Jakarta rejects China's 'nine-dash line'

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by Srinivas_K, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Jakarta rejects China's 'nine-dash line'
    In a significant policy shift, Indonesian officials on March 12 announced that China's nine-dash line map outlining its claims in the South China Sea overlaps with Indonesia's Riau province, which includes the Natuna Island chain.

    For over two decades, Indonesia has positioned itself as an independent mediator in the South China Sea disputes between its partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China. Indonesia and China have no overlapping claims to islands. In Jakarta's view, therefore, Indonesia and China should have no disputes over waters since, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), rights to waters are derived from rights to land.

    Indonesia has long pressed Beijing for reassurance on this point, but it has not been forthcoming. Indonesia's declaration that it indeed a party to the South China conflict with China ends the strategic ambiguity that has reigned for years, and is likely to heighten tensions on an issue that is already fraught with them.

    The South China Sea dispute became a key strategic issue between China and ASEAN in the mid-1990s. Particularly significant was China's 1994 Chinese occupation of Mischief Reef, approximately 130 miles (210 kilometers) off the coast of Palawan island and hence well within the Philippines' 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Despite Philippine protests, China built concrete structures on the reef, and today it has a multi-story structure replete with docks, a helipad, and radar.

    Indonesia viewed the territorial disputes as a threat to key Indonesian interests in Southeast Asian stability, regional autonomy from outside hegemony, and ASEAN norms of the peaceful settlement of disputes and autonomy from outside powers. As a result, in the 1990s Indonesia began holding workshops to reduce tensions and build confidence between rival claimants.

    Ultimately, ASEAN members and China signed the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which committed the signatories to the peaceful settlement of disputes, the non-use of force, and the exercise of restraint. Importantly, it called for all claimants to refrain from occupying uninhabited islands, reefs and shoals in the South China Sea.

    The 2002 Declaration, however, lacked an enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with its principles. To remedy this problem, Indonesia has taken the lead in negotiating a legally binding code of conduct that would build on the DOC and include measures to prevent and avoid military escalations at sea.

    Indonesia's mediation efforts have always been conducted against a backdrop of strategic concern over China's intentions. Indonesia viewed China as its key external threat for much of the Cold War and "froze" diplomatic relations with Beijing between 1967 and 1990. Officials in Jakarta have long feared China's irredentist aims in the South China Sea, particularly toward its Natuna Island chain, home to one of the world's largest recoverable gas fields. Indonesian concerns have risen in tandem with China's military buildup, and its increasingly assertive use of force to assert its interests in the South China Sea.

    At stake for Indonesia is not only the Natuna Islands and surrounding waters - critical through these are - but also the sanctity of UNCLOS. Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state and it lacks the naval capacity to defend its far-lung archipelago, which spans 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) from east to west. It has therefore always been a strong advocate of UNCLOS.

    Indonesia's conception of its national territory encompasses not only its 17,000 islands, but also the waters that connect them: the Indonesian word for country is tanah air, literally land and water. When UNCLOS came into force in 1994, it included the archipelagic principle that granted island nations sovereignty over their internal waters. Ensuring that larger powers adhere to UNCLOS, therefore, is a key Indonesian security interest.

    In recent years, China has taken a series of actions that Indonesia perceives as undermining UNCLOS and threatening regional stability. First, there was China's 2009 publication of its nine-dash line map, which includes parts of the Natuna Island EEZ in its southernmost area. Indonesia protested China's claims to UNCLOS in 2010, and also requested that China clarify its claims - drawn freehand in 1947 - by providing precise coordinates.

    China's justification of its claims is ambiguous and, in Indonesia's view, inconsistent with UNCLOS. China's unwillingness to respond positively to Indonesia's request sent a strong signal to Jakarta that China did not appreciate what Indonesian officials viewed as restrained responses to Chinese provocations and Jakarta's efforts persuade its ASEAN partners to follow its lead.

    Second, China has recently become much more assertive in pursuing its claims and has increasingly used force to do so. Most critically from the Indonesian perspective, China has expanded its naval exercises and armed presence from its northern claims closer to mainland China down to its southern ones, where they have used force in confrontations with Indonesian maritime boats.

