we are holding a double standard when facing equally fanatical behaviours, as well as whether we have on this hand condemned extreme and violent acts and on the other, condoned extreme acts and abuse of freedom.

We advocate the moderation movement and we condemn all extreme and violent acts. It is of course an uncompromisable principle, but we should also ask ourselves, when we accuse others of extremism, have we also fallen into the quagmire of extremism, intentionally or unintentionally tolerating some remarks discriminating against something, harming and offending others?

At this moment, we should see clearly that terrorism does not equal to Islam. A number of recent terrorist attacks are acts of a small number of Muslims or Islamic groups that have gone extreme, instead of the majority Muslims who are peace-loving and rational good people. We must never judge them with prejudice and label all Muslims as extremists.

Undeniably, the current world is losing law and order. Excessive emphasis on religion and the abuse of freedom of expression have become a two-edged sword, continuously hurting others, as well as ourselves. It is a huge crisis that the whole world is currently facing. For Malaysians, we need to defend democracy, freedom and human rights while opposing against extreme words and deeds in any forms. We should bear in mind that the freedom of expression and mutual respect are always equally important!

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Freedom of expression and respect are equally important

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+91 8290666599 Get Freedom By Tona Totka in Saudi Uk – Video

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Jan 092015
 



+91 8290666599 Get Freedom By Tona Totka in Saudi Uk
Contact Number+91-8290666599 Vashikaran Specialist and Black Magic Guru in Bahrain, Uk, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Usa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Brazil, Malaysia,…

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Sun, sand, sea destinations most popular with Singapore travellers in 2014

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Dec 312014
 

Singapore may be surrounded by beaches and has all-year round sunny weather, but when it comes to holiday destinations, travellers still can’t get enough of the three S’s – sun, sand and sea.

In Yahoo’s 2014 Year in Review (YIR), its users in Singapore kept Maldives, Boracay and Langkawi high on its list of most searched destinations.

Thailand – a popular vacation spot for Singaporeans – saw its famed beaches Krabi and Phuket appearing in the list at fifth and eighth spot respectively.

Phuket also had its share of celebrity visitors in 2014 when US reality stars The Kardashians filmed a few episodes of their show in and around the island.

Next-door neighbour Malaysia also bagged three spots on the list. Penang, a city known for good food and culture, edged into the ranking by taking the 10th spot, while Langkawi was named third most-searched destination.

Genting Highlands – a popular family-friendly entertainment spot – took the fourth place after Langkawi.

Despite Gili Trawangan being named TripAdvisor’s most affordable island in South-east Asia, its sister island of Boracay – known for its pristine white beaches – was the only holiday spot in Philippines that appeared in the ranking.

The farthest vacation spot to be ranked in this list is Santorini in Greece.

Known for its breathtaking sunsets and white-washed architecture, the Grecian town is not only a must-visit beach town but also became a top choice for wedding photo-shoots due to social media influencers such as Malaysian blogger Cheesie.

Have a look at which holiday destinations were most searched by Singapore travellers in 2014.

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Sun, sand, sea destinations most popular with Singapore travellers in 2014

Feel the Freedom – Video

 Freedom  Comments Off on Feel the Freedom – Video
Dec 242014
 



Feel the Freedom
Times are changing, and so are we. We're putting the power in your hands to dictate what you watch, when you watch it, and what it means to watch it. The old way is a thing of the past; the…

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Feel the Freedom – Video

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U.S. Envoy Blasts Kremlin Ahead of NATO Meeting

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Dec 022014
 

TIME World europe U.S. Envoy Blasts Kremlin Ahead of NATO Meeting US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute gives a press conference on Dec. 1, 2014, at the organization’s headquarters in Brussels. John ThysAFP/Getty Images The war of words between the Western military alliance and Moscow heated up ahead of a NATO gathering in Brussels on Tuesday

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute accused the Russian military on Monday of engaging in irresponsible aerial maneuvers that put civilian aircraft in unnecessary danger.

The envoys remarks follow the alliances public announcement in late October that accused the Russian military of conducting an unprecedented number of unannounced aerial forays into Europes skies. NATO says it has scrambled its own aircraft over 400 times in response to Russian incursions this year a more than 50% increase than the total number during 2013.

These Russian actions are irresponsible, pose a threat to civilian aviation and demonstrate that Russia is flagrantly violating international norms, said Lute during a press conference in Brussels ahead of a NATO foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

NATO says Russian forces have repeatedly refused to submit flight plans to civilian air traffic control stations when flying exercises and, in multiple instances, have flown with their transponders turned off.

The Kremlins alleged indifference toward civilian aviation procedures is seen as particularly concerning to NATO members following Washingtons insistence that a Russian-supplied weapons system was responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in southeastern Ukraine this summer. Russia vehemently denies responsibility.

As relations between Moscow and the alliance continue to sour, NATOs Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg boasted on Monday of the organizations increased presence in Eastern Europe.

This year has been one of aggression, crisis and conflict. But NATO stands strong, said Stoltenberg during a press conference. Russias aggressive actions have undermined Euro-Atlantic security.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin unleashed its own criticisms of NATO and panned the alliance for destabilizing northern Europe and the Baltics.

