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Offline RE

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Re: China Warns Of World War 3 Unless The US Backs Down On South China Sea
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2015, 11:38:10 PM »
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Offline Palloy

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Re: China Warns Of World War 3 Unless The US Backs Down On South China Sea
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2015, 12:55:50 AM »
I didn't know that China had a warship on hand to warn the US ship off.  +1 for military preparedness.

But -1 for the weak response of only summoning the US Ambassador and expressing displeasure. -0.5 would have been withdrawing China's Ambassador from Washington for consultations.  0 would have been permanently withdrawing their Ambassador.  +1 would have been doing that AND expelling the US Ambassador in Beijing.

The US media is excitedly saying that China is only making a fuss so that they can claim provocation and then militarise the islands.  This must have Washington backing, but as yet I haven't heard of any official saying it on the record.  Anyway it would be a reasonable thing for China to do this under the circumstances.

China's next level of escalation could be to try to block the US ship's passage with their own ship.  Or maybe to fly a helicopter directly over the US ship, or have a bevy of speed-boats running around the big ship.  These are EXTREMELY dangerous waters for a big ship to allow itself to be forced off course in - shallow reefs, narrow passages, odd currents.

Then we might get to actual ship-against-ship contact, aka ramming, or leaving ropes in the water to foul propellers.  Where is Sea Shepherd when you need them?

Anyway, the art of escalation is NOT to go for WW3 straight away.  Plenty of time yet.

I know, Putin will propose a new UN conference where all these sovereignty issues can be discussed like mature people.  :icon_sunny:
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Offline MKing

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Re: China Warns Of World War 3 Unless The US Backs Down On South China Sea
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2015, 07:59:59 AM »
China is currently a military joke. Of course, every other country in the world is currently a military joke if you compare them to the US. This is as it should be, so that Eddie doesn't have to fight his way through local drug cartel check points to make a few pesos filling teeth and whatnot.

China is trying to push a tough angle, and until they are willing to enforce THEIR rules by opening fire on someone or another, there is no reason to take them seriously. The US is just providing the target, knowing that they might be more inclined to want to blow up a fishing boat or two from Vietnam, but are less likely to go after a US warship. China is attempting to project power, and doesn't have the capability to do it very well. Yet. Give them time and they might…I think a minefield would be a cool way to ACCIDENTALLY enforce their will around the islands, then they can stand around with a bemused look on their faces while claiming "well gee, we told everyone we would enforce our sovereign rights, you should have listened" without someone pulling the trigger on the weapon itself.

That would be interesting, and a nice back door way to start causing heartburn for the US, while pretending to be innocent of direct action. Of course, two can play that game, and when Chinese resupply ships suddenly disappear somewhere between the mainland and the islands..well…must be shoddy Chinese construction of their boats, certainly no one would suspect a slew of Mk-48 torpedoes had anything to do with it.

 ;D ;D
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Offline Palloy

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Re: China Warns Of World War 3 Unless The US Backs Down On South China Sea
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2015, 06:14:53 PM »
Australia is having naval exercises with China, while the US is insisting on its rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which it hasn't formally ratified.  US says it is going to continue entering the disputed waters, even though no regular shipping would use it, and says "it should not be viewed as provocative in nature", when it clearly is - and Australia agrees.   :icon_scratch:

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2015/10/28/australia-delays-naval-exercise-with-china-amid-south-china-sea-escalation/
Australia to go ahead with naval exercise with China amid South China Sea escalation
28 October 2015
Updated October 29, 2015
Karen Cheung

A spokesperson from the Australian Department of Defence has responded to HKFP’s enquiries and denied that any naval exercises with the Chinese navy has been delayed, saying, “The Royal Australian Navy has a long history of engagement with regional navies and regularly conducts port visits and exercises—including in China. No upcoming engagement activities with the People’s Liberation Army Navy have been delayed, suspended or cancelled.” A previous version of this article under the headline “Australia delays naval exercise with China amid South China Sea escalation” mistakenly suggested that the planned naval exercises will be delayed until the US push is complete, citing news.com.au.

Australia has announced that the naval exercises with China will go on as planned despite its show of support for the United States, after the US navy brought one of its warships near a man-made island in the disputed South China Sea, a move which Beijing strongly condemned.

The Australian Anzac-Class frigates HMAS Arunta and HMAS Stuart were scheduled to sail to Zhanjiang, home to China’s South Sea Fleet, to conduct exercises with the People’s Liberation Army Navy next week.

The Australian government’s announcement that it will go ahead with the exercises as planned came amid rising tensions between the US and China over the South China sea. On Tuesday, the USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer homeported to Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, came within the 12-nautical-mile territorial limit Beijing claims around its possessions in the Spratly archipelago, signifying the most significant challenge yet to China’s claimed exclusion zones.

However, the Australian Department of Defence minister also said in a statement that the US had acted in accordance with international law and that “all states have a right under international law to freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight”, a right which Australia supported.

Australia also clarified that while it was not involved in the US naval activity, it was interested in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, through which around sixty per cent of Australia’s exports pass.

Around 30 percent of world trade, including half of global oil exports, pass through the sea lanes of the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by the Philippines, a US treaty ally, as well as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

Freedom of navigation

The US Defence official said that this would likely become “a regular operation” in the South China sea, and that it should not be viewed as provocative in nature.

According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, 12-nautical mile limits cannot be set around man-made islands built on previously submerged reefs. The US Freedom of Navigation programme, which was developed to challenge “excessive claims” to the world’s oceans and airspace, was based on such convention, although the US has not formally ratified the treaty, reports the BBC. Operations in South China Sea territories to which different countries have claims over were conducted by the US in 2013 and 2014.
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Offline azozeo

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Re: China Warns Of World War 3 Unless The US Backs Down On South China Sea
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2015, 06:35:04 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/a3b1cqwcyWM&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/a3b1cqwcyWM&fs=1</a>
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Re: China Warns Of World War 3 Unless The US Backs Down On South China Sea
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2015, 06:37:35 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/a3b1cqwcyWM&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/a3b1cqwcyWM&fs=1</a>




Why now ?      :icon_sunny:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
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Offline Palloy

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Re: China Warns Of World War 3 Unless The US Backs Down On South China Sea
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2015, 11:27:07 PM »
"may have strayed off course" - absolutely impossible.  Their GPS would be accurate to less than a metre, and the location display would have all the sovereign borders clearly marked, probably with alarms to alert the pilot of upcoming infringements if they didn't change course.  The Pentagon is just thumbing its nose at China.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/12060338/US-says-B52-flight-over-Spratly-Islands-may-have-strayed-off-course.html
US says B52 flight over Spratly Islands "may have strayed off course"
By AP
20 Dec 2015

The United States said its two B-52 bombers had no intention of flying over a Chinese-controlled man-made island in the South China Sea, after Beijing accused Washington of "a serious military provocation" in the strategic waters with overlapping claims.

China's Defence Ministry on Saturday accused the U.S. of deliberately raising tensions in the region, where China has been aggressively asserting its claims to virtually all islands, reefs and their surrounding seas. It reiterated that it would do whatever is necessary to protect China's sovereignty.

Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said that the Dec. 10 mission was not a "freedom of navigation" operation and that there was "no intention of flying within 12 nautical miles of any feature," indicating the mission may have strayed off course.

The U.S. uses pre-planned freedom of navigation operations to assert its rights to "innocent passage" in other country's territorial waters.

"The United States routinely conducts B-52 training missions throughout the region, including over the South China Sea," Wright said in an email to The Associated Press. "These missions are designed to maintain readiness and demonstrate our commitment to fly, sail and operate anywhere allowed under international law."

