Tag Archives: Nine Dash Line

America’s Security Role in the South China Sea

Thank you for inviting me to testify today. For the United States, the South China Sea is an important area of the Asia-Pacific region for three reasons: 1) it is part of a major transit route for maritime commercial traffic to and from East Asia and for the United States Navy; 2) disputes over the ownership of its many small islands, reefs, atolls, and rocks among China and several nearby Southeast Asian states (including one United States ally, the Philippines) are generating tensions that could result in conflict and instability; and 3) Beijing could eventually use its growing influence in the area to create a sphere of influence detrimental to United States interests. Swaine is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and one of the most prominent American analysts in Chinese security studies. Michael Swaine Senior Associate Asia Program More from this author… Averting a Deepening U.S.-China Rift Over the South China Sea Beyond American Predominance in the Western Pacific: The Need for a Stable U.S.-China Balance of Power Conflict and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Strategic Net Assessment These factors justify United States attention to events occurring in the South China Sea, and a set of policies designed to ensure access and transit, prevent or minimize tensions, and support the peaceful and legally based management of local disputes. Unfortunately, United States statements and actions at present are not effectively achieving such objectives, and growing tensions over the issue are threatening to severely destabilize the critical United States-China relationship in unnecessary ways. Reacting to continued Chinese land reclamation efforts on several reefs in the Spratly Islands, senior United States officials and military officers vow to “fight tonight” if needed to defend United States interests across the Indo-Pacific, while referring to Chinese claims across the South China Sea as “preposterous” and Chinese land activities there as designed to “militarize” the region and to build a “great wall of sand.” In response, Chinese officials and spokespersons warn the United States against provocative actions, insist that China will not back down, and reiterate their determination to “safeguard our own sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/07/23/america-s-security-role-in-south-china-sea/idv9

China-made globes have nine-dash line

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino students may find themselves studying geography using globes depicting Beijing’s nine-dash line as stores selling school supplies in Divisoria, Manila continue to import products made in China. Aside from the nine-dash line, which the Philippines is questioning before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) amid maritime territorial disputes, the Kalayaan Island Group in Palawan and Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal off Zambales are also marked in Chinese names in the globes. Wholesalers in Divisoria said the globes were new imports from China. “The old versions are gone. All the globes are now like this,” one of them said. When asked why globes with the nine-dash line are being sold, a store owner, unfamiliar with the issue, told The STAR: “Ano ba ‘yon (nine-dash line)?” Even Taiwan as well as waters claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei are included as part of China in the globes being sold per piece or wholesale, with prices ranging from P18 to P500, depending on size. The biggest, which measures 32 centimeters, is 400 percent cheaper compared to a Taiwan-made globe worth P2,500 and 900 percent cheaper than that made in the US worth P5,000.   Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/06/29/1471190/china-made-globes-have-nine-dash-line

‘Filipinos must face 2 big bullies’

MANILA – The Philippines is fast losing its territorial waters to the Chinese, and patriotic Filipinos need to step up to the plate to defend it, as a united, independent nation. A forum organized by the newly-formed movement, Pilipinong Nagkakaisa para sa Soberanya (P1nas) had begun efforts to stir patriotic fervor, as it discussed China’s incursions into Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea (South China sea). “We are not pro-Chinese, we are not pro-American, we are pro-Filipino, and we are ready to stand pat to our territory, assert our national sovereignty, and fight to retain what is ours,” said Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares during the discussion. The jampacked forum, held on June 25 at the Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila (PLM), kicked off P1nas’s public awareness campaign on the country’s dispute with China. It was attended by more than 500 undergraduate and law students, leaders and members of different progressive groups. Read more: http://bulatlat.com/main/2015/06/26/filipinos-must-face-2-big-bullies/#sthash.4BM82eKk.dpuf