They are trying to shake up the most stable region in the world, which is Europes north, Alexei Meshkov, Russias deputy foreign minister, told his nations Interfax news agency. Those endless military exercises, rebasing of aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons to the Baltic nations. This is the reality, a very negative one.

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U.S. Envoy Blasts Kremlin Ahead of NATO Meeting

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Global Freedom Network: World faith leaders signed Declaration to eradicate modern slavery

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Dec 022014
 

– Common commitment to inspire spiritual and practical action by all world faiths and people of goodwill everywhere to eradicate modern slaveryVatican City, Tuesday, 2 December 2014 – Today, on the International Dayfor the Abolition of Slavery, the Global Freedom Network (GFN) has broughttogether leaders of the Christian Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox, as wellas Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths who have jointly declared onecommon humanitarian endeavour: To eradicate modern slavery by 2020throughout our world and for all time as a crime against humanity.In a ceremonial act, a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders againstModern Slavery was signed by: – Catholic: Pope Francis – Hindu: Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) – Buddhist: Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) (represented by Venerable Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chan Khong) – Buddhist: The Most Ven. Datuk K Sri Dhammaratana, Chief High Priest of Malaysia – Jewish: Rabbi Dr. Abraham Skorka – Jewish: Chief Rabbi David Rosen, KSG, CBE – Orthodox: His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (represented by His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France) – Muslim: Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (represented by Dr. Abbas Abdalla Abbas Soliman, Undersecretary of State of Al Azhar Alsharif) – Muslim: Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi – Muslim: Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Basheer Hussain al Najafi (represented by Sheikh Naziyah Razzaq Jaafar, Special advisor of Grand Ayatollah) – Muslim: Sheikh Omar Abboud – Anglican: Most Revd and Right Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of CanterburyA number of faith leaders spoke at the event and video messages were givenby His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and by Grand AyatollahSheikh Basheer Hussain al Najafi who could not attend the ceremony but areequally committed to eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking.Videos of the event are available on:http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7391151-faith-leaders-eradicate-slavery/ as well as on the GFN Website: http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.orgAs one of the founding partners of the Global Freedom Network, the WalkFree Foundation’s Andrew Forrest, witnessed the historic event and calledfor international organisations and business leaders to join with faithleaders in the fight against modern slavery.This is the first time in history that the leaders of the ChristianCatholic, Anglican and Orthodox, as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish andMuslim faiths have come together to jointly declare one common endeavouragainst slavery.Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery”We, the undersigned, are gathered here today for a historic initiative toinspire spiritual and practical action by all global faiths and people ofgood will everywhere to eradicate modern slavery across the world by 2020and for all time.In the eyes of God*, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy,woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality andfraternity. Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labourand prostitution, organ trafficking, and any relationship that fails torespect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have thesame freedom and dignity, is a crime against humanity.We pledge ourselves here today to do all in our power, within our faithcommunities and beyond, to work together for the freedom of all those whoare enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored. Today wehave the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology toachieve this human and moral imperative.”*The Grand Imam of Al Azhar uses the word “religions”For more information please visit: http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.orgProfessional images and videos are provided free of charge on the GFNwebsite: http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.org and onhttp://www.multivu.com/players/English/7391151-faith-leaders-eradicate-slavery/Please also visit our social media channels: Twitter @gfn2020 (#EndSlavery)About modern slaveryModern slavery is the systematic deprivation of a person’s liberty, andabuse of his or her body, for example through mutilation or organ removal,for the purposes of personal or commercial exploitation. According to the2014 Global Slavery Index released by GFN’s member partner Walk FreeFoundation, almost 36 million people are currently trapped in modernslavery. These are people who have lost their freedom and are beingexploited for personal or commercial gain. According to the InternationalLabour Organization the total profits obtained from the use of forcedlabour in the private economy worldwide amount to US$150 billion per year.The Global Freedom NetworkThe Global Freedom Network is a faith-based global network with a visionand purpose to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking throughoutour world and for all time. It was launched on 17 March 2014 at theVatican. The Memorandum of Agreement and Joint Statement establishing theGlobal Freedom Network had signatories from the Casina Pio IV, LambethPalace, Al Azhar Mosque and Walk Free Foundation.The Global Freedom Network has outlined six fields of action for achievingits vision. These include mobilising faith based communities, supply chainproofing to promote ethical purchasing arrangements, improving the care forvictims and survivors, advocating for law reforms and enforcement,facilitating and promoting education and awareness, and securing sizeablefunds in order to carry out its task.Press contactCNC – Communications & Network ConsultingMax Hohenbergmax.hohenberg@cnc-communications.com+49 172 899 6264Marie von Bismarck marie.bismarck@cnc-communications.com + 49 172 853 2927———————————02.12.2014 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP – aservice of EQS Group AG.The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.The DGAP Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements,Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases.Media archive at http://www.dgap-medientreff.de and http://www.dgap.de———————————301531 02.12.2014

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Global Freedom Network: World faith leaders signed Declaration to eradicate modern slavery




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism