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Old 06-02-2011   #1
Ray
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Default South China Sea and China

Quote:
Filipino Senator: China bully Southeast Asian countries

VietNamNet Bridge – China will always try to bully the Philippines and other countries in the Southeast Asian region in a bid to control massive oil resources in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said on the Philstar recently.

While the Philippines obviously does not have enough defense capability against a power such as China, Santiago advised the government to be circumspect and be extra wise in dealing with its big neighbor.

Santiago also warned the Philippines might end up as a “satellite country” of China.

Despite this, Santiago said the US as well as the rich countries in western Europe would not allow China to have leverage in terms of oil and natural gas development in the Spratlys.

“America and the countries in western Europe will not allow it because there will be imbalance in the distribution of power in the world once China is able to take over oil and mineral resources underneath the South China Sea,” she said.

On May 24 2011, the Philstar cited News5 as saying that China has set up military garrisons and outposts on six reefs that are part of the Kalayaan Island Group, part of the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.

According to the Philstar, apart from the military garrisons and outposts, China is aggressively pursuing large-scale maritime projects aimed at cementing its claim on the Spratlys. These projects include construction of port facilities, airports, navigation buoys, lighthouses, ocean observatories and maritime meteorology networks.

At the recent meeting with Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie (during Liang’s visit to the Philippines), Filipino President Benigno Aquino III warned Liang that alleged intrusions and encounters in disputed islands in the South China Sea area could lead to a dangerous arms race in the region.

More at:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/en/poli...countries.html
Quote:
Asia’s quiet anger with ‘big, bad’ China

By David Pilling

Published: June 1 2011 22:36 | Last updated: June 1 2011 22:36

Last month, a man rode up to China’s well-protected embassy in Hanoi, unfurled a bed-sheet-sized banner reading “China has no right to ban fishing or take Vietnam’s Paracel islands” and promptly set fire to his motorbike....

But this month, in the rhetorical equivalent of motorbike immolation, the Vietnamese government was itself protesting against China. At a hastily convened weekend press conference, the foreign ministry accused Beijing of committing a “serious violation” in the South China Sea, which Hanoi predictably calls something else – the East Sea. Beijing was said to have used “legally groundless” claims to assert its ownership of the whole sea and turn it into its “home pond”.....

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, which also borders on the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam. These countries, sticking to the principle of “where there is land, there are sea rights”, have overlapping claims to waters off their coast. Hanoi ridicules the dotted line that China draws on maps to indicate its ownership of the entire sea as like a lolling “bull tongue”. There are also competing claims to the Paracel and Spratly islands.....

In the short term, China’s assertiveness appear to have backfired. Smaller nations are huddling together under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. They are also moving closer to the US, which has restated its commitment to having a strong presence in the Pacific and annoyed China by calling the South China Sea an area of strategic interest.

Thanks to Vietnam’s protest, the South China Sea will dominate this weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual regional defence forum held in Singapore. This year, both Liang Guanglie and Robert Gates, the defence chiefs of China and the US, will be attending. There could be some fireworks. But there will also be plenty of talk about the need for greater transparency between the two powers to ensure that maritime frictions don’t get out of hand.

Everyone knows, though, that China’s naval might is waxing. As it does, US regional influence will surely wane. When I asked Mr Aquino about turning to the US for protection, he didn’t miss a beat. “If they are around,” he replied. Countries like Vietnam and the Philippines are happy for American support. But sooner or later, they know they are going to have to reach accommodation with China.

More at
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/da3396b6-8...#axzz1O7ktWchp
Quote:
China steps up drilling, intimidation

By MICHAEL RICHARDSON

SINGAPORE — China recently launched an oil and natural gas drilling platform that may be as significant as military modernization in buttressing Beijing's claims to control most of the islands, water and seabed in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

Designed to withstand typhoons, the giant rig.......It has not said where, but China's Global Times said that the deepwater rig, which is taken to its destination by powerful tugs, would "help China establish a more important presence in the largely untapped southern part of the South China Sea."

