Monthly Archives: June 2014

New Map Stretches to Stress South China Sea Claims

China has unveiled a new map of the country that has been vertically extended to emphasize Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Edward Wong at the New York Times reports: Chinese claims in the South China Sea have appeared on Chinese maps before, but mostly in the form of an inset. The new map takes a novel approach. It was presented on Monday in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, by Lei Yixun, the chief editor of the publishing house. In representing China’s claims, the map has 10 dashes in the shape of a tongue around the South China Sea. This is one dash more than the map that was drawn up by the Kuomintang government in the 1940s and that is often cited by Chinese officials as a historical basis for the Communist state’s claims. Many people call that earlier map the “nine dashes” or the “cow’s tongue.” The new vertical map, with its 10 dashes, can be seen on the English website of People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece. […] One thing the map does not show is how China is moving sand onto three or four reefs and rocks in the Spratlys in an effort to turn them into full-fledged islands. Foreign officials say China has been doing this since January. The Philippines has already twice filed formal complaints with China over the island construction, and Vietnam and the United States have both denounced it. [Source] A Supreme Court judge in the Philippines recently described the earlier nine-dashed line as “a gigantic historical fraud” after consulting 72 ancient maps of the region, including 15 of Chinese origin. China Real Time’s Wayne Ma posted an explanation of the new map’s rationale and some official and unofficial reactions: “[This map] will give the reader a comprehensive and intuitive awareness of China’s entire map,” Xinhua said, citing Lei Yixun, the editor in chief of Hunan Map Press. “Readers won’t ever think again that China’s territory has primary and secondary claims.” “Some map-publishing authorities in some provinces issued a new version of China’s map, and I believe their goal of doing this is to serve the public,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday at a regular news briefing. “There is no need to over-read their intentions. China’s position on the South China Sea is consistent and clear. There is no change in our position.” [Source] Read more: http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2014/06/china-unveils-new-map-south-china-sea/

Historian debunks China’s claim over Hoang Sa

VietNamNet Bridge – At several international seminars recently, some senior officials, generals, diplomats and scholars of China claimed that the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 is positioned within the exclusive economic zone of Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago of China. However, the claim is completely groundless, as many researchers have pointed out.     A Chinese vessel stands ready to ram into a Vietnamese ship (Photo: VNA) Associate Professor, Dr Nguyen Hong Quan counters China’s claim with international legal principles and historical and legal evidence of Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos. The principle of acquisition of territory in international law While China bases its claim for the two archipelagos on the principle of “historic sovereignty” and “historic title”, citing some ancient documents mentioning Chinese travel in the East Sea , it should be pointed out that this principle has become outdated. In the long history of the development of international law, the principles and legal norms on the establishment of sovereignty have been formed on the basis of international practice (such as real occupation, historic sovereignty or geographic distance) but it is the principle of acquisition that has become widely recognised and applied in resolving disputed territories.   Read more: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/government/105758/historian-debunks-china-s-claim-over-hoang-sa.html

Indon official: UNCLOS solves Philippines-China row

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the answer to settle maritime disputes over the South China Sea, an Indonesian official said. Arif Havas Oegroseno, Indonesian Ambassador to the European Union, said that rival claimants correctly resorting to UNCLOS is a lesson from successful settlement of the Philippines-Indonesia boundaries. “Whether you like it or not, the current prevailing law to settle maritime boundaries is UNCLOS,” Oegroseno said in an essay for the Rajaratnam School of International Studies. “This is true regardless of your historical record, even if it is 115 years old,” he added. China uses a nine-dash line roughly based on historical accounts to assert its claim over 80 percent of the South China Sea, also claimed in parts by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. The Philippines argues that it is entitled to 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone as indicated in UNCLOS.   Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/06/17/1335812/indon-official-unclos-solves-philippines-china-row

China’s South China Sea Strategy: Win the Perception Battle

With the United States once again preoccupied with events in the Middle East China has made another strategic adjustment to its claims in the South China Sea. It seems clear by now that Beijing has found a new way to bolster its position in what Stratfor analyst Robert D. Kaplan has dubbed Asia’s Cauldron. China’s plan: why provoke your neighbors with raw military might, or the outright taking of claimed territory, when you can use oil rigs and maps to achieve the same strategic aims? While China’s crafty placement of an oil rig off Vietnam’s coast—with fears several more might be in the offing—has been in the news for the past month or so, it is Beijing’s latest ploy that should make Asia watchers more concerned.   Read more: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-south-china-sea-strategy-win-the-perception-battle-10776

China continues East Sea aggression

China continued to maintain its illegal presence and aggression in Vietnamese waters on June 27 as more condemnation of its actions came from US and Philippine officials. The Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance Department reported that China had 110-114 ships of various kinds around oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 yesterday. It had illegally placed the rig in Viet Nam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone early last month. The Chinese fleet includes 43 coast guard, 14 cargo, 34 fishing ships, 17 tugboats and six military vessels, it said. From 9.00-9:36 a.m, a reconnaissance aircraft was seen flying at the height of 1,000-2,000m above the rig, then heading northwest. When Vietnamese fisheries surveillance ships approached the rig at a distance of 10-11.5 nautical miles to demand China immediately remove the rig and its ships out of Vietnamese waters, Chinese ships again formed a line, sped up and sounded their sirens, showing they were ready to ram the Vietnamese ships again. And as Vietnamese fishing ships operated in their traditional fishing grounds 40-44 nautical miles from the rig, they were obstructed by nearly 40 Chinese fishing vessels backed by their fisheries surveillance ships 46102 and 46106. Violence condemned Meanwhile, the Viet Nam Bar Federation (VBF) yesterday issued its second statement protesting China’s repeated use of force in the East Sea to change the status of Viet Nam’s sovereignty over its waters. It noted that on May 2, China had illegally placed its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 deep inside Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the East Sea. Read more: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/government/106216/china-continues-east-sea-aggression.html

