Kingdom of Colonia St John Information Services
The History of the Kingdom of Colonia St John 1947-1950 In the period between 1947 and 1950, the fishing boats belonging to Tomas Cloma, a Philippine  citizen of considerable prominence (he had established The Philippine Maritime Institute, a nautical  school, in Manila), made a number of visits to the Spratly group of islands in search for better fishing  grounds. Cloma considered establishing an ice plant and cannery on Itu Aba, the largest island of the  group (approximately 2 square miles in area), and was planning the exploitation of guano. There was at the time some confusion about the identity of the Spratlys, which were frequently  referred to as the Paracels. The Paracels lie halfway between the Chinese island of Hainan and the  coast of Vietnam.  Spratly Island itself, from which the Spratly group takes its name, lies halfway between the southern  tip of Palawan (some 300 miles west of it) and Cape St Jacques, Vietnam. Itu Aba lies 180 miles  north-east of Spratly Island, while two small North Danger islands lie 60 miles north of Itu Aba and 340  miles west of Palawan. 1955 Five years after Cloma’s initial visits to the Spratlys, strange stories about a ‘Kingdom of Humanity’,  situated somewhere in the South China Sea and populated by some three to four thousand  Indonesians, Malays, Chinese, Japanese, Americans and Frenchmen, began to appear in Manila  newspapers, originating from one Morton F. Meads, who claimed to have discovered them.  The postal authorities in Manila, alerted by the appearance of postage stamps issued by Meads,  started an investigation into the affair. The Philippine Armed forces sent an amphibian bomber on a  patrol mission over the Spratly group of islands. The patrol took aerial photos of the islands, but they  showed no settlements. A view of Itu Aba, however, showed the remains of a wharf and some ruined  buildings. Meads, who had initially disappeared but was found by journalists, explained that the buildings on Itu  Aba were the remnants of a Japanese submarine base built there during the war. He was  subsequently arrested, but the charges against him were eventually dismissed. The military  authorities, however, ordered a second flight to the Spratlys and the Vice-President Carlos P. Garcia,  who was also Secretary of Foreign Affairs, recommended to President Magsaysay that the Philippines  lay claim to the group.  The Nationalist Chinese (Taiwanese) Government made clear that it would contest such a move  ‘because the islands formed part of their territory’. The matter progressed no further for a while and  the public interest in the affair waned.  1956 It was ignited again the following year when Cloma laid claim to a territory in the South China Sea,  apparently including part or whole of the Spratly group.   1/3 Cloma and his associates decided to send an expedition to the territory he claimed. The farewell  dinner, held on the 1st of March was attended by Vice President Garcia, Senator Lorenzo Tañada and  Auditor-General Manuel Agregado. The Maritime Institute’s training ship left on a 38-day scheduled  trip, with Captain Filemon Cloma, Tomas’ brother, in command. 15/5 Cloma wrote to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs informing him that 40 Philippine citizens were  undertaking survey and occupation work “in a territory in the China Sea outside the Philippine waters  and not within the jurisdiction of any country” and that the said territory was being claimed by him and  his associates to which effect due notice had been posted on each of the surveyed and occupied  islands, to be subsequently published in the press and sent to the representatives of foreign  governments. 21/5 Cloma sent a ‘Second Representation’ to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, renaming the claimed  territory Kalayaan (Freedomland) and enclosing also a ‘Notice of the Change of Names’ of the  individual islands, renamed after Philippine political parties, Manila newspapers and periodicals, civic  organisations and prominent individuals. Thus Spratly Island itself became Mac Arthur Island, Itu Aba  was to be called Ramon Island, and the two North Danger islands were renamed Irenea and Ciriaco. 24/5 Vice President Garcia received the Nationalist Chinese (Taiwanese) Ambassador who informed him  that the islands renamed Freedomland were well known and belonged to Nationalist China. Garcia  replied that he would call a conference of Government agencies to discuss the matter.  Washington had no official opinion, but a State Department official made ironic comments to the  press. The New York Times commented favourably, saying that it would not be illogical for the  Philippines to consider adherence. The press in the Philippines did not take the matter seriously. The communist Chinese Kwan Ming Daily said that the Freedomland islands, together with the  Spratlys, were in fact Nansha Islands which had been Chinese since the times before Magellan. The  South Vietnamese Government in Saigon issued a communiqué stating that the Spratlys and the  Paracels had always been part of Vietnam and had been recognised as such in the San Francisco  Peace Conference of September 1951. A spokesman for the Republic of China stated that a dispatch of a task force to the Spratlys was  “possible and probable”. Garcia was of the opinion that there was no need for alarm and that, should  arbitration become necessary at a later stage, the US would be “a fair and just referee”. The Manila  press commented that a possible occupation of the islands by Nationalist China might provoke  communist China to action. 