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South China Sea thoughts?

This is a discussion on South China Sea thoughts? within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by koxinga It depends who is the OOW at the point in time although the skipper is ultimately ...


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Old July 14th, 2012   #1
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South China Sea thoughts?

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Originally Posted by koxinga View Post
It depends who is the OOW at the point in time although the skipper is ultimately accountable. As I understand, the OOW and the senior officer on the deck are likely to take the full brunt of any punishment if there is a violation of safety/ROTR.
That's how it works in some navies. But, in the PLA Navy, the officers are also members of CCP. Wonder if they have some party discipline to meted out?

In another update, a Philippine Islander aircraft sighted the grounded frigate on 14 Jul (3 days after the grounding) confirming the incident:

Philippines plane sights stranded Chinese ship - Channel NewsAsia

If this is the 1st sighting by a Philippine aircraft/ship of an incident 60 miles from Palawan, it shows how patchy their surveillance coverage is of the EEZ that they claim.
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Old July 15th, 2012   #2
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South China Sea thoughts?

So, apparrently there is a Chinese Frigate parked on a reef in the Phillipines EEZ...

How embarrassing for them, has the Phillipines Government taken any action? Joined the salvage effort?

Edit: Apparrently i'm a few days too late..
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Old July 15th, 2012   #3
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This is in response to SpartanSG's post:

I'm amazed SpartanSG. Now you're saying that the Philippines can't surveil their EEZ. Why do say "EEZ that they claim". International law of the sea states that countries have about 200 miles that they own. Now you realized in another thread why they must do something, even raiding their foreign reserves, so they can at least have a minimal defensive deterrence. Right now they only have that over 40 year old ex-USCGC Hamilton, maybe at the end of the year they will add another. They need more assets, i.e., frigates, corvettes, additonal Hamilton class ships and on-shore radars so they can perform surveillance of their EEZ.
You are new to this aren't you?

1. The Philippines claims 200nm EEZ in the South China Sea, including Spratlys. It is not the only country doing that and hence, a lot of what the Philippines is claiming as its EEZ are disputed waters (similar situation for Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. Taiwan's claims are the same as PRC's, and they are effectively "One China" in this issue). This means there is no internationally recognised maritime boundaries in the area as to who owns which waters. This is the reason for all the stand-offs in the South China Sea since 1974. It is not new.

2. You heard about the Mischief Reef Incident in 1994? That is a reef claimed by the Philippines (being 130 miles from Palawan) and PRC. PRC was building structures there, and it took quite some time before the Philippines discovered those structures (may have been months). Guess who has been controlling Mischief Reef since 1994?


3. Following Mischief Reef, what has the AFP done to improve their surveillance of the areas they claim in the South China Sea? Was anything done between 1994 and 2011 to improve surveillance (before the purchase of the Hamiltons)?

4. It was clearly reported in Chinese news that the PLA Navy frigate was conducting routine patrols in the area around Half Moon Shoal (where she was grounded). Her duties include chasing away fishermen. Surely she was not there to chase Chinese fishermen away, and as Half Moon Shoal is 70 miles west of Palawan, was the AFP doing anything to protect their own fishermen in the area? Or at least keep tabs on the PLA Navy frigate? And yet, the 1st report of a sighting of the PLA Navy report was made on 14 Jul (Sat), 3 days after the grounding.

Philippines plane sights stranded Chinese ship - Channel NewsAsia

If you have proof that the AFP has been good surveillance of the area and was tracking the PLA Navy frigate when it entered the waters the Philippines claims as its EEZ, I would love to have a look at it.

--- EDIT ---

By the way, if the AFP was tracking the PLA Navy frigate, they would have known about the grounding. But, the news of the grounding came from western diplomatic and Chinese news sources. Hence, if you have proof that the Philippines media broke the news first, I would love to look at it too.
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Old July 15th, 2012   #4
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So, apparrently there is a Chinese Frigate parked on a reef in the Phillipines EEZ...

How embarrassing for them, has the Phillipines Government taken any action? Joined the salvage effort?

