Monthly Archives: July 2014

Vietnam’s Communists Urged to Sue China

Dozens of prominent members of Vietnam’s Communist Party (VCP), voicing concerns over China’s actions in the South China Sea, are calling on their leaders to file a legal case against Beijing with the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. The petition, obtained by VOA’s Vietnamese service, has been sent to the Central Committee, the highest authority within the VCP. The move comes weeks after China moved a controversial oil rig away from disputed waters near the Paracel Islands, also claimed by Vietnam. In an open letter, the senior members wrote that Hanoi has paid a high price for conceding too much to China’s demands. “The more Vietnam steps back, the more China presses ahead,” they wrote, adding that only a legal move can prove Vietnam’s legitimacy over the disputed waters. Professor Tuong Lai, a co-signer of the petition, says given Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea, it is a wakeup call to millions of other party members who have a vague idea about shared ideology with Beijing’s Community Party.   Read more: http://www.voanews.com/content/vietnamese-communist-party-leaders-urged-to-sue-over-south-china-sea/1967731.html

Vietnam buckles under Chinese pressure

Since China’s July 16 withdrawal of its HYSY-981 oil exploration rig from waters claimed by Vietnam, tensions in the South China Sea have momentarily defused. But Beijing’s months-long placement of the rig roughly 130 nautical miles from Vietnam’s coast presented the most divisive threat in years to Hanoi’s Communist Party leadership Hanoi showed itself to be all but powerless to counter Beijing’s maritime provocation. Diplomatically, China’s actions fell just short enough to avoid any potential Association of Southeast Asian   Read more: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/SEA-01-290714.html

Behind the vague cow-tongue line established by China

General Daniel Schaeffer, former French military attaché to China, Thailand and Vietnam said that the new map was an unreal curtain to hide the truth inside. What is that truth? Gen. Daniel Schaeffer said that before 2009, the Chinese government had never officially referred to the cow tongue line as the impregnable boundary of Chinese sovereignty in the East Sea. They had always maintained the symbol of this line, from 11 to 9, and then 10 dashes, causing confusion over China’s claims, making it difficult for the countries in the region to cope with. In 2009, in a note sent to the UN Secretary General, China attached the 9-dotted line map without clear explanation. Back in 1909, the governor of Guangdong sent some warships to conduct surveillance in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa Archipelago (Paracel Islands) in the name of the Qing Dynasty, but it was actually the local government. The French learned a serious lesson from the vague behavior of China. If facing fierce reaction from France, they would blame the incident as the “mistakes” of the local government. If not, they would take stronger acts. In the 1990s, China repeatedly used the same trick against Vietnam in the East Sea. They created tensions and blamed the local authorities. The vertical map published by the Hunan publishing house is also a product of a province in China, with the 10-dash cow tongue. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The world should not pay attention to this map”. And others understand the reason.   Read more: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/special-reports/108424/behind-the-vague-cow-tongue-line-established-by-china.html

Strategic seafood supply drives South China Sea push

Explanations for China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea usually focus on the strategic significance of the waterway, through which US$5 trillion (RM25.4 trillion) in ship-borne trade passes each year, or Beijing’s goal to increase its offshore oil and gas output. Rarely mentioned is the importance of seafood to the Chinese diet, several experts said. A 2014 report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), for example, said China’s per-capita fish consumption was 35.1kg in 2010, nearly double the global average of 18.9kg. “Fish products are just so critical to China’s way of life. I think this is something most people haven’t factored into the equation when they’ve looked at these conflicts and disputes,” said Alan Dupont, a professor of international security at the University of New South Wales in Australia. “It’s pretty clear that the Chinese fishing fleet is being encouraged to fish in disputed waters. I think that’s now become policy as distinct from an opportunistic thing, and that the government is encouraging its fishing fleet to do this for geopolitical as well as economic and commercial reasons.” Read more: http://www.therakyatpost.com/business/2014/07/28/seafood-strategic-china/#ixzz38w746RgK

Strategic withdrawal: China’s naval policy and the HY SY-981 fiasco

The South China Sea dispute is a contentious issue in the Asia-Pacific region characterised by periodic escalations of tensions, sabre rattling, and often armed conflict. The most recent escalation of tensions occurred as a result of the China National Petroleum Company’s (CNPC) unilateral decision to drill two exploratory oil wells in waters contested by Vietnam starting early May and projected to finish mid-August. However, CNPC’s decision to withdraw the HY SY-981 drilling platform from contested waters on July 15, a month earlier than expected, has completely overshadowed its earlier reckless assertive actions, with a number of international observers praising Beijing’s more moderate approach. Some even speculated that China might be finally willing to agree on a long-awaited code of conduct on the sea, and maybe even concede to international arbitration to resolve the dispute. However, I argue that China’s actions were merely dictated by the need to normalise relations with Vietnam and the United States and ameliorate international pressure congruent with China’s overall strategy in the South China Sea region.   Read more: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16536

‘Maritime disputes could lead to war’

