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Posts Tagged ‘South China Seas’

Involvement of Any Third Party in The South China Sea is Counter Productive

December 13th, 2015 2 comments

I am writing this article as a follow on to Allen’s post “Who Is Really Overstepping the Bounds of International Law in the South China Sea?

International law is defined by consensus but ultimately decided by “reality on the ground”. Each claimant nation of South China Sea island should have absolute faith and belief in their position before submitting any claim. That is not wrong. However, each nation should be realistic. To have the notion that “my claim is more legitimate than your claim” is counter productive. And to have this illusion that somehow “world opinion” is backing your claim make it even more laughable. Read more…

Who Is Really Overstepping the Bounds of International Law in the South China Sea?

December 10th, 2015 1 comment
The Hague via peopleint.files.wordpress.com/2012/07

The Hague via peopleint.files.wordpress.com/2012/07

[Editor’s Note: This is a cross-post of an article I submitted to the Diplomat a few weeks ago.  I am wrapping up a more detailed legal analysis of the issues  and aim to make it a law review article.  I will cross-post here too that once that has been submitted and accepted.]

When the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague recently announced that it would take “jurisdiction” over Philippines’ arbitral claims against China, many reported the decision as a victory for the Philippines and as a triumph of the “rule of law.” I beg to differ. The Court, on the contrary, has muddled, not upheld, international law, and by trivializing the states’ duty to negotiate in good faith – as enshrined in the U.N. charter, stipulated in the UNCLOS, and specifically agreed to between the parties – has greatly damaged the prospect for peace, cooperation, and a final resolution of the disputes. Read more…

U.S. S. China Sea Provocation … What Next?

October 29th, 2015 10 comments

Missile Guided Detroyer LassenThis story has been brewing for a while.  The U.S. has been saying for months that it is going to challenge China’s “increasingly assertive claims” in the S. China Sea … militarily – by sailing warships through some of the most sensitive parts of the S. China Sea. Many have bemoaned when the U.S. appeared to deliberate and delay and delay.  But yesterday, the U.S. finally sailed a destroyer right through an especially “sensitive” area of the S. China Sea – the waters surrounding Zhubi Reef – a site where China has been dredging and building artificial islands over the last few years.

Here is how the NYT – in a article titled “Challenging Chinese Claims, U.S. Sends Warship Near Artificial Island Chain” – reported the story: Read more…

Is China a Real Victor of WWII?

August 7th, 2015 5 comments

In my recent article on Philippines’ ultimately absurd legal challenge to China’s claims in the S. China Sea, I noted how that conflict arose from the prevailing wind to diss China’s interests in the post WWII world.  The cause for that are many.  No doubt China’s relative weakness vis-a-vis the West and/or Soviet Union, its plunge into a major civil war in the aftermath of WWII, the alignment of the interests among the world’s most powerful – including both the West and the Soviets – to keep China from re-emerging as a major power all play a part.  But whatever the cause, I think it is major time for the world to revisit just how important a role China played in securing WWII’s victory against the Axis.

I have heard many Japanese say that even though China was technically a victor, China did not defeat Japan, only the U.S. did.  Some Americans say – what role could China have played when it was always teetering on the brink of national annihilation?  Both are way over simplifications of history.

Even if China could not have single-handedly defeat Japan, the world would not have been able to defeat Japan without China.  The defeat of the axis was a collaborative effort.  The U.S. and Soviet Union may have been the strongest military powers of the day, but the removal of any of the major four victors – China included – would have changed history irrevocably.  There are many reasons for the Axis to be defeated in WWII, and China is a key indispensable reason.

Consider, for example, that despite Japan’s many military victories in China throughout WWII, China was nevertheless able to, through its heroic resistance movement, lock down some 94% of Japan’s army throughout the war.  That is a huge deal.  Had China capitulated and freed Japan’s army, Japan could have opened with the Soviet Union a second front as Hitler had asked.  The course of WWII in Europe would have been irrevocably changed.