    In 2010, for example, after an Indonesian patrol boat captured a Chinese vessel illegally fishing within its EEZ, the Chinese dispatched the Yuzheng 311, a maritime enforcement vessel equipped with machine guns, light cannons, and electronic sensors. The Yuzheng 311 allegedly pointed a machine gun at the Indonesian patrol boat, compelling it to release the Chinese vessel. Similarly, in March 2013, Indonesian officials boarded a Chinese vessel illegally fishing in the Natuna Islands and transferred the Chinese crew to its boat to be taken ashore for legal proceedings. Before reaching land, Chinese armed vessels confronted the Indonesian boat, and demanded the release of the Chinese fisherman. Outgunned and concerned with the safety of its crew, the Indonesian officials complied.

    Indonesia has kept such incidents quiet in part due to its preference for quiet diplomacy and in part to retain its position as mediator. Indonesia had also hoped that China valued Jakarta's regional leadership role and would accommodate Indonesia's interest in the Natuna Island issue in order not to jeopardize the relationship.

    In recent months, however, China has taken a series of assertive actions that drove Indonesia toward its public announcement. China imposed an Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea and stated it will impose one in the South China Sea after appropriate preparations have been made. Beijing declared a unilateral fishing ban around Hainan Island that encompasses almost 57% of the South China Sea. It sent China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, on a mission in the South China Sea where it stormed Mischief Reef and declared indisputable sovereignty over James Shoal, only 50?miles, or 80 kilometers, off the coast of Malaysia. Currently, China is interfering with Philippine efforts to resupply its marines in Second Thomas Shoal.

    Indonesia's pubic declaration of its conflict with China has been accompanied by statements of Indonesia's intention to bolster its military capacity in the Natuna Islands. General Moeldoko, the head of Indonesia's military, stated that Indonesia would beef up its military presence in the area, adding one army battalion and additional fighter jets while also enhancing its naval presence. Indonesia's efforts to strengthen its presence in the Natunas come as Jakarta has increased its defense budget by double digits in recent years, targeting much of the increased spending for maritime security.

    Indonesia's public declaration that it has a maritime conflict with China is a potential game changer in the game being played out in the South China Sea. With Indonesia officially contesting China's claim, the strategic ambiguity that had allowed Indonesia to position itself as a mediator between China and its ASEAN partners has been lost. Precisely how events will unfold cannot be predicted. Tensions in the South China Sea are likely to rise further.

    Ann Marie Murphy ([email protected]) is Associate Professor, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University; Senior Research Fellow, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University; and Associate Fellow, the Asia Society.

    Asia Times Online :: Jakarta rejects China's 'nine-dash line'

    @Zero_Wing
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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  3. Zero_Wing

    Zero_Wing Regular Member

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    You want me to expand on the subject?
     
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  4. ubuntu

    ubuntu Tihar Jail Banned

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    please update us with south china sea developments regularly.
     
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  5. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes, In my view it would be good if the countries around SCS who are having disputes with China to form a group and appeal in the Hague court.

    Similarly these countries should have some pacts between each other and gain strength ASEAN with the backing of Japan.

    Based on some estimates it will take 2 years for the Hague court to give any guidelines for this case and in the mean time Chinese will do some aggressive moves. So to protect your territorial integrity what the the steps Aquino Govt. is taking ??
     
  6. CCP

    CCP Senior Member Senior Member

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    2 years? too late...

    We will see things happen in months if not 2 weeks.
     
  7. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are large countries with resources which the west is interested in plus their alliance.
    They would do well to lead ASEAN to dialogue with the international community to put better boundary line on prc-dragon
    Zero_Wing, hope you can give us summarised versions of what you have offered to do.
    Many thanks to you, in advance.
    Regards, R.
     
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  8. fzaq

    fzaq Regular Member

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    Malaysia is silent with the "south china sea" subject
     
  9. Zero_Wing

    Zero_Wing Regular Member

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    In the Philippines not real same old same old basing our claim to UNCLOS and the Constitution of the Philippines
     
  10. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    The only problem is that these SCS countries are disputing the same area against each other.

    That is even funnier.
    Firstly, Japan itself can't even stand against China alone.
    Secondly, what is the price to pay for asking Thai, Burma, Singagpore, Cambodia, etc to stand for those who get invloved in the dispute? And did vietnam/philipine can afford that price?

    Well, you need more than 2 years and any effort in Hague because Chinese already excluded any international jurisdiction regarding Spratly Islands based on Article 298 of international sea law.
     
  11. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    They may have minor disputes between them But when it comes to outrageous claim of Chinese they are all united. I think ASEAN countries coming together on this issue will be seen in the near future.

