Home » Foreign Forces » Experts Advocate Harder Stance Against Illegal Claims In South China Sea

Experts Advocate Harder Stance Against Illegal Claims In South China Sea

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducts routine patrols in international waters of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] guided-missile frigate Yancheng (FFG 546) sails close behind, on May 11, 2015. US Navy photo.

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducts routine patrols in international waters of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] guided-missile frigate Yancheng (FFG 546) sails close behind, on May 11, 2015. US Navy photo.

Three South China Sea and maritime law experts advocated a tougher stance against illegal Chinese actions, calling for more freedom of navigation operations, possibly with regional allies, that are aimed at Chinese territorial claims that have not previously been challenged.

The experts from the U.S. Naval War College and the Center for Strategic and International Studies agreed at a House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee hearing yesterday that adherence to maritime law in the South China Sea is important not only for regional security but also for maintaining law of the sea elsewhere on the globe.

In addition to unanimously supporting the U.S. ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the experts testified that U.S. Navy freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) needed to be bolstered.

Bonnie Glaser, CSIS’s senior adviser for Asia and director of the China Power Project, said she would do more FONOPS but conduct them “quietly and without fanfare.”

James Kraska, a professor of international law, oceans law and policy at the U.S. Naval War College’s Stockton Center for the Study of International Law, recommended not only bringing in allies like Japan to the FONOPS effort but said “I would also prioritize for the FON program the many many illegal claims that have never been challenged to my knowledge, such as the straight baselines that cut off the Hainan Strait, which China purports to view as internal waters. And that challenge has never been conducted as far as I know, or at least most likely since the Vietnam War.”

Glaser said she agreed that an ally such as Australia could be an effective partner in conducting FONOPS, either patrolling areas together or splitting up and covering more area But she worried about Japan’s participation.

“The Chinese are putting a great deal of pressure on Japan in the East China Sea, and the day that they sail a navy ship inside 12 nautical miles of a Chinese-occupied territory like Spratly, I worry that the Chinese are going to sail a navy ship inside the 12 nautical miles around the Senkakus,” she said.
“And that would be a very big price for Japan.”

Kraska, speaking from a maritime law perspective, said the U.S. Navy shied away from its full rights at sea when it conducted the first in a series of FONOPS missions last year with guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG-82). The Navy and Pentagon identified the operation as an “innocent passage” in which the warship did not use any weapons or radars or conduct any military drills while passing through an area the Chinese claimed as their own.

“I would not have selected innocent passage, which is the most restricted navigational regime of Law of the Sea, in order to challenge unlawful claims,” Kraska said.
“In particular, we have done so around some features which are not subject to appropriation by any state – for example, submerged features or low-tide elevations which can never, even if they were claimed by a state, they could never generate a territorial sea. So it would not make any sense to observe a territorial sea around a feature such as that,” he said, and an innocent passage operation implies a territorial sea exists.

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducts routine patrols in international waters of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] guided-missile frigate Yancheng (FFG 546) sails close behind, on May 11, 2015. US Navy photo.

The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducts routine patrols in international waters of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] guided-missile frigate Yancheng (FFG 546) sails close behind, on May 11, 2015. US Navy photo.

Kraska advocated the U.S. taking a harder line on unlawful Chinese claims of territorial seas. He said a territorial sea cannot be established unless a country first establishes a baseline of where its shores end, with the territorial sea then extended up to 12 nautical miles outward. He said no baselines have been established near the Spratly Islands and only illegal baselines have been established near the Paracel Islands, meaning “there are no lawful territorial seas around any of those islands.” Baselines cannot be drawn around rocks, submerged and low-tide elevation features, meaning no territorial sea could be established there.

“Why would we then recognize a putative territorial sea around a rock just because some other countries claims that they happen to own it?” he said.

To address this issue, “I would recommend that Mischief Reef (in the Spratlys) be overflow by aircraft. There is no national airspace above it, no matter which country tries to claim it, and there is no territorial sea around it. High seas freedoms and full overflight rights apply on those features,” Kraska said.