Alternatively – or perhaps simultaneously – the freed Japanese army could have rolled across S. East Asia, or India … or been used to invade Australia, Philippines and perhaps even India – securing the resources of much of Asia.  Does the U.S. really think it could have withstood an additional enforcement of Japan’s army by a factor of 15-16 throughout Asia???  Japan, I argue – would have been that much more difficult – if not impossible to defeat.

Some American exceptionalists might claim, but it was nuclear bombs that defeated the Japaneses.  That is patently false.  By the time the “bomb” was used, Americans already had control of Japanese skies and were carrying out firebomb raids with impunity.  Without that cover, the bomb could not have been deployed.

Strategically also, the bomb was used precisely because Japan was a defeated nation.  Had Japan had a fighting chance of survival, America would not have dared to try the bomb … for the simple reason that Japan would not easily go down, and would have had the resources to develop its own bomb  … and used it against America. The nuclear bomb did not end the war.  It was used to make a political statement … and to shorten – perhaps (tenuously) – the war. But make no mistake: the war was already  won.

In commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, I offer two articles.  The first,  China a Forgotten WWII Ally, from China.org, argues that China made uniquely important and significant contributions to securing Japan’s ultimate defeat and that its efforts have been too long been neglected in the West in the advent of the cold war.  The second, Did a forgotten Japanese journalist turn the tide of World War II?, from Asia Times tells the story of how Soviet knowledge of Japan’s decision not to open a second front decisively changed the course of WWII … and how a brave Japanese journalist named Hotsumi Ozaki heroically relayed that critical knowledge to Soviet leaders. Read more…

Position Paper of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration Initiated by the Republic of the Philippines

July 27th, 2015 3 comments

On December 7, 2014, the Chinese government released a position paper on why the UNCLOS Arbitration initiated by Philippines should be dismissed as groundless.  Below is a copy.  For me personally, it’s interesting reading it after I have conducted my own extensive research in the area in writing my own paper on the topic last June.  The Chinese position paper has cited the relevant laws correctly, but I feel my paper dove into the legal issues deeper and more comprehensively.  The Chinese position paper however does include a lot of events that are relevant to understanding the situation but that I had not cited.

Here it goes: Read more…

Google alters name of disputed South China Sea reef

July 15th, 2015 2 comments

So it’s official folks.  Google has altered the name of of a disputed South China Sea reef on its map from Huangyan Island to Scarborough Shoal.  Since Google says so, it must be so.  Has to be so. Read more…

U.S. Irresponsible Acts in S. China Sea

May 26th, 2015 10 comments

Recently, the news has been ablaze with growing tension in the S. China Sea.  First, the U.S. held military drills with Philippines near islands Philippines disputes with China in the S. China Sea.  Then Japan passed and the U.S. welcomed a new law that allows Japanese military to support U.S. air patrols and directly even carry out its own patrols in the S. China Sea.  Then Japan and Philippines announced they would conduct their first military drills in the S. China Sea.  And most recently, the U.S. decides to publicly challenge China’s assertion of rights on disputed islands by flying through those areas and releasing tapes of the verbal responses between the military.

There is no question among observers that the U.S. is ratcheting up the pressure on China in its assertion of sovereignty in the S. China Sea. (see e.g. some of our posts).  But this latest round of military provocation is completely irresponsible. Read more…

Washington whips up fog of war in South China Seas

May 26th, 2015 2 comments

The Emperor in Washington has no clothes, laid bare by his naked lies and soon without a feather to fly with.

Well, maybe he has P8-Poseidons to conduct provocative flights around Beijing’s South China Seas islands, and a giant nuclear-powered fig leaf spread over 800 known global bases to cover his, uh, security.  But navel-gazing American politicians have already been lobbed a big punch to their guts by Vladimir Putin who flashed his own missile-laden cojones at Obama et cie over Ukraine.

China really should thank Victoria “Eve’’ Nuland for sparking off the crisis that has pushed Beijing and Moscow closer than ever expected.  Was that cookies – or apples? – that she was handing out to Maidan protestors in Kiev with the temptation of a champagne `n’ roses lifestyle just like f**k-the-EU Eden? Read more…

On China’s 9-Dashed Line and Why the Arbitrational Tribunal in Hague Should Dismiss Philippine’s Case Against China

December 16th, 2014 9 comments

December 15 was the deadline the Arbitration Tribunal for Philippine’s “arbitration” of its S. China Sea disputes with China had set for China to respond to Philippine’s claims under the UNCLOS.  According to this VOA report:

Monday is the deadline for China to submit a counter-argument in the Philippines arbitration case that questions China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea. But China shuns arbitration and will not respond, while challenges to its position continue to mount.

