Wednesday, April 25, 2012

China stirring East Sea dispute

International Relations

Report says China policy is stirring South China Sea dispute

An International Crisis Group report blames Chinese structures for the failure to resolve South China Sea dispute. It adds that regional nationalism is exacerbating the tension.
The territorial dispute over the islands, atolls, shoals, reefs and sandbars of the South China Sea goes back decades. Even though most of the islands are uninhabited, the region, which straddles several key shipping lanes, is thought to be extremely rich in natural resources.
In 2009, tension rose again when Beijing presented a "nine-dotted line" (also known as the "U-shaped line" or "nine-dash map"), to the UN to officially lay claim to the region. Chinese sources say the document dates back to 1947. Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia officially registered their protest.
US Navy sailors stand on the Seventh Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge upon its arrival in Danang, Vietnam The US and Vietnamese navies launched joint maneuvers on Monday
Stefan Talmon, the co-director of the Public International Law Institute at the University of Bonn, told DW that there was no evidence for the veracity of the line and China would have to prove it had always had effective and undisputed control of the region. "That would be very difficult," he said, adding that the only solution would be found through negotiations.
Conflicting Chinese agencies
In a report published on Monday (23.04.2012), International Crisis Group (ICG) warned that the territorial disputes could be further fuelled by a lack of coordination among Chinese government agencies and the rise of nationalism.
"Chinese government structures are not well suited to dealing with the conflict in the South China Sea," said Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, the head of the ICG's Beijing office.
More than 11 ministry-level government agencies and five law enforcement agencies are currently involved in the management in the South China Sea.

Two Chinese surveillance ships which sailed between a Philippines warship and eight Chinese fishing boats Tension flared between China and the Philippines in April
"While some agencies act aggressively to compete with one another for a greater portion of the budget pie, others (primarily local governments) attempt to expand their economic activities in disputed areas due to their single-minded focus on economic growth," the report states.
Moreover, China's navy has also "used maritime disputes to justify its modernization," further compounding the problem.
"The system in China is so decentralized that local actors are encouraged to only pursue economic or political interests. The actors do not realize the international implications of their actions," said Kleine-Ahlbrandt.
Rising nationalism
Kleine-Ahlbrandt pointed out that China had spoiled its chances of building up a relationship based on trust with other states in the region, which had thus turned to the US for support. The Philippines and Vietnam, for example, have further developed their military ties with the US - on Monday, Vietnam kicked off a weeklong naval exchange with the US, amid criticism from Beijing.
Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands Most of the disputed islands are uninhabited
"Nationalism not only makes it difficult for a solution to be found regarding sovereignty in the South China Sea but also to prevent small incidents from escalating," said Kleine-Ahlbrandt.
Philippine and Chinese patrol vessels are currently locked in a 14-day stand-off at a shoal in the South China Sea, which is within the Philippines' 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometer) exclusive economic zone that is also claimed by China. The standoff began when two Chinese navy surveillance vessels blocked a Philippine warship from arresting the crew of eight Chinese fishing boats accused of poaching.
International Crisis Group calls on Beijing in its report to come up with a consistent policy.
"The escalating tensions since 2009 have dealt a severe blow to Beijing's relationships with the Southeast Asian neighbors and gravely tarnished its image both regionally and internationally."
Author: Rodion Ebbighausen / act (AP, dpa)
Editor: Sarah Berning