It is in this zone, which includes the widely-scattered Spratly Islands, that China's sweeping South China Sea claim overlaps with those of Taiwan and four Southeast Asian states — the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

According to Hanoi, the clash occurred just 215 km from Vietnam's shore, deep inside its Exclusive Economic Zone. China responded by saying that the measures taken by Chinese authorities are "normal marine law enforcement and surveillance activities undertaken in territorial waters under China's jurisdiction."

China claims control over approximately 80 percent of the South China Sea, as far south as waters off Indonesia's Natuna Island and the Malaysian state of Sarawak. But so far, China has limited its unilateral oil and gas search to the northern sector, which is contested only by Taiwan.......

More at:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0110601mr.html
As one of the reports states, "It is a marine version of a Battleship Galactica. Although unarmed, any attempt by Southeast Asian military forces to restrict the rig's movement in the South China Sea would risk retaliation from Beijing", this region, of late, has become very volatile because of China's proactive 'aggressive' actions that till now was under relative 'peace'.

One wonders how the scenario will pan out.
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Old 06-02-2011   #2
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Originally Posted by Ray View Post
As one of the reports states, "It is a marine version of a Battleship Galactica. Although unarmed, any attempt by Southeast Asian military forces to restrict the rig's movement in the South China Sea would risk retaliation from Beijing", this region, of late, has become very volatile because of China's proactive 'aggressive' actions that till now was under relative 'peace'.

One wonders how the scenario will pan out.
The last opportunity to jerk China's chain came and went in the early 1950s. It will continue to be all downhill from here on. In the meantime the responsible grandparent/parent will ensure their children/grandchildren learn to speak Chinese.
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Old 06-02-2011   #3
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Default The Other ASCOPE

Asean Council On Petroleum

http://ascope.org/

Last edited by slapout9; 06-02-2011 at 06:56 PM. Reason: add stuff
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Old 06-02-2011   #4
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It's fascinating that the idea of "massive oil resources" in the Spratly Islands has been elevated to the level of accepted truth. On the basis of actual evidence it's extremely hypothetical. No test wells have been driulled, and though the Chinese claim there is oil, other authorities (notably USGS, which is generally fairly optimistic in its estimates) point out that there's no real evidence of substantial deposits.
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Old 06-03-2011   #5
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I'm not sure this is really about oil in the Spratley Islands anyway. Sure, the pretext is there, but this may be more about China extending its maritime defensive perimeter -- the so-called string of pearls. China's maritime claims go hand-in-hand with their activity in 2001 (EP-3 take down) and in 2009 (USNS Impeccable incident). In both cases, just like with their maritime claims, the design seems to be to have more stand-off against the US Navy.

With some exceptions, China has settled its land disputes and now turns to the sea. By effectively claiming the south China sea, China can also move a step closer to securing maritime energy transport (their real goal I think). They are building a naval base in Gwadar, Pakistan that will provide security near the Persian Gulf for their shipments. Securing the South China Sea bookends the transport route. Next comes the straight of Malacca which becomes easier to secure if you have naval might on both sides of it.

I'm not saying China can challenge US naval supremacy now, but they are taking action that could be bothersome. In a time of financial incertitude in the US, this may be the perfect time for China to act.
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Old 06-03-2011   #6
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I'm not saying China can challenge US naval supremacy now, but they are taking action that could be bothersome. In a time of financial incertitude in the US, this may be the perfect time for China to act.
Its the old Chinese torture method called "death by a thousand cuts".

...in reality we see the boiling frog story unfolding where the US is the frog:

Quote:
The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.
...and the amazing thing is that the American people don't realise whats happening!
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Old 06-03-2011   #7
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Philippines preparing issues for UN about China ‘intrusions’'

THE PHILIPPINES is preparing to file another complaint with the United Nations on new Chinese "intrusions" into Philippine territory, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III said yesterday, as he committed to raising the issue with Beijing in a state visit by the third quarter.

"We are completing the data on about six to seven instances since February. We will present it to [China] and then bring these to the appropriate body, which normally is the United Nations," Mr. Aquino told reporters during his two-day official state visit to Brunei Darrusalam that ended yesterday.

While Mr. Aquino reiterated the call for "peaceful resolution" rather than provocation in the disputed territories in the South China Sea, he noted that some actions of China were not justified.