4/6 Tomas Cloma made ‘Third Representation’, appealing to the UN “through the friendly agency of the  Philippines and the spiritual guidance of the Vatican” to create an arbitrating body composed of  friendly powers which would decide on the status of Freedomland, and to undertake trusteeship over  Freedomland under the administration and the guidance of the US until the question of ownership is  finally resolved.  5/6 Vietnamese Minister Cao Thai Bao was reported to have said that the Spratlys had been under the  jurisdiction of the French Colonial Government and that the jurisdiction had passed to South Vietnam  by virtue of the grant of Sovereignty by France. He pointed out that during the San Francisco Peace  Conference Vietnam was the only state to lay claim to the islands, and that leasing them to Cloma or  to the Philippine Government might be considered. 8/6 A Nationalist Chinese patrol, according to their report, visited Spratlys, finding no trace of Cloma’s  May expedition. (The patrol was sent to prevent communist China taking over the Spratlys.)  The Commander of the American Seventh Fleet, Admiral Stuart Ingersoll, remarked that the US would  not approve if communist China were to annexe the Spratlys.  The same day, another Cloma expedition set out to bring provisions to the twenty nine men left there  by the May expedition (the one the Nationalist Chinese patrol found no trace of). Arriving at Itu Aba,  the expedition found that the markers they had put up in March had been removed and that the  Nationalist Chinese had added their own sign onto an old Japanese marker, also painting a sign on  one of the ruined concrete buildings. 9/6 The French Charge d’Affaires in Manila informed Juan M. Arreglado, the legal counsellor to the  Department of Foreign Affairs, that the Spratlys belonged to France by virtue of an occupation  effected in 1932-1933. France had ceded the Paracels to Vietnam, he said, but not the Spratlys. His  statement seemed to be supported by the fact that a marker found on Itu Aba bore the words “Isle de  France, April 25, 1933”. The ruins there were believed to had been a French fertiliser factory and not  (as Meads had originally said) a Japanese submarine base. Vice President Garcia responded by  saying that, with respect of Cloma’s expedition, he had warned Cloma not to do anything that could  have political repercussions of any kind. The same day, a South Vietnam Legation spokesman said that the Spratlys were officially  incorporated in the Vietnamese province of Baria in 1929. When the French officially took possession  in 1930, they notified the US, China, the Philippines and the Netherlands. Only Japan protested but  officially renounced its claim in the Peace Treaty of 1952. Consequently, the French transfer of  sovereignty included both the Spratlys and the Paracels.  15/6 The Department of Foreign Affairs received confidential reports that the Dutch Government was about  to stake its own claim over the disputed islands, with the backing of the UK.  The same day, Cloma made a ‘Fourth Representation’, stating that two small islands near Spratly  Island, not previously included in the map of Freedomland, had been discovered. He also reported the  sighting of an alien ship off the Palawan coast, which refused to answer Filemon Cloma’s attempts at  communication. 16/6 Vietnamese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs made a detailed statement to the press in Saigon  concerning the Vietnamese claim to the Spratlys and the Paracels.  17/6 The Foreign Affairs Association of the Philippines adopted a resolution signed by Manuel V. Gallego,  which they sent to the President, the Vice President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the  House and to Cloma, declaring that the islands constituting Freedomland were ‘res nullius’ and that  consequently Cloma’s claim was legal. The resolution urged the Philippine Government to ascertain  that – ideally supported by the US – UN trusteeship was to be sought (to be administered by the  Philippines), and that Cloma should have full support of the Government.  20/6 Cloma made a “Fourth Representation” (fifth, in fact) to the Department of Foreign Affairs, saying that  his second expedition had inspected all the islands of Freedomland except Spratly Island (in  deference to Nationalist China). This representation followed a letter to the Chinese Ambassador  stating that the expedition had erected a radio station on Itu Aba and had left settlers who had  commenced planting bananas and other native crops. In the letter, Cloma also pointed out that until  the question of ownership was settled, he had the right to protect a res nullius property of which he  was guardian. Cloma next made plans to acquire a LST vessel and some fishing boats from New Zealand, through  the agency of a Mr Donald Trayler. Prompted by Trayler, he also made plans for organising a  government for Freedomland. Trayler had pointed out that occupation of a discovered territory must  immediately be accompanied by establishing a governing authority over such a territory. No claim,  Trayler said, should be made unless one was prepared to establish a government. This also meant  that, in the event of being driven out of Freedomland, the government could establish its seat  anywhere and fight for its rights from exile.  