South China Sea News & Discussions, incl Spratly Islands News

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Chino

Defense Professional
Verified Defense Pro
Well for a start it certainly doesn't want to but if things suddenly got worse, it would be left with little choice, especially if its key national interests came under threat.
I wonder where TWN would stand if fighting did break out. It'd be confusing, since both TWN and JPN are US allies. But TWN opposes JPN's claim of Diaoyu (and its own claim of Diaoyu is the same one as the PRC's)...:dbanana

...

The JPN move to "buy" the islands from its "private owners" (it is never mentioned who they are) is a grand master stroke.

Without deploying a single military personnel, this seemingly civil gesture has brought PRC closest to losing its composure and show its hand.

If they manage to provoke the PRC into aggressive military action with a civil gesture, PRC will then be proven to be the aggressor and thus give US the perfect excuse to intervene.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I remember a few years ago when Japanese ships blocked Taiwanese protesters from entering the area, the PRC issued a strong warning to Japan. I really is confusing and not surprisingly, the only time Taiwan and the PRC see eye to eye is when both issue 'warnings' or dismiss actions taken by others.

Other disputes that come to mind in the one involving Japan and Russia over the Kuriles and over Dokdo, between Japan and South Korea.



I was reading about it in the local papers. It's some family, can't recall the name, who supposedly have 'owned' the island for generations.

Some interesting videos. The first two I've posted before.
Cool Sturm, thanks for the links I'll go and check them out. Well I see some PRC border boats have entered Japanese waters again, I think near those islands. I read it on the BBC last night but have had a sleep since then. A couple of things to point out is the PRC power change at the top (in the Politburo) and the fulla that is supposed to take over has now reappeared after being MIA for a few days. Everything there is political and this is causing much of the nervousness and touchiness amongst PRC organisations. Secondly,again political, there have been demonstrations all around China against Japan and calling for the PRC to assert itself, with the odd one calling for the PRC to go to war against Japan over the disputed islands and control of the eastern China Sea.
 

Andri F

Banned Member
Missed replying to this earlier.

Are you implying the grounding of a PLA Navy frigate on Half Moon Shoal is a provocation? Based on reports, PLA Navy frigates have been conducting patrols there for years, but I didn't see protests from the other claimants about such patrols.
No but I'm implying that that incident is certainly more threatening than the "Sansha nonsense". Some even thought of another Michief Reef in the making. Have you been reading the opinions of some Filipinos on the matter? They go along the lines of sinking the damn ship to asking if Chinese eyes are vestigial to making fun of Chinese-made products to cursing our government for not capturing the ship.

Here's an example. PAF plane spots Chinese frigate stuck on shoal | Inquirer Global Nation

And let me remind you what got stuck on the shoal. It's a Type 53 frigate. So tell me the difference between a warship on disputed area and a warship on your backyard?
 

Andri F

Banned Member
Would the US really engage a large nuclear-armed power (in its own backyard) over what is essentially a spat over a few uninhabited islands claimed by an ally?
Economically and logically no. The US will not fight for us even with the Mutual Defense Treaty being activated. We will be alone in that case.

But think of it: If they don't support us, wouldn't they lose face and credibility? What Asian country would trust them if they can't oblige on a Mutual Defense Treaty with a "major non-NATO ally"? Some countries might even start searching for a favorable compromise with the PRC.
(Please, there is no need to go to the details of the MDT unless it is related to your reply.)
 

Andri F

Banned Member
It seems my previous posts went over your head?

1. I did not mention naval war (read my previous posts properly). I said that China is exercising restrain by not deploying warships during stand-offs. They only deployed paramilitary ships. There is a difference, but I'm not sure you understand that.

2. It seems the point about mutual provocations is lost on you? There is no such situation between Malaysia and China because there is no mutual provocation. As I have said in my previous posts, neutral observers have highlighted the situation of mutual provocations (tit-for-tat) that resulted in the current situation. But I suppose you choose to believe the reporting from your national media, which has obviously not reported any provocations from your country (for whatever reason).

3. You said other claimants have arms buildup is evidence that there are provocations by China. As far as I can see, Malaysia is also modernising (build up if you will) its military, but I don't see any provocations there.