Monday, April 23, 2012

Other nations must take stand on China: Philippines
MANILA — The Philippine foreign secretary called on other nations to take a stand on China's new aggressiveness in a simmering territorial dispute over a shoal in the South China Sea.
Albert del Rosario on Sunday warned in a statement that other nations would be affected by China's claim over the mineral-rich area if they did not speak up now, like the Philippines is doing.
"Since the freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce in the (South China Sea) are of great import to many nations, all should consider what China is endeavouring to do in the Scarborough Shoal," del Rosario said.
"All, not just the Philippines will be ultimately negatively affected if we do not take a stand," he said in an SMS message sent to reporters.
He added that China's efforts to claim the entire South China Sea as its territory was "clearly baseless."
The statement came amid increased tensions after China deployed ships near the Scarborough Shoal, an outcropping in the South China Sea just about 230 kilometres (140 miles) from the Philippines' main island of Luzon.
The nearest Chinese land mass from Scarborough Shoal is Hainan province, 1,200 kilometres, (750 miles) to the northwest, according to Philippine naval maps given to the media.
China claims all of the South China Sea as its own on historical grounds, even waters approaching the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.
The rival claims have been a source of regional tensions for decades, and the Philippines as well as Vietnam have accused China over the past year of becoming increasingly aggressive in asserting its position.
The latest flare-up occurred on April 8 when the Philippines found the eight Chinese fishing boats at Scarborough Shoal, and sent its warship to arrest the crew.
China quickly deployed three civilian maritime vessels that took turns in blocking the warship.
In a bid to calm the situation, the Philippines pulled back its warship and replaced it with a coast guard vessel and the fishing vessels later sailed away.
However China has refused to withdraw its ships unless the Philippine coast guard vessel retreats first. Two Chinese fisheries ships are now in a standoff with a lone Philippine coast guard vessel at the shoal.
The Philippines has been actively urging its fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take a firmer stance on China's claim over the South China Sea.

Related articles

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why U.S. Military Needs Taiwan

Author: Mark Stokes & Russell Hsiao
AirSea Battle shouldn’t only be about the United States. Working closely with Taiwan could pay dividends and help ensure a stable military balance in the Asia-Pacific.
U.S. Representative Randy Forbes’s (R-Va) article in The Diplomat last month entitled “America’s Pacific Air-Sea Battle Vision” called upon Congress to support the Pentagon’s vision for Air-Sea Battle – a concept designed to improve the joint and combined ability of air and naval forces to project power in the face of anti-access and area denial challenges. More specifically, Rep. Forbes pointed out that the United States should “work to bring our allies into this effort.” Indeed, in order for the United States to effectively project power in an anti-access, area denial (A2/AD) environment, networked alliances and ad hoc coalition partnerships would be essential in making U.S. power projection in the Asia-Pacific more resilient and responsive to both the internal and external dynamics of the emerging regional security challenges.
To be sure, the United States faces a number of challenges in meeting its security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.  Beyond uncertainty, complexity, and rapid change, challenges include growing resource constraints and an increasingly assertive and capable China. At least one driver for rethinking U.S. defense strategy is the growing ability of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to complicate U.S. ability to project joint power and operate in the Asia-Pacific region. These emerging PLA A2/AD capabilities not only could complicate U.S. ability to operate, but also imperil regional powers’ ability to deny the PLA air superiority and command of the seas.  Anti-access threats, designed to prevent an opposing force from entering an operational area, include long-range precision strike systems that could be employed against bases and moving targets at sea, such as aircraft carrier battle groups. Area denial involves shorter-range actions and capabilities designed to complicate an opposing force’s freedom of action in all domains (i.e., land, air, space, sea and cyber).
The Pentagon’s Air-Sea Battle and the Joint Operational Access Concept (JOAC) transcends pure operational and roles of services issues to include cooperation with allies and ad hoc coalition partners in the region, which is critical for ensuring the success of Air Sea Battle and assured operational access.  As former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen said, Air-Sea Battle is “a prime example of how we need to keep breaking down stovepipes between services, between federal agencies and even between nations.”  He further noted that the Services should “integrate our efforts with each other and with our civilian counterparts” and “work seamlessly with old allies and new friends.”  Air Sea Battle and the broader JOAC shore up deterrence and demonstrate to U.S. allies and partners that Washington is committed and able to resist Chinese military coercion.
Addressing these challenges requires greater collaboration not only within the U.S. defense establishment, but effective leveraging of talents of allies and ad hoc coalition partners in the region.  The U.S. reportedly has begun examining how to diversify defense relations with traditional allies in the region, such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia.  Yet, little consideration appears to have been given to the significant role that Taiwan could play in an evolving U.S. defense strategy, including the JOAC and Air-Sea Battle.  Taiwan’s future and U.S. interests in regional security are intimately related.  Indeed, Taiwan is a core interest of the United States and has a pivotal role to play as an ad hoc coalition partner in Air-Sea Battle, JOAC, and the strategic rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific.
First, Taiwan should be the central guiding focus of defense planning in the Asia-Pacific region.  In assessing JOAC and Air-Sea Battle-related requirements, the greatest emphasis should be placed on contingency planning for a PLA amphibious invasion of Taiwan with minimal warning.  Based on a premature and faulty assumption that cross-Strait trade and investment will inevitably lead toward Taiwan’s democratic submission to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authoritarian rule, prominent analysts have asserted that the focus of U.S. defense planning should shift toward the South China Sea and defense of the global commons.
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

