Guess what: in a rare development Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand sent “observers” to the South China Sea arbitration in The Hague

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By Raïssa Robles - The recent hearing of the Arbitral Tribunal was supposed to be closed to the public. ITLOS-logo“However,” according to an official press release from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague dated July 13, “after receiving written requests from interested States, and having sought the views of the Parties, the Arbitral Tribunal permitted the Governments of Malaysia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the Kingdom of Thailand and Japan, to send small delegations to attend the hearing as observers.”

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You gotta watch this: Our lawyer Paul Reichler explains the Philippine’s arbitration case on the South China Sea

  Reichler said: 29 minutes, 22 seconds into the forum: “The Philippines had spent many years – actually negotiations go back to 1995 – mainly bilateral, some multilateral, and at no point was any progress made in reaching any kind of a solution bilaterally. China simply held to the position that China has sovereignty and sovereign rights within the nine-dash […]

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Hotmanila takes a closer look at China’s new islands in the South China West Philippine Sea

Thinking of the beaches, my hubby Alan was inspired to write something on the newest islands this side of the Pacific. Here's his take on the issue - What is China up to in the West Philippine Sea? - Hot Manila - By Alan Robles [Posted at 05/11/2015 1:27 PM at ABS-CBNNews.com]

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Breaking News – Vietnam joins Philippines in arbitration court over the South China Sea

Vietnam has suddenly joined the Philippines in arbitration court to contest China's claim over nearly all of South China Sea. The Philippines has been long wooing Vietnam to do just this. Perhaps China's aggressive action this year made Hanoi finally make up its mind to join the international suit against its former colonial master China.

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US President Obama promised to defend Senkaku but not Spratlys

Just my opinion - By Raïssa Robles - I eagerly awaited what US President Barack Obama would say about the Philippine dispute with China over the Spratlys. I was glad to hear ABS-CBN reporter RG Cruz asked Obama the question: "Will the US defend the Philippines in case the territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea become an armed conflict?"

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Key features of new PH-US pact – “Maritime security and maritime domain awareness”

Analysis by Raïssa Robles - The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has just released the briefer below, following the signing of the new pact between the Philippines and the United States. The pact itself has yet to be released to the media or the public. It's an interesting way to sway public opinion - release a briefer first without releasing the pact itself. In the hope that the public would not bother to read the pact itself.

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US agrees not to bring in nukes into the Philippines

By Raissa Robles - Manila and Washington are CLOSE to signing an agreement that will see more American troops, more planes and warships but no nukes coming into the Philippines in what both sides euphemistically call “expanded military presence.” Today, after the eighth round of talks – a far cry from the acrimonious talks that were held in the 1990s to renew the presence of US military bases – both sides agreed to “key points.”

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