Edit: Apparrently i'm a few days too late..
They merely observed and offered assistance if asked. China just re-floated the frigate and are their way back to China.
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Old July 16th, 2012   #5
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I am far from being a naval expert, but to me, it just seems that the PN seriously lacks fire power.
the issue for the fils is what force structure makes sense.

they have an island problem, they have problems in the green and they grey - not in the blue.

if they want to manage their EEZ then its about fast entry and support in the green and grey, if they want to project out and protect the EEZ its about subs as missileers are vulnerable even they have a manouvre advantage in some of those waters .

an expeditionary asset requires support and would inherently destroy force balance for minimal gain
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Old July 16th, 2012   #6
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the issue for the fils is what force structure makes sense.

they have an island problem, they have problems in the green and they grey - not in the blue.

if they want to manage their EEZ then its about fast entry and support in the green and grey, if they want to project out and protect the EEZ its about subs as missileers are vulnerable even they have a manouvre advantage in some of those waters .

an expeditionary asset requires support and would inherently destroy force balance for minimal gain
Thanks for the informative reply.

For protecting coastal waters, shouldn't FACMs and light corvettes be effective.
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Old July 17th, 2012   #7
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Originally Posted by gf0012-aust View Post
the issue for the fils is what force structure makes sense.

they have an island problem, they have problems in the green and they grey - not in the blue.

if they want to manage their EEZ then its about fast entry and support in the green and grey, if they want to project out and protect the EEZ its about subs as missileers are vulnerable even they have a manouvre advantage in some of those waters .

an expeditionary asset requires support and would inherently destroy force balance for minimal gain
The thing is, that the Philippine navy needs to center their fleet around a Multi Role Frigate, with Corvettes, patrol boats and an LPD. An SSK submarine would come down the line in about 10 to 20 yrs after they build a fleet around a frigate.
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Old July 17th, 2012   #8
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The thing is, that the Philippine navy needs to center their fleet around a Multi Role Frigate, with Corvettes, patrol boats and an LPD. An SSK submarine would come down the line in about 10 to 20 yrs after they build a fleet around a frigate.

"the things is" there is a reason why every other country around the Spratlys have renewed interest and have been buying subs for the last 20 years

sooner or later they know that its the biggest force changer they can integrate if they seek to dictate how things occur in their EEZ

no amount of frigates will do that. protect or prosecute - its the basic evolution that all navies go through
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Old July 21st, 2012   #9
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Originally Posted by StevoJH View Post
So, apparrently there is a Chinese Frigate parked on a reef in the Phillipines EEZ...

How embarrassing for them, has the Phillipines Government taken any action? Joined the salvage effort?

Edit: Apparrently i'm a few days too late..
Lucky we didn't put mines around the reef or China will probably be paying us for the cost of the mines they set off.

That was just a joke but it kinda makes you think what if?

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Originally Posted by T.C.P da Devil View Post
IMHO
PN should go after ships with missile armaments, FACMs, Corvettes, Frigates.

Whenever I look at the Philippine military and the threats they face, I wonder what their govt has been doing for so long.

I don't know about the level of defence cooperation Philippine has with S.Korea, but they should try and get the ULSAN class frigate like us. Its a beautiful ship, armed with new generation OTOMATS and can poe a serious threat to all aggressors.

Instead of going for extremely expensive and hard to mainatin sub, the money would definetely be better spent on their surface fleet.

Philippine has much closer defence ties with the US than BD, they should use this to get their hands on the OHPs, sure they are old, but for 100 million dollars they can get the ship refurbished and even upgraded to an extent, a 4000+ ton ship would be fantastic for the PN, given of course that they have the base%r0infrastructure for such a large ship.

Or they could even go for more novel approaches, buying OPVs and then upgrading them with SSMs, (like we did with the Castle class).

I am far from being a naval expert, but to me, it just seems that the PN seriously lacks fire power.
Unfortunately, surface ships are sitting ducks against anti-ship m)ssiles launched by aircrafts and by the DF-21D.

New Chinese Antiship Ballistic Missiles May Undercut U.S. Naval Supremacy | Global Security Newswire | NTI

Besides, air-independent propulsion submarines provide force projec4ion capabilities and if ever we go to war with China, we could just send them to ambush ships passing the South China Sea (let's stick to the SCS not the West Phil. Sea because naming it WPS doesn't mean its ours) sending supplies to China. [Mod Edit: Offiical warning issued.