The latest of the series of Chinese intrusions, Mr. Aquino noted, occurred on the same day that he had a bilateral meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in Manila on May 23.

In this instance, Chinese vessels were reportedly unloading building materials and also placed a buoy in waters inside the West Philippine Sea.

http://www.bworldonline.com/content....80%99&id=32475
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Old 06-03-2011   #8
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Default Not clear-cut

Ray and others,

The competition over the islands, reefs and the like in the South China Sea IIRC is well documented in journals, although you need a good map to follow the claims.

The situation between PR China and others is not straight forward IMHO, partly as economic growth has distracted states from such competition and potential for conflict.

Nor is the situation between the PRC and the USA clear-cut. How many know non-military PRC agencies are aboard US Coast Guard vessels in the North Pacific? For 'fishery protection' IIRC.

Have a peek at 'Survival', the journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS); in The February-March 2011 edition, in an article 'Policing the Waves:Maritime Paramilitaries in the Asia-Pacific' by Christian Le Miere (who is the IISS's resident export on matters naval), pgs. 133-145. Fascinating, especially the use of non-naval agencies by most nations.
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Old 06-04-2011   #9
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It may be a "boiling frog" issue and it is certainly complex, as indicated by David. However, this does provide an opening for the US. Our pursuit of the "war on terror" has led us to take our eye of certain aspects of the Pacific.

The main US interest here is maintaining freedom of navigation in the commons. This interest conflicts with China's traditional view on sovereignty, which takes on a nationalistic tone given their history, specifically what they call "the century of shame and humiliation," which refers to their exploitation by western powers. If I was in their shoes, I'd probably take the same position. The problem here is that their position is contrary to international law.

I'm no expert on law of the sea, but since they are signatories to the law of the sea convention they are bound by its provisions and it repudiates their claims. Believe it or not, international law can be just as much of an achilles heel to them as it can sometimes be to us. This is where we can press them and use the issue to bring other countries in the region closer to us. This should be framed as an economic, trade issue rather than a security issue though. The last time a rising Asian power headed south for economic reasons, Pearl Harbor was attacked. It is a security issue for us, but I think we get more play using law and economics as weapons of choice.

By the way, this whole maritime issue also plays into China's actions in space. The goal is access denial by continually pushing the boundaries of sovereignty. Whereas Europeans and some others are chipping away at sovereignty, China embraces it and seeks to expand it in novel ways. The lawyer in me likes the strategy even if I do not agree with the tactics.
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Old 06-04-2011   #10
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Just came across this news article. Check the last paragraph for the benefits of China's aggressive stance in the South China Sea.
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"You must, therefore know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases, is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second." -- Niccolo Machiavelli (from The Prince)
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Old 06-04-2011   #11
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Ultimately, the law of the sea is whatever the strongest navy says it is. I think the PRC may be influenced a little by various legal provisions if they are strongly pestered, but once their navy gets big enough, they'll do as they please as you would expect of a pugnacious police state.
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Old 06-04-2011   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
Just came across this news article. Check the last paragraph for the benefits of China's aggressive stance in the South China Sea.
Lets look at the last paragraph then:

Quote:
"One of the most striking -- and surprising -- changes I've observed during my travels to Asia is the widespread desire across the region for stronger military-to-military relationships with the United States -- much more so than during my last time in government 20 years ago," Gates said.
If that is a surprise to him then he has not been kept up to date with developments by the Intel crowd and not able to see the obvious. Will his replacement be any better?
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Old 06-04-2011   #13
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Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
By the way, this whole maritime issue also plays into China's actions in space. The goal is access denial by continually pushing the boundaries of sovereignty. Whereas Europeans and some others are chipping away at sovereignty, China embraces it and seeks to expand it in novel ways. The lawyer in me likes the strategy even if I do not agree with the tactics.
Yes, they have a plan and we don't.
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Old 06-05-2011   #14
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Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
Yes, they have a plan and we don't.
You are correct, but any plan, at this point, would require a greater embrace of international institutions and international law than most Americans are willing to have. While I certainly embrace traditional notions of territorial sovereignty, I am against expanding it to areas typically viewed as global commons. Freedom of navigation within the commons is crucial to American security interests and the crux of the international economy. Thorough a closer embrace of international institutions and law we can "prep the battlefield" and perhaps increase those connections Gates spoke of.

