Tag Archives: Brunei

Vietnam, Australia call for ‘self-restraint’, warn against force in South China Sea

Vietnam and Australia today called for “self-restraint” in the South China Sea and warned against the unilateral use of force – an obvious reference to China’s increasingly aggressive presence that has stirred concerns across the disputed region. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung – who met Australian counterpart Tony Abbott in Canberra to sign deals on security, climate change and others – told the Australian parliament there was an imperative need to draw up a code of conduct for the South China Sea. “We agreed … [to] exercise self-restraint and refrain from actions that may escalate the tension in the region, including the use of force to unilaterally change the status quo,” Dung said.   Read more: http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1740860/vietnam-calls-self-restraint-south-china-sea-amid-regional-tensions-china

With the U.S. distracted, China builds ‘The Mischief Islands’

As if there aren’t enough territorial disputes the world over, China is — literally — manufacturing a new one in the South China Sea by transforming a series of lonely reefs into small islands. Where nautical charts once identified bumps in the sea as Mischief Reef, Gaven Reef and others, China is dredging massive amounts of sand to create artificial islands. Over the past year or so, at least five of these new land masses have popped up in the chain of ocean specks and dots known as the Spratly Islands. An example: Johnson South Reef, formerly a concrete platform atop submerged rock, now appears via satellite photos to be a sandy island hopping with Chinese construction activity. There’s speculation China is building an airstrip.   Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-islands-spratly-south-china-sea-vietnam-edit-0316-jm-20150313-story.html

Dispute over the South China Sea could put East Asia at war again

Philippine authorities have released satellite pictures of six reefs in the Spratly archipelago that indicate that the Chinese are building artificial structures in the disputed territories of the South China Sea. According to some observers, these features could allow China to extend the range of its navy, air force, coastguard and fishing fleets into the disputed areas. In response, the US and the Philippines announced they would further strengthen their alliance to increase their military capacity. The Philippines have already given the US military access to bases on Philippine soil, two decades after the closing of the last American bases there. The news about Chinese building projects and the possible military consequences have not yet been commented on by the Chinese media or by Chinese officials, but it seems clear that the reinforcements are yet another move in a long, steady game of escalation between the US and China. The disputed maritime area may not be worth the risks. The natural and artificial features in the disputed areas of the South China Sea are generally too small and too far away from the mainland to sustain life, and many of the oil and gas fields in the disputed areas could also be drained from areas that are not disputed – avoiding conflict at least for the time being.   Read more: http://theconversation.com/dispute-over-the-south-china-sea-could-put-east-asia-at-war-again-37825

MIMA’S ONLINE COMMENTARY ON MARITIME ISSUES

South China Sea Manoeuvrings: More of the same in 2015? Sumathy Permal Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy, MIMA Events in 2014 further contributed to the turbulence in the South China Sea. These included the stronger presence of naval, fisheries, and law enforcement vessels in areas of overlapping maritime claims, the enactment of new laws and regulations in overlapping competing countries jurisdictions, and the increased number of routine patrols, surveillance, and combat readiness exercises. In January 2014, Malaysia-China maritime matters took a major “turn” when the PLA Navy was reported to have conducted patrols in the vicinity of Beting Serupai or James Shoal. The accuracy of the Chinese media’s report was unclear since Malaysian authorities had not reported seeing the Chinese flotilla in the area. Furthermore, Beting Serupai is located in the southernmost parts of the Spratly Island and 80km from Bintulu, Sarawak and is within Malaysia’s 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zon (EEZ). Notwithstanding the importance of trading and strategic partnerships with China, Malaysia may need to relook its approaches on activities that impinge on her sovereignty over features claimed in the Spratly Island.   Read more: http://www.mima.gov.my/v2/data/pdf/sea_view/MIMA%20SeaViews%20No.%202.edited.pdf  