Beyond agreeing that the U.S. needs to be more direct in countering illegal Chinese territorial claims, the panelists also discussed how China was attempting to enforce those claims – not primarily through the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s fleet of gray-hull navy warships, but through the white-hull coast guard ships and the rarely discussed blue-hull maritime militia ships.

“Make no mistake, these are state-organized, -developed and -controlled forces operating under a direct military chain of command,” Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute, said of the maritime militia ships, which are essentially fishing trawlers outfitted with strengthened hulls, guardrails to protect the hulls when ramming other ships, and water cannons to harass nearby vessels.

“This is a force that thrives in the shadows of plausible deniability, and I tried to make the case today that it is well within our power to shine enough light to dispel a lot of those shadows,” he said at the hearing. During last year’s Lassen FONOPS patrol, “small commercial craft with the hallmarks of maritime militia vessels approached [Lassen] provocatively, having apparently anticipated its presence. Who knows what contingencies they might have been practicing for or what footage they might have been capturing for later misuse. So before China is able to put the United States or one of our regional allies or partners in a misleading but precarious position of appearing to confront ‘innocent civilian fisherman,’ American officials must finally publicly reveal the third sea force’s true nature and deeds.”

Erickson said he worried that the maritime militia may turn on a U.S. warship, leading to a Gulliver’s Travels-type scenario with being Gulliver taken captive by the tiny Lilliputians. To avoid being stymied by this fleet – which he called little blue men, much like Russia’s ambiguous little green men – Erickson said the next administration needs to publish a comprehensive policy statement on freedom of navigation and consider how China employs all its assets to block that freedom at sea.

“We cannot tolerate a situation in which their navy bear hugs our Navy in search of best practices and diplomatic cameo (opportunities) as a kind of a good cop, while their other two sea forces, the coast guard and the maritime militia, play the role of bad cops doing the dirty work in the South China Sea,” Erickson said.
“So I think by looking at this issue comprehensively, by raising attention to it in Congress and asking the administration to do the same, by communicating all of this with resolve to our Chinese interlocutors, I think we can create a much better baseline and understanding in the South China Sea. It won’t solve all the problems, but it will reduce risk.”

Glaser raised a similar point, noting that the U.S. needs to make its position on freedom of navigation clear – and make clear that it is willing to take action if China will not comply.

“We have to be willing – not just able but willing – to put the United States on the line here and incur some risk,” she said.
“If we are willing to incur some risk then I think the Chinese will take us more seriously.”

She suggested that the Obama administration has been reluctant to do this because it has pushed hard to cooperate with China on important global issues like combating climate change and reaching a nuclear deal with Iran. Glaser said the administration may worry that putting pressure on the Chinese to cease destabilizing behaviors in the South China Sea would risk current and future collaboration on other issues, “but I think we can do both.”

Other suggestions raised during the hearing include full funding for the Maritime Security Initiative, slated for about $60 million this next fiscal year, as suggested by Glaser. Kraska recommended putting more U.S. warships in the South China Sea and the Pacific to boost presence and demonstrate a commitment to upholding maritime law. Stationing Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore is a good start, he said, but “hulls in the water matter” and more are needed.

Kraska also suggested that, absent the Senate ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea treaty, as all three experts recommended, the U.S. should comply with a Reagan-era policy that says “we will recognize those countries’ rights so long as they respect American rights and American freedoms that are reflected in that convention,” he summarized.
“My view is that the United States should be more true to that policy and, when appropriate, implement countermeasures, lawful countermeasures, against countries such as China to induce compliance with international law – meaning that I would recommend not recognizing Chinese rights to operate in the American territorial sea and the U.S. exclusive economic zone with military warships and aircraft if China tries to deny that right to the United States. The U.S. should inform Chinese warships and military aircraft that they are no longer entitled to conduct innocent passage in the U.S. territorial sea as they did in the Aleutian Islands last year, or conduct military activities in the U.S. exclusive economic zone as they now routinely do off the coast of Hawaii and Guam. And inform them that this is not reciprocal or tit for tat, but that this is a lawful countermeasure in international law.”