6/7 Cloma presented a paper to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, signed by Manuel Aguilar as Acting State  Secretary of Freedomland, announcing the establishment of a separate Government for the  Archipelago of Freedomland. Attached was a printed “Instrument of Notification” which specified that  the seat of Government was at Pagasa, Freedomland, with representative offices in Manila. “The  Proclamation” was also attached, giving the date of establishment of Government as 17/6/1956, and  describing the nature of the Government as democratic. The name of the state was given as Free  Territory of Freedomland, and full geographical specification of boundaries was made. In the first  instance, Freedomland adopted the laws of the Philippines. The intention to seek status as  protectorate under the Republic of Philippines was announced. The same day Cloma issued a statement to the press defending and justifying his decision to form a  government, lest the Philippines be embarrassed by any acts of self-defence that Freedomland might  need to take in the future.  7/7 As the first act of the new Government, Cloma formally delivered the Nationalist Chinese flag removed  from Itu Aba to the Nationalist Chinese Embassy in Manila. The Manila press rebuked him for this  action. 21/7 Dr Bernabe Africa, former professor of political science and former Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs,  published a statement in the Evening News, saying that the Spratlys, occupied by the Japanese  during the war, had become Allied war booty with Japanese defeat, and, as the Japanese claim was  the only one recognised at the San Francisco Peace Conference, the Allied Powers had jurisdiction  over the islands. China, not an Allied Power, by that fact alone if not for other reasons, could not have  a claim on the Spratlys.  28/8 Paris and Saigon reported that a South Vietnamese naval party had planted its flag on Spratly island  on August 22nd. 30/8 This was confirmed by a Vietnamese Government spokesman. Communist China reacted angrily. 31/8 A Chinese newspaper in Taipei stated that Nationalist Chinese officials had mapped out plans to settle the Spratlys, assert sovereignty and develop the archipelago’s resources.  1/10 Captain Filemon Cloma, who had been designated Administrator over Freedomland met with trouble  off Ciriaco Island where he was lying at anchor. Two nationalist Chinese ships approached from the  south and invited Captain Cloma aboard for a conference. A discussion over ownership ensued,  during which Cloma was below deck, unaware that a boarding party had searched his vessel and  confiscated all arms, maps and documents. Captain Cloma protested but was treated discourteously  and kept under detention until allowed to rejoin his boat.  The next day he was once more invited aboard the Chinese ship. There, even under threat to their  lives, Cloma and his officers refused to recognise that Freedomland was Chinese territory and to sign  a statement that they would leave Freedomland and never come back. Cloma was forced to surrender  arms for which he was given a receipt, whereupon the Chinese ship left Ciriaco. Captain Cloma found that the houses on Ciriaco and Irenea had been removed, and the buildings on  Abad Santos Island burned down. Tomas Cloma reported this to the Foreign Affairs Association, mentioning that a French light cruiser  had visited Itu Aba (Mac Arthur Island) and that some Vietnamese ships had visited Freedomland in  August. To avoid conflict, he said, trusteeship of the UN, administered by the US, should be initiated.  He even went to the UN to demand the initiation of trusteeship, but was dissuaded from action by the  Philippine Ambassador. The press began urging the Philippine Government to unambiguously declare for or against Cloma. 13/12 Cloma wrote to the Chinese Ambassador in Manila, expressing concern about reports that the  Nationalist Government had granted some private businessmen the authority to undertake mining  surveys. Surveys of the natural resources of Freedomland had already been done by Cloma, and  surface mining of phosphates had been in progress for some time, with 4000 tonnes standing ready  for shipment to New Zealand and Japanese buyers. Cloma mentioned that in the event of trouble he  could raise some 2000 young men to the defence of Freedomland. 14/12 He then wrote to President Magsaysay, saying that the Chinese action had forced him to disclose the  existence of his mining operations in Freedomland. 