Just days before the December 15 deadline, Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Bin said his government told the Permanent Court of Arbitration that Vietnam fully rejected “China’s claim over the Hoang Sa [Paracel] and Truong Sa [Spratly] archipelagoes and the adjacent waters.”

In a statement, the Philippines called Vietnam’s position “helpful in terms of promoting the rule of law and in finding peaceful and nonviolent solutions to the South China Sea claims.”

But China’s Foreign Ministry urged Vietnam “to earnestly respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.” The ministry reiterated China’s position that the tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the case.

In a paper Beijing released a week ago, China argued the Philippines was essentially taking a territorial dispute to the tribunal and that the question of territorial sovereignty was not something addressed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose said his government has “taken note” of the position paper.

I had done some research and written an article on the subject earlier this year.  The plan was to publish it somewhere with Eric’s help, and through Guancha’s affiliates. However, by the time I finished, in mid-late August, the S. China Sea issue had drifted from the main media attention and Eric thought it was best to wait.

As it turned out, the “news” would not focus on S. China Sea again this year (fortunately), as the West attention seems to be focused now on ISIS, Ukraine, Russia, and Japan and Europe’s continuing economic problems…

If the news flare up again, I will see about writing something pertinent to that occasion.  But for now, I think it’s too much of a waste to just let my research this year lie dormant.  So below is my paper.   It might seem long and dense because it’s meant to address all the major legal arguments I hear Philippines officials and Western anti-China “legalists” publicly making.  I hope it’s educational for all here. If people have any feedback, I welcome them.  They will only make our position – and my future articles (if they are needed) – that much stronger.

China’s Take on Vietnam’s Dispute with China in the S. China Sea

July 3rd, 2014 5 comments

Recently, the Western media has been ablaze with Vietnam’s confrontation with China in the S. China Sea over an oil rig.  I thought it’s a good time for me to reference two documents that presents China’s side of the story.

First is an article by Ling Dequan in People’s Daily titled “Truth about South China Sea dispute.” Here is a copy.

Updated: 2014-06-14 09:17

Vietnam says it has evidence to prove its claim in South China Sea but is ignoring own historical documents that vindicate China’s position

Vietnam has been using China-Vietnam clashes in the South China Sea, and distorting facts, fanning passions and playing up the “China threat” theory, to vilify China. Ignoring the overall development of Beijing-Hanoi relationship, Vietnam is pretending to be a “victim” in the South China Sea dispute, saying it is prepared to seek international arbitration on the issue.

Vietnamese leaders have said that they have enough historical evidence to justify Vietnam’s sovereignty over “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands, claiming that Vietnam has been the “master” of the two islands since the 17th century. It seems like they have lifted their remarks straight out of a white paper “Truth of China-Vietnam Relationship over 30 Years”, issued by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry in 1979 when bilateral ties were not normal. Worse, almost all the arguments in that 1979 document were copied from a “white paper” issued by the Saigon-based puppet South Vietnam regime (or the Republic of Vietnam) in February 1974.

Now the Vietnamese leaders, using the so-called historical documents, are trying to claim that Vietnam’s “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands are actually China’s Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands. The fact is that, the islands recorded in Vietnamese documents refer to some other islands surrounding Vietnam instead of the Xisha and Nansha islands.
Read more…

Why Asia Should Say No to Mr. Abe’s Vision of International Law for Asia

June 25th, 2014 2 comments

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe[Editor’s note: the English version of post was first posted on Huffington Post and can be found here; and the Chinese version can be found on Guancha.cn here]

SHANGHAI — A few weeks ago at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Shinzo Abe made a bold pitch to Asia to buy in on a new type of Japanese leadership. According to Mr. Abe, the peace that is at the foundation of the Asia Pacific’s unprecedented growth can no longer be guaranteed. Without naming China by name, Mr. Abe warns of a new danger that looms on the horizon. The Asia Pacific needs Japanese leadership and a new affirmation of “international law.”

