Past Pandemics Exposed China’s Weaknesses

PandemicWhen the novel coronavirus first emerged in China’s Hubei Province, foreign reactions to the country’s handling of the epidemic swung between extremes. At a press conference held in Beijing in late February, Bruce Aylward, who co-led the World Health Organization’s (WHO) joint mission with China on the disease now known as COVID-19, praised what he described as “probably the most ambitious, and I would say, agile and aggressive disease-containment effort in history.” Pointing to a graph that showed a steep decline in cases, he commented, “If I had COVID-19, I’d want to be treated in China.”

Others have been far more critical. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece titled “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia,” Walter Russell Mead, a professor at Bard College, suggested that China’s “less than impressive” management of the crisis would reinforce “a trend for global companies to ‘de-Sinicize’ their supply chains.” The use of the term “sick man of Asia” in the headline caused particular umbrage and provided a pretext for the expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters from China. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang condemned the use of “racially discriminatory language,” to which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded with a defense of the free press.

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Coronavirus: China response will weaken it on world stage

xi-jinping-communist-party-congressSometime in late November the Chinese Communist Party apparat was aware that the ingredients of some sort of an epidemic were brewing in Wuhan. Soon after, it was also clear to them that a new type of coronavirus was on the loose, a threat they might have taken more seriously given the similar Chinese origins of the prior toxic SARS coronavirus and the resources of a Level 4 virology lab nearby.

Yet the government initially hid all that knowledge from its own people in particular and in general from the world at large. Translated into American terms, that disingenuousness ensured that over 10,000 Chinese nationals and foreigners living in China flew every day on direct flights into the United States (Washington and California especially) from late November to the beginning of February, until the Trump travel ban of January 31.

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Malaysia tougher on the South China Sea

malayOn December 13, 2019, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) informed that Malaysia has made a submission on the outer limits of its continental shelf under Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with respect to the continental shelf boundary beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline.

This is a submission on the rest of the Malaysian continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles north of the South China Sea. More than 10 years ago, on May 6, 2009, Malaysia and Vietnam submitted a joint report on the expanded continental shelf of the two countries in the South China Sea.

As per the CLCS Rules of Procedure, this submission will be communicated to all United Nations member states, as well as countries that have signed the UNCLOS 1982. Malaysia's request will be put in the agenda of the 53rd session of the CLCS in New York from July 6 to August 21, 2021.

China: serious violation of international law by occupation of Paracel Islands

tải xuống 1On January 17, 1974, taking advantage of the ongoing Vietnam War, China deployed a large naval force to attack and occupy the Paracel Islands. China’s use of force to take control of the Paracel Islands seriously violated not only the UN Charter but also international principles on acquisition of territorial sovereignty.

In order to settle once and for all territorial disputes between countries, after the Berlin Conference of 1885 and the conference of the Institute of International Law in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1888, many scientists as well as countries around the world agreed on the implementation of a new sovereignty acquisition method. It’s the “effective occupation.” This is the legal principle Vietnam relies on to prove and claim sovereignty over Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands.

The Coronavirus Could Cause a Social Recession

tải xuốngEconomic slowdowns are easy to measure, but the lingering damage to communal bonds may be no less harmful.

In early March, as cases of the novel coronavirus were increasing far more quickly than doctors in the United States could detect, the two of us knew we had to change how we and our two small children were living our lives. We canceled birthday parties, medical conferences, restaurant outings, and our children’s classes. We began greeting people without physical contact—not an easy task for two people who are inclined to hug friends and colleagues. We limited time outside our home to essential trips for groceries or work. We joined millions around the world in the unsettling new normal of a physically sequestered life.

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The U.S. should have led the coronavirus response. Instead, China stepped up

Saudi Arabia is hosting the Group of 20 summit in November of this year. But given the current crisis, the Saudis announced recently that it will convene a virtual G-20 leaders’ summit next week “to advance a coordinated response to the covid-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications.”

The virtual summit is clearly needed to mobilize a response to a pandemic that respects no borders. It’s a sign of the times, however, that the United States is nowhere to be found in organizing a more coordinated global response. Historically, the international community would have looked to the United States for leadership, and we would have been out front, establishing standards, best practices for containment, working out common approaches to travel, identifying medical shortfalls, sharing information on vaccine development and trials and developing stimulus packages.