And finally, Kraska suggested that if China were not willing to accept the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which this July sided with the Philippines that China had violated UNCLOS with its illegal claims, then there are other international organizations that can deal with the violations the tribunal outlined. The International Maritime Organization could address coast guard and maritime militia violations of International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), the International Civil Aviation Organization could address violations to its code, and the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization could address the misuse of fishing vessels as an arm of the military.

  • World Peace Initiative

    Three South China Sea and maritime law experts advocated a tougher stance against illegal Chinese actions, calling for more freedom of navigation operations, possibly with regional allies, that are aimed at Chinese territorial claims that have not previously been challenged.

    Actually when Spanish left the Philippines at the end of the 19th Century, and the Americans took over, and when eventually the US granted the Philippines full independence after WW II, both treaties specified that the Philippines maritime boundary extends no more than the 118th Meridian East, around Manila.

    The PRC did not initiated the 9-Dash Line, it was ROC, now in Taiwan, with the consent and material help from the US, took over the South China Sea from Japan at the end of WW II.

    Some of the hawks here are either oblivious or ignorant. Regardless what is true, these folks will continue what they’ve already had in mind.

    There is also a widely known problem presented to the author of this article: President Rodrigo Duterte is not that interested in a war against its biggest neighbor…. Instead he has expressed, time and again, his anger toward the US.

    • Sound Reasoning

      Nowhere in this post legalize or justify any of the unlawful claims of china. Try harder next time coz after your post, china’s claims are still overwhelmingly ILLEGAL.

      • World Peace Initiative

        As I have already pointed out!

        When those people got shot by cops, their next of kin would argue for their lost loved ones, and the communities they belonged to would start street protests, usually to no avail.

        See, right or wrong, it would not matter…

        • Sound Reasoning

          It would seem that way. What did the saying say…………the only way for evil to triumph is for…………

          • JustQuestioning

            Who cares about how you or these neocons yell ILLEGAL. Based on what laws and whose interpretations on which portion of the laws, really? Give you an example about legal or illegal: US presidents can easily issue executive orders that are considered unconstitutional by law scholars and senators. But, they issue their orders anyway. So, talking about the complexity of UNCLOS, these “you are ILLEGAL” opinions are, at best, just opinions – worth some only to the simple-minded…..

          • Sound Reasoning

            Yes it would seem to the simple minded.

          • World Peace Initiative

            The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

            US Cops or China, or both, what is your context?

            I doubt any changes would happen in the US, in the next few decades to come.

      • EternalEmpty

        When you say ” ILLEGAL” , base on what, by who? USA? a court / law US refused to sign up?

        • Sound Reasoning

          Based on china signing the UNCLOS and swearing to abide by it. Duh.

        • Zephon

          China opted out of PCA arbitration (it is not a court and not associated with the UN) using Article 298 of UNCLOS. Just like Austrialia did with their use of the gas fields in East Timor.

          As well China included Amendments in UNCLOS that stated the South China Sea was Chinese.

      • Chino Trần

        Have you ever gone to the court and pay big money to the judges? Aquino did, so this PCA court is a bias court. There were 5 judges: Philippines chose one, and the rest 4 are judges from NATO countries. Whether China selected one, she still had a big loss.

        • Nick DGreat

          With all of China excesses, bribing the judges would have been OK. But no, world order sees Philippines is correct in asking validation and China should be ashamed of its bullying.

          • Chino Trần

            Please read World Peace Initiative ‘s comment as above.

        • Sound Reasoning

          Again everything about this post is pure speculation. Nothing in it proves that Aquino paid to get a favorable decision. Instead of focusing on payment, why don’t you show how legally the court was wrong, what decision was not based on law. Otherwise, china’s claims are still overwhelmingly ILLEGAL.

          Try harder next time. Try using your brain, find the truth.

          • Chino Trần

            You should use your brain actually, and you should try the easiest way to understand that the natural and big Taiping island is not a rock as this Kanguru PCA court judged in reverse. Most people knew how much money the court got, and how much the American has been paid.

          • Sound Reasoning

            Hahahahaha PUhllllleeeeaaaassseee. Nothing in your post shows you have a brain, pure speculation, a rock, prove it, oh wait you don’t use your brain.

