possible oil and natural gas in the west philippines sea
* Naval clash in the South China Sea: On April 7th, a Philippine naval warship, the 378-foot Gregorio del Pilar, arrived at Scarborough Shoal, a small island in the South China Sea, and detained eight Chinese fishing boats anchored there, accusing them of illegal fishing activities in Filipino sovereign waters. China promptly sent two naval vessels of its own to the area, claiming that the Gregorio del Pilarwas harassing Chinese ships in Chinese, not Filipino waters. The fishing boats were eventually allowed to depart without further incident and tensions have eased somewhat. However, neither side has displayed any inclination to surrender its claim to the island, and both sides continue to deploy warships in the contested area.
As in Sudan, multiple factors are driving this clash, but energy is the dominant motive. The South China Sea is thought to harbor large deposits of oil and natural gas, and all the countries that encircle it, including China and the Philippines, want to exploit these reserves. Manila claims a 200-nautical mile “exclusive economic zone” stretching into the South China Sea from its western shores, an area it calls the West Philippine Sea; Filipino companies say they have found large natural gas reserves in this area and have announced plans to begin exploiting them. Claiming the many small islands that dot the South China Sea (including Scarborough Shoal) as its own, Beijing has asserted sovereignty over the entire region, including the waters claimed by Manila; it, too, has announced plans to drill in the area. Despite years of talks, no solution has yet been found to the dispute and further clashes are likely.
Conflict and intrigue over valuable energy supplies have been features of the international landscape for a long time. Major wars over oil have been fought every decade or so since World War I, and smaller engagements have erupted every few years; a flare-up or two in 2012, then, would be part of the normal scheme of things. Instead, what we are now seeing is a whole cluster of oil-related clashes stretching across the globe, involving a dozen or so countries, with more popping up all the time. Consider these flash-points as signals that we are entering an era of intensified conflict over energy.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Argentina to the Philippines, here are the six areas of conflict—all tied to energy supplies—that have made news in just the first few months of 2012:
- A brewing war between Sudan and South Sudan
- Egypt cuts off the natural gas flow to Israel
- Argentina seizes Spanish Oil Corp. YPF
- Argentina re-ignites the Falklands crisis
- U.S. forces mobilize for war with Iran
(note: although u.s. forces are surrounding iran, it looks far more likely that we’ll be drawn into war in syria,in order to prop up a puppet regime there that will not stand a chance of winning over the syrian people)
see the rest of the article, from truthdig; energy wars heat up
One Chinese newspaper said despite Beijing’s desire to talk, Manila was creating a situation where there is ‘no other option left but the use of arms’
China told its citizens yesterday they were not safe in the Philippines and state media warned of war, as a month long row over rival claims in the South China Sea threatened to spin out of control.
Chinese travel agencies announced they had suspended tours to the Philippines and the Chinese embassy in Manila advised nationals already in the country to stay indoors ahead of planned anti-China protests.
“Avoid going out at all if possible and if not, avoid going out alone. If you come across any demonstrations, leave the area, do not stay to watch,” the embassy’s advisory said.
The safety alerts came as media in China warned the country was prepared to go to war to end the stand-off over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea that both nations claim as their own and which is also claimed by Taiwan, where it is known as Huangyan Island (黃岩島)
from taipei times - Beijing issues warning on safety in Philippines
taiwanese officials visit islands near disputed territory
Taipei, May 10 (CNA) Seven legislators from across the political spectrum flew to Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea Thursday as part of efforts to highlight Taiwan’s sovereignty amid growing tensions in the disputed area.
The trip came on the heels of a visit in late April by several other lawmakers to Taiping Island, the main island of another Taiwan-controlled archipelago in the simmering region, for a similar purpose.
“all your philippines are belong to us”
He Jia (和佳), anchor for China Central Television’s (CCTV) nationally televised news broadcast, made the claim during a late Monday broadcast that has been repeatedly replayed on the Internet.
“We all know that the Philippines is China’s inherent territory and the Philippines belongs to Chinese sovereignty, this is an indisputable fact,” she said in the broadcast, which has since disappeared from the CCTV Web site, but is available elsewhere on the Web.
Viewers joked in online -postings that the presenter’s nationalistic fervor led to her mistake.
“This anchor woman is great, a good patriot, she has announced to the world the Philippines belongs to China,” a microblogger named helenjhuang said. “We should attack directly, send [Philippine President Benigno] Aquino packing and take back our inherent territory.”
“The Philippines have basically been making irrational trouble, if they want to start a war, then we will strike, no one fears them,” another microblogger named kongdehua said: “If every Chinese spat once, we could drown [the Philippines].”
Meanwhile, the Philippines said yesterday the US had pledged to protect it from attacks in the South China Sea, a day after China issued a warning over a territorial row in the waters.
Philippine Secretary of Defence Voltaire Gazmin said he had received the assurances during talks in Washington last week in which the Philippines’ increasingly tense dispute with China over rival claims to a shoal in the sea were discussed.
Gazmin said US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stressed they were not taking sides in the dispute, but they assured the Philippines the US would honor a 1951 mutual defense treaty.
yet, today -
Tensions over disputed island appear to ease
In Manila, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said that Philippine diplomats “are endeavoring to undertake a new diplomatic initiative, which we hope will help defuse the situation.”
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters that China had noted the remarks as well as the action taken by the Philippine Foreign Ministry and noticed the resumption of diplomatic contact between the Philippine Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
The diplomatic chafing that preceded those statements centered on the Scarborough Shoal, some 130 miles (200 kilometers) from the Philippine island of Luzon.
A Chinese military newspaper had warned that the country’s armed forces would not allow anyone to challenge China’s sovereignty over the tiny island outcrop in the South China Sea.
more, from cnn international, including video report