South China Sea territorial dispute continues to be a hot topic

NAYPYITAW: The South China Sea territorial dispute continues to be a hot topic at the 25th Asean Summit that began here yesterday as leaders of the grouping are expected to address the issue in a statement to be issued by current Asean chair, Myanmar, today. The dispute is made more complex with China, one of the claimant countries, flexing its muscle in the disputed area and geopolitical rivalry in Asia between Beijing and Washington. According to an AFP report, Asean leaders are expected to express concern over recent developments in the South China Sea area, also claimed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Tensions over the dispute flared up most recently in May when China sent an oil drilling rig to waters claimed by Vietnam, triggering anti-China riots in the country. US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang are both meeting Asean leaders in separate meetings here. Read more: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/11/13/South-China-Sea-territorial-dispute-continues-to-be-a-hot-topic/

China’s Large-Scale Reclamation Works Over Disputed Spratly Islands Not Valid: Study

In the course of the dispute over the Spratly Islands, China’s extensive reclamation works do not necessarily act as a ticket to win sovereignty claims in accordance with the maritime provisions of international law. A Eurasia Review analysis cited China’s ongoing infrastructure projects on several of the seven reefs it occupies in Spratly. But according to the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, participating nations should restrict themselves any activities that would further cause complications. Read more: http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/19568/20141031/china-s-large-scale-reclamation-works-over-disputed-spratly-islands-not-valid-study.htm#ixzz3HxuRaiYL  

China’s James Shoal Claim: Malaysia The Undisputed Owner – Analysis

James Shoal, a feature that is permanently 22 metres (66 feet) under water in the South China Sea, should not have attracted public attention regionally but for geopolitics and ignorance of international law. Malaysians have been alarmed by recent reports of vessels of the People’s Republic of China Liberation Army (Navy), gathering and celebrating above the feature on more than one occasion.   Read more: http://www.eurasiareview.com/01072014-chinas-james-shoal-claim-malaysia-undisputed-owner-analysis/

COLUMN-China’s Nine Dash Line and the Law of the Sea: Kemp

(Reuters) – Territorial disputes over tiny islands and reefs in the South China Sea are poisoning relations between China and its neighbours in Southeast Asia. “In recent months, China has undertaken destabilising, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea,” U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told an audience in Singapore last month. “(China) has restricted access to Scarborough Reef, put pressure on the long-standing Philippine presence at the Second Thomas Shoal, begun land reclamation activities at multiple locations, and moved an oil rig into disputed waters near the Paracel Islands,” Hagel complained at the Shangri-La Dialogue. The defense secretary’s speech drew an angry response from China, which rebuked him for making “harsh, provocative” comments – signalling a further deterioration in the already strained relationship between the two countries. According to Hagel, the United States takes no position on territorial disputes in the South China Sea that pit China against Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. But Washington will oppose any attempt to use “intimidation, coercion or the threat of force to assert those claims”. It will also oppose any attempt to restrict overflight and freedom of navigation.   Read more: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/06/china-sea-kemp-idUKL6N0ON2SV20140606

China’s Push in the South China Sea Divides the Region

As China brings in a $1 billion oil exploration rig, parking it in a disputed region of the South China Sea and unleashing a deadly anti-China protest in Vietnam, nearby Southeast Asian neighbors appear relatively mute and impotent. Burma (also known as Myanmar), which hosted the meeting of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, released a statement May 11 expressing “serious concerns over ongoing developments in the South China Sea.” The statement said the leaders had called for restraint and peaceful resolution of the dispute, but without mentioning China. This is remarkable, as Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had warned his ASEAN colleagues at the meeting that China’s “extremely dangerous action had been directly endangering peace, stability, security, and marine safety.”   Read more: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/690822-chinas-push-in-the-south-china-sea-divides-the-region/

US, China ink pact on unintended sea conflict

BEIJING—China, the United States, Japan and more than a dozen other Asia-Pacific countries have signed a naval agreement aimed at ensuring miscommunication between ships at sea does not escalate into conflict. The Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, which was agreed Tuesday in the eastern port city of Qingdao, would reduce the potential for “situations to arise that could lead to conflict in busy sea lanes”, the state-run China Daily said. China is embroiled in a series of territorial disputes with neighbours in the South and East China Seas which have frequently led to military jets being scrambled but not open conflict. The agreement was passed at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, a meeting held every two years of more than 20 countries including the US as well as Japan and the Philippines, which are locked in bitter disputes with China over contested territory.   Read more: http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/04/24/us-china-ink-pact-on-unintended-sea-conflict/