          • World Peace Initiative

            If PCA had not taken the case, those judges and the rest of the supporting staff would not have gotten paid.

            Which country paid all the fees? The Philippines, under Aquino…

      • World Peace Initiative

        Actually Australia has taken a similar stance as China has been doing, against its small neighbor, East Timor, the latter took the latter to the same PCA as the Philippines had done, Australia would not participate in the court proceedings, and would ignore the verdict all together….

        • Andrew Phelan

          Completely different case. Australia and East Timor signed a treaty which East Timor is now trying to renegotiate. Notably east timor ranks 123 on Transparency Internationals Corruption Index out of 175 countries while Australia ranks 13th. The other differences are that Australia sent a team to the Hague whereas China did not bother. Also this is a peaceful legal dispute about a maritime border not an attempt by Australia to control a whole body of water. In addition although its a separate point East Timor would not exist as a nation if not for Australian intervention and assistance.

          • JustQuestioning

            “East Timor would not exist as a nation if not for Australian intervention and assistance” sounds like the 19th century colonial powers’ divide-and-conquer “nation building”. And then, “Australia and East Timor signed a treaty which East Timor is now trying to renegotiate”. Sure, East Timor was so strong and not under any distress at the time of signing the treaty. From what the truth you believe and said, one can easily question where your mindset originates from. (In case you don’t know, British made China and others to sign lots of treaties, all one-sided.)

            Really! 21st century Australia learns well from then the United Kingdom, Australian ancestor’s GREAT empire!

          • World Peace Initiative

            Indonesia annexed East Timor before, but then the latter became independent again. The little island country does not recognize that treaty and that is why it wants to open the case, but ignored, and Australia keeps drilling in the vicinity of the poor neighbor, and that is why it is complaining…

            China has few drilling activities. Vietnam has done most, raked in huge amount of crude oil through 3-rd party oil companies.

          • Andrew Phelan

            Mr Anonyous you should study the history of how East Timor got it’s independence. The 1999 East Timorese crisis began with attacks by anti-independence militants on civilians, and expanded to general violence throughout the country, centred in the capital Dili. The violence erupted after a majority of eligible voters in the population of East Timor chose independence from Indonesia. Some 1,400 civilians are believed to have died. A UN-authorized force (INTERFET) consisting mainly of Australian Defence Force personnel was deployed to East Timor to establish and maintain peace. The Australian soldiers came, brought peace and stability and the went home, just as they have done in the Solomon Islands more recently. The little Island negotiated an signed the treaty. Australia is not drilling in the vicinity of the poor neighbour as you put it. In the SCS China is dredging and destroying reefs and building military installations. In addition it is making territorial claims a long way from it’s shores, something that neither Australia or East Timor are doing. What possible claim could China have over Scarborough Shoal or James Shoal have? Show some evidence

          • World Peace Initiative

            China claiming territories a long way from its shore?

            How far is Falkland from the UK? Any comparisons?

            Or Hawaii from the continental US?

            Or the disputed islands, between Japan and its neighbors?

            If you use the vicinity as a criteria, you look amateurish.

            Anyway, how East Timor got its independence, and Australia helped would be irrelevant, the most important fact is, Australia does not hold itself to the same standard.

            China helped Vietnam a lot more….