    Some one needs to confront China that will give USA and others to intervene in that dispute, what is funny in that??

    Since China has ‘opted out’ of the compulsory binding dispute settlement system in Section 2 for sovereignty and boundary delimitation disputes, the options for settling the dispute through a binding dispute settlement are limited. This, however, does not mean that the road for binding dispute settlement is completely closed.
    Despite China’s declaration opting out of the system of compulsory binding dispute settlement of disputes relating to historic title and maritime boundary delimitation, certain disputes relating to the interpretation or application of provisions of UNCLOS could be referred to the system of compulsory binding dispute settlement in Section 2, Part XV of UNCLOS. For example, if China interfered with the Philippine’s exploration and exploitation of the natural resources in the Reed Bank, the Philippines might be able to invoke the dispute settlement system in Part XV by asserting that China has violated its rights under article 56 and 77 and by asserting that there is a dispute between the parties on the interpretation of article 121 and on the right of China to claim rights and jurisdiction inside the nine-dashed line. The Philippines could argue that such disputes are not excluded by China’s declaration because they would not require the tribunal to delimit the maritime boundary in the area or determine which State has sovereignty over the islands and other geographic features in the area. If such a case were decided by an arbitral tribunal, it could be a major step in helping define the areas in dispute in the South China Sea as there would be an authoritative ruling on whether China has any rights and jurisdiction based on the nine-dashed line.
    Another type of dispute which could be referred to the system of compulsory binding dispute settlement would be a dispute over whether one of the claimants has violated UNCLOS and applicable principles of international law by unilaterally authorizing seismic surveys or drilling in a disputed area in the South China Sea. If one of the other claimants challenged such actions by threatening the use of force, such a dispute could also be referred to compulsory binding dispute settlement.
    Finally, it may also be possible for some of the Claimant States to obtain an advisory opinion from ITLOS on certain legal issues relating to the dispute in the South China Sea. They could enter into an agreement to cooperate and establish a technical body to clarify the status of the features in the Spratly Islands. The agreement could authorise the technical body to request an advisory opinion from ITLOS on legal questions relating to their functions and responsibilities. This could include guidance on what factors to consider when determining whether an island is a rock which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of its own.
    Although the referral of disputes on legal issues cannot solve the underlying sovereignty disputes, decisions of arbitral tribunals or an advisory opinion by ITLOS could contribute to a peaceful resolution of the underlying issues by clarifying whether certain claims or unilateral actions of the Claimants are consistent with UNCLOS and international law. Such decisions could provide the justification for Claimant States to clarify their claims or to cease provocative unilateral actions. Such decisions could also help States clarify the areas in dispute that would be subject to joint development arrangements.


    http://cil.nus.edu.sg/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Beckman-Bernard-Paper-DAV-Conf-3-5-Nov-2011.pdf

    The Law and the procedure to resolve the dispute is clear. It is the CCP that is getting confused with its claim and the international law. Any country can invoke the UNCLOS when that country can prove that there is a dispute even though spartly's are excluded by China using article 298.

    The solution is joint development of the disputed areas.

    China cannot or never explained what is that nine dashed line and simply one cannot claim the seas with out any inhibited or ruled land. CCP's words on this issue do not make sense when they say their claims are based on international law and historic facts..... this is laughable atleast.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
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  12. Zero_Wing

    Zero_Wing Regular Member

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    mostly diplomatic because our nations policy is solving matters by and only international law but we are going something with our military defense needs the minimal defense program which most are done and the enhance capabilities program we are also going some economic mesures but they being debated as of yet
     
  13. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    I think you people should enhance the out post in the SCS. Instead of Ship, Philippines Govt. should build some thing concrete to support the marines there.

    USA is backing Philippines so it is better for your Govt. to involve USA in this dispute ..... At the moment USA is like a shadow pushing other nations against China, Philippines should ask USA to back its actions in SCS particularly regarding marines base like technical and infrastructural help.

    This way you can reduce the bullying done by China.
     
  14. Zero_Wing

    Zero_Wing Regular Member

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    Problemtic for us the Imperial are patroling more no a days its hard to get supplies let alone materials in this islands but according to what i know from my friends in AFP HQ they have few plans and America is and sending assistance as well i just dont know what that's yet but beyond that i can only say is that we are using our Diplomatic connections and our rights in the UN to solve this problem and of course improving our military just in case under the minimun defense program which is on the dot as of now.
     
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