China’s “historical evidence” worthless to international law

China may show ‘evidence’ that Chinese sailors used to be present in the East Sea (South China Sea in international name), but according to international law, that does not prove its ownership. In the perspective of China, the country with many plans to turn the East Sea into its own pond, Mr. Li Guoqiang, a senior expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said that to face the new developments in the East Sea, all parties need to try harder. There is both the risk of conflict and opportunity for cooperation. When the parties cannot reach agreement on the issue of territorial sovereignty, why do they not prioritize cooperation and development and through collaboration and development to enhance reliability, eliminate hindrances and disagreement? As a senior expert on administration and security from the East-West Center (USA), Mr. Denny Roy, commented: “It is safe to assume that Beijing carefully considers the potential impact of all Chinese moves on regional tensions and on China’s relations with other countries in the region.  What is important is that Beijing seems less concerned about appearing aggressive, and more determined to force other countries to accept Chinese preferences.” Read more: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/marine-sovereignty/132193/china-s–historical-evidence–worthless-to-international-law.html

China’s nine-dash line still infringes international law

Suggestions that China could claim historic fishing rights within the nine-dash line misinterpret international law. While Sourabh Gupta’s arguments, outlined in a recent Forum article, relating to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Articles 62 and 123 have been disputed elsewhere, we argue that his argument regarding Article 56 is also incorrect. The exclusive economic zone (EEZ) regime is outlined in UNCLOS Article 56, which states that a country has within its EEZ ‘sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing […] natural resources’. UNCLOS and its subsequent interpretations imply that the right of exploitation is exclusive, as the name implies: other countries can participate in the exploitation of this country’s EEZ only with its agreement. When a country becomes an UNCLOS signatory it gives up any claims to any rights to fish within other countries’ EEZs, regardless of historical fishing activities. In return the country gains the exclusive right to fish in its own EEZ.   Read more: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2015/02/27/chinas-nine-dash-line-still-infringes-international-law/

Opinion: The Expanding Assault on China’s South China Sea Claims

China’s ambiguous claim to the South China Sea, approximately demarcated by a series of hash marks known as the “nine-dashed line,” faced objections from an expanding number of parties over the past two weeks. While a challenge from the United States came from an unsurprising source, actions by Indonesia and Vietnam were unexpected in their tone and timing. On Dec. 5, the U.S. State Department released its analysis of the compatibility of China’s nine-dashed line with international law. The report attempted to set aside the issue of sovereignty and explore “several possible interpretations of the dashed-line claim and the extent to which those interpretations are consistent with the international law of the sea.” The analysis found that as a demarcation of claims to land features within the line and their conferred maritime territory, the least expansive interpretation, the claim is consistent with international law but reiterated that ultimate sovereignty is subject to resolution with the other claimants. As a national boundary, the report went on, the line “would not have a proper legal basis under the law of the sea,” due to its unilateral nature and its inconsistent distance from land features that could confer maritime territory. Alternately, although many commentators have indicated China bases its claims on “historic” rights predating the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, the report argued that the history China points to does not fit the narrow “category of historic claims recognized” in UNCLOS, under which historic rights may be conferred. Lastly, the report noted that because China has filed no formal claim supporting its nine-dashed line, the ambiguity over the exact nature and location of the line itself under international law undermines China’s argument that it possesses maritime rights to the circumscribed waters, concluding: “For these reasons, unless China clarifies that the dashed-line claim reflects only a claim to islands within that line and any maritime zones that are generated from those land features in accordance with the international law of the sea, as reflected in the LOS Convention, its dashed-line claim does not accord with the international law of the sea.”   Read more: http://news.usni.org/2014/12/15/opinion-expanding-assault-chinas-south-china-sea-claims

Why Specks of Land in the South China Sea Are Fueling Tensions Between Beijing and Its Neighbors