Wright said the U.S. was "looking into the matter."

The U.S. takes no official stance on sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in international trade passes each year. However, Washington insists on freedom of navigation and maintains that China's seven newly created islands do not enjoy traditional rights, including a 12-nautical-mile (22-kilometer) territorial limit.

China's Defence Ministry demanded that Washington immediately take measures to prevent such incidents and damage to relations between the two nations' militaries.

"The actions by the U.S. side constitute a serious military provocation and are rendering more complex and even militarising conditions in the South China Sea," the ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that Chinese military personnel on the island went on high alert during the overflights by the B-52 strategic bombers and that they issued warnings demanding the aircraft leave the area.

As is China's usual practice, the Foreign Ministry took a more diplomatic tone, saying the situation was stable.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to Berlin, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi drew a contrast between the situation in the South China Sea region and the chaos and turmoil in other parts of the world. "The situation in the South China Sea is essentially stable overall," he said.

Wang also said that while China understands the concerns of nations from outside the region — a clear reference to the U.S. — they should "do more to benefit peace and stability and support efforts to find a resolution through talks, and not manufacture tensions or even fan the flames."

"We don't think this is a constructive approach and will not receive the support and welcome of relevant nations," Wang said.

The Foreign Ministry said it had "lodged solemn representation with the United States" over the incident.
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Offline Palloy

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Re: China Warns Of World War 3 Unless The US Backs Down On South China Sea
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2015, 11:38:22 PM »
This incident should really go ahead of the previous one, date-wise, happening on November 25.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-16/chinese-editorial-warns-raaf-planes-could-be-shot-down/7034664
'It would be shame if a plane fell from the sky': China's warning to RAAF over South China Sea flights
By political reporter Matthew Doran and China correspondent Bill Birtles

A Chinese state-owned newspaper has issued a strongly worded warning to Australia about a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) surveillance plane carrying out "freedom of navigation" exercises over the South China Sea.

The editorial in the Chinese language edition of The Global Times appears to warn Australia its planes could be shot down if such operations continue.

On Tuesday, the BBC broadcast audio of an Australian pilot alerting the Chinese Navy of its flight over the disputed Spratly Islands.

"China Navy, China Navy," the voice said.  "We are an Australian aircraft exercising international freedom of navigation rights, in international airspace in accordance with the international civil aviation convention, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea."

The BBC said it recorded the message from a RAAF AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft in the early afternoon on November 25.

According to the BBC, the message was repeated several times by the RAAF pilot, but no response was heard from the Chinese.

The Global Times editorial, which was toned down in the English language version of the newspaper, said: "Australia should not count on being welcomed or accepted" when it is in air space around the disputed territories.

"The Chinese people cannot understand why the Australian military would get involved, and to be honest, they have less patience to prevent a flare up," the newspaper said.

"Australian military planes better not regularly come to the South China Sea to 'get involved' , and especially don't test China's patience by flying close to China's islands.

"Everyone has always been careful, but it would be a shame if one day a plane fell from the sky and it happened to be Australian."

'Freedom of navigation in South China Sea out of question'

The newspaper goes further to say China and Australia are "friendly nations" and should have a "friendly relationship," suggesting diplomacy between the two nations could sour if Australia continues the flights.

"It's impossible to set up a military alliance against China in the South China Sea," the newspaper said.

"China has not violated the core interests of those countries, they come to the South China Sea to 'play cards', for other strategic goals, and they're not really there to oppose China."

On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry voiced a more muted concern over the flight.

"The Chinese side has made its solemn position clear on many occasions," spokesman Hong Lei said.

"I'd like to reiterate that the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is out of the question.

"Countries outside the region should respect other countries' sovereignty instead of creating trouble."

'It's what we do, it's called Operation Gateway': Payne

But Defence Minister Marise Payne said China should not be surprised about the flights.

"It's actually not an assertion of freedom of navigation, it's what we do, it's called Operation Gateway and it's been underway since 1980," Senator Payne said.

"Perhaps the approach that the media take of a shock, horror revelation is one for them to take, not me."

Senator Payne argued such an operation was unlikely to provoke anger from the Chinese Government.

"I don't think the Chinese are at all surprised to know that Australia supports freedom of navigation, freedom of flight in accordance with the international law of the sea," Senator Payne said.

The Department of Defence in Canberra confirmed the flight took place between November 25 and December 4.

"A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion was conducting a routine maritime patrol in the region as part of Operation Gateway from November 25 to December 4," it said.

"Under Operation Gateway, the Australian Defence Force conducts routine maritime surveillance patrols in the North Indian Ocean and South China Sea as a part of Australia's enduring contribution to the preservation of regional security and stability in South East Asia."

China claims most of the South China Sea — where more than $5 trillion of world trade passes through each year — in the face of rival claims from Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Taiwan.
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Offline RE

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The South China Sea Crisis and the “Battle for Oil”
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2016, 03:53:16 PM »
Oil & NG, as usual.  ::)

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-south-china-sea-crisis-and-the-battle-for-oil/5501075

The South China Sea Crisis and the “Battle for Oil”

By Brian Kalman
Global Research, January 13, 2016
South Front 12 January 2016
Region: Asia
Theme: Law and Justice, Oil and Energy

Asia-Pacific Military Dominance: U.S. Makes Waves In South China Sea

A long brewing crisis of both regional and global proportions has been festering in the South China Sea in recent years between claimants to a variety of islands, reefs and shoals and more importantly access to oil and natural gas resources that are worth trillions of dollars. Although this dispute, or more accurately put, many individual and interlocking disputes, have gained in importance in recent years, they have been a bone of contention for centuries.

The discovery of vast stores of oil and natural gas and the assertiveness of a resurgent China have brought a long dormant dispute back to a level of international importance.

The “dispute” may be broken down into three main areas of argument.

The first is the matter of delineating territorial waters and economic exclusivity zones (EEZ) for each individual nation that borders the South China Sea and how these areas may often overlap.

The second issue are the legal rights to exploration and exploitation of oil and natural gas, mineral and renewable resources in the overlapping EEZs as well as the international sea zone that lies outside territorial and EEZ areas.

The third matter of contention is the free passage of international commercial traffic and warships through United Nations delineated “International” waters.

At first glance it may seem easy to rely on the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, 1982) to resolve these issues; however, a number of factors make this quite difficult.

UNCLOS exists in part to establish the legal status of territorial waters and to lay down a framework to determine who has the right to harvest the bounty of the world’s oceans both between nations with maritime borders and those that are land locked. It also sets up a legal framework for dispute resolution. This dispute resolution framework exists partly due to the fact that the adopted method for delineating EEZs often leads to overlapping EEZs between one or more nations. This is the case in the South China Sea.

To add to the legal ambiguity, there are historical factors that only magnify the ambiguity. For example, who has right to the ownership of islands that no one has ever built permanent settlements on when their location was known for centuries? Now that vast oil and natural gas fields may lie under these remote areas that cannot independently support human habitation, a number of nations are claiming historical precedent to ownership regardless of their lack of utilization and the generally laissez faire attitude toward their sovereignty for hundreds of years.

China submitted an official case to the United Nations in 2009, laying out the Chinese claim to most of the South China Sea. What has come to be known as the “Nine Dash Line Claim” (which China has asserted in one form or another for years) asserts that almost the entire South China Sea is the sovereign waters of the Peoples Republic of China. China sights both historical factors and their interpretation of UNCLOS to support this claim. A group of nations bordering the South China Sea, and who have conflicting claims refute the Chinese position. A number of nations without any legal claim to these waters for purposes of territorial waters or EEZs, also refute the Chinese claim for a number of significant reasons.