This post is ridiculous. You have been previously warned about the quality of your posts. Your inability to observe Forum Rules and follow Mod guidance issued in this thread.

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Originally Posted by gf0012-aust View Post
Can some of you pause before posting as this thread is heading to Tom Clancy levels of fiction over fact.

It might be useful to reinforce individual belief rather than make bold claims about how subs work, are acquired and/or perform because quite a few claims about sub performance and capability just don't reflect what some of us do know about subs - and some of us have actually been involved in various sub programs

staying on track and separating fact from fiction, and opinion from fact would be useful from this point on.
One week ago, the Mod Team asked members of this thread to pause before posting (the prior Mod post is quoted above). Thereafter, to separate fact from fiction and opinion from fact. Why are you talking about tracking and defending DF-21Ds, acquiring AIP submarines or laying mines?
(i) How sensible is it to talk about the threat of DF-21Ds or acquiring AIP submarines? DF-21Ds are meant to deter the US Navy, not to deal with regional navies (traditionally seen as the least capable navy amongst the big-6 ASEAN navies). Especially when your country's navy has traditionally been a green/brown water construct, with little or no air, surface and submarine warfare capabilities. Let us be grounded in our discussions for current and maybe even next procurement cycle priorities (rather than discuss procurement wish lists a generation from now).

(ii) How sensible is it to talk about disrupting the Sea Lines of Communications to North East Asia (NE Asia), namely, Japan & S. Korea via laying mines? Such gross stupidity would ensure that you align China's interests with that of the rest of NE Asia.

(iii) How about discussing how to further develop domain awareness and conducting basic patrols over disputed EEZ waters? Maintaining domain awareness counts, so that your navy can send it's limited assets to patrol where needed (being on the scene) and with limited surface assets, the ability to sustain the vessels via having a sufficient maintenance budget counts.
Develop a real interest in the defence matters you post about and stop posting self-deluded rubbish. ]

Last edited by OPSSG; August 12th, 2012 at 12:10 AM.
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Old August 28th, 2012   #10
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And sadly, it seems that most Chinese people (or at least, the vocal ones) don't understand that most of the lands they're laying claim to either (1) were never Chinese, or (2) are inhabited by non-Chinese people who see Chinese claims as aggressive imperialism, or neo-colonialism - and in some cases, both. I recently read an article by a Chinese professor (so he should know better) who said that he'd only recently discovered that Okinawa was once 'ours' (meaning Chinese). That is, of course, nonsense: Okinawa has never been part of China, has never been ruled by China, & has always (as it is now) been inhabited by non-Chinese people who had & have no wish to be ruled by China. But unhappily, that sort of dangerous nonsense appears to be widely believed in China.
The Chinese claim to Okinawa is not an official claim. Rather, its a belief by a particular professor that is not particularly grounded in reality. Such outrageous claims have been made by many individuals in many different countries (including people claiming Singapore belongs to China, or that Singapore is a US outpost) and should not be confused with official territorial disputes.

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And the claims to the entire South China sea as territorial waters are illegal under international laws which China has ratified. The EEZ is not the same as territorial waters. China cannot own the entire sea, & the air above it, even if it owned the islands in the sea.
That's the view perpetuated by western media. While it is certainly true that China cannot claim the entire sea, their claims to the Spratlys are not as tenuous as made out in the western media.

I quote an example here. This article is by Sam Bateman, who is a noted expert on maritime issues. He is also a retired Commodore from the RAN:

http://www.rsis.edu.sg/publications/...SIS1572012.pdf

The relevant bits from the above link:

Quote:
Putting the blame on China overlooks a basic consideration with the sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea: that China’s sovereignty claims there are at least as good as the claims of other parties. This is the objective opinion of many independent international lawyers. For example, in a substantial paper in 1999, the late Professor Christopher Joyner, Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for International Law and Politics, found no strong legal support for any of the claims. He noted, however, that China’s case was “well documented” while the Vietnamese case had major weaknesses as did the Philippine and Malaysian claims.
I have attended Sam Bateman's talks on these disputes twice, and what he shares in his talks are more than what he writes down. But that is under Chatham House Rules, so I am not at liberty to share that.