4. You expect China (Big Brother) to "act nicely". Does this apply if other claimants are acting nastily?


That is an interesting assumption. Do you know how many submarines the PLA Navy have?
For no. 1, did I say you mentioned naval warfare? NO. I made that statement as a reply to this: "As for you mention of war, did the local media in your country highlight that China's military has not been deployed to the disputed areas?" I specified the instances I mentioned that contained the war part.

Concerning no. 2, I did not hear a report of a Philippine ship/trawler getting closer towards the PRC's EEZ. And don't get started on the nine-dash-line. Do you honestly expect Filipino fishermen to know where that is and stop fishing at the spot where they've been fishing for decades now and look for other ways to sustain their family? I didn't hear about Phil. Navy ships harassing PLAN ships or paramilitary ships because frankly how many PN ships are capable of doing harassment that could rival what China has been doing?

For no. 3, would you rather stall modernization because your rivals haven't pointed their cannons at you and wait for the time your rival does before "cramming" especially with economic situations continually changing?

And no. 4, read/research about the Code of Conduct the PRC supposedly agreed to.

As for the last, remember this?: "I also do not see China being able to dominate the South China Sea simply because there are so many navies active in the area, including the US 7th Fleet. Recently, even the Indian Navy has been active in the area. Hence, it is hard to see how China can dominate the area in the near future."
That's what I meant when I mentioned about my reply to the statement about the 7th Fleet.
 

fretburner

Banned Member
I believe the Chinese article consider all the disputed areas a belonging to Hainan. Hence the impression that foreign fishing vessels went near to Hainan.
Hence, the media spin.

I don't think any of the other claimants annexed any of the islands under one of their provinces. The Philippines for example, didn't annex the Spratly's under Palawan.

The Philippines did indeed want ICJ to arbitrate. Personally, its just as well that didn't happen as I'm not so sure they had a really good case for all of their claims.
If they didn't, then why is China not going to court? They're supposed to win because the Philippines' weak case right?
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Nonetheless, even disregarding the earlier imperial history that China uses to justify its claims in the South China Sea, it still officially filed the claims with UN in 1947. That's decades before the other claimants became countries (i.e., Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei). If China had sorted out the territorial sovereignty of the area at that time, or before the other claimants became independent, than there won't be such disputes now.
A quibble: it's not decades before any of the others became countries. The Philippines became formally independent on 4th July 1946.

Formally registering a claim is a significant factor, & one that has to be considered when evaluating the worth of the various claims. But it is far from being the sole determinant of validity. The dependent status of most of the other countries was a major obstacle to the Chinese claim being generally accepted. Given the tenor of the times, it is unlikely that any of the colonial states could have agreed to Chinese claims on behalf of their colonial subjects. It would also have been politically difficult for China (committed to decolonisation) to have made agreements with colonial states which their colonial subjects would have seen as disadvantageous.
 

Chino

Defense Professional
Verified Defense Pro
Economically and logically no. The US will not fight for us even with the Mutual Defense Treaty being activated. We will be alone in that case.

But think of it: If they don't support us, wouldn't they lose face and credibility? What Asian country would trust them if they can't oblige on a Mutual Defense Treaty with a "major non-NATO ally"? Some countries might even start searching for a favorable compromise with the PRC.
(Please, there is no need to go to the details of the MDT unless it is related to your reply.)
(I am not saying if US will or won't...)

But if they didn't support the Philippines on Spratlys, that doesn't mean they will automatically lose credibility or that China will take it as a sign of weakness.

That's painting with very broad strokes.

That the USN has 10 carriers or something does not change. That they guarantee the sovereignty of Philippines (official undisputed territories) does not change.

One can't assume the US will help its allies fight every time they get into a scrap over some deserted wasteland. But I guess no one will know - and the US won't say - until shooting happens.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
But think of it: If they don't support us, wouldn't they lose face and credibility? What Asian country would trust them if they can't oblige on a Mutual Defense Treaty with a "major non-NATO ally"?
Recent announcements by the U.S. that the Asia Pacific is now the main area of concern, has certainly played a part in how certain claimants conduct their respective policies towards the Spratleys. In the mid-1990's, the U.S. publicly said that the Mutual Defence Treaty with the Philippines does not cover any 'trouble' caused by the Spratleys dispute. And until now, the U.S. has yet to publicly give the Philippines an assurance of assistance - similar to the one given to Taiwan by the Bush administration - in the event that trouble does break out with China over the Spratleys.