China and the United States: Destined to cooperate over ‘core interests’

The 21st century will be defined by the relationship between the American superpower and rising China. A new Cold War would threaten the world order while a mutually beneficial association could bring all prosperity. The latter scenario is more likely. The geography, economies, and energy resources of the US and China align their “core interests.” First, geography. The US is located on the most resource and capital-rich continent, North America. The American Midwest consists of valuable arable land and is bisected by the world’s largest navigable rivers, allowing the export of food and products at bargain prices. Nearby nations have either historically been on friendly terms (Canada) or lack the ability to present a threat (Central America and the Caribbean) without an external sponsor. This benign environment has allowed America to focus on projecting power and dominating global merchant marine traffic. Since China lies across an ocean dominated by the American Navy, neither directly threatens the other. China, meanwhile, is a populous and vast land power with a long coastline. Yet China’s focus has historically turned inward, with only sporadic efforts to build a naval presence. China’s heartland is exposed to Russia from the north, Japan to the east, various fractious states to the west, and the rising powers of Thailand, India, and Vietnam to the south. In other words, China is surrounded, and its biggest threats are from other land-based powers, particularly Russia and India.   Read more: http://www.manilatimes.net/china-and-the-united-states-destined-to-cooperate-over-core-interests/106414/

PH blasts new China map

MANILA – The Philippine government criticized Wednesday China’s publication of a new map that marks as its territory disputed islands in the South China Sea as well as waters right on the edge of the Philippine coast. Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose said the publication of the new map only shows China’s “unreasonably expansive claim” of territories in the South China Sea that is contrary to international law. “We should take note that no other country recognizes previously China’s nine-dash claim. Publishing a new map does not make the territories that they claim theirs,” he said in an ANC interview. “It is precisely such ambitious expansionism that is causing tensions in the South China Sea,” he added. Jose said the Philippine government has already protested China’s moves to create artificial islands and other reclamations in the disputed territories. He said Manila is expecting a favorable ruling in its arbitration case against China before an international tribunal.   Read more: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/06/25/14/ph-blasts-new-china-map

New vertical Chinese map gives greater emphasis to South China Sea claims

China has unveiled a new official map of the country giving greater emphasis to its claims on the South China Sea, making the disputed waters and its numerous islets and reefs more clearly seem like national territory. Previous maps published by the government already include China’s claims to most of the South China Sea, but in a little box normally in a bottom corner to enable the rest of the country to fit on the map. The new, longer map dispenses with the box, and shows continental China along with its self-declared sea boundary in the South China Sea – stretching right down to the coasts of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – on one complete map. “The islands of the South China Sea on the traditional map of China are shown in a cut-away box, and readers cannot fully, directly know the full map of China,” the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said on its website. Old maps make the South China Sea’s islands appear more like an appendage rather than an integral part of the country, which the new map makes “obvious with a single glance”, the report added. “This vertical map of China has important meaning for promoting citizens’ better understanding of … maintaining (our) maritime rights and territorial integrity,” an unnamed official with the map’s publishers told the newspaper.   Read  more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-26/an-new-chinese-map-gives-greater-play-to-south-china-sea-claims/5550914

Historical Fiction : China’s South China Sea Claims

The Spratly Islands—not so long ago known primarily as a rich fishing ground—have turned into an international flashpoint as Chinese leaders insist with increasing truculence that the islands, rocks, and reefs have been, in the words of Premier Wen Jiabao, “China’s historical territory since ancient times.” Normally, the overlapping territorial claims to sovereignty and maritime boundaries ought to be resolved through a combination of customary international law, adjudication before the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, or arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). While China has ratified UNCLOS, the treaty by and large rejects “historically based” claims, which are precisely the type Beijing periodically asserts. On September 4, 2012, China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that there is “plenty of historical and jurisprudence evidence to show that China has sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters.” Read more: http://jibraelangel2blog.blogspot.com/2014/05/historical-fiction-chinas-south-china.html

New Chinese map gives greater play to South China Sea claims

(Reuters) – China has unveiled a new official map of the country giving greater play to its claims on the South China Sea, state media said on Wednesday, making the disputed waters and its numerous islets and reefs more clearly seem like national territory. Previous maps published by the government already include China’s claims to most of the South China Sea, but in a little box normally in a bottom corner to enable the rest of the country to fit on the map. The new, longer map dispenses with the box, and shows continental China along with its self-declared sea boundary in the South China Sea – stretching right down to the coasts of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – on one complete map. “The islands of the South China Sea on the traditional map of China are shown in a cut-away box, and readers cannot fully, directly know the full map of China,” the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said on its website. Old maps make the South China Sea’s islands appear more like an appendage rather than an integral part of the country, which the new map makes “obvious with a single glance”, the report added.   Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/25/us-china-diplomacy-map-idUSKBN0F00OI20140625