However, I can say that even PLA Navy officers are interested to hear what he has to say about the South China Sea disputes. And quite frankly, I find that Sam Bateman's position is objective and neutral. It is not coloured by nationalistic or political sentiments.
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Old August 29th, 2012   #11
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There are at least two other instances for this claim, one by a Major General at China's national defense university and one by a former official at the Chinese embassy to Japan.

http://jsw.newpacificinstitute.org/?p=10398

While these aren't official claims, they aren't being put forward by inconsequential people. At the minimum, it is a cause for concern. Chinese border disputes with India don't seem to be going well either. I vaguely recall that China recently expanded their claims to Arunachal Pradesh. I believe they also move a couple more divisions of the PLA to Tibet.
The People's Republic of China (PRC) is not a monolithic entity. Being the most populous nation on earth means that not everyone toe the official line. Hence, to refute your point:

1. Has there been any historical precedence of such claims being turned into an official claim? Not to my knowledge, but if you have any examples, I'd like to know.

2. Is there any country on earth where every single person of authority toes the official line? Again, not to my knowledge, but I don't mind being proven wrong.

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Chinese claims to other territories & waters have, in some cases, evolved from unofficial to official. When eminent individuals are publicly making claims & not being slapped down, it's a bad sign. China is not the UK, where the government takes little notice of such things.
As I stated above, which of PRC's claim went from unofficial to official? I'd like to see the facts.

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Sam Bateman quotes Professor Joyner as saying that none of the claims has a strong legal basis, i.e. they are all tenuous. To suggest that means that China's claim is not tenuous is perverse.
Sam Bateman said "China's claims are at least as good as other parties", a statement I put in bold in my previous post. This is quite different from the majority of english-language media that rubbishes PRC's claim as being weaker than others (if not baseless altogether).

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Originally Posted by swerve View Post
All the littoral states make excessive claims, but China's stands out. Unlike any other state, it claims, in effect, the entire sea, including rocks & islets close to the coasts of other countries. It also claims every rock & shoal it claims has territorial waters extending far beyond what is internationally recognised, & it breaches the principle of equidistance.
Says who? The english-language media?

Here's the facts:

http://www.rsis.edu.sg/publications/...SIS0362012.pdf

Relevant bits are

Quote:
However, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reiterated that China is not claiming sovereignty over all of the South China Sea. Although China has not completely clarified its nine-dashed line, in official diplomatic notes to the United Nations, it has claimed sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and their adjacent waters.
This is the reason many parties have called for PRC to clarify its claims in the South China Sea for decades, which will be the basis for resolution of the disputes.

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Originally Posted by swerve View Post
China makes arguments in support of its claims which it dismisses as contrary to international law when put forward by other countries, e.g the attachment of territorial waters & EEZs to rocks & shoals, which it condemns in rather intemperate language in other cases (e.g. Okinotorishima). It illegally sends submerged submarines through Japanese straits, within universally recognised territorial waters, & insists on its right of surface transit, while complaining about the perfectly legal surface transits of warships through waters it claims (but without any legal basis) itself. The hypocrisy it displays is breathtaking.
Submarines operating in other country's waters are new? Hasn't that been happening for the last century? Every country that operates submarines send them on "surveillance" to areas of interest, which does include other country's waters. And yet this is cause to take the PRC to task, but not other submarine operating countries?

Talk about hypocrisy.

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The basis of most of its territorial claims is that territory X was part of China at some time in the past, & therefore belongs to China now. This is, of course, complete nonsense. It rejects the principle of self-determination outright.
If PRC claims territory that once belonged to it as their sovereign land, that will include the entire Vietnam (direct Chinese rule for 1,000 years, another 1,000 years as a vassal state) and Korean Peninsula (Chinese vassal for several centuries). I don't see any such claims.

Also, what the english language media tend not to hype about are the peaceful resolution of border disputes between the PRC and several of its neighbours. For example:

1. the border dispute with Russia:

WPR Article | Russia, China End Decades-Long Border Dispute

2. the dispute with DPRK and 1 border dispute with India:

International Boundary Disputes Resolved (Infographic)

That's just 3 examples easily found on the net. Several more border disputes on the PRC's western frontier have also been peacefully resolved (will post links when I have the time to search for them).