          • Andrew Phelan

            I look amateurish OK, if you can’t argue rationally you resort to insults. No comment on that needed. You cite the Falklands. OK. The British have claimed them since around 1833, rightly or wrongly. Today they are self governed. They are not governed by the UK they are governed by the people that were born there and live there. I would like to see my ancestral homeland of Ireland united and the North be part of a United Ireland and not part of the UK but I also recognise that others who were born in Northern Ireland have a different view and Northern Ireland is their home and their identity is tied with the UK, just as many people in HK do not feel an allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party, they have their own unique identity based on their own history. Hawaii is a state of the US. If it were put to the people of Hawaii in a referendum similar to the one East Timor held which said do we want to be an independent country or stay within the US there is no way Hawaii would want to be independent. The age of world exploration and advanced western countries colonising natives with spears an arrows are long gone. If China wants to play that game then I’m sorry you’re about 200 years too late. These days the world gets by with a set of governing rules and UNCLOS to which China is a signatory and the US is not, although the experts quoted in this article all say it should be, states that low tide elevations cannot generate to territorial sea claims. Without quoting UNCLOS it’s just common sense to suggest that a submarine reef in the middle of the sea cannot generate a territorial claim around as UNCLOS points out, despite what structures might be built on it. Comparing the Falklands, Hawaii and Scarborough and James Shoals is beyond absurd. But let me ask you specifically, what possible historical claim could the PRC (as opposed to the ROC) have to James Shoal near Malaysia and Scarborough Shoal, near Luzon that are both submarine? They have no sand no land, no trees, no fresh water. How can they possibly be part of China’s territory since ancient times? The answer is they aren’t. You can’t prove this because there is no proof. It doesn’t exist.

            If China wants to be a world leader it has a chance with the SCS to show some leadership by heading a conference to share claims involving all states that presently hold territory in the SCS. If a conference were held it could be agreed who holds what and all nation states, including China could walk away from that knowing who has claim to what and draw up rules for sharing the resources based on UNLCOS guidelines that have served the world so well.

            This is not 1850, it’s 2016. To have military conflict over rocks, reefs and uninhabitable sand banks would be inexcusable in this day and age.

            Same thing applies for the Senkakus/Diayu islands. Nobody has ever lived on those bleak exposed rocks and nobody ever will independently. There exists an opportunity for Japan and China to sit down and craft an agreement, protect and share resources and avoid unnecessary conflict.

            There are plenty of examples to draw on of peaceful negotiations around maritime territory, Norway and the UK, Singapore and Malaysia for example that China could study and apply. We all understand that China is a rising and great power and we celebrate China’s great achievements of modernisation and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. This is not only good for China but good for the world. China is capable of teaching the world many things from it’s ancient culture, hard working people and resources but if China continues to bully small neighbours and threaten other countries it’s rise will only increase tensions, fuel military spending in the region and exacerbate tensions that could boil over with disastrous consequences. There are no winners in that scenario, only losers.

          • World Peace Initiative

            I said you looked amateurish, and you took it as a big insult?

            I have said such things to so many people before, they are simple and factual, undeniable truth, nobody has ever complained. You don’t seem to be a rational thinker.

            The expansion is long gone? The Philippines is expanding just now, as I have already mentioned, to the west of the 118th Median East, that is current and ongoing….

            Once the major powers finish WW III, a new round of expansion will take place, because some of the major powers will be gone, smaller powers will find it is their new era, ….. That is why I am promoting peace.

            Anyway, at the least the current US government is not as interested in a war that you are instigating… What you said is not a good idea to Americans.

          • Andrew Phelan

            You’re both uneducated and not quite sane. I’m not going to waste any more of my time with you, Mr. Anonymous Wu Mao. Your latest post is not worthy of comment.

          • World Peace Initiative

            I don’t know who you are. You’ve got so many misspelled words. You don’t have the basic characteristics of a civilized person or the possibility for further development.

            I am quite established. My influence is, as my avatar shows, global…..

          • Andrew Phelan

            Congratulations! You’re my new hero! Have a happy life and get some psychiatric help if you can.Goodbye.

          • World Peace Initiative

            Who is insane, your words against mine? I have written thousands of comments, and earned my reputation as a rational debater…

            I am a certified rational debater, …. You wouldn’t believe who said these about me. You can guess, As I said my influence is global….

            Who the h*ll are you!

    • yongj29

      You got the history absolutely correct. But US doesn’t recognize contracts nor history.

    • incredulous1

      Bull; Ignorance must be bliss. What a bizarre argument regarding the ROC since you claim control over it yourselves. You are right about the gutless Duterte however. I don’t have time to argue with you right now, but perhaps over the weekend.

      • World Peace Initiative

        “a bizarre argument”

        Not at all. These are basically the same claim rather than what you thought.

        That is why some people want Taiwan to renunciate their claims, but Taiwan would not, even under Tsai, who is so pro-Japan and pro-US.

