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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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India Backs Philippines On South China Sea Row

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India backed the Philippines in its dispute with China over islands in South China Sea, which Manila calls West Philippine Sea, saying it wanted peaceful resolution to the maritime disputes, at the heart of which lies Beijing’s expansive maritime claim in the form of the nine-dashed line covering 90% of the sea’s waters.

India’s position implies diplomatic support for the Philippines’ decision to approach Permanent Court of Arbitration against Beijing’s maritime claims in early 2013 and persisting with arbitration even though China boycotted the proceedings of the Arbitral Tribunal for long. [READ MORE]

XI’S VIETNAM VISIT: MORE SYMBOL THAN SUBSTANCE

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President Xi Jinping’s visit to Vietnam on November 5-6 was the first by a Chinese president in 10 years. Hu Jintao made a trip in November 2005, when relations between the two countries were relatively relaxed.

The period from 2006 to 2008, when China reached out to Southeast Asian neighbors and cooperated with the United States on a number of important issues, was one of the most constructive in the modern history of Chinese foreign policy. [READ MORE]

HOW THE U.S. FON PROGRAM IS LAWFUL AND LEGITIMATE

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The U.S. Freedom of Navigation (FON) Program has recently drawn significant attention in the United States and abroad. An argument could be made that the program has received more attention in 2015 than in its preceding 35 years combined.

This recent focus arose as the world witnessed China engage in reclamation (enhancement of naturally-formed areas of land) and “clamation” (construction of artificial islands on low-tide elevations and submerged features) in the Spratly Island group in the South China Sea – activities on an unprecedented scale and with questionable intent. [READ MORE]

U.S. patrols to raise stakes with Beijing in disputed South China Sea

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U.S. plans to send warships or military aircraft within 12 nautical miles of China's artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, possibly within days, could open a tense new front in Sino-U.S. rivalry.

A range of security experts said Washington's so-called freedom of navigation patrols would have to be regular to be effective, given Chinese ambitions to project power deep into maritime Southeast Asia and beyond. [READ MORE]

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