Yet, if trouble were indeed to break out if if half the PN was sunk in the South China Sea or if salvos of ballistic missiles destroyed half of the naval base at Clark, I find it hard to see how the U.S. would not get involved to provide security to its only former colony, which is also a non-NATO ally, which is located amidst vital shipping lanes that are crucial to the global economy. Granted the U.S. is not eager for war with China but if things were to get really bad, even if Chinese action against the Philippines does not actually 'threaten' the sovereignty of the Philippines, IMO the U.S. would be forced to act. Apart from key national interests, it would have to act as not doing so would send a completely wrong message to key allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia, as well as to India and other ASEAN countries, all of whom look to the U.S. for assurance and as a hedge against possible Chinese attempts at hegemony.
 

fretburner

Banned Member
Because to allow the ICJ to rule on the issue would be to admit that foreigners have the right to dictate limits on their behavior. I think it is likely that the Chinese would see that as a major loss of face.
Agreed. China, I believe, is treating this as an "internal" matter, which obviously is not.

And until now, the U.S. has yet to publicly give the Philippines an assurance of assistance - similar to the one given to Taiwan by the Bush administration - in the event that trouble does break out with China over the Spratleys.
I think having a very passive CIC is also part of the reason why.
 

Andri F

Banned Member
With China now increasingly engage with Japan over Senkaku-Diaoyou dispute, how far can China maintain this 'aggressive' claimant posture ? They (China) threaten trade war with Japan, well Japan simply close their business and will resulted with hundred of thousands unemployment in China and can drag further pressure to China job market that now already has pressure due to the slow down of export.

China seems stretching too far this time, with Japan. Perhaps this time the Philippines and Vietnam can try to push their luck further more. Can China keep the aggressive move within two front ? Yes their Southern fleet still can outmatch whatever Philippines and Vietnam Navy can throw out in South China sea. However PLAN need all their Three main Fleet if even want to have chances against JMSDF.
I don't know about that. Its not just the equipments (unless there is overwhelming superiority in quality and enough quantity of them for one side) that decides the war. Most of the time, its the doctrine, training and the commanders and their decisions that really shapes the war.
 
the trouble is that in the western world backing down sometimes is not that much of an issue but in the far east honour is a major issue. i cant see how the 2nd and 3rd largest economies in the world could have a conflict without almost everyone else getting involved.
 

USAF77

Banned Member
I can tell you 90% of Americans dont even know the Spratlys exist. There would be 0% of public support to go to war with China over the issue. You cant expect America to get into a major war by writing a piece of paper saying these islands are yours ; We just dont see them as Australia proper.

I'm not saying there would be no American assistance. You would have the Info from a vast Intel network. And any kind of attack on the Aussie mainland is a line the Chinese would not cross. Besides the Chinese have plenty of incentive to avoid a fight in this region. Most of all with Australia which is a huge trade partner.


Economically and logically no. The US will not fight for us even with the Mutual Defense Treaty being activated. We will be alone in that case.
Some countries might even start searching for a favorable compromise with the PRC.
Thats going to happen anyway. And the "some" is probably closer to "all". Right now China is just using bully tactics to strengthen their diplomatic claims.

But think of it: If they don't support us, wouldn't they lose face and credibility? What Asian country would trust them if they can't oblige on a Mutual Defense Treaty with a "major non-NATO ally"? Some countries might even start searching for a favorable compromise with the PRC.
(Please, there is no need to go to the details of the MDT unless it is related to your reply.)
 

colay

New Member
A historic day in Manila with the signing today of a framework document that will hopefully lead to a lasting peace with the MILF in Mindanao. Hopefully both sides can work out their differences by the 2016 target date.

This should give further momentum to the government's focus on external security a territorial concerns., with more funds being allocated to the AFP modernization program.
 

db2646

Banned Member
Hello to everyone! I am new in this forum. I've been reading the posts in this thread and I find it educating relative to the current news of the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea and East China Sea. With the Philippines bringing China to the UNCLOS, I wonder what would be the impact and repercussions of such move to the Philippine's economy since China is the biggest economy in Asia and could be the largest buyer of Philippine goods?
 

db2646

Banned Member
I think the concept of the Philippines being one of the most corrupt nations in SE Asia will hardly come as a revelation to anyone.
If anyone really has doubts they are free to follow this link:
Transparency International - Country Profiles

Or read the words of this Gentleman
Corruption in the Philippines is "like a dagger pointed at our hearts," Manila's archbishop says - Vatican Insider

The point being that there is a generally accepted high level of corruption throughout the country, which lends itself to those in positions of authority to exploit that authority for personal gain. This itself leads to the idea that this incident looks more like a an unauthorised "shakedown" of the Taiwanese Fisherman gone wrong, rather than a more official policy from Manilla, which was my main point.