Territorial Waters and the EEZ

The UNCLOS clearly specifies how the borders of a nation’s territorial waters are to be established and delineated:

    Article 2

     Legal status of the territorial sea, of the air space over the territorial sea and of its bed and subsoil

        The sovereignty of a coastal State extends, beyond its land territory and internal waters and, in the case of an archipelagic State, its archipelagic waters, to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea.
        This sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as to its bed and subsoil.
        The sovereignty over the territorial sea is exercised subject to this Convention and to other rules of international law.

Furthermore:

    Article 3

    Breadth of the territorial sea

    Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.

    Article 4

    Outer limit of the territorial sea

     The outer limit of the territorial sea is the line every point of which is at a distance from the nearest point of the baseline equal to the breadth of the territorial sea.

Furthermore, it less clearly specifies how the extent and borders of a nation’s Economic Exclusivity Zone (EEZ) are to be established and delineated:

    Article 55

    Specific legal regime of the exclusive economic zone

     The exclusive economic zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established in this Part, under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and the rights and freedoms of other States are governed by the relevant provisions of this Convention.

    Article 56

    Rights, jurisdiction and duties of the coastal State in the exclusive economic zone

        In the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State has:

    (a) sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds;

     (b) jurisdiction as provided for in the relevant provisions of this Convention with regard to:

    (i) the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and structures; 44

    (ii) marine scientific research;

    (iii) the protection and preservation of the marine environment;

     (c) other rights and duties provided for in this Convention.

        In exercising its rights and performing its duties under this Convention in the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State shall have due regard to the rights and duties of other States and shall act in a manner compatible with the provisions of this Convention.
        The rights set out in this article with respect to the seabed and subsoil shall be exercised in accordance with Part VI.

    Article 57

    Breadth of the exclusive economic zone

    The exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

    (United Nationals Convention of Law of the Sea, 1982)

Obviously, these definitions were created by lawyers, as they are somewhat ambiguous and leave ample room for limitless future argument; such arguments guaranteeing lawyers a livelihood since time immemorial. They have created a patchwork of overlapping EEZs and legally agreed to or disputed territorial waters delineations.

China’s claim

The UNCLOS attempts to legally delineate territorial waters and provide for established EEZs for the benefit of coastal nations. That being said, it is quite easy to see that China has a much easier to justify claim, both historically and legally to most of the Paracel Islands. The majority of them lie in their EEZ, they have built settlements and installations on some of the islands, and they have fought and won at least two past naval engagements with Vietnam (in 1974 and 1988) to enforce sovereignty. A justifiable claim to the Spratly Islands or Scarborough Shoal by China is another matter altogether. The map below easily illustrates the established EEZs (as proposed under UNCLOS, which China is a signatory).

Map of EEZs and International waters in the South China Sea.

Conflicting claims in the South China Sea

Apparently, China has decided to push their claim to a majority of the South China Sea by actually establishing habitation and extensive facilities of both commercial and military significance on a number of islands in both the Paracel and Spratly Island chains, as well as around Scarborough Shoal (although to a lesser extent there).

China is clearly embracing the old adage that “ownership is nine tenths of the law”. When one considers this strategy alongside the significant Chinese modernization and expansion of its naval area control and denial capability in the past two decades, it is obvious that China aims to overthrow the current status quo. The old status quo does not support China’s interests, so they aim to change it. Other parties to the conflict, most notably the United States desire to maintain the status quo.

Chinese land reclamation efforts at Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands August 2014 – January 2015.

Chinese land reclamation efforts at Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands August 2014 – January 2015.

Vietnam has chosen a more tactful and nuanced approach. Vietnam has decided to seek international diplomatic support for its claims, diplomatic mediation, as well as a robust yet less ambitious naval modernization strategy. While the United States pledged $18 million (USD) to help Vietnam protect its territorial waters and coastline in June of 2015, a long-standing U.S. arms embargo is still in effect. Vietnam had been reliant on Russian naval arms for 40 years; however this is changing as Vietnam looks to supplement its relatively small navy with western armaments and patrol craft.

Vietnam has chosen the strategy of building a more powerful and robust coastwise navy, planning to acquire more modern vessels of small displacement such as patrol boats, corvettes and frigates. This will bolster Vietnam’s territorial defense capabilities, while not fomenting an arms race that they have no hope of winning with their larger neighbor China.

Indigenously produced Patrol Boat TT-400TP of the Vietnam Peoples’ Navy underway.

Three US Arleigh Burke Class DDGs on maneuvers in the Pacific.

The United States and the Issue of Freedom of Navigation in the International Waters

The issue of freedom of navigation in international waters in the South China Sea is a valid concern by many “neutral” parties. This is a centuries old concept; that there should always be free and uninhibited commercial and military traffic (both on the water and now in the air as well) on internationally recognized waterways of the high seas. These international free transit corridors are a core foundation of international trade and cooperation that must always maintain their neutrality and absence of sovereignty. They, quite simply put, belong to all nations and individuals of the world for the purposes of transportation and commerce.

This age old concept is essential to maintaining what should be a universally embraced concept of equality amongst all peoples and all sovereign nations of the world and their equal and unequivocal right to commerce and peaceful pursuits on the high seas. The determination of the United States to defend this concept is honorable, just and essential; however, it is not through righteousness and altruism alone that the government of that nation has adopted such a stance. At some point in the past, when the United States still held the moral high ground and obeyed international law in all respects one could honestly come to such a conclusion; but any concept of truly altruistic intent in the geopolitical maneuvering of any nation is naïve. All nations act in their own interests, regardless of the nation, or the era of human history.

Three US Arleigh Burke Class DDGs on maneuvers in the Pacific.

Three US Arleigh Burke Class DDGs on maneuvers in the Pacific.

The United States has an undeniable interest in keeping the South China Sea an international waterway, free of any national controls. An estimated $5 trillion (USD) in international trade passes through this waterway annually. It also has many self-serving interests in keeping the resources of this area divided amongst a host of claimants.

As we have seen all too often in recent history, such as in the Middle East, the United States’ foreign policy has focused on the dissolution and fragmentation of power and resources of any potential single benefactor other than itself. In extremely simplified terms, it is a classic divide and conquer strategy. Sowing discord and disagreement in a regional dispute, while inserting an outside international influence of a military nature of magnified proportions, will do nothing but enflame the situation and lead not only to a regional naval arms race, but force all parties to look for a military solution where a combination of diplomacy and proportional military deterrence would have naturally provided a more equitable answer over time.

The simple fact is that the United States realizes that time favors China in this dispute. China has far more resources in diplomatic, economic and military terms to throw at determining this dispute in its favor than all of the other claimants combined. The United States needs to use its military power in a way that nullifies all parties involved and not as a buttress to the claims of those parties that it favors.

Conclusions

The current territorial disputes in the South China Sea have been festering for centuries, but the relatively recent discovery of significant oil and natural gas deposits in the area have added a sense of urgency and veracity that had been historically absent. As the nations in the region scramble for the necessary resources they will need to grow and prosper in the coming decades, they will inevitably be faced with disputes over legal rights to resources and sovereignty, and will be challenged to find a means by which to resolve these disputes. There currently exist both positive and negative influences on both the efforts of de-escalation and conflict resolution.

All parties involved apparently have legitimate claims to certain areas in dispute dependent upon legal grounds and historic precedent. None possess a legitimate claim to all of the areas that they have stipulated should fall under their UNCLOS jurisdiction or sovereignty. China clearly has no legally defensible claim under UNCLOS, or supported by any historical evidence of particular merit to all of the area included in their “Nine Dash Line” claim.