20/12 The Foreign Affairs Association adopted its Second Resolution concerning Freedomland. The  Resolution described Filemon Cloma and his officers as victims of a ruse by the naval personnel of  Nationalist China. It dismissed any possibility of a Chinese claim on either the Spratlys or  Freedomland, referring to Dr Bernabe Africa’s statement. It rebuked the Philippine Government for not  condemning the Chinese action and not protesting against it. It supported Africa’s opinion that  Spratlys were Allied booty, mentioning further that the San Francisco Peace Treaty failed to dispose of  the Spratlys and that the Allies were still the only body with jurisdiction over the archipelago. It  declared that the occupation of the Spratlys by an unfriendly power would be  threat to the Philippines  and recommended that the President should take action, and, if such action were not to be taken, that  Freedomland and the Spratlys be placed as trusteeship under the UN, with the US as the  Administering Authority. Failing that, the Foreign Affairs Association of the Philippines Inc. would be  free to take whatever action was necessary. The Resolution was signed by Manuel Gallego.  1957 8/2 The Vice President and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs replied, clarifying certain important issues:  - That the Spratlys were a seven-island group.  - That Freedomland included some of Spratly Islands. - That the rest of Freedomland was made up of uninhabited, uncharted and newly risen islands  (risen, that is, in the 20th century). - That all Freedomland, save for the islands which belonged to the Spratly group, were  resnullius. - That Philippine nationals, as well as any other nationals, have therefore the right to exploit and  settle them. - That the Spratlys, considered Allied booty and not having been disposed of in the San  Francisco peace Conference, were equally open for settlement and exploitation by the  nationals of any Allied Power as long as the status quo remained. - That it was in the interest of the Philippine Government to support legitimate ventures in  exploitation and settlement of the said territory.  Five weeks later President Magsaysay was assassinated. The new President, Garcia, made Serrano  Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Serrano planned to deal with the Freedomland issue but somehow  failed to do so.  1959 6 Cloma learned that some Taiwanese merchants were selling phosphates which had come from  Freedomland in Japan. He went to Japan to find out whether it was true and later said that the  merchants could have got to one of his islands unobserved. He threatened bloodshed, mentioning  ominously that a hundred-strong crew on his fishing boats had side-arms and home-made bombs. He seemed to have spoken to Serrano and Garcia about the affair, without tangible results.  1960 Cloma initiated agreements with a Hong Kong company for the exploitation of Freedomland’s  resources and suggested that the Philippines regard Freedomland imports as coming from a foreign  country, which should help prevent smuggling. The Government took no action.  1971 10/7 President Marcos issued and read a press statement concerning Freedomland, saying that his  Foreign Office had requested the Nationalist Chinese Government to withdraw its garrison from Itu  Aba (known to the Chinese under the name of Ligaw), which, being one of the Spratlys, belonged to  the Allied war booty and no one was permitted to introduce troops to it without the consent of the  Allies. The Chinese occupation of Itu Aba, Marcos said, was a threat to the national security of the  Philippines. In the same statement, President Marcos spoke about Freedomland, defining it as a 53-island group  (the number, of the islands being, in fact, 99) – with the exclusion of the Spratlys – registered as res  nullius and as such explored and occupied by Cloma. Marcos said that he had taken steps to protect  Freedomland and that the Philippines were in occupation and control of the islands of Pagasa, Lawak  and Patag.  In reality, the occupation amounted to establishing a two-man weather station on Pagasa. Following this statement, the Governments of Great Britain and the Netherlands announced the  abandonment of their rights as trustees over Spratly Islands.  In the Philippine Congress, two Congressmen, Representatives Mitra and Barbero, filed a bill  appropriating P 1 million for the development of Freedomland which the Philippines was now claiming. According to the bill passed by the House of Representatives, the Freedomland islands were  considered part of the Province of Palawan.  1972 3 At the 72nd meeting of the Seabed Committee of the United Nations, the Philippines reiterated their  ungrounded claim on Freedomland, acknowledging that the Seabed Committee was not an  appropriate body to adjudicate on such matters, but at the same time saying that it was impossible not  to react to the claim made by the People’s Republic of china to Nanchiao Island known in the  Philippines as Lawak Island and being part of Freedomland. The Philippine representative added that  the 53 islands of Freedomland were at that moment under the occupation and control of the Philippine  Government “which is open and adverse to all claims”. 