Rebuilding for the Better Philippines updates
WASHINGTON – Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan has warned the Philippines and Japan not to test China’s resolve to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, saying the Chinese military can be assembled quickly to fight and win any battle.
The Chinese official raised the warning in a joint press conference in Beijing with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Chang said territorial sovereignty was a core Chinese interest on which “we will make no compromise, no concession, no trading.”
“Not even a tiny bit of violation is allowed,” he said.
A transcript of the Tuesday conference was released by the Pentagon in Washington.
For his part, Hagel, who is on a three-day visit to China, said the Philippines and Japan were long-time allies of the United States.
“We have mutual self-defense treaties with each of those two countries and we are fully committed to those treaty obligations,” he said.
Chang accused the Philippines and Japan of stirring up troubles for China. He said the Philippines did its math the wrong way.
Manila earlier submitted a memorial or written pleading to a United Nations tribunal in The Hague on its territorial disputes with Beijing when “the fact is that it is the Philippines who illegally occupy part of China’s islands and reefs in the South China Sea.”
China has made clear on several occasions that it does not accept and will not participate in the international arbitration initiated by the Philippines but stands ready to resolve the issue through bilateral negotiations, Chang said.
On the dispute between China and Japan over islands in the East China Sea, Chang said China has indisputable sovereignty over Diaoyu Islands (called Senkaku by Tokyo), Nansha Islands, and their adjacent waters.
China created an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea in November 2013, particularly over an area that includes islands at the heart of a bitter dispute with Japan.
There are fears in Manila and Washington that Beijing, which claims almost all of the South China Sea at the expense of the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, among others, may be poised to also create a similar ADIZ over the South China Sea.
Referring to the ADIZ at the press conference, Hagel said every nation has the right to establish air defense zones, but not unilaterally with no collaboration or consultation.
“That adds to tensions, misunderstandings and could eventually add to and eventually get to dangerous conflict,” he said.
In later remarks at a the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University in Beijing, Hagel said America’s rebalance in the Asia Pacific was a reaffirmation of its long standing bonds of history, commerce and friendship throughout the region.
“That is not – must not be, nor will be – at the exclusion of strengthening our relationship with China,” he said.
Referring specifically to the Philippines and Japan, he said both were long-time allies of the United States.
“We have treaty obligations with those two nations and we will honor our treaty obligations. But make no mistake that disputes need to be resolved peacefully, diplomatically, within the framework of international order based on international law,” he said.
Grateful former enemy
At the commemoration of the 1942 Bataan Death March yesterday, the Japanese government yesterday expressed profound gratitude to the US and the Philippines for accepting Japan as friend, 72 years after its brutal conquest of the Philippines.
“Japan is grateful to the Filipinos and Americans for building peace within our hearts. We are happy to work with you for the common good of all,” Ambassador Toshinao Urabe said in his speech at the historic Mt. Samat Shrine in Pilar, Bataan.
After their surrender to the Japanese Imperial Army on April 9, 1942, thousands of Filipino and US prisoners of war were forced to march from Bataan to Capas in Tarlac in what came to be known as the Bataan Death March. Thousands of prisoners died along the way.
“Thanks to the efforts of our predecessors, we are now strategic partners, sharing common values,” he said.
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg expressed the same gratitude.
“We are thankful that in the end, peace reached our lands – the Philippines, Japan, and the US. Each step we make today toward further peace and prosperity, democracy and the rule of law is a way to honor their footsteps on this soil so long ago,” he said.
“It’s remarkable that not just our two nations, but three have forged close and enduring friendships, alliances and strategic partnerships based on democratic values and mutual respect that came from the blood and sacrifice of our reliant soldiers,” Goldberg said.
Tokyo, Washington and Manila – which have close military partnership – have been openly castigating China for its expansive claim over large areas in the West Philippine Sea and the East China Sea.
President Aquino, for his part, said that while Filipinos should not forget the lessons of the Death March, they should also cherish the blossoming of friendship between former enemies.
“It’s clear that we’re now friends – understanding and respecting each other, with our own aspirations and concerns. We understand each other’s thinking, culture and conviction,” Aquino said in a speech delivered in Filipino during the commemoration rites.