China is relying upon their own ingenuity, industry and force of will to develop these areas and make them their own in very material terms. They are occupying and developing islands that have never been used for human habitation of any significance, by anyone in the course of human history, at a scale that is unprecedented. In such a case, do they not have a claim of sovereignty to these islands, and if they do, to what internationally recognized extent? Does a nation that peacefully develops a previously barren area of the world not have any claim of sovereignty over it, when many nations claim sovereignty over land that has changed hands many times as a result of war and conquest? What legitimizes the claim of the United States to Saipan or Guam, or the claim of Britain to Gibraltar other than the argument of the legitimacy of imperial conquest or the favorable outcome of war in their favor? This is the very status quo foundation of sovereignty that China is challenging.

The United States can use its military might and diplomatic influence to mediate in an impartial manner in the cause of international law and the honorable and indispensable concept of freedom of navigation on the high seas. This would be a welcomed endeavor in the eyes of most nations of the world. The United States can also play a destructive and counterproductive role as the outside agitator and schoolyard bully, as it so often has done in international affairs in recent years. We can only hope that in the U.S., statesmanship and wisdom overcomes imperial hubris, and that in China, pragmatism overcomes ambition.
The original source of this article is South Front
Copyright © Brian Kalman, South Front, 2016
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Offline Palloy

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Maybe China will start the opening round of WW3 to justify crashing the USD, and starting the gold-backed Yuan to take over reserve currency status, at least in Asia, Middle East, Africa, Oceania and South America.

https://www.rt.com/news/349534-us-china-military-confrontation/
‘Price to pay for US’: Beijing ready to confront Washington if it intervenes in S.China Sea dispute
5 Jul, 2016

Beijing must prepare to make the US “pay a cost it can’t stand” if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force, a state newspaper editorial has warned, days before a court at The Hague rules on the territorial row between China and the Philippines.

The American military build-up in the South China Sea, including the deployment of two carrier strike groups, comes in defiance of China’s vital interests and represents “a direct threat to national security,” the state-run Global Times said in strongly-worded editorials in its Chinese and English editions on Tuesday.

Beijing should accelerate developing its strategic deterrence capabilities to contain the United States, the newspaper added.

“Even though China cannot keep up with the US militarily in the short-term, it should be able to let the US pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force.”

China is a peaceful country that welcomes dialogue on the disputed region, the influential newspaper wrote, “but it must be prepared for any military confrontation.”

The Global Times is believed to have close ties with the government as it operates under the auspices of the Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily.

The Tuesday editorial went online a week ahead of a ruling by the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague on the South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines. In 2013, the Philippines filed a complaint with the court, asking it to rule on who owns the Spratly Islands, which lie at the heart of economically important shipping routes in the area.

China sees the ruling – which is due to be announced on July 12 – as “posing more threat to the integrity of China's maritime and territorial sovereignty,” the Global Times stated, claiming “the arbitration becomes nothing but a farce.” Beijing has said it will not recognize the ruling.

The Spratly Islands, or Spratlys, comprise more than 750 islets, atolls and reefs, and lie off the coastlines of Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and China, with all the claimants having their own national names for the archipelago.
China runs military drills near Paracel Islands

Prior to The Hague court’s ruling, Beijing announced it will conduct a routine naval exercise covering an area east of China’s Hainan Island all the way up to and including the Paracel Islands (known as Xisha in Chinese), another disputed area. The drill will run from Tuesday to July 11, and will involve two Chinese guided-missile destroyers, the Shenyang and Ningbo, as well as a frigate, the Chaozhou, according to the People’s Daily.

The exercise has sparked fears across the region, but “could be regarded as a countermeasure” to the US efforts “to press China militarily and politically,” the Global Times’ editorial said.

Over the past few years, Beijing has reclaimed several atolls and built up military installations on the group of disputed islands in the South China Sea. Washington has accused China of “aggressive behavior” in the region, sending warships to enforce what it calls freedom of navigation in international waters.

China’s President Xi Jinping says Beijing has no plans to attack anyone, but will continue its policy of active defense.
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Offline Palloy

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After the editorial in People's Daily (above), now a top Chinese diplomat has made China's position crystal clear in a speech at a forum in Washington, and is sending the Navy into the zone.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-06/china-warns-price-pay-south-china-sea
China Warns Of "Price To Pay" In South China Sea
Tyler Durden
Jul 7, 2016

After all of the posturing that the US and China have been doing in recent months as it relates to the South China Sea, the time is drawing near for The Hague to issue a decision on one of the main sources of the tension, namely a maritime complaint that the Philippines filed against China back in 2013.

As a quick reminder, many countries have claims that overlap each other in the South China Sea, and China in particular has decided that its claim trumps any others. In June, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter went to Singapore and made it known that the US was going to "remain the most powerful military and main underwriter of security in the region for decades to come, and there should be no doubts about that", adding that China was in danger of "erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation" if it continued its actions. Subsequently China threatened to leave the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea if The Hague didn't side with China in its ruling, saying that type of ruling would be the worst outcome of the dispute.

Against that backdrop, The Hague is set to release its ruling on July 12, and Beijing is preparing fully for the decision, as it announced that it will be conducting military drills between July 5 - July 11 in the disputed waters. "The drills are a very symbolic expression of China's resolve. It is definitely also responding to the recent American warships patrolling in the South China Sea." Zhu Feng, dean of the Institute of International Affairs at Nanjing University said.

Not only is Beijing conducting military drills, but The People's Daily, a flagship newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party on Wednesday warned Washington that there would be a "price" to pay if it crosses China's "bottom line" by meddling in disputes over the South China Sea. As Military.com reports, the paper said that the US should recognize that there is a bottom line with every issue, and the US would bear all responsibility for any further escalation of the already high tensions between the two countries.

From Military.com

    The People's Daily editorial comes as Beijing ramps up efforts to assert its stance ahead of a ruling by an international tribunal in a case filed by the Philippines challenging China's claims to most of the South China Sea. China is boycotting the case before The Hague-based court and says it will not accept the verdict.

    The paper said that bilateral ties and regional stability were at stake and that the U.S. should recognize that "there is a bottom line with every issue, and a price will be paid if that line is crossed."

    "If the United States, regardless of the cost, chooses the path of 'brinkmanship' that pressures and intimidates others, there will be only one result, that is, that the U.S. bears all the responsibility for possibly further heightening tensions in the South China Sea," the editorial said.

    "China has a solid-rock position over safeguarding China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It will not want anything that does not belong to it, but it will ensure that every inch of land it owns is safe and sound," the paper wrote.

In perhaps the most direct language yet on the matter, Dai Bingguo, a top Chinese diplomat made it crystal clear in a speech at a forum in Washington that China has had enough of the US and its activity in the region.

To begin with, Dia states that that if a decision comes from the arbitration ruling that goes against China, the ruling will not be accepted to begin with.

    By taking a position of not participating in or accepting the arbitration, China is upholding its own rights and interests under international law and safeguarding the integrity and authority of the UNCLOS. We hope that the US side will take an objective and fair approach regarding the arbitration, rather than criticizing China for upholding the UNCLOS from the position of a non-state party. The final award of the arbitration, which will come out in the next few days, amounts to nothing more than a piece of paper. China suffered enough from hegemonism, power politics and bullying by Western Powers since modern times. The Versailles peace conference at the end of World War I forced a sold-out of Shandong Province. The Lytton Commission, sent by the League of Nations when Japan invaded China's northeast provinces, only served to justify Japan's invasion. Even the US-led negotiations on San Francisco Peace Treaty excluded China. These episodes are still vivid in our memory. That is why China will grip its own future on issues of territorial sovereignty, and will never accept any solution imposed by a third party.