Now, what was it about self-determination and respect for international law on the part of PRC again?

--- EDIT ---

I'd like to see a link about PLA submarines passing through Japan's territorial waters. What I have been able to find are PLA warships passing 100km east of Miyakojima island in Okinawa Prefecture:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_...AJ201112020081

That's EEZ, not territorial waters. But, if there is a link about PLA submarines passing through Japanese territorial waters, I'd like to see it.
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Old August 29th, 2012   #12
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The People's Republic of China (PRC) is not a monolithic entity. Being the most populous nation on earth means that not everyone toe the official line. Hence, to refute your point:

1. Has there been any historical precedence of such claims being turned into an official claim? Not to my knowledge, but if you have any examples, I'd like to know.
Pretty much all of their claims to the SCS and many of their border claims on the continent. Their border claim is the maximum extent at any point in time of any chinese border, not at any single point in time, any point in time throughout Chinese history. The current Arunachal Pradesh situation is a prime example too, they recently went from unofficial to official by expanding their claims there.

Have you looked at China's territorial Claims? They go almost to the shore of some countries, their claims are simply absurd.




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Originally Posted by SpartanSG View Post
2. Is there any country on earth where every single person of authority toes the official line? Again, not to my knowledge, but I don't mind being proven wrong.
No it's not a monolithic block, it is still a communist political system with various groups competing for power and right now, the nationalists and military are gaining in power. A major general at the National Defense University doesn't make comments like that without some powerful backing. If he had, he would have gotten slapped down fast.


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As I stated above, which of PRC's claim went from unofficial to official? I'd like to see the facts.
Here's a good read on the Chinese strategy


Salami Slicing in the South China Sea - By Robert Haddick | Foreign Policy
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Old August 31st, 2012   #13
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I am astonished that you have not found any mention of Chinese incursions into Japanese territorial waters. China has apologised for at least one of them, blaming it on 'technical glitches'. It took me seconds to find that - submerged passage 10th November 2004. There have been others with no apology.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Complaining vociferously about things that you do yourself is hypocritical.

I did not say that China claims every former Chinese territory, but it claims land that has been only briefly occupied, occupied long ago, or which has had a connection with, but not been part of, China. The claim to Tibet & parts of what are now northern India has a very flimsy historical basis, for example. And, as already said, China ignores the principle of self-determination.

Its official claims are pragmatic (strategic or economic), dressed up with talk of Chinese rights. It doesn't care how flimsy the basis is, as long as it can find one. The ruling class is also happy to use entirely spurious claims to divert the populace from internal affairs - and that's a dangerous game.
Thanks for the info about the 2004 intrusion by a Chinese sub. It is certainly an important event, although PRC has apologised for it (a rare thing in Sino-Japanese relations).

I agree that 2 wrongs do not make a right. And unfortunately, all countries are guilty of that to varying extents. It is not unique to PRC.

And I also agree that its claims to Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh are flimsy and spurious, although I would say that the Arunachal Pradesh issue was complicated by Indian actions (sabre-rattling and political posturing resulting in a brief war). Otherwise, it could well have been resolved already. Both sides are responsible for the current mess it is.

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Pretty much all of their claims to the SCS and many of their border claims on the continent. Their border claim is the maximum extent at any point in time of any chinese border, not at any single point in time, any point in time throughout Chinese history. The current Arunachal Pradesh situation is a prime example too, they recently went from unofficial to official by expanding their claims there.
Do you have a link for the claims in Arunachal Pradesh that went from unofficial to official? I'd like to read that up.

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Have you looked at China's territorial Claims? They go almost to the shore of some countries, their claims are simply absurd.
China's claims in the South China Sea was made in 1947 (or thereabouts) by Nationalist China (now known as Republic of China aka Taiwan) when it was THE China. At the time the claim was made, territorial waters only extended up to 3nm from the coast, and the claim was not refuted or rubbished or said to be absurd by any western powers at that time (including the US).