“We are helping each other to achieve our collective goal of preventing this dark episode in our history from happening again,” he said. - With Delon Porcalla - philSTAR
German Chancellor Angela Merkel presents Chinese President Xi Jinping with a a map of China from the 18th century at the Chancellor's Office on March 28, 2014, in Berlin - BPA/Getty Images
On March 28, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping at a dinner where they exchanged gifts. Merkel presented to Xi a 1735 map of China made by prolific French cartographer Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville and printed by a German publishing house. According to an antique-maps website, d'Anville's map was based on earlier geographical surveys done by Jesuit missionaries in China and represented the "summation of European knowledge on China in the 18th-century." The map showed, according to its original Latin caption, the so-called "China Proper" -- that is, the Chinese heartland mostly populated by ethnic Han people, without Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, or Manchuria. The islands of Taiwan and Hainan -- the latter clearly part of modern China, the former very much disputed -- are shown with a different color border.
Historical maps are sensitive business in China. Every schoolchild in China learns that Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, and the Diaoyu Islands have been "inalienable parts of China since ancient times." The d'Anville map, at least visually, is a rejection of that narrative. Unsurprisingly, China's official media outlets don't seem to have appreciated Merkel's gift. The People's Daily, which has given meticulous accounts of Xi's European tour, elided any coverage of the offending map. More curiously, when news of the map's presentation reached the Chinese heartland, it had somehow morphed into a completely different one. A map published in many Chinese-language media reports about Merkel's gift-giving shows the Chinese empire at its territorial zenith, including Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, and large swaths of Siberia. This larger map was the handiwork of British mapmaker John Dower, published in 1844 by Henry Teesdale & Co. in London, and was certainly not the gift from Merkel to Xi. But this mistake was not noted or explained in Chinese reports.
Both versions of the Merkel map have made appearances on Chinese social media, eliciting vastly different interpretations. Those who saw the d'Anville map seemed shocked by its limited territories. Hao Qian, a finance reporter, remarked that the map is "quite an awkward gift." Writer Xiao Zheng blasted Merkel for trying to "legitimize the Tibet and Xinjiang independence movements." Architect Liu Kun wrote, "The Germans definitely have ulterior motives." One Internet user asked, "How is this possible? Where is Tibet, Xinjiang, the Northeast? How did Xi react?"
The Dower map, on the other hand, seemed to stoke collective nostalgia for large territories and imperial power. An advertising executive enthused, "Our ancestors are badass." Another Internet user hoped Xi would feel "encouraged" by the map to "realize what a true re-emerge of China means." Some suspected that Merkel tried to send Xi a subtle reminder that Russia had helped Mongolia declare independence from China in the mid-20th century, somewhat like what Russia did in Crimea in March 2014.
To be sure, the d'Anville map does not constitute a total contradiction of the Chinese government's version of history. In 1735, the year when the Qianlong Emperor began his six-decade reign, his Qing empire's military prowess was on the ascent. Qianlong quelled a rebellion by Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang, brought the Mongol tribes under closer rule, and appointed officials to oversee affairs in Tibet such as the selection of the Dalai Lama. In other words, Qianlong established the trappings of imperial control over these peripheral territories, which allowed later governments -- the Republic of China, then the current People's Republic of China -- to claim sovereignty. Maps published by Western countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries vary in their presentations of Tibet and Xinjiang, but the Dower map is certainly not alone in showing Xinjiang and Tibet as parts of the Chinese empire.
All the cartographic brouhaha may be overblown. One Internet user refused to "overinterpret" the d'Anville map as a message about Tibet or Xinjiang. After all, "You can't use a map of the 13 colonies of the United States made in 1776 to tell Americans that Texas or California is not U.S. territory." - Foreign Policy
Philippines Infrastructure projects spending jumped ₱16.4 billion to ₱23.8 billion a 45% up in January
s of January, expenditures for infrastructure and other capital outlay surged to ₱23.8 billion, a ₱7.4-billion or 45.1-percent increase from the ₱16.4 billion recorded in the same month last year. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Philippines—Public spending on infrastructure rose by nearly half in January as the government financed reconstruction efforts in areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda, documents released on Thursday showed.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) noted that government disbursements accelerated in January despite the absence of election-related spending after last year’s mid-term polls.
“What’s particularly notable is that we were able to ramp up expenditures to levels that would have been expected of election season, and we’re definitely a good way off from that,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.
As of January, expenditures for infrastructure and other capital outlay surged to ₱23.8 billion, a ₱7.4-billion or 45.1-percent increase from the ₱16.4 billion recorded in the same month last year.
Overall, total national government expenditures likewise registered a ₱25.1-billion, or 15.9-percent, increase to ₱183 billion from ₱157.9 billion in January 2013.
“Front-loading of expenditures in the first semester fits very well with our goal of sustaining the country’s growth trajectory this year,” Abad said.
The DBM said spending for infrastructure and other capital outlay was buoyed by the various projects of the departments of public works and highways and of transportation and communications as well as the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the Department of Health (DOH). - Inquirer