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China Threatens EMP Attack in South China Sea

s-6Chinese state media on Tuesday rather unsubtly decided this would be a good time to chat with a panel of “experts” about the possibility of using an electromagnetic pulse weapon (EMP) against American ships that enter portions of the South China Sea illegally claimed by Beijing.

The timing suggests it was a bit of saber-rattling by a Communist Party nervous about its power and prestige after the Wuhan virus disaster, but some degree of escalation in the South China Sea has long been a concern for the U.S. Navy and ships from across the free world.

To put it bluntly, an EMP strike on U.S. warships would involve detonating a small nuclear warhead above them, but China’s state-run Global Times threw in some speculation about “low-energy laser devices” to keep their saber from rattling too loudly:

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Indonesia criticizes China’s behaviors

IndoIndonesia is not a party directly involved in the South China Sea disputes. Despite opposing militarization of the South China Sea, Indonesia has often remained silence over China's recent violations in the South China Sea as they didn’t yet directly affected Indonesia's interests.

Though Indonesia is considered not directly involved in the South China Sea dispute, China's "nine dash line" claim overlapped the southern waters of Indonesia around the Natuna Island. Indonesia has not publicly spoken out against China's aggressive actions because of the economic and trade relations with China; thus, not wanting to confront China directly.

In the last days of 2019, Chinese coast guard ships continuously entered the exclusive economic zone of Indonesia in the north of Natuna Islands. The latest incident was on December 24, 2019, in response to which Indonesia deployed maritime security vessels to block.

The United States continues its efforts to protect international law in the South China Sea

US preventtionAfter three years of reclaimation, construction, expansion and militarization of features in the South China Sea, China is now capable of regularly deploying coast guard and naval vessels to continuously obstruct Vietnam's and Malaysia's oil and gas exploration activities as well as fishing activities of other countries.

In 2019, China repeatedly provoked countries in the South China Sea by deploying coast guard and militia vessels to violate their waters, obstruct oil and gas activities in Vietnam's and Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), protect and e support Chinese fishing vessels to infringe and illegally fish in Indonesian waters; as well as urging the Philippines to accept "joint exploitation" in Philippine waters.

International experts project that given Beijing's aggressive and belligerent nature, "incidents" could break out any time. Aware of the challenges that Beijing posed against the rule-based order in the South China Sea, the US has also fostered its “Freedom of Navigation Operation” (FONOP) in the area in terms of both frequency and scale.

China’s “Four Shas” claim in the South China Sea and its legal trickery

Four ShadsOn July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague granted an award on the Philippines vs. China case filed in 2013. This award completely rejected both the historical rights and the Chinese interpretation of UNCLOS 1982 provisions of China’s “nine-dash line” claim. Although it publicly denied the PCA’s ruling, China still employed many legal experts to research and seek a new way to advocate for its absurd claim in the South China Sea. Later, this gives birth to the “Four Shas” claim.

In a retreat with American diplomatic officials on August 28-29, 2017 in Boston, Ma Xinmin, deputy director-general of Treaty and Law Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asserted “Chinese historical rights to Nanhai Zhudao (meaning: Islands in the South China Sea) Four Shas” for the first time.

Cautions over China’s offshore "people's war"

Ppl warIn 2016, the International Permanent Court of Arbitration on the Law of the Sea (PCA) granted an award on the Philippines vs. China case in the South China Sea. Accordingly, the PCA rejected Beijing's claim of "indisputable sovereignty" over the "nine-dash line", which accounts for about 80% of the South China Sea. In other words, the PCA affirmed that it’s illegal for China to appropriate the seas delimited to its neighbors by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), and turn them into its own "backyard.” The ruling is considered just and supported by the majority of the world public, but strongly opposed and rejected by China.

Even more so, in 2018, China's Defense Minister called for preparation for a "people's war" at sea to "protect the sovereignty" which they themselves claimed. On November 23, 2019, The National Interest posted an article warning that China was urgently doing a comprehensive preparation to take the upper hand should any armed conflict over its territorial claims over the South China Sea take place.

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