    , , , , , , ,
    1. Chris Lee
    2. TaiwanLink
    3. Chinaman
    4. ACT
      • kcheng
        • justrecently
      • Oro Invictus
        • aaron
          • Oro Invictus
            • aaron

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vietnam backs Phl's multilateral approach to Spratlys row
By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated April 09, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (3) View comments

MANILA, Philippines - Vietnam, one of six claimants to the Spratly Islands, has categorically supported Philippines’ proposal for a multilateral approach to the territorial problem, by way of resolving it through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Quoting Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Prime Minister Tan Dung made the declaration during last week’s 20th ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
During the summit, President Aquino proposed to his fellow heads of state that ASEAN countries, particularly claimants to the potentially oil-rich islands, should settle the issue first among themselves before China can be invited for the discussions.
“When it was the turn of Vietnam to speak, Prime Minister Tan Dung stated that ASEAN should rush the drafting of the elements of the code of conduct after which China can be invited to discuss the COC,” Lacierda related.
He said that, “in essence, Vietnam supported the Philippines’ position.”

Vietnam's P.M. Nguyeen Tan Dung at the 20th ASEAN Summit in PnomPenh
“There cannot be a bilateral solution to a multilateral problem,” Aquino reiterated to reporters in a sit-down interview at Sofitel Hotel in the Cambodian capital, where he was billeted for his two-day stay for the ASEAN summit.
Other than the Philippines and China, those with claims to the reportedly mineral-rich Spratlys include Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan.
Beijing prefers a bilateral approach to the problem, but stressed it was open to such a setup. It promised to “abide” by the collective action of the ASEAN with regard to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties and COC in the South China Sea.
China made the assurance in a joint statement it issued along with the Kingdom of Cambodia during the 20th ASEAN summit, where it also expressed support for the creation of a Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation (ZoPFFC).
“China and ASEAN countries shall work hard to serve practical cooperation, maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, and make it a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation for China and ASEAN countries,” the two countries declared.
Likewise, both parties “agreed” that China and ASEAN countries “ shall continue to abide by the purpose and spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.”
Beijing and Phnom Penh also vowed to “give full play to all existing mechanisms including the guidelines for the implementation of the DOC, facilitate its full implementation, and ensure the success of the workshop on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the DOC.”
Philippine Permanent Representative to the ASEAN Wilfrido Villacorta earlier said ASEAN leaders were very receptive to the Philippines’ proposal for a “multilateral” approach in dealing with China on the Spratly issue.
“I can say in general that there was no strong opposition to that, at most they just kept quiet. Remember, you are talking here about 10 member-states with different forms of government,” he told reporters in a briefing.
Lacierda downplayed speculations that Beijing might retaliate on other fronts, like the economy, by cutting or reducing trade agreements with Manila.
“We don’t believe it will have an effect. This is just a continuation of what the President has always said about the West Philippine Sea. China knows it,” he explained further.
Lacierda was with Aquino when he was invited for a state visit in Beijing in August 2011.
Villacorta agreed, saying China will understand. “It’s not hostility. China is reasonable also with regard to negotiations procedure. We have this territorial claim, but we are not an unfriendly country,” he said.
“If only for the (ASEAN plenary) session, the Philippines scored points. You should be proud as Filipinos,” he added.
The Philippines also expressed willingness to host a meeting among the six claimants to the Spratly Islands, including China, to arrive at a peaceful solution to the dispute.
President Aquino stressed this at the Retreat Session of the 20th ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs stated in a statement posted on its website. – Christina Mendez

Search over this blog