These are heavy words for uncertain times. But should Asia buy in? In his speech, Mr. Abe talked extensively about The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, declaring his government’s strong support of the Philippines and Vietnam in their claims against China.

From China’s view, this was a provocative and dangerous articulation of law. China has never taken any actions or made any claims in the South China Sea that limits the freedom of passage. That is made abundantly clear with China’s ratification of the UNCLOS in 1982 and its signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002 reaffirming its “respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea.” Read more…

Two (Minor) Chinese Fishermen Returned from Phillipines Deny Poaching Sea Turtles

May 17th, 2014 1 comment

When the story of the Philippines Police arresting Chinese fishermen for illegally fishing sea turtles in Half Moon Shoal broke a few days ago, I immediately read saw in the news that families of fishermen highly doubt the veracity of that story since the fishermen did not leave with equipment to poach turtles…

Well, here are a few more details from xinhua.

QIONGHAI, Hainan, May 15 (Xinhua) — Two Chinese fishermen released by Philippine authorities have said that sea turtles they were accused of poaching were actually traded from a Vietnamese fishing boat.

“When we got caught by the Philippine police, it’s true that there were dozens of sea turtles on our vessel, but we had exchanged them with Vietnamese fishermen for food,” said Li Xianghui, one of the two fishermen released by a Philippine court earlier this week because they were found to be minors. Read more…

On the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) Between the U.S. and Phillipines

April 29th, 2014 5 comments

 

Obama and Aquino Toasts

Obama and Aquino Toasts

The U.S. and Phillipines leadership would like to portray their new relationship as rosy, strategic and deep.  On the street though, talking to the average Joe, one might get a very different impression.

Billed as the cornerstone of growing US and the Philippines strategic partnership and of the U.S. pivot back to Asia, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and Philippines has been touted as the highlight of the meeting of President Obama and President Aquino in Manila this week. The official line is broadcast to the world even though many in Philippine vehemently oppose the agreement (see e.g. this response from BAYAN).  Many Filipinos still remember the 1.5 million or so who died during the brutal US conquest of the Philippines in the early part of the 20th century, and they do not want the U.S. to have any military presence on Philippines soil again. Read more…

The Winter of Obama’s Discontent

March 16th, 2014 12 comments

Into every life a little rain must fall – even that of a behemoth superpower.

Picture the President of the United States and his masters of the universe – more formally known as the American Cabinet – with Ukraine-driven nuclear umbrellas unfurled against a downpour of unexpected setbacks in foreign policy lately.

In the winter of his discontent, Barack Obama must be yearning for the new hope of spring heralded by cherry blossoms of Washington’s Tidal Basin. But he should also heed the Japanese proverb: “ “Though on the sign it is written: ‘Don’t pluck these blossoms’ /it is useless against the wind, which cannot read.”

Indeed, the winds of change have blown against American directives, and scattered its best-laid schemes, from the South China Seas to the West Eurasian plains. Read more…

Philippines, China, UNCLOS and the South China Seas

April 17th, 2012 98 comments

Recently, we hear a growing chorus how the China – Philippines dispute in the South China Seas ought to be settled by binding arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 1 We already have dealt with some of the political dimensions of this (see, e.g., our South China Seas tag), and I won’t rehash them here. But I do want to bring up a couple of points that seem lost in the current fray. Read more…

The Economist and the South China Sea: It is “complex” if I can’t understand it

February 9th, 2012 17 comments

 

The Economist is often held prisoner by its own prejudice arising from its whatever-China-does-internationally-is-wrong stance, and a recent article on the South China Sea disputes proves it. Behold the latest offering from intellectual dungeons of the The Economist: “The devil in the deep blue detail”.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the newspaper warns against the dangers of viewing the dispute through cold war lenses, and then proceeds to do exactly that.  In a nutshell, the article can be summed up as follows: China is the bad guy. (Of course, that applies to most articles about China that it publishes).