They have names like Pigeon Reef, West Sand, Taisho-To, and Scarborough Shoal. Most are no more than outcrops of rock poking out of the sea. Most have never been inhabited. Few have any direct economic value. If not for the perceived fish and oil wealth in the waters around them, the spat over these specks in the South China Sea would read like the bizarre disputes between Lilliput and Blefuscu in Gulliver’s Travels. But for Beijing, the battle for these remote islands is part of a wider geopolitical aim: control over the entire South China Sea and its potential resource wealth. Tensions are rising. In August a Chinese Navy fighter plane buzzed a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, narrowly missing it. Two months earlier, an armed Chinese vessel chased and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat. China is also at loggerheads with Japan and the Philippines, which the U.S. is obligated under treaty to defend. Speaking from his home in London, Bill Hayton, author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia, explains how China is a victim of its own propaganda, why the South China Sea is also crucial to American interests, and how “peace parks” could save collapsing fish stocks and defuse military tensions. Read more: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/12/141211-south-china-sea-beijing-tensions-culture-world-ngbooktalk/

China’s ‘10-dash line’ increases territory claims

As has been the case with many confrontations in history, aggressive countries draw proverbial lines in the sand to mark their own expansion plans against the resolve of other countries whose territories they covet. In the present day People’s Republic of China [PRC], however, it’s not a line in the sand but a “10-dash line” map of China’s expanded and widened borders in the South and East China seas that is drawing criticism from China’s neighbors as well as the United States. Citing “national boundaries,” China announced more than a year ago that it was expanding its control over lucrative seafaring lanes in the South China Sea, and finally made that move official August 1. As a result, neighboring countries including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei have seen their own maritime claims challenged by China’s new stake of expanded nautical territory. Those nations are challenging China’s ongoing encroachment.   Read more: http://apdforum.com/en_GB/article/rmiap/articles/online/features/2014/11/25/china-ten-dash

Joining the dashes

Banyan Joining the dashes The South China Sea’s littoral states will fight in the museums, in the archives and on the maps Oct 4th 2014 | From the print edition Timekeeper THE countries around the South China Sea have long engaged in competitive cartography. It is now becoming a spectator sport. In June, at an exhibition in Haiphong, Vietnam showed off some of its maps. In September exhibitions opened in both Manila and Taipei of material that the governments of the Philippines and Taiwan hope will bolster their respective claims in the sea. On paper, Taiwan’s claim is identical to that of China, whose assertion of sovereignty over most of the sea, within a vast mysterious U-shaped line around its edges, has alarmed its neighbours. So Taiwan’s archives have attracted keen interest. What is more, Taiwan’s elucidation of its claim is a setback for China. The Taipei exhibition for the first time put on display a small portion of the archives that accompanied Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist party, when they fled Mao Zedong’s victorious Communists to the island in 1949. At the exhibition’s opening, Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, clarified what the KMT government was claiming in 1947 when it asserted sovereignty over islands held during the second world war by the Japanese. Unlike China, which has never spelled out whether it is claiming everything inside its U-shaped line—islands, rocks, shoals, reefs, fish, oil, gas and water—or just the islands, Mr Ma was clear that the claim was limited to islands and 3 to 12 nautical miles of their adjacent waters. There were, he said, “no other so-called claims to sea regions”.   Read more: http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21621844-south-china-seas-littoral-states-will-fight-museums-archives-and

Philippines: Ancient Maps Undercut China’s South China Sea Claims

On September 11 the Philippines put “dozens of ancient maps on display” which they say show that China’s territorial claims have not historically included the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China “seized control” of Scarborough Shoal in June 2012 and has not allowed Philippine fishermen to get close to it since. According to Reuters, Philippine officials say the maps show “that for almost 1,000 years…China’s southernmost territory was always Hainan island,” which is just off China’s southern coast. Philippine Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said, “We should respect historical facts, not historical lies.” And he said the maps show the facts. However, China now claims “nearly the entire South China Sea.” On August 30 Breitbart News reported that China was reclaiming four reefs in and around the Philippines’ Kalayaan Islands. These include the Mabini (Johnson South) Reef, “Burgos (Gaven) Reef, Kennan (Chiqua) Reef, and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reef.” The Philippine Star quoted an unnamed security official saying, “While our political leaders are busy squabbling, out there in the West Philippine Sea we are slowly losing our very territorial domain to China’s creeping invasion.”   Read more:  http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/09/12/Philippines-Ancient-Maps-Undercut-China-s-South-China-Sea-Claims