    • Zephon

      One of the reasons why Duterte is angry at the USA is the CIA Agent Michael Meiring incident. Meiring was in his hotel room in Davao when Duterte was mayor. He blew his legs off while making a bomb. Philipines investigators concluded he was planning to use it in a false flag operation targeting Muslim Insurgents.

      The FBI/CIA whisked Meiring out of the Philippines while under guard at the hospital awaiting trial for terrorism charges to San Diego. The Hospital administrator was bribed to assist in the escape. Meiring never faced trial for his failed CIA operation.

      • jealousy gets you killed

        do you have link to the story? would be interested to read on this. thanks in advance.

    • Zephon

      Notice the three experts the author tries to promote, one from Neocon thinktank CSIS, the other two from the Naval War College…

      Hardly expert opinions. More like biased and self promoting opinions that cannot understand the history or implications of what they spout.

  • 1coolguy

    This requires American leadership, which there is none.
    Once Xi saw how easily Obama and the West capitulated on Crimea, they were emboldened and made a mad dash for the SCS. Xi and Putin sized up spineless Obama early on and essentially have viewed him as a toothless tiger.

    • World Peace Initiative

      Toothless tiger, even so, a tiger can kill using the claws only, depending on the prey.

      • 1coolguy

        Then he should have used them!

    • Jay

      Yeah, let’s star a war — another war — over Crimea, Russia’s back yard. Send your kids.

  • Hugh

    “….the Obama administration has been reluctant to do this because it has pushed hard to cooperate with China on important global issues like combating climate change and reaching a nuclear deal with Iran.” Those outcomes were not as hoped. Neither were Neville Chamberlain’s with Hitler in 1938.

    • Steve

      Well said.

      But perhaps the Obama Administration will draw a “red line” like it did in Syria. That might amuse the Communist dictators of China,

      And I must say that some of the trolls below surprise me, I did not think that China would be concerned enough with a USNI news site to bother. I suppose we should all beware of cyber warfare coming our way.

    • Ken N

      Iran resumed its nuclear weapons program??

    • Zephon

      I quote State Dept South China Sea expert Chas Freeman on how we accepted and helped with the transfer of the South China Sea to China from Japan per Japan’s surrender agreement and Peace Treaties with China. All but forgotten with the Obama Pivot of 2010 that ignores the sacrifices our Marines and Sailors made in the defeat of Japan:

      “In practice, as some in the region recall, long before the United
      States turned against them as part of its “pivot to Asia” in 2010,
      America had supported China’s claims in the Paracels and Spratlys. The
      U.S. Navy facilitated China’s replacement of Japan’s military presence
      in both island groups in 1945 because it considered that they were
      either part of Taiwan, as Japan had declared, or – in the words of the
      Cairo Declaration – among other “territories Japan [had] stolen from the
      Chinese” to “be restored to the Republic of China.” From 1969 to 1971,
      the United States operated a radar station in the Spratlys at Taiping
      Island, under the flag of the Republic of China..

      Neither the Paracels nor the Spratlys ever mattered to the United
      States at all (except as hazards to navigation) until they became
      symbols of Washington’s determination to curtail the rise of China’s
      power along its periphery. No country with claims to the Spratlys
      interferes with shipping or peacetime naval transit in the South China
      Sea. Nor does any party in the region have an interest in threatening
      commerce transiting it. The South China Sea is every littoral nation’s
      jugular. China and the other countries on the South China Sea have a
      far greater stake in assuring freedom of navigation in and through it
      than the United States does.

      It is not in the U.S. interest to perpetuate the antagonisms that now
      inflame relations between claimants in sections of the South China
      Sea. They poison Sino-American relations as well as other littoral
      states’ relations with China. China’s neighbors have to live with
      China, and China has to live with them.”

  • olesalt

    Wot? Go to War? Jaw Jaw NOT War War i.e. for USN & PLA-N & respective Air Force. Don’t ever mess it up like in the Middle East. Negotiate/talk etc. The countries in the region are watching closely – no choosing of sides pl.