Dai went on to say that the situation in the South China Sea needs to cool down, calling for the Philippines to not react further if China ignores the ruling, and also noting that the US and China actually have no territorial dispute in the region and that relations should not be defined by mishandling of the issue. Said otherwise, the US is meddling where it doesn't belong, as it has no territorial claim in the region.

    The temperature of the South China Sea is now high enough. Some people even clamored for "fight tonight". If such momentum went unchecked, accidents could happen and the South China Sea might sink into chaos and so might the entire Asia. Should that happen, it will be countries around the South China Sea, the Asian countries and even the US itself that will suffer. We must not let this happen, and not allow Asia to become another West Asia and North Africa. Anyone intent on fueling the flames and unleashing disastrous outcomes will be held accountable by history.

    Cooling down temperatures in the South China Sea requires concrete efforts by all countries concerned.

    First, the urgent priority is to stop the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines. If the tribunal insisted on its way and produced an "award", no one and no country should implement the award in any form, much less to force China into implementation. And the Philippines must be dissuaded from making any further provocation. Otherwise, China would not sit idle.

    Second, China and the US have neither disputes over even one inch of territory nor fundamental clash of interests in the South China Sea. The South China Sea issue should not be allowed to define China-US relations. Rather, this issue should be put in perspective against larger bilateral relations and be transformed into an area of cooperation rather than arena for confrontation. We must forestall undue disruptions or damages to the overall China-US relations as a result of differences over this issue. The people of China and the US will not forgive us, if we let the basically sound China-US relations cultivated by both sides over the past forty years be ruined by mis-judgment and mishandling over this issue.

The US's intervention in the region was also discussed, with Dai calling for the US to scale back its "heavy-handed" intervention, and making it clear that China would not be intimidated, even if the US sent "all the ten aircraft carriers to the South China Sea." Dai warned that the risk to the US is being dragged into trouble against its own will, and would "pay an unexpectedly heavy price."

    Third, the US's heavy-handed intervention in the South China Sea issue needs to be scaled back. There is deep concern about the US continued reinforcement of its military alliances in the Asia-Pacific and forward deployment of its military assets. Since last year, the US has intensified its close-in reconnaissance and "Freedom of Navigation" operations targeted at China. The rhetoric of a few people in the US has become blatantly confrontational. How would you feel if you were Chinese and read in the newspapers or watch on TV reports and footages about US aircraft carriers, naval ships and fighter jets flexing muscles right at your doorstep and hear a senior US military official telling the troops to be ready "to fight tonight"? Wouldn't you consider it unhelpful to the US image in the world? This is certainly not the way China and the US should interact with each other.

    Having said that, we in China would not be intimidated by the US actions, not even if the US sent all the ten aircraft carriers to the South China Sea. Furthermore, US intervention on the issue has led some countries to believe that the US is on their side and they stand to gain from the competition between major countries. As a result, we have seen more provocations from these countries, adding uncertainties and escalating tensions in the South China Sea. This, in fact, is not in the interest of the US. The risk for the US is that it may be dragged into trouble against its own will and pay an unexpectedly heavy price. Hopefully, the countries, whose recent course of action has been driven by reckless impulse, will engage in some cool-headed thinking and realize that China has been living alongside them peacefully as a friendly neighbor for several thousand years. Neither had this neighbor invaded anyone nor interfered in any country's internal affairs. Neither is this neighbor pursuing any regime change nor building confrontational political or military blocs. All China's endeavors are focused on protecting its sovereignty, security and development interests and it has no intention to seek dominance or hegemony. Those countries will eventually see that it is the friendly China that will remain their neighbor for generations to come instead of some faraway superpower.

Dai ended the speech by saying that in the end, he believes that China and the US will be able to work together and embrace the future.

    Wang Anshi, a famous Chinese poet who lived in the Northern Song Dynasty wrote, "We should not be afraid of the clouds blocking our view, because we already are at the highest elevation." It means that only by adopting a strategic vision and minimizing distractions can one understand where the trend is moving. In a globalized world full of opportunities and challenges, as the biggest developing and developed countries and the world's two largest economies, China and the US shoulder more common responsibilities and face more common challenges in driving world economic recovery and promoting international peace and security. There is so much potential of cooperation yet to be tapped. What we need is not a microscope to enlarge our differences, but a telescope to look ahead and focus on cooperation. Both Chinese and Americans are great nations with insight and vision. As long as the two sides work for common interests, respect each other, treat each other as equals, have candid dialogue, and expand common ground, China and the US will be able to manage differences and find the key to turning those issues into opportunities of working together. I have no doubt that China-US relations will embrace a great future.

* * *

If that speech (in full here) doesn't let the United States know precisely where China stands and its level of frustration then nothing will. We eagerly await the verdict from The Hague, as at that point there could be far more issues in the world than how to trade Brexit.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 12:45:50 AM by Palloy »
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Offline Ruralone

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After the editorial in People's Daily (above), now a top Chinese diplomat has made China's position crystal clear in a speech at a forum in Washington, and is sending the Navy into the zone.


We have hit Peak BS, and everybody knows it. But, the music is still playing while the chairs are fast disappearing.

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Will the Chinese take this lying down?

RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/beijing-remains-angry-defiant-and-defensive-as-key-south-china-sea-tribunal-ruling-looms/2016/07/12/11100f48-4771-11e6-8dac-0c6e4accc5b1_story.html


Beijing’s claims to South China Sea rejected by international tribunal



Crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a drill in the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea in May. (Str/AFP/Getty Images)
By Simon Denyer and Emily Rauhala July 12 at 5:45 AM

BEIJING — An international tribunal has ruled that China does not have historic rights to justify its expansive claims to the South China Sea, in a major blow to Beijing.

China has repeatedly made it clear it will not accept, recognize nor implement Tuesday’s ruling on the South China Sea, the hotly contested waterway that contains some of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

But the verdict, which came in strongly in favor of the Philippines and against China, will nevertheless undermine its claim to sovereignty under the nine-dash line which it draws around most of the South China Sea.

The tribunal ruled that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources ... within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line’.”

In a statement, the Philippines’ secretary of foreign affairs welcomed the ruling, calling it a “milestone,” but urging “restraint and sobriety” among all concerned.

“The verdict is the best case scenario that few thought possible,” said Richard Javad Heydarian, an assistant professor of political science at Manila’s De La Salle University.

“It is a clean sweep for the Philippines, with the tribunal rejecting China's nine-dashed line and historical rights claim as well as censuring its aggressive activities in the area and, among others, the ecological damage caused by its reclamation activity.”

Hours before the verdict was announced, China repeated its rejection of the tribunal's jurisdiction.

“The so-called arbitration tribunal, from the very beginning, was established on the basis of illegal behaviors and appeals of the Philippines,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news conference before the ruling came out. “Its existence does not have legitimacy. Any ruling it might make will be illegal and invalid.”

The tribunal was never going to completely resolve the dispute over maritime sovereignty. But the strong ruling could inflame regional tensions, and whether it leads to more friction between China and the United States.
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The Philippines took China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague in January 2013 after the Chinese navy seized control of Scarborough Shoal, a largely submerged chain of reefs and rocks set amid rich fishing grounds off the main Philippine island of Luzon.

