The South China Sea Is Becoming A Zone of Confrontation Between China And Its Neighbo

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by LETHALFORCE, May 25, 2009.


    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Feb 16, 2009
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    The South China Sea Is Becoming A Zone of Confrontation Between China And Its Neighbours | Stirring Trouble Internationally - A humorous take on news and current affairs | Stirring Trouble Internationally provides an witty, alternative viewpoint on t

    The South China Sea Is Becoming A Zone of Confrontation Between China And Its Neighbours
    May 14, 2009

    Martin McCauley writes: Deng Xiaoping’s maxim about territorial and maritime disputes: freeze them and move on to joint cooperation is now under threat in the South China Sea. Beijing is becoming more assertive in pursuit of its objectives. China has been attempting to push its claims for an expansion of its territorial waters. There is also an important economic dimension. The waters are believed to cover large reserves of oil and gas.

    In 2002, China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an important agreement on the management of tensions in the South China Sea. That appears now to be unravelling. Manila’s hope that disputes over the Spratly Islands could be resolved have so far proved to be unfounded. The outlook for Sino-Filipino relations is not all that bright.

    Then on March 8, the US ship Impeccable and Chinese vessels became entangled in a spat which sounded alarm bells in all of South East Asian capitals. If Beijing was willing to challenge the might of the US Navy in the South China Sea, did this signal a more aggressive Chinese policy in these waters?

    In 2005, Chinese and Philippine leaders talked of a golden age in relations. Beijing was to invest in huge infrastructural projects and trade was to boom. Significantly, China, Vietnam and the Philippines agreed to joint exploration of hydrocarbon reserves around the disputed Spratly islands. It all fell apart in 2008 when the investment stopped amid allegations of corruption. The tripartite agreement to explore for oil and gas remained a dead letter.

    The Philippines then proceeded to draft a bill on territorial claims. Beijing immediately expressed its displeasure and called Filipino claims ‘illegal and invalid’. Manila ignored these and other protests and the government said it would promulgate the territorial law because it conformed to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It did this on March 10.

    Vietnam and Taiwan also contest Manila’s claims. Malaysia has claims which overlap with those of The Philippines.

    On March 8, the US survey ship the Impeccable became embroiled in a skirmish with five Chinese vessels, 75 miles off Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Beijing claimed that the Impeccable was engaging in illegal activities in its Exclusive Economic Zone. It stated it would send a powerful patrol boat to protect Chinese vessels around the Paracel and Spratly islands.

    Manila’s response was to restate its claims to the Spratly Islands. It hinted it might need to call on its allies, the United States and members of ASEAN, to help it defend Filipino territorial integrity. Sino-Filipino relations are now back to where they were before the ‘golden age’ of 2005.

    On the positive side, Beijing could have responded to the Impeccable incident by sending a major warship to patrol the South China Sea. It decided, however, on a low key response. China clearly wants to reduce tensions in the region.

    However China’s response is part of a pattern. In recent years it has become increasing assertive in pushing its territorial and maritime claims. In 2007 and 2008 it forced BP and ExxonMobil to suspend drilling in waters claimed by Vietnam. Military exercises and naval patrols have been stepped up off the Paracel islands and local government on Hainan Island has been upgraded. The latter is home to a Chinese nuclear submarine base.

    It was later revealed that the Impeccable was monitoring Chinese submarine activity in and around their base on Hainan Island. This revelation means that future incidents between the US and Chinese navies cannot be ruled out. The two countries do not have a bilateral Incidents at Sea agreement. ASEAN states do not want to be drawn into a Sino-American conflict and have to choose between Beijing and Washington.

    This potential conflict has two aspects. One is freedom of navigation in this crowded region and the other is access to the energy riches which lie below the waters. US policy is to support its own energy companies. In this regard it strongly supports Vietnam’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. In the latest dispute between Manila and Beijing, President Obama telephoned President Maria Arroyo to express American support for the Philippines.

    Given China’s increasingly powerful navy, there will be those in Beijing who will push for confrontation to achieve the Middle Kingdom’s objectives. ASEAN members will hope that diplomatic solutions prove possible
  3. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

    Apr 19, 2009
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    This is good in a way for Australia as Indonesia is really scared of China and they will want to be more friendly with us.
  4. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Feb 16, 2009
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    Moscow, russia
    China is finding alternatives to the dependency of the south china sea routes , the problem is with the opposition forces inability to common to a common group
  5. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 17, 2010
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    Deng failed, becoz nobody in the region wants to 'freeze' or 'joint' exploration.
  6. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

    Dec 21, 2009
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    Deng didn't fail period He is the leader whom you can say read the situation on the ground and used it to China's advantage the most.By the way Deng wasn't a bluffer unlike the current crop of leaders nor he was the product of a bureactic organization like the CCP.He was a true leader

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