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. Continue reading Involvement of Any Third Party in The South China Sea is Counter Productive→
[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.]
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.
Vietnam says it has evidence to prove its claim in South China Sea but is ignoring own historical documents that vindicate China’s position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Now the Vietnamese leaders, using the so-called historical documents, are trying to claim that Vietnam’s “Huangsha” and “Changsha” islands are actually China’s Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands.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. Continue reading China’s Take on Vietnam’s Dispute with China in the S. China Sea→
[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.
In addition to our post on “The Inconvenient Truth Behind the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands” by Han-Yi Shaw, the article “Deconstructing Japan’s Claim of Sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands” by Ivy Lee and Fang Ming in Japan Focus is also worth reading. The Shaw article focuses more on the political history surrouding the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands while the Lee-Ming article focuses more on the legal history.
On May 8, Japan’s government lodged a “strong protest” with the Chinese government over an article that had run in the People’s Daily in which two academics questioned the basis of Japan’s sovereignty over the Lewchew 琉球 (in Japanese, Ryukyu) islands. The Chinese side of course rejected the protest, and opinion columnists the world over have been weighingin. The current press furor has produced exciting developments in Lewchew’s main island of Okinawa, where in May 15 two professors have founded the “Association of Comprehensive Studies for Independence of Lew Chewans”. Already, there exists in Lewchew rising tensions between natives and nationalist Japanese, a latent history of cultural and linguistic abuse of Lewchewans, and a culture of protest upon which independence campaigners can piggyback. The only missing ingredient in this karmic tinderbox of anti-Japanese sentiment is international diplomatic support for Lewchewan separatists, which does not seem to be forthcoming from China. The Wall Street Journal soberly notes that “individual commentaries”, such as those in the People’s Daily, “don’t necessarily reflect the views of top political leaders, and Beijing officials on Wednesday gave little indication that the commentary represents a potential shift in policy.”
Map to the left with the ‘A’ flag is one of the islands under dispute. In some ways this is similar to the dispute between China and Japan over Diaoyutai/Senkaku. Perhaps an all-or-nothing approach to ownership is too much of a out dated thinking.
In terms of news coverage, the thing that really struck me is how different Japan, Russia, and China reports than from how the U.S./U.K. media reports. In the case of the latter, they will put so much more spin or propaganda into the news. I am beginning to wonder if I should boycott U.S./U.K. media altogether.