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South China Sea News & Discussions, incl Spratly Islands News

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by ManilaBoy, Sep 5, 2011.

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  1. ManilaBoy

    ManilaBoy Banned Member

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  2. ManilaBoy

    ManilaBoy Banned Member

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  3. ManilaBoy

    ManilaBoy Banned Member

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  4. the concerned

    the concerned Member

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    With India and Vietnam becoming more co-operative and both countries having better relations with the US is this a maneuver to limit any response to Chinese-Asean country disputes from Russia,surely as much as Russia has good relations with China it can't afford to strain its relations with India and Vietnam aswell as other South-east asian countries
     
  5. montgomery

    montgomery New Member

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    Hey Manila

    Great thread - I'm new here and very interested in this region. So thanks for the thread and the links!

    My view - I see no reason why China will not continue expanding and asserting its dominance in this region, and the US must and will react to this.
     
  6. surpreme

    surpreme Member

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    China is trying to create a bigger navy to be able to dominate the area. I will tell you this at the rate China is building it navy it preparing for some kind of war in the future. If these island has lot of oil you best believe they will protect it and try to claim them. The only problem is the USN,PLAN is not ready at the moment to challenge the USN but at rate of building and training another 20 to 30 years the USN better watch out.
     
  7. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    As the 2nd largest economy on earth, there is nothing wrong for China to want a military that is commensurate with its economic means. Just as there is nothing wrong with the US being the world's super-power because it is this planet's largest economy.

    Sovereignty is of the utmost importance to China. If the area has oil, that is a bonus. Even without oil, China will not compromise it sovereign claims because their national narrative for the past 100 years or so was about how they lost their sovereign rights to foreign powers that came to carve up China in its time of weakness.

    During the last days of the Qing dynasty, China's lands were carved by foreign powers into colonies (Macau being the most recent one to be returned). Even in cities such as Shanghai, there were foreign protectorates where Chinese law does not apply. These protectorates are entire sections of the city.

    Has the US ever had a section of its city where US laws don't apply but foreign laws do? That's the century of humiliation in Chinese history.

    And from that turbulent times was born the narrative where Chinese sovereignty will never be subjected to foreign abuses again. This was the rallying cry of the revolutionaries that overthrew the Qing dynasty. And this narrative has stood to this day.

    Hence, in the Chinese psyche, what they are doing is simply reclaiming land that was rightly their's before they were carved up by foreign powers. This is why the populace feel so strongly about the claims.

    Sadly, this is not something the western media understands, or care to carry.
     
  8. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

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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.

    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.
     
  9. Quiller

    Quiller New Member

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    I disagree with your premise. China's Navy, while growing, has little actual combat patrol experience. Deploying anti-ship cruise missiles (regardless of their manufacture) in reasonable numbers would be a genuine denial of operational area for the PLAN. I'm not suggesting missiles aboard surface craft, but land-based cruise missile batteries. Use of cruise missiles would provide an asymmetric hindrance to China's Navy. You may say "hindrance? So what?" Hindrance complicates policy and planning, which engenders more caution... usually.

    The US Navy has overwhelming superiority over China's Navy... yet American stratgegists do worry about China's missiles that could deny easy operation to, say, defend Taiwan. Doesn't mean the US Navy wouldn't respond... but results in equation variables that can be very problematic. Same issue with PLAN. The existence of cruise missiles in the region would complicate China's general expansion timetable. More significantly, it tasks China's strategists with policy and military decisions it doesn't face now and would probably prefer not to face. If China made a serious naval move in the region, and Viet Nam actually sunk a couple of their ships with cruise missiles.... what would China do? Launch ballistic missiles against Viet Nam itself? These sorts of choices generally tend to make nations move a bit more cautiously. The more cautious they move, the more diplomacy can come into play.

    Ultimately the question settles on national policy and national will -- of Viet Nam, of the Phillipines, of Japan, and of Taiwan. If those four nations could resolve their OWN regional disputes over these islands... I know, when hell freezes over... it would be a game changer for SE Asia.
     
  10. Twain

    Twain Member

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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.
     
  11. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

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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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
     
  12. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

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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.
     
  13. Sampanviking

    Sampanviking Banned Member

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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.

    [​IMG]

    The key to understanding the drivers of the dispute is to appreciate exactly what the transfer of power from West to the East really means. This is not about Islands or Mineral deposits, it is about the fundamental syntax, narrative and simple world view of how seeking a solution should be approached.
     
  14. Pathfinder-X

    Pathfinder-X Tribal Warlord Verified Defense Pro

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    The disputes in South China Sea comes down to who can effectively control those waters. By effective I mean having regular presence as well as tap into the resources there while preventing others from doing so. China, being the world's second largest economy and an industrial powerhouse, is much more likely that other claimants to do so. Principle ASEAN parties involved in the dispute such as Vietnam and Philippines realistically cannot match a fraction of China's naval power without external support, nor do they have the wallet to pay for a local arms race.

    The only country in ASEAN that can support a reasonable capable military would be Malaysia, but at this point it seems keen to keep a good relationship with China. So far, China has largely left Malaysia alone to gather up allies in ASEAN. At the same time, ASEAN members are far from united, with states having their own disputes.

    Some might not want to admit it, but the presence of United States naval assets in the Pacific are the only things keeping China from steamrolling Vietnam and Philippines at the moment. The bad news is, Chinese navy is gaining strength every single year, and eventually will overtake USN in the Pacific.