The United States has been leading international calls for China to respect the tribunal’s decision, and the issue has become a key test of its ability to maintain its leading role in Asian security in the face of China’s rising power.
Why China is militarizing the South China Sea
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China has laid claim to a number of islands in the South China Sea, building airbases on tiny spits of land while installing powerful radar and missile launchers. Here's why. (Jason Aldag, Julie Vitkovskaya/The Washington Post / Satellite photos courtesy of CSIS)

Beijing has refused to participate in the arbitration process, and instead launched a global propaganda campaign to make its case. Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as telling his counterpart John Kerry last week the process was a “farce,” while his ministry says you have to be delusional to think China will bow to diplomatic pressure to accept the ruling.

Some $5 trillion in commerce, roughly one third of global trade, flow through the waters of the South China Sea every year, while its fisheries account for 12 percent of the global catch and significant oil and gas reserves are thought to exist under the sea floor. Yet the waters are some of the most fiercely disputed in the world, with claims to various parts staked by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

China’s nine-dash line, a version of which first appeared on its maps in 1947, loops through the vast majority of the South China Sea, and Beijing uses it to claim sovereignty over almost all the islands, reefs and rocks in the South China Sea.

Beijing says its sovereignty claims date back hundreds of years and are “indisputable.” In the past two years it has undertaken a massive land reclamation process in the sea, turning seven reefs and rocks into nascent military outposts, with several airstrips and radar installations under construction.

But the tribunal also backed the Philippines submission that none of those features are islands — as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ( UNCLOS).

Only natural (rather than artificially constructed) islands that can sustain human habitation qualify for both 12-nautical miles of territorial waters and 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) under UNCLOS.
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In other words, the ruling drastically undermines China’s claim to the waters surrounding the island bases it is in the process of building.

China says the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to rule on Manila’s various submissions, and says it has abused its powers.

In Washington last week, former senior official Dai Bingguo derided the ruling as “nothing more than a scrap of paper,” a refrain eagerly echoed by state media here. China also argues that the Philippines had previously agreed to resolve the dispute bilaterally.

But its legal case is undermined by a key provision in UNCLOS, which states that the tribunal alone can decide if it has the jurisdiction to rule on issues before it. In October last year, the tribunal decided it indeed had jurisdiction to rule on several key issues brought by Manila. The tribunal’s decision is legally binding, but it lacks any mechanism to enforce its rulings.

In rejecting the decision, Beijing is certainly not alone. No permanent member of the U.N. Security Council has ever complied with a ruling by the PCA on the Law of the Sea, wrote Graham Allison, director of the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. "In fact, none of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council have ever accepted any international court's ruling when (in their view) it infringed on their sovereignty or national security interests, Allison wrote in The Diplomat.

The United States has never ratified UNCLOS, and rejected a 1980 verdict at the International Court of Justice ordering it to pay reparations to Nicaragua for mining its harbors, he noted.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu accused the United States of "using international law when it favors itself while discarding it when it does not."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu accused the United States of "using international law when it favors itself while discarding it when it does not."

Nevertheless, the case is an important indication of China's willingness to submit itself to international law as its clout grows, and a sign of what kind of global power it wants to become.
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Despite its efforts to dismiss and discredit the process, Beijing was certainly far from indifferent about the result, analysts said.

What happens next will depend on how the key players — China, the Philippines and the U.S. — react.

The United States has already conducted several “freedom of navigation” exercises in the South China Sea, sending warships within 12 nautical miles of islands, reefs and rocks controlled by China and other claimants. It is also rebuilding military ties with the Philippines. China cites this as evidence that it is President Obama’s actions — not its island-building – that are responsible for militarizing the region.

Last week, the U.S. Navy said it had also sent destroyers to patrol close to some of the islands and reefs held by China, although those ships stayed just outside the 12-nautical-mile zone. Washington might decide to step up its patrols after the ruling.

China, meanwhile, could attempt to reinforce its de facto control by declaring an Air Defense Identification Zone over the South China Sea, under which any incoming aircraft would supposedly have to first declare their presence to Chinese authorities. Another option might be to build a new military base on Scarborough Shoal.

“If China declares an air defense identification zone in the South China Sea, the U.S. is likely to challenge it with military fly-bys,” Yanmie Xie and Tom Johnston of the International Crisis Group wrote before the decision was announced. “If the U.S. conducts more frequent and higher profile freedom of navigation patrols near Chinese-held reefs, Beijing may feel compelled to intercept or even evict U.S. vessels. The risk of military clashes is small but cannot be ruled out.”

Yet there are also good reasons for all sides to react cautiously.

China hosts a summit of the Group of 20 major economies in September, and is unlikely to want the meeting to take place amid an intense row over the South China Sea.

It is also likely to want time to gauge the reaction from Manila, where newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte has sent mixed signals over the

issue.

Early in his presidential campaign, Duterte, a long-time mayor with limited foreign policy experience, implied he might be willing to soften his stance on China in return for Chinese infrastructure spending. Later, in a play to nationalist sentiment, he promised to ride a Jetski to Scarborough Shoal to plant the Philippine flag.

Since his inauguration, he has struck a more cautious tone. His challenge will be to appear strong at home to satisfy national pride, without needlessly angering Beijing.

Gu Jinglu, Xu Yangjingjing and Xu Jing in Beijing and Michael Goe Delizo in Manila contributed to this report.

Read more

China believes it is the real victim in the South China Sea dispute]

U.S. ‘hypocrisy’ and Chinese cash strengthen Beijing’s hand in South China Sea]

Storm clouds gather over South China Sea ahead of key U.N. ruling]

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Offline Palloy

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To add to the irony, not only is the US not a signatory to the UNCLOS convention, but NONE of the permanent Security Council members have ever recognised any ruling of the arbitration court that went against them, and yet the US is roundly condemning China.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/350809-between-rock-sea-south-china/
Between a rock and a hard (South China) place
Pepe Escobar
12 Jul, 2016

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, backed by the UN, essentially ruled that there is no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to vast sections of the South China Sea included in the ‘nine-dash line’.

Here it is, in full legalese: “China’s claims to historic rights, or other sovereign rights or jurisdiction, with respect to the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the ‘nine-dash line’ are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention.”

Well, nothing is black and white in such an immensely complex case. The Philippines were advised by a powerhouse Anglo-American legal team. China had “no agents or representatives appointed.”

Beijing argues that all the attention over the South China Sea revolves around conflicting sovereign claims over islands/rocks/reefs and related maritime delimitations - over which the court has no jurisdiction. Attributing territorial sovereignty over maritime features in the South China Sea goes beyond the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Beijing does abide by Article 298 of UNCLOS – which excludes compulsory arbitration on maritime boundaries. This, by the head of the Chinese mission to the EU, Yang Yanyi, is a fair summary of the Chinese position. And in fact the court did not allocate any islands/rocks/reefs/outcrops to disputing nations; what it did was to point towards which maritime “features” are capable - under international law - of generating territorial rights over surrounding seas.

What transpired in The Hague certainly won’t solve the riddle, as argued here. Beijing had already made it very clear, even before the ruling, it would fiercely reject all findings.

Yet now the narrative is being calibrated; Beijing is open for talks, as long as Manila sets the ruling aside. Jay Batongbacal, from the University of the Philippines, cuts to the heart of the issue: “Publicly stating that junking the arbitration is a condition for resuming negotiations gives no room for face-saving on either side.”

And face-saving – the Asian way – must now be the name of the game. New Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte - a.k.a. 'The Punisher,' due to his stint as a crime-busting mayor of Davao City – does have an agenda, which is to improve his country’s appalling infrastructure. And guess where crucial investment would have to come from.

