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Power trip: might China’s struggles with its neighbours bring war to Asia?

SCSC - From the air, the Spratly Islands, a cluster of miniature rocks and sandbars 425,000 kilometres square in the middle of the South China Sea, are almost imperceptible. Even up close, the Spratlys do not look like much – a few islands have tiny rocky beaches or occasional makeshift buildings.

A tiny contingent of Filipino marines camps on a rusty hulk of an American ship from the Second World War grounded in the Spratlys. [READ MORE]

Can Taiwan survive in the shadow of China?

SCSC - In the past decade and a half, despite some ups and downs, economic and then political relations between Taiwan and mainland China have gone from strength to strength. The election of Chen Shui - bian as President of Taiwan in 2000 saw a period in which political relations were tense, even though trade shares multiplied rapidly. Chen was pro - Taiwan independence.

The turning point came when Chen, nonetheless, lifted the ban on direct trade with the mainland in 2001 and with Taiwan’s and China’s accession to the WTO at the end of 2001. [READ MORE]

Another Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier

 SCSC - As part of a broader project of land reclamation, beginning in November China started efforts to develop Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands. As of late November the reef had been built up to 3,000 meters long and between two and three hundred wide. This makes it large enough, in the assessment of analysts with IHS Jane’s and the US - China Economic and Security Review Commission, to argue that China’s first airstrip in the Spratly Islands might be under development.

China already has a growing airfield on Woody Island in the Paracels a several hundred miles north, and this would not be the first airstrip in the Spratly Islands; Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia all have airstrips of their own. If a runway is truly planned for Fiery Cross Reef, what does this mean for the region’s security environment? [READ MORE]

THE WORLD TALKS ABOUT CHINA’S CLAIM OF THE “NINE - DASHED LINE” IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

SCSC - As the U.S. Department of State published the Report No. 143 on the Limits in the Sea to refute the “nine - dashed line” claim, Biendong.net would like to share with the readers the opinions of lawyers, experts and researchers of international studies on the “nine - dashed line” recently.

CHINESE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CANNOT DENY THE JURISDICTION OF THE ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL OR LAWSUIT

SCSC -  On December 7, 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China posted on its website the Position Paper of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the matter of jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal of the South China Sea Arbitration initiated by the Philippines. In this Paper, China provides arguments to deny the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. However, none of the arguments is new but just the old repetition, thus it cannot deny the jurisdiction of the Arbitration.

75% of World Piracy Attacks Were in Asia in 2014

 SCSC - A new report says piracy is a rising concern for the region.

Asia accounted for around 75 percent of the world’s maritime piracy and robbery incidents in 2014, according to the latest report released by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

According to the IMB’s figures, which were widely reported in media outlets Wednesday, there were 245 actual and attempted acts of piracy worldwide last year, and 183 of those occurred in Asian waters. [READ MORE]

Kachin and China’s Troubled Border

SCSC - The Kachin conflict is a thorn in China’s side as it tries to manage its relations with Myanmar.

The Je Yang refugee camp is crawling with youngsters. Some run down the camp’s main dirt road in stained clothes rolling along old tires while others hang from tree branches or sit in windowsills. The elderly, looking pensive and forlorn, idle crouched in doorways while able - bodied men hammer together the frame of a new house. The air is smoky from cooking fires and near the raised huts squeezed up against the jungle lingers the unmistakable odor of human excrement.

The camp of 8,000 sits just over the border from China’s southwestern Yunnan province, in the town of Laiza, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). [READ MORE]

4 Headaches for Chinese Diplomacy in 2015

SCSC - Four issues that could shape Chinese diplomacy in 2015.

As I mentioned in a previous post, China’s diplomacy was a big success in 2014. To continue its success will not be easy for China in 2015, especially when we consider the potential challenges facing the global economy and growing security concerns. Here are four potential challenges that China must handle with great patience and skill:

The first challenge will be the tensions over the South China Sea, which still remain strong. [READ MORE]

Chinese Dominance Spreads Across South China Sea

SCSC - Meanwhile the littoral states keep saying ‘after you…no, after you’

It boils down to this: China will dominate the South China Sea unless it is checked. The United States and China’s East Asian neighbors can curb China’s creeping imperialism, but only if and when they agree on how to share the costs and risks of convincing Beijing to alter course. [READ MORE]

East Sea: Are artificial islands more dangerous than oil rigs?

SCSC - VietNamNet Bridge – Though it is slow and difficult to identify, China’s strategy of building artificial islands in the South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea – East Sea) is dangerous because of its strategic value and the ability to change face that benefits China once the island chain is fully developed. [READ MORE]

The Real South China Sea Problem: The Shadow of China

SCSC - Linda Jakobson's recent report, China's Unpredictable Maritime Security Actors, is an important contribution for China watchers, especially for those who seek to understand the relationship between Chinese actions associated with its maritime disputes in Asia and its broader strategic approach to the region.

This relationship is an important policy question because observers, including myself, worry that the past two years of assertive behaviour in the East and South China Seas foreshadows Beijing's approach its neighbourhood when “fully risen”. [READ MORE]

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