24/4 Cloma constituted an Advisory Council for the Government of Freedomland with Dr Juan Arreglado as  Chairman, a former Philippine parliamentary representative, Jose C. de Venecia as Honorary  Chairman and a attorney Mena Q Teganas, as Council Secretary. De Venecia asked the Philippine  Government to either support Cloma’s claim or acquire the claim from him to give validity to the  Philippine claim on the territory.  1974 Early in the year, Cloma and the Supreme Council of Freedomland drafted a new Constitution,  changing the country’s status to Principality. The new Constitution encouraged the colonisation of the  territory by people from around the world. New citizens from European and Asian countries were  naturalised, and some of them elected to the Supreme Council. Prince John B de Mariveles was  among them. Cloma was alarmed at the deterioration of the political system in the Philippines: martial law had been  declared, under which curfews were imposed and detentions without trial permitted. This was  unacceptable to freedom-loving Cloma. He announced his resignation as Head of State, because of  his advanced age (71) and the fact that he was a Philippine citizen.  That year vast mineral wealth was discovered in Freedomland and the Philippines had designs on it.  To further emphasise and define the sovereignty and the openness to colonisation of Freedomland, he asked the Supreme Council to issue a proclamation changing the name of the country to Colonia, and  to elevate its status to the ‘Kingdom of Colonia’. That done, Cloma retired and resigned from the  Supreme Council and as Head of State in favour of Prince John de Mariveles.  24/8 The succession documents were prepared by council secretary Mena Q Teganas and notarised by the  Notary Public in Kalayaan, and later (5/11/1974) sworn in Manila before Rufino Santos, Notary Public  (as Documents 1096 and 1097, Book XLV, page 21, series of 1974) by all the Supreme Council,  consisting of Stephano P. Kaufman, Rudolph Shoppman, the Governor General Eric Sroka, Tomas  Cloma and Filemon Cloma, and accepted by Prince John. The Document 1097 changed the name of  the state to the Kingdom of Colonia. Tomas Cloma confirmed his resignation and Prince John was  elected as Head of State with absolute power. A new Constitution was approved for the kingdom, the  Secretariat in Manila closed and the new seat of the Government-in-exile established in Labuan,  Sabah (part of Malaysia).  11 Soon after in November, Cloma was arrested under martial law, on direct orders from President  Marcos and under a trumped-up charge. He was incarcerated at Camp Crame in Manila and held  without trial or notification to his family. In spite of the worldwide reaction of his family and friends and  the pressure they put up on President Marcos, it was only a month later that Cloma, in declining  health, was released after having been forced to sign a Deed of Cession to Marcos.  (The current Philippine claim on Colonia is based entirely on that Deed of Cession. The deed,  however, has no legal validity, as Cloma retired as Head of State previous to signing it and was thus  at the time without authority to sign anything on behalf of Colonia. Moreover, upon his release Cloma  renounced the Deed of Cession as it had been obtained under duress. Instead, he recertified all the  succession documents with Prince John who remains dedicated to Cloma’s original aims and ideas,  intending the wealth of Colonia to be shared with the sick and the needy in South East Asia, and the  benefit of her natural resources with all countries.)  Upon the removal of the seat of Government to Labuan, the officials were received by Tun Mustapha,  at the time the Chief Minister of Sabah, by the Minister of Finance and by local Members of  Parliament. 1975 The Government of the Kingdom of Colonia signed and registered agreements with a Malaysian  company of Datuk Harris Salleh, for the joint commercial mining of guano and phosphate rock in  Colonia. Following a presentation to the Malaysian Federal Government in Kuala Lumpur made by Tun Daol  Stevens, Governor and Chief Minister of Sabah, an invitation for Colonia to become a state of the  Malaysian Federation was extended to the Supreme Council. The Council graciously acknowledged  the invitation but declined by reason of tradition and out of regard for Cloma’s dream for the complete  independent sovereignty of Colonia.  This refusal did not damage the friendly relations with Malaysia which accepted Colonian passports  for entry and entered further commercial ventures with the Kingdom. The Secretariat remained in  Labuan. 