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South China Sea thoughts?

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by SpartanSG, Jul 14, 2012.

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  1. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    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.
     
  2. StevoJH

    StevoJH Active Member

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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..
     
  3. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    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?

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mischief_Reef"]Mischief Reef - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    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.
     
  4. icefrog

    icefrog New Member

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    They merely observed and offered assistance if asked. China just re-floated the frigate and are their way back to China.
     
  5. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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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
     
  6. T.C.P da Devil

    T.C.P da Devil New Member

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    Thanks for the informative reply.

    For protecting coastal waters, shouldn't FACMs and light corvettes be effective.
     
  7. Zhaow

    Zhaow New Member

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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.
     
  8. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    "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
     
  9. Andri F

    Andri F Banned Member

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    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.:D

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

    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.

    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 a moderator: Aug 12, 2012
  10. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    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.

    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/Perspective/RSIS1572012.pdf

    The relevant bits from the above link:

    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.
     
  11. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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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.

    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.

    As I stated above, which of PRC's claim went from unofficial to official? I'd like to see the facts.

    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).

    Says who? The english-language media?

    Here's the facts:

    http://www.rsis.edu.sg/publications/Perspective/RSIS0362012.pdf

    Relevant bits are

    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.

    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.

    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_news/politics/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.
     
  12. Twain

    Twain New Member

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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.

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


    [​IMG]

    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.


    Here's a good read on the Chinese strategy


    Salami Slicing in the South China Sea - By Robert Haddick | Foreign Policy
     
  13. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    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.

    Do you have a link for the claims in Arunachal Pradesh that went from unofficial to official? I'd like to read that up.

    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?

    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.

    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?
     
  14. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    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/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/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.
     
  15. Andri F

    Andri F Banned Member

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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/2012/08/us-missile-shield-plan-in-japan.html
    (Keyword is "might")
     
  16. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    You make it sound as if PRC is the only one making provocations. This thread has already pointed out the provocations by the other claimants, if you have actually been paying attention.

    Nonetheless, here's a recap of some of these provocations.

    The Philippines renames part of the South China Sea as West Philippine Sea:

    Manila renames South China Sea as 'West Philippine Sea' - Channel NewsAsia

    The Philippines passes the Baselines Law to strengthen the legal basis of its claim in the Spratlys:

    http://www.un.org/Depts/los/nippon/...o_alumni_presents_files/alum_tokyo_garcia.pdf

    Malaysia and Vietnam's joint submission to Commission on the Limits of the Continential Shelf:

    Continental Shelf - joint submission to the Commission by Malaysia and Viet Nam

    It's quite amazing how these provocations don't seem to have been reflected as such by the media?
     
  17. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    Could it possibly be due to the fact that as China is the most powerful of claimants and is on its way to becoming a superpower, that it is on the onus of China to act responsibly, rather than issue provocative statements that are far from reassuring to other claimants? China on one hand maintains that it wants to resolve the dispute peacefully but on the other hand, some actions it has undertaken send a completely different kind of message.

    With regards, to what's provocative or not, it really depends on who's doing the reporting doesn't it? When it comes to the Chinese press, anything that other claimants do - whether its a visit to an island by a minor official or extending a runway by a few feet - is provocative and is an infringement on Chinese sovereignty...

    Would be delighted to.....

    If the detaining of Chinese fisherman in disputed waters that lie close to reefs occupied by Vietnam or a warning by the Philippines to Chinese trawlers to stay away from waters claimed by the Philippines are provocative to you, how would you describe the actions of Chinese ships on the high seas?? Have ships belonging to other claimants acted in a similar fashion, have they intentionally gone close to reefs/islands ocuppied by others just to test resolve and to make a political statement? Have Philippine, Vietnamese and Malaysian ships traveled far from areas their countries occupy to harass Chinese shipping, and surely it can't be a coincidence that when Chinese fisherman are detained, they are almost always in very close proximity to reef/islands that are occupied by other claimants. Or maybe this is less provovative than the actions undertaken by other countries, which you mentioned? As far as I'm aware, Philippine, Vietnamese and Malaysian ships do not intentionaly sail close to reefs/islands occupied by China and they certainly do not fish in these areas knowing that this could lead to an incident.

    The day ships from other claimants act in similar fashion to Chinese ships and the international media does not describe their actions as provocative, then we can truly say that there are double standards when it comes to reporting on the Spratley issue.

    I could post some links to provide examples of Chinese acts that are actual 'provocations', rather than the issuing of warnings and the detention of fisherman, etc, but I really don't see the point.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  18. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    1. Note that all the ASEAN claimants have also pledged to resolve the issue peacefully. China is not the only on who made that pledge.

    2. The onus is for all claimants to act responsibly.

    3. What most media failed to highlight is that China's actions are usually in response to another claimants actions. 1 example is that Vietnam instituted an administrative control for their claims in the South China Sea. Hence, China responded with Sansha City. The media coverage is not equal, but coloured by nationalistic sentiments amongst the claimants and political sentiments in various countries.

    On the issue of China acting responsibly, do you realistically expect China to not respond when other claimants set up administrative centres for the disputed areas, re-name the seas, bolster their legal basis for claims, etc?

    And the rest of the claimants don't protest when China sends someone to visit the disputed areas?

    An example of protest when Taiwan lawmakers visit:

    Taiwan Lawmakers Land on Disputed South China Sea Island

    Vietnam protesting Taiwan President's visit to Taiping Island:

    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2008/02/03/2003400014
    It cuts both ways you know.

    Based on China's statistics, their own fishermen have also been arrested, robbed or assaulted while fishing in the South China Sea:

    Philippine claim groundless|Top News|chinadaily.com.cn

    Relevant bits:

    Do you realistically expect the countries that arrest, rob or assault other countries' fishermen to publish it in their own media? Or for all these incidents to be reported in the media whenever it happens?

    In other words, it cuts both ways. Yes, China has carried out provocative actions in the disputed areas, but so have the rest of the claimants. All parties are equally guilty, yet I only see China being taken to task for "provocations" while the other claimants actions of a similar nature are "not provocative"? Why?
     
  19. SpartanSG

    SpartanSG New Member

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    Harmless huh?

    So, if Malaysia (another claimant to the Spratlys) renames it the North Malaysia Sea, it is also harmless because it "gives them a semblance of control of the situation"?

    And if Malaysia passes their own version of the Archipelagic Law to strengthen the legal basis of their claims in the Spratlys, that will also be acceptable to the Philippines since that is what the Philippines did?

    And the same won't happen in Vietnam or China?

    I don't suppose this is good for the Philippines' economy:

    http://article.wn.com/view/2012/07/16/Spat_with_China_drives_tourists_from_Boracay/

    What is the 2nd one that is normal? It didn't appear in your post, so a clarification will be useful.
     
  20. the concerned

    the concerned Member

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    I think its time for the UN to try and bring China to its sense's it's not as if it is pushing boundries with just one country . They are trying to pick an argument with just about every country in the area.What is needed is the Asean members to try and bring in new members like Japan plus a few others because against just one country China is overwhelmingly superior but against a collective of nations there capabilites would be tested and thats when people like the US and Great Britain would become involved.