US aircraft carrier in South China Sea as ASEAN, China discuss code of conduct

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its strike group have returned to the South China Sea for a joint exercise with a Japanese destroyer as leaders from countries in Southeast Asia hold a virtual meeting to discuss regional issues including a maritime Code of Conduct. The U.S. Navy said in a statement that the strike group and the Izumo-class helicopter destroyer JS Kaga of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force on Monday conducted maritime security operations including flights, coordinated tactical training between surface and air units, refueling-at-sea, and maritime strike exercises. The USS Carl Vinson last sailed in the disputed South China Sea in early September. The strike group is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the Navy’s statement said. At the time of the first deployment, the group’s commander, Rear Adm. Dan Martin, told RFA its aim was to ensure the "freedom of all nations to navigate in international waters." He also spoke about how that was threatened by “unlawful and sweeping maritime claims” in the South China Sea – an apparent reference to China. The U.S. military and its allies have stepped up exercises in the South China Sea this year. It wasn’t clear whether the USS Carl Vinson’s latest deployment was at all timed for this week summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). COC still ‘out of sight’ On Tuesday, China joined member countries of ASEAN at the virtual summit to discuss, among other topics, the establishment of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang urged ASEAN countries to “expedite COC negotiations and strive for its early conclusion,” according to the transcript of his speech at the meeting. He said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there had been “positive progress” this year. Among the ASEAN members are other South China Sea claimants: Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Next year will be 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) between ASEAN and China, which was meant to pave the way for the COC -- intended to be a binding agreement to reduce the chance of conflict breaking out over territorial and maritime disputes. But analysts say chances of finalizing it by then are slim. China continues to press its sweeping claims, despite a 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration award in a case brought by the Philippines which found that China’s claims to “historic rights” over the South China Sea have no basis under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). At the summit Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said ASEAN should pursue COC negotiations in accordance with international law, including the 2016 arbitral award. China does not recognize the ruling, having declared it “null and void”. “Basically, ASEAN countries want to curb China’s behavior, but China does not want to be constrained,” said Viet Hoang, a well-known Vietnamese commentator on South China Sea. “Some ASEAN countries want to boost cooperation with external powers to counterbalance China’s increasing assertiveness and they may find China’s approach unacceptable,” the Vietnamese analyst said. “ASEAN’s decision-making is based on the principle of consensus, so I can’t see how ASEAN countries and China can achieve any agreement on key issues, even if China’s ally Cambodia will take over the bloc’s presidency next year,” he added.

US aircraft carrier in South China Sea as ASEAN, China discuss code of conduct

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its strike group have returned to the South China Sea for a joint exercise with a Japanese destroyer as leaders from countries in Southeast Asia hold a virtual meeting to discuss regional issues including a maritime Code of Conduct.

The U.S. Navy said in a statement that the strike group and the Izumo-class helicopter destroyer JS Kaga of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force on Monday conducted maritime security operations including flights, coordinated tactical training between surface and air units, refueling-at-sea, and maritime strike exercises.

The USS Carl Vinson last sailed in the disputed South China Sea in early September. The strike group is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the Navy’s statement said.

At the time of the first deployment, the group’s commander, Rear Adm. Dan Martin, told RFA its aim was to ensure the "freedom of all nations to navigate in international waters." He also spoke about how that was threatened by “unlawful and sweeping maritime claims” in the South China Sea – an apparent reference to China.

The U.S. military and its allies have stepped up exercises in the South China Sea this year. It wasn’t clear whether the USS Carl Vinson’s latest deployment was at all timed for this week summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

COC still ‘out of sight’

On Tuesday, China joined member countries of ASEAN at the virtual summit to discuss, among other topics, the establishment of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang urged ASEAN countries to “expedite COC negotiations and strive for its early conclusion,” according to the transcript of his speech at the meeting. He said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there had been “positive progress” this year.

Among the ASEAN members are other South China Sea claimants: Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Next year will be 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) between ASEAN and China, which was meant to pave the way for the COC -- intended to be a binding agreement to reduce the chance of conflict breaking out over territorial and maritime disputes.

But analysts say chances of finalizing it by then are slim. China continues to press its sweeping claims, despite a 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration award in a case brought by the Philippines which found that China’s claims to “historic rights” over the South China Sea have no basis under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

At the summit Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said ASEAN should pursue COC negotiations in accordance with international law, including the 2016 arbitral award.

China does not recognize the ruling, having declared it “null and void”.

“Basically, ASEAN countries want to curb China’s behavior, but China does not want to be constrained,” said Viet Hoang, a well-known Vietnamese commentator on South China Sea.

“Some ASEAN countries want to boost cooperation with external powers to counterbalance China’s increasing assertiveness and they may find China’s approach unacceptable,” the Vietnamese analyst said.

“ASEAN’s decision-making is based on the principle of consensus, so I can’t see how ASEAN countries and China can achieve any agreement on key issues, even if China’s ally Cambodia will take over the bloc’s presidency next year,” he added.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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Pakistan and Kashmir observe Kashmir Black Day

Web Desk: Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control, and the world over are observing Black Day, today, the 27th of October, to convey to the world that they reject India’s illegal occupation of their homeland and will continue their struggle to achieve their inalienable right to self-determination. The observance of Black Day …

Pakistan and Kashmir observe Kashmir Black Day

Web Desk:

Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control, and the world over are observing Black Day, today, the 27th of October, to convey to the world that they reject India’s illegal occupation of their homeland and will continue their struggle to achieve their inalienable right to self-determination. The observance of Black Day is also aimed at drawing the attention of the world towards the sufferings of the people of occupied Kashmir due to the continued military siege imposed by Narendra Modi-led fascist regime in the territory since 5 August 2019.

The day is being marked by a complete shutdown in IIOJK. A march is conducted towards Lal Chowk in Srinagar, while protest rallies are held in world capitals to draw the attention of the international community towards Indian state terrorism in IIOJK.

Hurriyat leaders and organizations in their statements said 27th October 1947 is the darkest day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. They said that the Indian repression cannot break the will of the Kashmiri people who are determined to continue their struggle for the right to self-determination till complete success.

Pakistan government employees have arranged a rally from Foreign Office to D Chowk in Islamabad in connection with Kashmir Black Day. President Arif Alvi accompanied by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has participated in the rally to express solidarity with the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The participants while holding placards chanted slogans against the Indian government.

“We want to tell them (Kashmiris) that Pakistan is yours. Pakistan wants to call the attention of the international community towards the oppression and barbarism that is continuing in Kashmir,” President Alvi said.

Talking about India’s forced demographic changes in the occupied valley, President Alvi said Pakistan will “not accept” them.

“I want to warn the Indian government that the way [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi committed oppression in Gujrat, what he did to Muslims in other regions of India, the way oppression is done by changing the Citizenship Amendment Act, my Kashmiri brother will fight against that, he is fighting and is laying down his life in sacrifice. He will not rest.”

Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi said that when India failed to convince Kashmiris to become a part of the country using force, it introduced “black laws” and targeted Kashmiris under the guise of terrorism.

“India has always failed in its abhorrent objectives because the courage and strength of Kashmiris is like a wall of steel,” he said.

Source : Voice of South Asia More   

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