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5 Things About Asean and the South China Sea Dispute

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On July 12, an international arbitration tribunal at The Hague ruled that China’s so-called “nine-dash line,” a demarcation it uses to claim most of the South China Sea, had no legal basis under the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea, a treaty to which China and Southeast Asian nations are parties.

The ruling was a win for the Philippines, which instigated the case in 2013, but also for countries that claim usage rights extending 200 nautical miles from their shores into the sea, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. [READ MORE]

Parting the South China Sea How to Uphold the Rule of Law

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 After more than three years of proceedings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international body in The Hague, a tribunal constituted under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) issued a widely anticipated decision in a case the Philippines brought in 2013 to challenge China’s maritime claims [2] to most of the contested waterway [3].

Many observers had expected the tribunal to rule in Manila’s favor. They’d also expected China to reject the tribunal’s decision, since Beijing, a signatory to the convention, has long opposed the proceedings and had warned that it would not abide by the judgment. [READ MORE]

How to Avoid War in the South China Sea

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President Xi Jinping seems to agree with the Athenian general who, more than 2,000 years ago, warned the people of Melos that  the strong do what they wish and the weak do as they are compelled.

His government insists that nearly all the South China Sea belongs to China—even islets and reefs close to the Philippines and five other littoral states but hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland. Instead of raising China in harmony, Beijing’s policies point the world toward the brink of war. [READ MORE]

How the U.S. Should Respond in the South China Sea: Build Its Own Islands

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The Permanent Court of Arbitration's decision places more pressure on the U.S. than China, as Washington must now act to support this emphatic judgement. Failure to do so will further weaken America's credibility, and undermine the rules-based order it seeks to preserve.

In order to determine how the US may effectively respond, China's strategy must be understood. [READ MORE]

South China Sea: Building up trouble

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Washington sees the ruling, issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, after a complaint from the Philippines, as a victory for what some US officials describe as a 21st century rules-based order over China’s 19th-century plans for its own sphere of influence.

By rejecting so many of the assumptions that underpinned Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, the tribunal has put it on the spot. [READ MORE]

America needs more than symbolic gestures in the South China Sea

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Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of US Pacific Command, was recently asked in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about China’s strategic goals.

“China seeks hegemony in East Asia. Simple as that,” he responded. Admiral Harris concluded: “China is clearly militarising the South China Sea and you’d have to believe in the flat Earth to think otherwise.” [READ MORE]

The South China Sea: China v the rest

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FOR years China has sought to divide and rule in the South China Sea. It worked hard to prevent the countries challenging it over some or all of its absurdly aggrandising territorial claims in the sea from ganging up against it.

So when tensions with one rival claimant were high, it tended not to provoke others. Not any more. In a kind of united-front policy in reverse, it now seems content to antagonise them all at the same time. [READ MORE]

Chinese Muscle-Flexing In South China Sea: India Must Operate Closely With Vietnam

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The South China Sea has become an important concern for China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei.

China claims the entire South China Sea and unilaterally occupied the Paracel islands from the erstwhile South Vietnamese regime in 1974. Ever since, China has been claiming the entire group of Spratly islands which are in the Southern portion of the region as its own. [READ MORE]

“Maritime Rights and Interests”: A Vague Concept in China’s Maritime Power Ambition

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In the context that the 21st century has been termed the century of the seas, Chinese leaders have cried for transforming China into a maritime power. To that end, China has made assertive advances into the seas without any regard to the interests of other countries. China’s moves have caused tension and upset the status quo of the region during the past several years. [READ MORE]

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XNA’s groundless criticism against the US dispatch of warships to Subi and Mischief Reefs

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SCSC - On 27 October 2015, Xinhua published an article criticizing the United States for sending the USS Lassen missile destroyer to exercise the right to navigation freedom in the 12-nautical-mile zones around Subi and Mischief Reefs of the Spratly archipelago. However, the arguments provided in the article contained many groundless points.

First, the article asserted that the US action was provocative and that the US was playing the game of the brink of war in attempt to strengthen its overwhelming presence, leading to regional instability.

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Irrational arguments in Xi ’s speech on China’s sovereignty over the Spratlys since “ancient times"

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On September 22nd 2015, prior to his visit to the United States of America, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered written answers to questions from the Wall Street Journal stating that “the Nansha (Spratly) islands have been China’s territory since ancient times”[1].

The sovereignty so-called by Xi is used to justify China’s island reclamation and militarization activities in the reefs and islands illegally occupied by the country in the Spratlys.

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