China’s Creeping Expansion in the SCS from 1946 to 2016 Before World War II, China’s southernmost defense perimeter was Hainan Island. Before the war, China did not have a single soldier or sailor stationed in any SCS island outside of Hainan Island. In 1946, right after the war, China took over the Amphitrite Group of the Paracels and Itu Aba in the Spratlys following the defeat of the Japanese, moving China’s defense perimeter southward. China (Kuomintang) vacated Itu Aba in 1950 until 1956, when Taiwan occupied Itu Aba. In 1974, China forcibly dislodged the South Vietnamese from the Crescent Group of the Paracels. In 1987, China installed a weather radar station in Fiery Cross Reef. In 1988, China forcibly evicted Vietnam from Johnson South Reef, and seized Subi Reef from the Philippines, moving further south China’s defense perimeter in the Spratlys. In 1995, China seized Mischief Reef from the Philippines, just 125 NM from Palawan and 594 NM from Hainan. In 2012, China seized Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines, just 124 NM from Luzon. In 2013, China seized Luconia Shoals from Malaysia, just 54 NM from Sarawak’s coast. In 2014, China started island-building on rocks and submerged areas in the Spratlys to construct air and naval bases. 2. China’s grand design is to control the South China Sea for economic and military purposes. China wants all the fishery, oil, gas and mineral resources within the nine-dashed line. China already takes 50% of the annual fish catch in the South China Sea as more than 80% of its coastal waters are already polluted. China has the largest fishing fleet in the world, with 220,000 sea-going vessels and 2,640 long- distance ocean-going vessels. China’s fish consumption is the highest in the world considering China’s 1.4 billion population. China is the largest net importer of petroleum in the world. China wants the lion’s share of the oil and gas in the South China Sea. The Chinese estimate that the South China Sea holds 130 billion barrels of oil, and if this is correct, the South China Sea is as rich in oil as Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates. The South China Sea is also rich in methane hydrates – said to be one of the fuels of the future. China wants to secure all these methane hydrates for itself. China also wants the South China Sea as a sanctuary for its nuclear-armed submarines – free from surveillance by U.S. submarine-hunting Poseidon airplanes or U.S. nuclear attack submarines. China wants a second-strike nuclear capability, joining the ranks of the U.S. and Russia.
Download Lecture History: Ateneo de Davao Law Trident Defense Forum: Final Arbitral Award Philippines v China – 22 July 2016 Dentists’ Forum – 29 July 2016
Previous lectures: May 2016 | Ilo-ilo Almumni March 2016Philippine Social Science Center February 2016 | Jose Rizal University January 2016 | UE Caloocan University
Aileen S.P. Baviera, PhD Asian Center, University of the Philippines
Previous versions: January 26, 2016 – University of the East, Caloocan June 28, 2015 – University of the East Law School June 28, 2015 – Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila June 22, 2015 – Thrift bank lecture South China Sea dispute June 17, 2015 – Lopez Museum Historical Facts and Historical Lies in the West Philippine Sea (Updated) June 17, 2015 – Japan workshop lecture South China Sea dispute June 15, 2015 – Australia (Updated) June 02, 2015 – Philippine Judicial Academy (Updated) May 04, 2015 – Philippine Judicial Academy (Updated) April 30, 2015 – Philippine Judicial Academy April 23, 2015 – Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications at the Ayuntamiento de Manila