On 3 May, China stepped up their aggressiveness by using electronic warfare on the open seas. They jammed two Philippine military airplanes, causing a loss of communication and navigation equipment forcing them to “fly blind”. The aircraft were flying over contested waters in the South China Sea. The Philippines has encouraged China to work out a solution diplomatically, but China has continuously refused.
The Philippines and Japan have become closer over the past few months as both have faced the brunt of Chinese aggression with respect to territorial disputes between the two countries. Japan has praised the Philippines on its arbitration case and both countries commented on the Japan’s generosity for increasing the Philippine Coast Guard in this time of need.
If China maintains this pace, they’re not going to have any friends left, except North Korea… do you agree?
View original article/picture here; “Phl, Japan tackle China’s aggression in disputed seas” (The Philippine Star)
As the Philippines heads to first base through the filing of its territorial dispute lawsuit against China; Vietnam is now up to bat.
On 6 May (today in Asia), newspapers announced China’s decision to conduct deep-sea drilling near the Paracel islands—a set of islands South Vietnam held during the US occupation of South Vietnam; however, when the US left, China took the opportunity to seize the islands by invading the islands in 1974 and killing ~70 Vietnamese soldiers. The Paracel Islands lie some 200 miles off the coast of Vietnam (Da Nang); whereas when comparing to China, it is ~500 miles from Hong Kong or ~300 miles from Hainan Island.
Vietnam has largely been quiet over this issue…until now. As memorial services have started appearing (last one I’m familiar with was the 40th anniversary of the invasion last year in January) and now as Beijing begins exercising its “right” over the resources in what Vietnam believes is their Economic Exclusive Zone (or EEZ), Hanoi is forced to address this issue with one of its closest ideological neighbors.
Vietnam is backed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (or UNCLOS), showing that Vietnam holds the EEZ through its definition. But China won’t listen. As reported earlier, Vietnam has been meeting with other Southeast Asian States (Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and sometimes Brunei) to work on a joint strategy for battling China’s aggressive actions…. But so far, only the Philippines has brought China to court (see here).
Going back to lovely baseball metaphors… As China has thrown yet another pitch; will Vietnam get another strike, or will they be able to score a base hit?
Article for you to read here “Vietnamese officials decry presence of offshore Chinese rig in disputed, oil-rich stretch of sea” (Al Jazeera)
Which one is the rock, which one is the hard place? – I’ll let you decide.
On 24 February, I discussed how Russia was looking for the United States to help guide Japan toward an agreement over the Southern Kuril Islands (Northern Territories) as Japan and Russia have progressively strengthened ties with each other over the past few years.
Up until the United States’ recent visit to Japan, Tokyo has attempted to stay away from Russia’s Crimean Annexation as much as possible; however, after President Obama came to Japan, Tokyo decided to deny the visas of 23 people (including “government officials”). This will now start a tit-for-tat exchange, as Russia has vowed to respond in kind. Hopefully only denied visias in the interim and not going as far as canceling state-visits (like the Prime Minister Putin’s Tokyo visit).
Russia has also called Japan out on this move, stating that Japan is following the marching orders of the United States; however, it should be noted that while the United States has frozen the assets of Russians and imposed sanctions, Japan has not.
Needless to say, again under (requests? pressures?) by the U.S., Russo-Japanese tensions are on the rise again just as an agreement with the Kuril Islands could be in the works. Granted, the southern two islands (which Russia and the prior Soviet Union have attempted to ‘give back’ to make way for a peace treaty) only account for 7% of the land mass of all 4 islands; after almost 60 years would it be better to have all four islands or better relations with your neighbor?
Prime Minister Abe has recently left to talk with European Leaders discussing what courses of action are available to deal with the U.S.’s hard stance on Moscow and their own economic interests… especially since there was an article I just read announcing Japan had dropped to 4th place, overtaken by India—and the United States will probably fall to second place, under China, by year-end.
Makes me glad I am not the leader of a country… I don’t have to chose what’s more important. If you were… what would you chose?
Article One: “Russia vows to hit back at Japan for denying visas to 23 people”
Article Two: “Ukrainian Crisis Further Jeopardizes Abe’s Russia Ambitions”
Michael Daniels, my former colleague and still very good friend, and I came together to write a piece explaining the truth behind China’s claims over the South China Sea.
China undoubtedly has a vicious bark, but when you look behind the curtain… Michael and I saw only what amounted to a tape recorder and a hand puppet. Needless to say, the ‘evidence’ Beijing has produced doesn’t amount to much in our eyes.
Please take a moment to read and as always, look forward to your comments.
The day finally arrived. Manila has challenged Beijing in the Permanent Court of Arbitration over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Their legal argument comprises 4,000 pages focusing on freedom of navigation, China’s 9-dash line claims and China’s unlawful activities within the region.
China of course objects to these proceedings… butis Beijing the only one against the court ruling?
The Philippines has no doubt a strong case before the court; however, some other countries may feel that by traveling this path alone, Manila is not “following the ASEAN way”… and could therefore be shunning possible friends and supporters.
Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan all have some sort of issue with China; yet with the Philippines taking this issue to court–the Philippines isn’t just gambling with their political capital, but possibly the political capital of its neighbors as well.
If the Philippines wins (which I believe they will), it could be seen as beneficial to the other four… but if Manila loses… then that loss could affect those four countries’ chances at solving their territorial disputes with China as well. And I am unsure if the other four agree with Philippines arbitration case…
This article even states “the ultimate purpose of the [Philippine’s submitting its 10-volume] is our national interest.” Not Brunei’s, Not Malaysia’s, Not Vietnam’s and Not Taiwan’s.
Do you think Manila was right to weigh in alone? Or do you think she should have had more international support from its neighbors prior to challenging China, when just more than its own national interests are at stake?
China recently responded to the criticism by the United States for China’s disruption of the status quo in the South China Sea (SCS). Specifically, the US accused China of creating a tense situation in the SCS after it blocked a normally scheduled resupply vessel from brining supplies and men to the Second Thomas Shoal. China countered that the U.S. stated its position was that of Neutrality–which it had now clearly violated–and was ignoring “(probably China’s historical) facts”.
Furthermore China claims that the Philippines was not just resupply troops, but attempting to build something on the island–as the two ships it drove away were also carrying construction materials. Furthermore, China claims that the Philippines had violated China’s rights and interests in the area for trying to disrupt the status quo.
So… now what we have are three countries in the region becoming angered by the actions of the other—the United States attempting to stand of for the Philippines, but still only with words. And China stating that only they are playing by the rules, while Manila and Washington are the ones that are creating tension by consistently testing Beijing’s patience.
Based off of what you have read on what’s happening over the past few weeks… who do you think is in the right? China with their outrageous claim in the SCS claiming mostly all of it and trying to force the smaller countries out? Or the ASEAN countries (supported by the United States), who are just looking for their fair share of their respective Exclusive Economic Zones to ensure they have fair access to the resources found within their borders?
China continued to create tensions in the region when it prevented two Filipino civilian vessels from conducting their resupply of marines stationed aboard the ship run-aground on the Second Thomas Shoal.
Chinese did not block the resupply last June, when the Chinese vessels were first deployed–the Philippines also filed a formal complaint at that time as well.
Manila claims that these actions “constitute a clear and urgent threat to the rights and interests of the Philippines”, as Beijing blocked a resupply mission that has been undergone for 15 years.
As expected, China rejected this protest of the blockade from the Philippines as well, claiming that the area is Chinese territory.