I would extend it by saying that I would not be surprised to see both the PLAN and the Taiwanese Navy extend Anti Piracy protection to each others Fishermen or indeed to initiate Anti Piracy patrols in the general region.
It looks like you have an axe to grind against the Philippines with your finger pointing. This type of deal is not limited to that part of Asia? These types of things are inherrent in third world countries and no exceptions. It even happens to mainland China. Therefore your assessments are not even handed.
 

gf0012-aust

Grumpy Old Man
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Agree completely. To add to that Pilipino seafarers provide a sizeable chunk of crews to many seafaring nations, including those embroiled in the the current situation.


Irrespective of what you may think of them most are hard working and very professional. .......... and extremely capable. Sorry DB, we have crossed paths before and I again find that you tend to make comments that are unsupportable or based on a premise which is fundamentally flawed. As I have noted before, we all make mistakes, however suggest it is time for you to retract.

While the rights and wrongs of the currently situation need to be sorted out, and indeed there may be some fault on the Philippines Navy (something for those who have the facts to sort out) to imply that this may be connected to a character trait (which is how I read your posts) is reprehensible.
Some of you might be aware that my daughter was at one stage involved in maritime protection work for uplifting ships from Italy to SEAsia

She considered that her filipino team was the most reliable group of people she ever had - she trusted them implicitly. She often had team members who were ticketed but had ended up with demeaning minor roles due to the poor management policies of companies like cunard/carnival

she did a number of transfer gigs where the armed teams were ex ghurkas or ex filipino SF

they were excellent operators and highly regarded by the other maritime protection companies who had no qualms about poaching each others staff.
 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I beg your pardon! I am not against Filipinos. In fact I'm with them. I am Filipino by heritage and a third generation Filipino in the United States of America. I read lots of stories about Filipinos being mistreated all around the world and it makes me sick to my stomach. So please, don't accuse me of anti-filipino. It is because I disagree with some members of this forum doesn't make me a bigot.
If that is the case good for you ............. but you need to choose your words more carefully because the tone did not really appear to translate that way. The way you conduct your arguments certainly does you no credit.
 

Bonza

Super Moderator
Staff member
Apparently it wasn't good enough or plain enough to have multiple moderators issue a warning for the exact same kind of behaviour, and so I'm drawing this farcical nonsense to an end here.

db2646, don't come back under a different name, don't ever darken the forum again with your BS, just accept that you're not good enough and go somewhere else to make their administrative team tear their hair out...
 

Sampanviking

Banned Member
Might be true, as i do not know personally, but lets assume it does not include the Spratys, where does that leave the Philippines in case of a armed conflict over them?
Because even tho the MDT does not cover the islands i can hardly see the US sit back and just let it happen like that.
So according to you what would be the response of Philippines partners and allies (If any other then US)
And given the limited options available to the Philippines what could they do other then scream at the UN council?:rolleyes:
Because honestly given the situation at hand the last thing Asia needs is another potential crisis.
That being said what are china's options here in this situation and how would they respond to any situation beyond just saber rattling?
That's easy enough
China will try very hard to press its claims but will also try very hard to avoid actual conflict in the process. Likewise the US will look to shore up its position and those of its allies, but ultimately will look to avoid conflict.
I think in that sense you have a proper perspective of what the "Pivot" and "Containment" is really about, not a hard bottling up of the PRC, as that would be a guaranteed road to conflict under conditions that the PLA should feel confident about winning. Instead containment is about a slowing of the expansion of Chinese influence and bottling it up to just the maximum safety will allow and drag out Chinese expansion into the Pacific from just a few years to maybe several decades.

I often like to use Geological terms for this situation and call the spheres of influence, the Geopolitical plates. The sound an fury we can expect to hear then will just be the occasional quakes and eruptions as the plates shift and settle along their ordained paths.
 
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