Thursday, August 13, 2009

Two hours in Paradise - Pag-asa islands of the Kalayaan Islands Group

Pls double click the image to enlarge it.

Pag-asa Island the main island of the Kalayaan Islands Group.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

THREE months after three other countries formally submitted to the United Nations their claims over the disputed Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), the Philippines finally registered its protests to those claims.

Two protests to the unilateral submissions of Vietnam and Palau and another on the Joint Submission of Malaysia and Vietnam were filed by the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

The diplomatic protests were received by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the United Nations in New York on Aug. 4, shortly before the deadline. The Philippines almost exhausted the 90-day period given to states to lodge their protest. (Download Philippine protests to the claims of Malaysia, Vietnam and Palau.)

Malaysia and Vietnam on May 6 formally made a joint claim on the southern part of the South China Sea as part of their continental shelf. China promptly protested the submission the following day. Vietnam filed its own protest on May 8, while Malaysia’s note verbale in reply to China’s protest was received on May 20.

Malaysia claims Sabah
One of the areas that Malaysia is claiming as its extended continental shelf was clearly projected from Sabah, thereby effectively declaring Sabah to be a Malaysian territory. Its claim also covers the outer edge of the continental margin in the southern part of the South China Sea, an area that includes the KIG which the Philippines has declared as a regime of islands under its baselines law.

Malaysia and Vietnam are among the claimant countries to the cluster of islands in the South China Sea referred to as the Spratlys. The same islands are also contested by the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and China.

The Philippine claim in the Spratlys covers eight islands and reefs. Along with Malaysia, the Philippines is also claiming Sabah, which is on the northern part of Borneo. For the past decades, the two countries have shelved the issue for the sake of peaceful co-existence between them.

The Malaysian claim over Sabah is based on a perpetual lease that began in 1963. The Malaysian government is still paying an annual rent of 5,300 Malaysian ringgit, or less than P70,000, to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu. Sabah was ceded by the Sultan of Brunei to the Sultanate of Sulu, which ruled Sabah until it was leased.

The Philippines formally asserted that Sabah was part of its territory in 1962, based on the claims of the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, who had ceded proprietary rights over Sabah to the Philippines.

In their joint submission, Vietnam and Malaysia said they “may make further submissions, either jointly and unilaterally, in respect to other areas.”

Vietnam's claim, China's map

On May 7, Vietnam made a unilateral partial submission of its extended continental shelf in the northern part of its territory, covering part of the disputed Spratlys chain. Unlike the Philippines, China protested on the same day. Vietnam replied to China’s protest on May 8.

It was the first time that China had attached a map to its diplomatic protest to submissions that had to do with the disputed South China Sea. In both notes verbale protesting the joint submission of Malaysia and Vietnam and the unilateral submission of Vietnam, China reiterated its “indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the SCS (South China Sea) and the adjacent waters and enjoys sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the relevant waters as well as the seabed and subsoil thereof.”

China also asserted that such indisputable sovereignty “is consistently held by the Chinese government, and is widely known by the international community.”

Vietnam was quick to note that and pushed back, stating that the map “has no legal, historical basis, (and is) therefore null and void.” It also asserted that the Spratlys archipelago or Troung Sa is part of its territory and that it “has indisputable sovereignty over these archipelagos.”

RP cites UNCLOS articles

While Vietnam and China both declared sovereignty over the disputed area, the Philippine protest merely stated that the “Joint Submission for the Extended Continental Shelf by Malaysia and Vietnam lays claim on areas that are disputed not only because they overlap with that of the Philippines, but also because of the controversy arising from the territorial claims on some of the islands in the area including North Borneo.”

Citing the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Rules of procedure of the Commission on the Law of the Sea that disqualifies a submission on disputed areas, the Philippines requested the commission “to refrain from considering the aforementioned Joint Submission by Malaysia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, unless and until after the parties have discussed and resolved their disputes.”

As of press time, the Philippine protest has drawn no response.

In its protest, the Philippines said the areas covered by Vietnam’s unilateral partial submission are “disputed because they overlap with those of the Philippines.”

Citing the same provisions of the UNCLOS pertaining to disputed areas, the Philippines requested deferment of the commission’s consideration of Vietnam’s unilateral submission.

Other Refences :

Other photos and maps of Kalayaan Islands Group.

Videos on Pag-asa islan

Air Force chief visits troops on Spratlys' Pag-Asa Island
05/02/2008 07:50 PM'-Pag-Asa-Island

Spratlys' Pag-asa Island is potential tourist attraction
03/26/2008 06:55 PM'-Pag-asa-Island-is-potential-tourist-attraction

AFP chief visits Spratlys
03/25/2008 07:01 PM


  1. We should defend what we own (Spratly Island) whatever it takes. Spratly is part of Philippines archipelago. We should build a lot of structures in Spratly Island. Our government has neglected in the past to build up and put a strong Military Bases in the said area because of political instability but now, we should unite to what we're fighting for in disputed island.

  2. Sure looks like nice water