  • Kenneth Ng Kwan Chung

    Why not let China control SCS? The prevailing argument is not to allow them to do so. But no one has thought through the alternate scenario?
    Is hegemony by China bad? Why would it be bad? Just because they have a different type of government?
    I think the experts here get it wrong because the main presumption is about control of SCS which is patently not true. It is all about sovereignty which is different from control and hegemony. If that area has always been part of your territory why let it be taken over by other people? That is the basic mentality and that is also why they are using the Coast Guard and fishing boats to exert sovereignty.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      “Why not let China control SCS?”
      Why stop there?
      Why not the ECS, or the Sea of Japan?

      “Just because they have a different type of government?”
      I’m open to hearing the benefits of living under a dictatorship.
      To date though, I’ve never heard of one.

      • jealousy gets you killed

        2nd largest economy and soon to be the largest, chinese are buying properties all over the globe with full cash, china sent out more chinese to invade college campuses all over the world,….. want more useless? You can keep your democracy in the west. by the way, i’m sure indians are happy with their lives since they are the world largest economy. wonder if anyone would choose india over china to move to.

        • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

          “You can keep your democracy in the west.”

          Yes…. yes we will because we want to & because it makes out nations great.

          Enjoy the slave state to a communist dictatorship!

    • Andrew Phelan

      Myriad reasons Kenneth but to start no one state needs to ‘control’ any sea. The notion of ‘controlling’ a sea is absurd. The idea that ships have to ask permission to enter international waters or fly over them is also absurd. We don’t know what hegemony under China would look like but it’s fair to say that countries in the region are extremely anxious about what it would be like. The statement ‘if that area has always been part of your territory why let it taken over by other people’ is erroneous on two counts. First the SCS has never been part of China’s terrritory or any one elses for that matter most of the rocks and reefs prior to the 20th century were unclaimed and occassioned sporadically by SE Asian fishermen and inhabited only by sea birds. Secondly no other nation state besides China is trying to take over the entire SCS. While other states like Vietnam for example have also claimed rocks, reefs and islands no one other China is saying the entire sea belongs to them which is as absurd as saying the Indian Ocean belongs to India or renaming the Carribbean Sea the American Sea and saying it all belongs to America. It doesn’t. Also you don’t use fishing boats to claim sovereignty. They are for fishing

    • Jeff Fournier

      You don’t get it, China has proved many times that it wants the death of US Economy so it can control the world economy

    • chin3seatsit

      ”Why not let China control SCS? The prevailing argument is not to allow
      them to do so. But no one has thought through the alternate scenario?
      Is hegemony by China bad? Why would it be bad? Just because they have a different type of government?”

      Take a close look at china to see what they’ve been doing to environment, what they did to destroy the Mekong river, dump chemical in the ocean in ScS, what the china fisher man do. Come on, they don’t seem to care about their own country, Do you all think that china will do any good if they in control at anywhere in this world? The ScS does not belong to china.

    • j James

      The Chinese, no offense as you seem to may be of heritage, can not be trusted. It’s nation and Han people are among the most xenophobic in the world.

  • 9 dash jokes

    Still waiting the great Americans to teach those communists a lesson. Illegal is illegal no matter how you spin it like some of the wumao here.

  • Steve

    Whole bunch of useless people, just want to make some money for living, suggest some stupid ideals that will make the world more unstable.

  • sferrin

    Maybe Obama will step it up and use all CAPS in his harsh memos. But I doubt it. Could be misconstrued as being, “aggressive”.

  • incredulous1

    ummmmm If I’m not mistaken, the PLAN has already sailed a Chinese navy ship in the territorial waters around Uotsuri [senkaku]. I am pretty certain that Obama asked Japan not to escalate or take any action beyond surveillance. We also have information that the Chinese coast guard sailed recently with two Russian ships within the same waters’ contiguous zone.


    Send in the rest of the LCS’S ( Those that can make headway) that will scare them!

    • Zephon

      I like that “those that can make headway”… LOL. At least we changed the manning of these LCS’s. Blue and Gold and increased headcount. And limiting mission packages.

      Maybe they can keep maintained them so they can stay at Sea for more than a few days at a time.

      P.S. – Zumwalt is in for repair as well after it’s first few hours of sea trials… expected to take several weeks to fix.