MANILA, Philippines—China’s maritime disputes with countries like the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea are increasingly raising anxieties among their neighbors that the row could lead to armed conflict, according to a poll survey released by a US research group two weeks ago. A study conducted in 44 countries by the Pew Research Center found that “this year, in all 11 Asian nations polled, roughly half or more say they are concerned that the disputes between China and her neighbors will lead to a military conflict.” The study, reported online by the Agence France-Presse, found that at 93 percent, Filipinos were most concerned, followed by the Japanese at 85 percent, the Vietnamese at 84 percent and the South Koreans at 83 percent. Even in China, the poll showed that 62 percent of the public were worried that the row could lead to armed conflict. The Philippines and Vietnam are currently at the center of an acrimonious controversy, with China fueled by the aggressive assertions of its territorial claims. Territorial row According to Pew, Beijing and Hanoi in particular are embroiled in an increasingly heated territorial row, sparked by China’s placement last May of a major oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam in the Paracel Islands. But China has also encountered rising tensions with Japan and the Philippines, both of which claim that Beijing has taken inappropriate steps in the East and South China Seas, where Vietnclaims of several island chains are under dispute. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/108514/maritime-disputes-could-lead-to war#ixzz38w4hxaSW

China keeps changing excuses for sea claim

Ancient Malays had crossed the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific millenniums before China started mapping its surrounding waters. With that fact, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio prefaced a lecture last June at De La Salle University on China’s false historical claims over the South China Sea. “Historical Facts, Lies, and Rights” reviews Filipinos on their ancestors’ feats, and opens Chinese eyes to the bankruptcy of their communist leaders’ thinking. Following is a three-part serialization: * * * 1. China has always asserted that its nine-dashed-line claim is based on international law. Thus, in the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration of Conduct, China agreed that the maritime disputes in the South China Sea shall be resolved “in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.” There is no mention whatsoever in the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration of Conduct that “historical facts”shall also be a basis in resolving the maritime disputes. 2. After the Philippines filed in January 2013 its arbitration case against China before an international tribunal, invoking UNCLOS to protect the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines, China stressed “historical facts” as another basis for its maritime claims in the South China Sea. China’s mantra now states that China’s nine-dashed line claim is based, in the words of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on “historical facts and international law.” Read more: http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2014/08/04/1353630/china-keeps-changing-excuses-sea-claim

San Francisco rally – ‘Destroy China military bases,’ ‘UN ruling against China invasion now’

SAN FRANCISCO, California — Shouting “China out now!”, Filipino Americans in the Bay Area on July 24 joined their counterparts in other part of the United States and other capital cities in the world in denouncing what they called the invasion of the Philippines by China. Carrying inverted Philippine flags, the San Francisco contingent marched to and around the United Nations Plaza with placards, condemning China for its alleged “bullying” tactics in dealing with the Scarborough Shoal conflict. At a program detailing continued “harassments” against Philippine sovereignty, speakers denounced the Chinese government’s incursions in the disputed territory. “We march with our Philippine flag with the red color on top as the Philippine is in distress because China is building a military base on Mabini reef with a mile-long air strip and a Marina for their ships to dock,” Rodel Rodis, President of US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) told protesters. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/108489/san-francisco-rally-destroy-china-military-bases-un-ruling-against-china-invasion-now#ixzz38w7NQnJD

Bill Clinton Slams Beijing on South China Sea

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton used a trip to China on Friday to criticize Beijing over its territorial disputes with smaller countries in the South China Sea. According to Fortune, Bill Clinton was in Guangzhou in southern China to deliver remarks at a conference hosted by Pacific Construction Group, a Fortune 500 infrastructure company. During a question and answer with Pacific’s founder Yan Jiehe, Clinton was asked for his opinion on China’s ongoing disputes with the East and South China Seas. According to the Fortune report, Clinton drew a distinction between China’s row with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, and Beijing’s disputes with smaller Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea. “It’s not necessarily the same for who has access to resources in the South and East China Sea and where territorial boundaries should be marked,” Clinton was quoted as saying. Regarding to the East China Sea dispute, former President Clinton said: “If China and Japan are arguing over a couple of islands, the rest of the world can watch because we feel you’re arguing on more or less [on] even terms.” Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/bill-clinton-slams-beijing-on-south-china-sea/

US: South China Sea tension ‘a little’ toned down

MANILA, Philippines — The territorial row between China and its neighbors, including the Philippines, over the South China Sea has become less intense in the past weeks, the US Department of State said Friday. Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson, confirmed the observation that rival claimants have “toned down,” not exchanging statements asserting their claims and not making moves that would escalate the tension. Harf said that the department noted the disputes to have been “a little different” the past days. “I would take a little – I mean, we’ve seen China actually increasingly take steps that have led to tension and we believe are destabilizing and trying to change the status quo,” Harf said. China has removed its contentious oil rig in Vietnam-claimed waters near the Paracel Islands, saying the commercial operations have already completed. Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/07/25/1350206/us-south-china-sea-tension-little-toned-down