When the CCP won the Chinese Civil War in 1949, they "inherited" the South China Sea claim and they did not make any changes to it (in other words, it has not changed from when it was 1st made). But, when PRC (under CCP), started pushing the claim, it got rubbished/refuted by the west. I wonder why?

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No it's not a monolithic block, it is still a communist political system with various groups competing for power and right now, the nationalists and military are gaining in power. A major general at the National Defense University doesn't make comments like that without some powerful backing. If he had, he would have gotten slapped down fast.
I hope you understand that the National Defense University is 1 of the most nationalistic institutions in PRC. The kind of stuff they put out push the boundaries of nationalism, but is not a reflection of official policy. They are generally expected to be nationalistic in that place, otherwise they may be seen as lacking in loyalty/nationalism.

I suppose a comparable western example is US generals talking about nuking USSR during the Cold War.

These are uniformed people, not policy-makers.

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As it happens, I have read that article before. It was a nice perspective, but it seems the author may not be aware of the ground truth, which is that the various claimants have already staked their claims with outposts/garrisons on whatever islands/islets/outcrops in the South China Sea since the 1980s (leading to the Mischief Reef incident in mid-90s).

While it is true that PRC has recently instituted the "Sansha City" as the administrative centre for all their claims in the South China Sea, they are not the only one.

Vietnam has a similar administrative set-up to push their claim. The Philippines has passed the Archipelagic Law as well as renaming part of the are to the West Philippine Sea. Malaysia and Vietnam also had a joint submission to Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS):

CLCS submissions and claims in the South China Sea, by Robert C. Beckman & Tara Davenport

All the claimants are using various means to push their claims, but only the PRC is singled out for criticism?
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Old August 31st, 2012   #14
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I just love the way this issue is always presented as China vs all the rest.

The reality of course is that all the main Coastal nations have massive claims beyond the boundaries of the EEZ. In particular Vietnam and the Philippines which have claims not much less than those of China. The claim is incidentally that of China not PRC as the map of the Chinese Claim was first drawn in its modern form, under the Government of Chiang Kai Shek.
Exactly right.

And it is probably useful to recap the history and basis of this dispute for the benefit of the readers of this thread who may not be aware.

There are basically 3 basis for territorial claims:

1. Historical basis. In other words, based on right of 1st discovery (or I was there first). This was how huge colonial empires were established with no regard for the natives. However, in the case of the South China Sea, the islands/islets/outcrops were all uninhabited.

2. Legal basis. Based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which came into force in 1994 (a very recent event):

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/conventi...s/unclos_e.pdf

3. Basis of Occupation. In other words, the place in under active control of a particular country.

In the pre-UNCLOS days, only China (PRC & ROC), Vietnam and the Philippines lay claim to Spratlys. And their claims were made based on historical basis (i.e., they discovered it first, or was there first). Each claimant supported their claims with their own historical documents. However, it should be noted that the area has been the traditional fishing grounds for all these countries for centuries.

When UNCLOS was being drafted, Malaysia and Brunei realised that UNCLOS allows them to stake a claim to the South China Sea features as well. Consequently, they based their claims primarily on UNCLOS and entered the dispute.

To strengthen their claims, the various countries starting planting flags and building outposts on the various features in the area (with the exception of Brunei) to stake the features as theirs (basis of occupation). This led to skirmishes between PRC and Vietnam as well as the Mischief Reef incident. The outposts that were established since the end of the last skirmish in Johnson Bank have not changed hands since.

With regard to China's 9-dotted line claim, it was staked out before UNCLOS. And when PRC ratified and implemented UNCLOS, it filed an exception for the areas under dispute:

Declarations or Statements upon UNCLOS ratification

This was accepted at UN.
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Old September 2nd, 2012   #15
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$1.8 Billion Philippines defense upgrade preparation for the next Battlefield -The West Philippine South China Sea | Rebuilding for the Better Philippines
It's getting serious. I guess an arms build-up is inevitable and it could increase pressure until the time when one party might make a simple mistake and war might come crashing down. It might get diffused if Beijing decides to avoid provocations though.

Then there's the missile shield which might be put in the Philippines.
http://betterphils.blogspot.com/2012...-in-japan.html
(Keyword is "might")
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