South China Sea, two opposing views from Philipines on the U.S. Asia ‘pivot’

January 28th, 2012 121 comments

There has been a lot of coverage in the U.S. media lately about America’s Asia ‘pivot.’ In particular, U.S. seems to be taking sides with Vietnam and Philippines in their disputes with China.

The U.S. relationships with these two countries are nothing but complex. When the Philippines was colonized by the Spanish, the U.S. took sides with the Philippines to oust Spain. Little did the Filipinos knew they would have to fight the Americans in yet another attempt to gain freedom. Filipinos estimated 1+ million were killed as a result of that war. The story in Vietnam was not that dissimilar. The Vietnamese were fighting to end French aggression. After the French withdrew, the United States went in on the grounds of stopping Communism from spreading. From the North Vietnamese perspective, it was a new imperialist, and they were fighting yet again for their freedom. Again, with millions dead. Read more…

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South China Sea Coverage, China Daily versus Reuters, Which is more propagandistic?

July 11th, 2011 35 comments

Following is a side-by-side look at how Reuters and China Daily reported on the South China Sea dispute in context of the U.S.-China relations. Again, you will have to decide which media outlet’s article is of higher journalistic standard.  One thing to bear in mind is that U.S. media almost always refer to the Chinese media ‘government mouthpieces’ as if they are propaganda machines.  In that case, read the Reuters article with that in mind too.  Which article in your mind is more a egregious and blatant propaganda piece? To be honest, I didn’t think the Reuters’ piece is that ‘bad.’ The more important point I want to make is that media is one sided. There is no such thing as ‘free’ media. We can see that when things are put side-by-side.

(Bold comments in parenthesis are mine.) Read more…

Cui Tiankai and Kurt Campbell on Asia-Pacific

June 27th, 2011 1 comment

Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai meets United States Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell in Honolulu on Asia-Pacific

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai met with United States Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell in Honolulu few days ago in what is the first official U.S.-China dialog on the Asia Pacific. This meeting came about as a result of the last Strategic & Economics Dialog where both countries decided it was critical they find ways to advance peace for the region.

As raventhorn2000 has pointed out here, the U.S. media as usual are advancing a very bleak and confrontational narrative over recent developments in the South China Sea. In the spirit of the S&ED, that is very misguided. I think it is important we keep things in proper perspective and to hear the two government’s official positions directly; Chinese government through Xinhua here and U.S. Department of State through its blog, DipNote, here. In fact, it is worthwhile to think from the perspective of other players in East Asia as well. Read more…

South China Sea, Wolves Crying Wolf

June 16th, 2011 32 comments

Recently, South China Sea territorial disputes seem to heat up in the Media.  China is once again, accused of notching up aggression because of its increase might.

A good time to examine the truths in the disputes, and the media coverage of the issue.

Read more…

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“南海姑娘” (“South China Sea Girl”)

January 10th, 2011 No comments

“南海姑娘” (“Girl from South China Sea”)
赵聪 (Zhao Cong) on 琵琶 (pipa)
秦万民 (Qin Wanmin) on 吉他 (guitar)



(Tudou.com version)

South China Sea: Let’s get it straight, it’s not new Chinese aggression, it’s new US policy.

August 12th, 2010 6 comments

What’s with the recent hoopla surrounding an ASEAN summit where US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to outline a new US policy in the South China Sea and China angrily denouncing her speech as an “ambush”?

Well, it is just that, a new US policy for the South China Sea, one where US asserts its “interests” in the disputed island territories.  Washington Hawks welcomed Clinton’s speech as the beginning salvo against China.  China denounced it as the new US backed “Asian NATO” to contain China further.

What’s the truth?  Who’s the aggressor?  What’s the likely outcome?

Read more…

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U.S and China Scuffle in South China Sea

March 11th, 2009 143 comments

The U.S. accused China of harassing a U.S. surveillance ship in the South China Seas earlier this week.  According to this CNN report,

During the incident, five Chinese vessels “shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity to USNS Impeccable, in an apparent coordinated effort to harass the U.S. ocean surveillance ship while it was conducting routine operations in international waters,” the Pentagon said in a written statement. Read more…