So Duterte’s domestic reform agenda points to economic cooperation, not confrontation, with China. He already gave – contradictory – signs he would be willing to visit Beijing and strike a deal. Undoubtedly, however, he would have a hard time convincing Beijing to stop military-related construction in the South China Sea, as well as not imposing an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

But he might have a shot at proposing the sharing of natural resources, as in the vast South China Sea wealth of unexplored oil and gas. Yes, because once again the South China Sea is all about energy – much more than the roughly $4.5 trillion of shipping trade that traverses it every year; “freedom of navigation” has always been more than assured for all. For Beijing, the South China Sea is an all-out energy must have, as it would constitute, in the long run, another key factor in the “escape from Malacca” master plan of diversifying energy sources away from a bottleneck that can be easily shut off by the US Navy.

Now, with the US Navy already intruding and over-flying the South China Sea, the stakes cannot but get higher.

The absolute majority of the islands/rocks/rocky islets/reefs/shoals claimed by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan in the South China Sea are uninhabited – with some of them underwater at low tide. They may cover a total of just a few square kilometers – but are spread out over an immense 2 million square kilometers of sea, and included in China’s ‘nine-dash line’, which claims sovereignty over the majority of island chains and nearby waters.

So in this key department regarding the question: 'Who’s the rightful, sovereign owner of certain islands in the South China Sea,' the ruling was a major blow to Beijing. Justification had always relied on historical texts, ranging from the 4th century BC to the Tang and Qin dynasties. During the – short - Republic of China period, 291 islands, reefs and banks were mapped and qualified as part of the ‘nine-dash line’ in 1947.

So ‘Red’ China, in 1949, actually inherited a claim made by the rival Republic of China. Fast forward to 1958, when China under Mao issued a declaration framing its territorial waters within the ‘nine-dash line’ - encompassing the Spratly Islands. Adding to historic irony, North Vietnam’s then prime minister, Pham Van Dong, agreed with then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai.

Now it’s a completely different story. Even though Beijing and Taipei continue to agree, China and Vietnam are on opposite sides. The Hague ruled, “There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.” An extra problem is that Beijing never really explained what the line meant, legally.

The Hague also downgraded what could be seen as islands to the status of a bunch of rocks. Thus they are not territory-generating. Most of the South China Sea in fact is declared as neutral international waters.

So if we’re talking about rocks, their surrounding territorial sea stops at a mere 12 nautical miles. And they obviously don’t qualify for exclusive economic zone (EEZ) status, with a radius of 200 nautical miles.

If no EEZs apply to the Spratlys, what may happen in the near future is that Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam could each draw their own EEZ-style lines from their major islands or coastline into that section of the South China Sea - and claim the respective rights.

The ruling does spell trouble for the Mischief and Subi reefs – the two biggest land “formations” in the South China Sea after massive Chinese reclamation. Now they have been downgraded to “low-tide elevations” – they only emerge above water at low tide. This means these two major Chinese bases in the Spratlys would have no territorial sea, no EEZ, nothing, apart from a 500-metre safety zone surrounding them.

And then there’s the extraordinary case of Taiping - the largest “island” in the Spratlys, with an area of about half a square kilometer. Taiping is occupied by the Republic of China, which as everyone knows is not recognized as a sovereign nation by the UN, by the court in The Hague, or by any other Southeast Asian nation for that matter.

Beijing never questioned Taipei’s claim over Taiping. But as Taiwan is part of China, even without physically occupying Taiping, Beijing could still claim the right to draw an EEZ.

The Philippines, for its part, argued that Taiping has neither civilian habitation nor sustainable economic life, because it is a military garrison. The Hague agreed. So Taiping island was also downgraded to “rock” status. No 200 nautical miles EEZ then, which would reach very close to the Philippines’ Palawan province.

So in a nutshell there seem to be no “islands” left among the more than 100 “rocks” in the Spratlys. Time to call them the Spratly Rocks then?

According to the court, none of the Spratlys were “capable of generating extended maritime zones … [and] having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the tribunal found that it could — without delimiting a boundary — declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.”

Ouch. As if this was not enough, The Hague also condemned China’s land reclamation projects – all of them - and the construction of artificial islands at seven “rocks” in the Spratlys, stating these had caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment and violated its obligation to preserve and protect fragile ecosystems and the habitat of depleted, threatened, or endangered species.”

Since 2012, all of the Paracel Islands have been under Chinese control. As for the Spratlys, they are a mixed bag; Vietnam occupies 21 “features”, the Philippines 9, China 7, and Malaysia 5. The song, though, remains the same; sovereignty issues cannot be settled under international law, as they all fall outside of The Hague’s jurisdiction.

So what happens next – apart from endless haggling about the conclusions? Beijing and Manila must talk - in a manner that Beijing saves face; the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should step up its game and act as a mediator. That does not mean China will cease to create “facts on the sea” – as in most of the South China Sea. After all, they’ve got the (military) power. With or without a ‘nine-dash line’. And be it over islands, reefs, “low-tide elevations” or a bunch of rocks.
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Offline RE

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Just Where Exactly Did China Get the South China Sea Nine-Dash Line From?
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2016, 01:37:32 AM »
This whole stupid dispute echoes the problem with "Land Ownership".  It is ludicrous to say that anyone "owns" the sea.

What people "own" is what they can control, and this is done by force.  China is saying they are powerful enough to control this piece of the Global Oceans, which essentially the FSoA as the Big Swinging Dick Naval Power disputes.  So either somebody backs down on this, or there will be a lot of expensive naval hardware from both sides littering the floor of the South China Sea.

RE

http://time.com/4412191/nine-dash-line-9-south-china-sea/

World China
Just Where Exactly Did China Get the South China Sea Nine-Dash Line From?

    Hannah Beech / Shanghai @hkbeech

2:30 AM ET

Citizens Visit Nanjing Ocean National Defense Education Museum
VCG/Getty Images A guide stands in front of the 3-D map of South China Sea at Nanjing Ocean National Defense Education Museum on July 12, 2016, in Nanjing, China
China's territorial claims in the South China Sea are made on the basis of a nine-dash line now ruled spurious by an international court. But where did the line originate from and why is Beijing so sensitive about it?

First the dotted line on Chinese maps lost two of its hyphens in 1952, when, in a moment of socialist bonhomie with Vietnam, Chairman Mao Zedong abandoned Chinese claims to the Gulf of Tonkin. Then, on July 12, 2016, an international tribunal ruled that the now nine-dash demarcation could not be used by Beijing to make historic claims to the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by six governments. The line, first inscribed on a Chinese map in 1947, had “no legal basis” for maritime claims, deemed the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. Beijing reacted with outrage to the judgment, which delegitimized China’s maritime ambitions according to international law.

On July 18, China’s naval chief Wu Shengli told the visiting U.S. chief of naval operations that Beijing would not halt its controversial campaign to turn the contested South China Sea reefs it controls into artificial islands complete with military-ready airstrips. China “will never give up halfway” on its island-building efforts, said Wu, according to Chinese state media. Also on Monday, the Chinese air force announced that it had sent bombers on “normal battle patrols” over Scarborough Shoal, a disputed reef that Beijing effectively seized from Manila in 2012. Analysts worry that China could next build on Scarborough Shoal, placing a militarized Chinese island off the Philippine coast. Far from hewing to the international court’s July 12 judgement on the nine-dash line, and contested features within that boundary, Beijing has made clear it considers the award null and void.

Wang Ying, a Chinese marine geographer, also feels aggrieved by the tribunal’s award. “They didn’t respect history,” she says, of the international court. “I totally agree with the response of our government.” The 81-year-old member of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences is the disciple of Yang Huairen, a Chinese geographer who, in 1947, helped etch the U-shaped, 11-dash line on Chinese maps to demarcate roughly 90% of the contested South China Sea for his homeland. “All the lines have a scientific basis,” says Wang, who still teaches at Nanjing University in eastern China. “I’m a scientist, not someone in politics.”