    From the Chinese viewpoint, they viewed this area as traditionally their fishing ground which was robbed by Western imperial powers. The Opium Wars have left Chinese viewing Western Powers as invaders. United States placing its support behind Vietnam and Philippines is not seen as a stablizing for, but another imperialist interference by the West.
     
  15. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

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    Not quite true. China doesn't claim everything that's ever been part of a Chinese (or China-centred, e.g. the Mongol & Qing/Manchu empires) state. For example, it recognises the independence of Mongolia, & the land borders (more or less) of Vietnam, despite all of Mongolia & the northern half of Vietnam having been part of China-centred empires at times. Nor does China claim Tuva, which was part of the Qing Empire.

    But the Chinese claim to most of Arunachal Pradesh is completely spurious. It's based on exaggerated Chinese claims of what where the borders of Tibet, at a time when Tibet was not under Chinese control, but a pretty much independent state with a Manchu official & small retinue in Lhasa, but no Chinese authority elsewhere in the country. These territories had been ruled by Tibet in the distant past, when it was a completely independent country, able to invade China & sack its capital, but were lost over 1000 years ago.

    The claim to Tibet is based on it being part of the Mongol & Manchu empires, but this is a very fragile basis. Apart from the obvious factor of self-determination, it ignores the nature of both Mongol & Manchu rule. The Mongol link is easily dismissed: Tibet was no more part of China to the Mongols & their Chinese subjects than, e.g, Iraq or S. E Russia. Any claim to Tibet based on Mongol rule would apply equally to all former Mongol-ruled territories. The Manchu situation is more complicated, but AFAIK the Manchus invaded to throw out Mongol invaders, & then made Tibet a protectorate (not directly administered) of the Manchu empire, not part of China. It was self-governing, with only the previously mentioned official resident. The relationships was similar to that of Nepal to the UK, which ended with Nepal becoming an independent state when the British Empire broke up, not part of another former British subject territory (India). The Qing intervened a couple of times, but their interest was in propping up Tibet, not ruling it. They helped Tibet repel invasions, & tried to make sure the government was stable & friendly.

    The Manchus sent in Chinese troops after the British invasion of 1904, but they were treated (& acted) as invaders, not as defenders against foreign invasion. Soon afterwards, the fall of the Manchu dynasty broke the link: Tibet declared its independence & was left to it by the new Chinese republic. It was effectively fully independent until 1949.

    The claims in the South China Sea are a mess. All the littoral states make exaggerated claims, but China's are the most exaggerated. The only hope for a conclusion that I can see is for the country with most clout to lay out reasonable, sensible, proposals. That'd lead to outsiders putting pressure on the other littoral states to stop complaining & agree. But as long as China refuses to renounce the nine-dashed line, there won't be progress.
     
  16. Sampanviking

    Sampanviking Banned Member

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    I have to say Swerve that I disagree strongly with the majority of your above post and recognise within it the pattern of an often repeated attempt to re-write history, currently prevalent in our media and which I find utterly abhorrent.

    Unfortunately not only do these subjects fall far too deep inside the political area for me to feel comfortable making a reply on this form, I sadly lack the necessary time to do so as well.

    May it not just be better to remember the rules and simply steer away from such areas?
     
  17. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    I get the point you're trying to make but if viewed from a neutral perspective, the actions taken by other claimants which you mentioned, can hardly be called '''provocations'' in the true sense of the word. Granted, China is not the only player involved and other countries have also taken steps to strenghten and reinforce their claims but none have acted ''provocatively'', yet.....

    The day that naval or fisheries ships from other claimants start doing what Chinese ships have done before - which I hope never happens - rest assured, it will be covered by the media and will be described as ''provocations''....
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  18. Andri F

    Andri F Banned Member

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    I am well aware of Vietnam and my country's moves. From a neutral point-of-view, they were very tame negligible provocations especially when compared to the PRC's ways. And from a Vietnamese or a Filipino viewpoint, they were really overdoing it. Besides, our media "de-magnifies" our moves while magnifying every move by the PRC -a common ploy if you ask me. It helps the Philippine gov't do drastic defense budget increase without making us suspicious in the process.
     
  19. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    From a neutral perspective, when PRC sets up Sansha city to administer the Spratlys, it is called a "provocation". Yet, when Vietnam does the same, it is not a "provocation"? Why?

    See below for the "provocations".

    See above about "provocations".

    Also, when the Philippines detains Vietnamese fishermen, it is not a "provocation"?

    PHL detains Vietnamese fishermen over turtle catch | News | GMA News Online | The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere

    Or when they detain Chinese fishermen?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/14/china-philippines-end-fishing-standoff

    How about when the Philippines warn Chinese fishermen to stay away from fishing grounds where they had fished for generations?

    Philippines warns China fishermen to stay away - Channel NewsAsia

    These are not "provocations" when some other country does it? But when the PRC does it it is a "provocation"?

    Do enlighten me on what's the difference between the same actions that are called "provocations" when carried out by 1 country, but is not a "provocation" when other countries does it.
     
  20. Andri F

    Andri F Banned Member

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    To answer the first one, renaming it West Ph Sea is just a harmless move by our gov't to somehow give a semblance of control of the situation so that our gov't will not be pressured on this issue. Do you know what we might do if we truly know what's happening out there? There would be mass rallies everywhere denouncing the PRC (and it will never help) or issuing our gov't to hasten military modernization (although it might help hasten the modernization, once we have a capable military, our people might immediately clamor for war). Also, hastening and cramming our modernization isn't going to help us in the long term

    As for the 2nd its normal.
     
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