Have we focused too much on the "war of terror" and thus dropped the ball in the Pacific? Is this issue evidence of our need to pursue a different strategy with respect to terrorism, so we can remember the big picture?
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Old 06-05-2011   #15
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Thougfht I'd share this map asa reference. Map originates from an old web article here
Conflict in the South China Sea: China’s Relations with Vietnam and the Philippines


p.s. Not as big as I would have liekd. Sort of makes a mockery of posting it as a reference aid.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg schinasea.jpg (19.5 KB, 1068 views)
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Old 06-05-2011   #16
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Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
Have we focused too much on the "war of terror" and thus dropped the ball in the Pacific? Is this issue evidence of our need to pursue a different strategy with respect to terrorism, so we can remember the big picture?
I would say yes. I think China jumps up and down whenever we spend massive resources on wars of choice instead of building a country for the 21st Century.
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Old 06-05-2011   #17
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Default The China Question

All, if you get a chance watch this tonight. Check your local listings.


http://thechinaquestion.com/
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Old 06-06-2011   #18
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General Liang Guanglie, China’s defence minister, has rejected criticism that his country was acting belligerently in the South China Sea, saying China was pursuing a “peaceful rise”.

“You say our actions do not match our words. I certainly do not agree,” Gen Liang replied to critics at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-profile Asia defence forum in Singapore.

Speaking days after Vietnam and the Philippines accused China of aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, Gen Liang denied that China was threatening security in the strategically important and energy-rich disputed waters, saying “freedom of navigation has never been impeded”.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/21c9e72a-8...#ixzz1OSKXqKLX


Quote:
China is the dominant producer of rare earth metals, which are increasingly fuelling the global high-tech and green economy. From 2009 to 2010, Chinese mines accounted for 259,000 tonnes out of a total global production of 263,000 tonnes of rare earth oxide. But with this massive production has come ever more restrictive measures to control the export of these commodities.

China claims it’s doing so to protect the environment and argues that tighter measures are necessary to ensure rare earth mining industry remains sustainable. However, major consumers of rare earths including Japan, the United States, and EU states counter that recent Chinese actions to reduce exports contravene World Trade Organisation rules on free trade.
http://the-diplomat.com/new-leaders-...earth-motives/
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Last edited by AdamG; 06-06-2011 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 06-06-2011   #19
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Ok, but do they have a good plan?
It doesn't matter whether their plan is good or bad. What matters is they almost certainly will act, and act aggressively, and we might act, or we might not, depending on what a focus group says. The one thing they can be certain of is that we can't make up our minds and that will feed their determination to act. They will be so far inside our OODA loop that any plan at all will do. It doesn't matter a whit what they will be and what we are if we won't do anything.

It appears the Chinese objective is to establish effective control, or sovereignty or whatever over the whole of the South China Sea. Law of the Sea arguments and expressions of concern won't stop them. When they do that they will have demonstrated to the world that they can do as they like and nobody will stop them. That will increase their confidence in their ability to pull this kind of thing off which will make it more likely they will continue. And all those other countries in the area will see what they can do and will incorporate that knowledge into their accounting. Things are likely to get very complicated.

The belligerent actions mentioned in Adam G's post are shots fired near Filipino and Vietnamese fishing boats to drive them out of disputed areas. Information Dissemination blog covers this today. The Filipinos can't do anything much about it and the Vietnamese don't have much power but the Viets are very truculent so who knows what they may eventually do.
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Old 06-07-2011   #20
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Just for fun - scratch out 2010 and insert 2012.


Quote:
Eastern Sea (AKA South China Sea) December 2010: World War III starts over a desolate and worthless looking area in the western Pacific Ocean known as the Spratly Islands.

Strategically located between and claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei, the Spratly Islands are also claimed by distant neighbors China and Taiwan. Located in the middle of major shipping lanes with over-abundant commercial fishing possibilities, the Spratly Islands cause turmoil for an even greater reason: untapped oil and gas reserves.
http://thelastcolumnist.com/world/the-spratly-islands/
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