Although the phrase nine-dash line is used commonly outside of China — to the point where an international arbitration court was asked by the Philippines to adjudicate on its legality — the words rarely appear in official Chinese media. Research by David Bandurski of the China Media Project in Hong Kong found that through July 12, the phrase was only used in six articles in the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. After the tribunal’s judgment was made, state media began a campaign to defend China’s maritime claims, encapsulated by the phrase “not one [dash] less.”

Wang says the line is broken up because it’s a maritime boundary. “It’s not like a fixed borderline on land,” she explains. “As a scientist, I’d say it’s impossible to have a fixed border on the sea … the waves in the ocean move.” Wang also contends that the dotted line is a “very clear” divide between the deep ocean that is China’s domain and a Southeast Asia that doesn’t have much in the way of a continental shelf. (Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam, which has a long continental shelf, would disagree.) “When we made the line, we stressed a humanitarian spirit,” Wang says. “We allow the neighboring countries to pass through it without obstacles.” (In fact, international maritime law allows for such transit.)
DigitalGlobe overview imagery comparing Fiery Cross Reef from May 31, 2014 to June 3, 2016. Fiery Cross is located in the western part of the Spratly Islands group in the South China Sea. Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images.
DigitalGlobe/Getty Images DigitalGlobe overview imagery comparing Fiery Cross Reef from May 31, 2014, to June 3, 2016. Fiery Cross is located in the western part of the Spratly Islands group.

Humanitarian spirit was not shown to Yang, Wang’s mentor. Born in 1917 and educated in Britain, Yang was employed by the Nationalist government of China. As politicians looked to strengthen a nation emerging from war and privation, Yang began cataloguing what the Kuomintang government claimed were China’s maritime treasures. In 1947, he worked on the map introducing the 11-dash line and 286 bits of rock and turf in the South China Sea. Yang helped to officially name each chunk of rock and reef, referring to the territory collectively as the “South China Sea Islands.” But two years later, the Nationalists lost to the communists in China’s civil war. During the Cultural Revolution, Yang was persecuted as an “antirevolutionary academic authority” because of his association with the defeated nationalists. “He never talked about the line he made in the South China Sea again,” says Wang of her academic guide’s latter years. “He was treated badly.” (Yang died in 2009.)

Wang nurtures other historic grievances. Chairman Mao’s decision, through Premier Zhou Enlai, to hand over the Gulf of Tonkin to Vietnam in 1952, thereby removing two of the 11 South China Sea dashes, still rankles. “It was stupid,” she says. “Mao Zedong should not have given it up.” By contrast, she contends, Mao went to war with India over a border tiff. Why the difference? “China was a continental kingdom not a maritime one,” she says. “Historically, we did not pay much attention to the oceans.” Indeed, after a burst of seafaring exploration during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), China’s emperors largely shut their empire off from the seas. As a consequence, Wang says, cartographic proof of China’s claims to the South China Sea is scarce. “We had no good maps during the Qing dynasty,” she says of the imperial age that replaced the Ming and ended in 1911. “The Qing just showed the South China Sea as a small lake.”

Still, like other Chinese scholars, Wang contends that plenty of historical evidence supports Beijing’s claims of ancient sovereignty over the South China Sea — from pottery shards to navigational handbooks used by Chinese fishermen. Of course, other nations that share the waterway, such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, have their own archeological finds that they say prove their peoples also roamed the South China Sea. Besides, international maritime convention, to which China is party, pays less heed to history when it comes to deciding claims to the sea by nonarchipelagic nations.

For decades, Chinese schoolchildren have been taught that their homeland’s furthest southern reach was the underwater James Shoal (known in Chinese as Zengmu, a transliteration of “James”), which is located around 50 miles off the coast of Malaysia. Waters around the shoal are home to Malaysian oil and gas platforms. This geography lesson notwithstanding, Chinese maps gave scant attention to the South China Sea. That began to change after 2009, when a map with the nine-dash line was attached in a submission to the U.N. during a dispute with Vietnam. Today, Chinese passports are emblazoned with a map with nine dashes through the South China Sea—plus a 10th that ensures Taiwan, to which the Nationalists retreated in 1949, is counted as Chinese territory.

Curiously, though, the dashes on the 2009 map (and on current Chinese passports) are located in slightly different places from those on the original 1947 map. In several cases, the new dashes hug the coasts of other Southeast Asian nations more closely, giving China an even more expansive claim to the waterway “Because the people who made the [newer] map were not strict, they didn’t follow the right image scale,” says geographer Wang. “Some people are not working that rigorously.” And though China also makes territorial claims in the East and Yellow Seas, these specks of land are not marked by dotted boundaries. Dashes, it appears, are reserved for the South China Sea.
CHINA-SOUTH CHINA SEA-MILITARY EXERCISE(CN)
Xinhua News Agency—Xinhua News Agency/Getty ImagesMissile destroyer Guangzhou launches an air-defense missile during a military exercise in the water area near south China’s Hainan Island and Xisha islands on July 8, 2016

Ultimately, it’s not even clear what the nine-dash line means to China. Is it all water within the boundary or all territorial features? For the average Chinese, every drop of sea within the dashes is clearly China’s. “The discontinuous line,” says Wang, “means the national border on the sea.” The geographer clarifies further. “The dash lines mean the ocean, islands and reefs all belong to China and that China has sovereign rights,” she says. “But it’s discontinuous, meaning that other countries can pass through the lines freely.”

Certainly, some of China’s actions seem to support that definition of the line. In 2012, a fleet of Chinese maritime surveillance cutters patrolled the South China Sea in what was dubbed a “regular rights defense patrol.” A Chinese state TV crew was brought along for part of the ride. Andrew Chubb, a Ph.D. student at University of Western Australia who studies Chinese policy on the South China Sea, noted in his research that the route that Chinese ships took, which was documented on state TV, echoed the nine-dash line. Chinese audiences would be left with the natural impression that the dotted demarcation was the extent of Chinese sovereignty. In addition, as recently as 2012, Chinese boats cut seismic cables used for energy exploration by Vietnam. The cable-cutting occurred near the western extent of the nine-dash line, again suggesting that these waters were China’s.

But international maritime law, which was formed after China’s dotted line was created, doesn’t see it that way. Even if China controlled every contested Spratly rock and reef — currently Beijing holds a minority of all Spratly features, which they have built into artificial islands — the law of the sea would not give China rights to all waters within the nine-dash line. Back in 2014, Wu Shichun, the influential head of the Chinese government-funded National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told TIME that the nine-dash line did not represent a blanket claim to all maritime space. “China has never claimed all waters in the U-shaped line,” he said. “From the historical archives from Taiwan and China, it’s clear that the line shows ownership of insular features within the U-shaped line.” A government statement reacting to the July 12 award may hint that official policy agrees that the line denotes all territory within the dotted demarcation, not all waters. Either way, the fact that ambiguity remains at all proves the complicated legacy of the nine-dash line.

Meanwhile, tensions remain in the wake of the July 12 ruling. The Philippines, which lodged the case against China with the international tribunal in 2013, had said it would dispatch a former President to Beijing to negotiate on South China Sea issues. But on Tuesday Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told local broadcaster ABS-CBN that Beijing’s wish not to discuss the international tribunal’s judgment made bilateral talks tough. A day earlier, Beijing announced another set of military drills in the South China Sea, following live-fire action earlier in the month. China is cordoning off part of the South China Sea for war games from July 19 to 21. Entrance to these waters by foreign ships, China’s Maritime Safety Administration said, will be “prohibited.”

— With reporting by Yang Siqi / Beijing
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