Tag Archives: West Philippine Sea

South China Sea nears boiling point with Hague ruling

Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. U.S. Navy photo, Public Domain

Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. U.S. Navy photo, Public Domain

On Tuesday, July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled will rule on an argument by the Philippines government that China’s claim to own 90 per cent of the South China Sea is false. The court is expected to rule ruled in Manila’s favour. Beijing has already said it will take no notice of the judgement. Beijing’s reasoning is that as its territorial claim is beyond question then no one, not even an international court, can question it.

Update on July 12: read the notice of the court decision, which dismissed China’s case entirely, on the court web site. (The site was down periodically during the day.)

SOUTH CHINA SEA (Jan. 15, 2016) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) conducts a live fire gunnery exercise with its 5-inch .54-caliber gun. Curtis Wilbur is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Jonathan Peterson, Public Domaine

American destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur in an Asia Pacific live fire exercise in early 2016. Photo: U.S. Navy, Lt.j.g. Jonathan Peterson, Public Domain

In anticipation of the court’s ruling, Beijing has been rushing to construct and arm islands in the South China Sea. The stage is now set for more confrontations with the forces of littoral states — most of them allies of the United States, which has already shown its determination to defend its right to freedom of navigation through the sea, which carries over 80 per cent of Asia’s maritime trade.

If, as expected, Beijing now tries to control and manage naval, maritime and perhaps air traffic on and over the South China Sea, the world is moving into a very dangerous era of pushing and shoving, when fatal mistakes can easily be made.

These three columns explain what you need to know about the dispute, from International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe:

China’s island building in defence of nuclear missile submarines

China’s island building in the South China Sea shows the challenges awaiting America’s next president. Forget the Islamic State group and the quagmire of the Middle East. Asia and the confrontation with China is where the real threat to North American interests lie. Indeed, the situation is fast approaching something that looks strikingly similar to the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Washington, courts defy Beijing imperialism

At long last, the Beijing regime has this week been dealt two significant set-backs to what is the world’s most extraordinary contemporary campaign of imperial expansionism. A tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea decided that Beijing’s claim to own almost all the South China Sea is not an indisputable fact, as the Chinese government contends.

China’s war for Asian domination is going well, writes Jonathan Manthorpe from Tokyo. Above, Chinese surveillance ships in waters claimed by Japan, in 2013. Times Asi photo, Creative Commons

China’s war for Asian domination is going well, writes Jonathan Manthorpe from Tokyo. Above, Chinese surveillance ships in waters claimed by Japan, in 2013. Times Asi photo, Creative Commons

China’s war for Asian domination going well

TOKYO, Japan — China’s war to supplant the United States as the regional super power in the Far East and western Pacific is under full steam and gobbling up its objectives. Over the last 15 years, China has not only built a large and potentially effective navy, it has by stealth and cunning either caused divisions between the United States and its Asian allies, or cast doubt among target states whether Washington can be trusted to support them, or both.

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Island-building Inflames China-Philippines Dispute

Mabini Reef 2014

Earlier this year the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs released a series of photographs, which it said shows stages of China’s “reclamation” of land on Mabini Reef, also called Johnson South Reef, in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea. Photo provided by Philippines government.

Pursuit of Beijing’s claim to the South China Sea is a major element in the drive by China’s Communist Party boss Xi Jinping to convince the population that the country is re-emerging as the world’s pre-eminent power, writes International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe.. “The prospects are not good.”

An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column, China manufactures islands to back its sovereignty claims:

Not content with stealing other people’s territory, the Beijing government is now manufacturing islands to boost its insubstantial claim to ownership of the South China Sea.

The Philippines government has released aerial photographs of Chinese dredgers and construction teams pulling up millions of tonnes of sand and rock from the ocean floor to create islands on Johnson South Reef, which is claimed by the Manila government.

The new island is one of several being created by Beijing, and is within Manila’s 200 nautical mile “exclusive economic zone,” but about 800 kilometres from the nearest undisputed Chinese territory at Hainan Island.

China’s island manufacturing industry, using reefs and islets as bases on which to create territory, is the latest in a vigorous policy of territorial expansion being pursued by the new Beijing administration of President and Communist Party boss Xi Jinping. Since Xi came to power in late 2012, Beijing has been pushing an evermore aggressive and assertive policy over territorial disputes with its neighbours. In the East China Sea this has seen almost daily confrontations with the Japanese Coast Guards and Air Force around and over the Japanese-owned Senkaku Islands, which the Chinese call the Diaoyu Islands. …. read China manufactures islands to back its sovereignty claims. (Log in first; subscription or day pass* required)

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