1976 The Kingdom of Colonia presented documents of recently discovered vast national mineral wealth to  Malaysia. The information in the documents was so interesting that Malaysia commenced occupation  of Swallow Reef, a territory adjacent to the south border of the Kingdom but not part of the Kingdom  itself. Thus the Malaysian action presented no threat to Colonia’s territorial integrity and gave rise to  no dispute. From its seat in Labuan, the Supreme Council appointed Ambassadors and made diplomatic  advances with several countries in South East Asia and around the world in an effort to resolve the  sovereignty dispute. Efforts to advance the issue to the International Court in Hague were made.  1981 Prince John de Mariveles created his Dynastic Royal Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St  John of Jerusalem (Ecumenical). In the light of the Order’s chivalric ideals, its dedication to the holy  tradition and above all its open ecumenical character which echoed Tomas Cloma’s own passionate  championing of freedom, Prince John and the Supreme Council granted the Order sovereignty in the  Kingdom under his rule. It was decreed that ‘St John’ be appended to the name of the country.  All the accredited diplomatic representation of the Kingdom of Colonia St John around the world was  henceforth carried on by the Order of St John under its Grand Master Prince John.  1986 3 In March, British Legal Counsel made a search at the International Court in Hague, establishing that  there were no claims against the Kingdom of Colonia St John, formerly Freedomland. 1988-90 Lord Harold Wilson the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom presented the Kingdom’s position to the Government of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on three separate occasions, in an  effort to arrange a peaceful resolution to China’s claims. No conclusive solution to the problem was  reached at the time. Indeed Lord Wilsons brief was to seek close ties with and friendship with the  Peoples Republic of China. 1991 The Bandung Conference of the South China Sea, in Indonesia, was organised to attempt a treaty  partition of the area by foreign claimants.  The Kingdom made representation to the delegates that the  objective of the conference, that is, the wholesale distribution of the territory amongst themselves, was  illegal and in violation of international law.  Attempts by the conference participants to proceed were  thereupon abandoned. 1998 China and the Philippines agreed to form a committee to agree a code of conduct to prevent conflicts  and expansionism in the area 1999 Officials of ASEAN agreed to form a draft code of conduct to prevent claimants fighting amongst  themselves.  It was noted that no attempt was made to dispute the sovereign claim of the Kingdom,  but only to enjoin foreign claimants from contentious hostilities. 2000 1/1 The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea extended the principles of international  law regarding territorial claims offshore with regard to a country’s continental shelf.  The 1982 convention created a number of guidelines concerning the status of islands, the continental  shelf, and territorial limits.  The guidelines relevant to the Kingdom are:  1. Article 3, which established that “every state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial  sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles. 2. Articles 55-75 define the concept of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which is an area up to 200  nautical miles beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea.  The EEZ gives coastal states  “sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the  natural resources of the waters adjacent, the seabed, and its subsoil.” The Kingdom extended its Exclusive Economic Zone to 200 nautical miles beyond its 12 nautical mile  territorial waters.  2003 Shell Oil began development of the Malampaya Gas Field off Palawan, a $15B project.  A legal  dispute between the Province of Palawan and the Government of the Philippines for a share of gas  revenues resulted in the Phillippine government abandoning its claim to the territory under the  supposed Cloma Deed of Cession.  The Philippines instead restated its claim to part of the territory  under the 200 nautical mile EEZ.   The action had the result of voiding the rights of the Province of  Palawan to claim gas revenues from the central government, and thereby voided the claims of the  Philippines to the territories of the Kingdom 2004 Sinochem, the state oil company of China, made representations to the Kingdom to discuss possible  hydrocarbon exploration and development.  2006 It was reported that representation from the Republic of China was made to the Chinese government  in Beijing on the subject of transfer of claims in the territory.  The Beijing government responded to the  Republic of China that they had no valid claim, and rejected the overture.  The present The current situation in Colonia St John reflects border disputes with neighbouring powers attempting  to compete for the natural resources. As a result of the security situation citizens are advised to avoid  travel to the territory.  As an unfortunate consequence of the security situation  potential development  of the resources has been discouraged.  On another disconcerting note, there have been reports of  piracy in the waters.    There have been reports that some of the original Colonia settlers have stayed behind, but their fate is  at the moment unknown as visits to the Kingdom for the purpose of establishing whether those  citizens are alive or dead continue to be under security restriction. 
Tomas Cloma
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