      • jealousy gets you killed

        Can we just DF-21 these ball-less cowards for now? In a few years, we can use our hypersonic missiles to rid these cowards after we work out a few kinks.

  • Lee Sk John

    Spratly was return to china after ww2. and china had claim to itssurroundimg sea prior to unclos.
    What makes the west the right to claim usa,oz,nz, pacific islands from natives that china has no right to claim some islands with no natives.???

    • Jay

      Says the Chinese Ministry of Propaganda.

      • Lee Sk John

        Wrong . I am not from china. Its you that cannot reply to my facts and is trying to evade the issue.

  • SuchindranathAiyer

    Nothing will happen. The US can’t take on China-Russia. India is bogged down by China-Pakistan-US. Japan is non nuclear and self defanged as surely as India is by its Quota-Extortion Constitution and laws. Taiwan and South Korea are helpless without their US umbrella. The China-North Korea-Pakistan Axis reinforced by both Russia and the US can do as it pleases for now.

    • sferrin

      That’s just it though. The US doesn’t NEED to take on China/Russia. Neither would start a war with the US over this stuff. But they WILL push the West around as much as it can. One swift kick in the balls and they’d both cool their jets.

  • John Ch

    The article’s title and opinion associated with it. appears to extrapolate more against China than the Haig’s opinion, and also runs more severe in counter to US government comments else where.

    First, the Haig stated that the claimants (including China, Philippines, Viet Nam, etc) misunderstood the UNCLOS definitions. One has to conclude that the UNCLOS treaty’s language was deficient and a new treaty with clarity has to be negotiated by UNCLOS members.

    On the second point, the VP of US stated that China had supposedly lost its rights to the SCS area when China joined UNCLOS, to which China asserts that they did not relinquish any rights. The basic premise that China in fact has had rights to the SCS area is reinforced by international records and is consistent with US official communications such as the VP’s statement, and it is also consistent with the general posture of the US on the matter. The issue is therefore whether China relinquished those rights.

    The situation seems to suggest that UNCLOS is vague in some very important areas, some of the vagueness have precipitated the current tensions. On the surface, it suggests that the win-win solution is that UNCLOS should be re-negotiated, and China’s rights to SCS areas have to be accounted for as an inherited state of the world history.

    • Zephon

      China first asserted rights to the South China Sea in 1898 in the Sino-French war, also called the Tonkin War because much of it was fought in present day Vietnam. This war ended in a Treaty declaring Indochina as French but specifically drew baselines in the South China Sea declaring it as Chinese.

      Before this war the idea of Westphalian Sovereignty was foreign to Asian nations.

      After WWII the Japanese surrender agreement and subsequent Sino-Japanese Peace treaties name the South China Sea islands specifically as being Chinese again. And the US Navy actually helped China equip and man these South China Sea islands at the end of WWII.

  • Zephon

    Here is the opinion of State Dept Chief of Boundary and Spatial Analysis on the ownership of the South China Sea, Daniel Dzurek:

    “Because the Allies, in particular the United Kingdom and the United States, could not agree on which government represented China, no Chinese delegation participated in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Conference. Therefore the Republic of China (Taiwan) negotiated a separate peace treaty with Japan, signed on 28 April 1952. Article 2 of the text included a reference to the San Francisco treaty:

    ““It is recognized that under Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan signed in the city of San Francisco in the United States of American on September 8 1951, Japan has renounced all right, title and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) as well as the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands””

    Republic of China has argued that the explicit reference to the Spratly and Paracel islands in the text of this bilateral treaty implies Japanese recognition of Chinese sovereignty. Samuels and Lu have observed that, unlike the 1951 treaty, the Sino-Japanese text mentions the Spratly and Paracel islands in the same sentence as Taiwan and the Pescadores islands. The latter are generally recognized as Chinese territories. Moreover, according to the negotiating record Japan insisted that the renunciation article deal only with Chinese territory. This shows that the ROC and Japan viewed the islands of Taiwan, the Pescadores, the Spratlys, and the Paracels as having a similar status – that is, belonging to China”

    Ex Scienta Tridens