Naval Interests Updated 5/28/2015
HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM? HOW DANGEROUS IS THE DRAGON? THE VIEW FROM VIETNAM AND THE PHILIPPINES.
Rear Admiral Yin Zhou of the PLAN spoke out of both sides of his mouth in the ongoing controversy between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal area. He tolds the Chinese News Service (CNS) that Chinese Troops should board even Philippine Government, as well as fishing vessels in the area of the 2012 stand off, but "maintain restraint, not force, not hurt people" when boarding vessels in the area.". He then tells the Communist Party's "People's daily that the PLAN "will not hesitate to use deadly force against its enemies'.
Watch our first hyperlinked video in this posting to see how quick and deadly PLAN forces can be against unarmed Vietnamese sailors. What does this tell us about the dispute between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal?
Philippine Presidential Decree No. 1599 established a 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone from base lines drawn on the larger main Philippine Islands such as Luzon. The disputed area is within 123 to 137 miles from this base line. It is nowhere near 200 miles from China. The Island was named for the tea ship SCARBOROUGH which sank on one of the rocks with a loss of all hands in 1784. The Philippines call the 150 square mile area of rocks and small islands "Panatag Shoal" or Bajo de Masinloc". The Philippines built a light house on it in 1960s and refurbished it in the 1990s. Between the 1990s and 2003 the Philippine fisheries authorities arrested many Chinese vessels for illegal fishing in the area. The arrests, as are anticipated under present Exclusive Economic Zone law were not for simply fishing in the area but for using illegal methods and taking protected species. The Philippines before being pushed out of the area by the more heavily armed Chinese claimed only exclusive benthic (bottom dwelling) fishing rights and the right, duty, and obligation under international law to enforce migratory fishing treaty provisions against illegal methods and the taking of protected species. The Chinese gun boats now present in the area, treat it like the territorial sea of China.
The area has been shown on navigation charts compiled by English speaking and Spanish speaking maritime powers as Philippine waters since 1734 with up dates in 1808, 1820, and 1939. such Charts in any language did not show any Chinese name associated with the area as late as 1947. The Chinese base their claim on discovery of the area by Chinese Astronomer and Explorer Guo Shoujing in 1279. The Chinese did not exercise any administration over the area until their gun boats showed up recently. The Philippines ask that the "dispute" be settled by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. China insists on what it calls "bilateral discussions" which so far look a lot like the Chinese hold a gun to the head of the Philippines until they cave in and literally give the Dragon a foot hold on their beach front. How far will the Dragon go with this strong armed robbery? We have witnessed this before when the Dragon opposed Vietnam over a similar area. Watch the video hyperlinked in this blog. The only fly in the ointment for the Dragon at the moment is that while the Dragon is far more powerful than the Philippines, the Philippines is not friendless being a long time and reliable alley of the United States. Watch the hyperlinked video comparison between Chinese and Philippine military strength. We believe the time is long past for dealing with the Dragon's land grabs but that not only does the U.S. as leading advocate present issues of "face" to the Dragon, the Dragon's "First Island Policy" has parallels with our own "Monroe Doctrine, though their's is a sort of Monroe Doctrine on steroids. We never claimed any right to interfere with "innocent passage" or made any territorial claims. Too much pressure directly from the United States could worsen the situation. This is why American Admiralty Informational Services addresses India and Japan in the hopes that they will take the forceful lead in the region and speak up for their weaker neighbors. Please read on and watch the hyperlinked videos for a fast background on the issues that could lead to peace or war in the South China sea.
The closest point of land in China to the portion of the Spratly's depicted is roughly more than a thousand miles. The area where the massacre depicted occurred less than half that distance from Vietnam in a straight line from the coast. Historically the islands have long been considered part of Vietnam which occupies parts of the islands and has been continuously fishing the area since ancient times.
Watch with us if you dare, the opening shots of the Spratly land grab by the Dragon, click on the hyperlink below, then come back to us for more views from the Spratly dispute.
THE OPENING SHOTS OF THE CHINA/ VIETNAM SPRATLY DISPUTE
The Philippines have good reason to fear the Dragon. The Dragon has already claimed sovereign Philippine territory. They are locked in a dispute with the dragon over the Scarobough Shoal group of islands. This area is well within 200 miles of the Philippines. Disputes between the Philippines and Vietnam over certain sections of the Spratly Islands have so far prevented these two nations from forming an alliance to resist excessively expansive claims by China, claims that China has proven willing to exert by blood shed. Even if the two nations could cooperate against the Dragon's intrusions, together they are too weak to resist.
The next hyperlink will take you to a Philippine video comparison of the comparative strengths of the Philippine and Chinese military forces. The previous video gives you some idea of the kind of treatment that the Philippines expect from China but for being linked to the United States by a defense treaty that is a constant source of anger for the Dragon.
In contrast to the Dragon, the claims of the Philippines are mostly in conformance with the international conventions that govern territorial seas, contiguous zones, and exclusive economic zones.
In the short video hyper-linked below Philippine sources explain their domestic law on the relevant issues and state their argument that their claims are solidly based in international conventions and customary international law.
Finally, in the video hyper-linked below the Brookings Institute explains the interests of the United States and the complicated position we are in as any sort of deal broker in the area.
The "Old China Hands" of the retired Naval Intelligence community that American Admiralty Information Services have consulted with, agree that America has a high level of interest in the area. However, our interest is most direct in terms of the right of innocent passage through the area. Due to our historical close ties with the Philippines, and our relatively recent conflict with Vietnam, and China's jealousy over the leading position in the region; the United States probably can not be effective as a deal broker in the territorial dispute. Adding to China's face saving worries is its recent stern warning to the United States to keep out of the conflict.
In the first video we saw exactly how the Dragon deals with anyone who disagrees with them in the region if they are viewed as weak or friendless. We see the only hope for peaceful resolution in a greater leadership role, including the role of arbitrator of territorial claims, on the parts of India and Japan. While Japan has some territorial disputes with China they are not in the vicinity of the Spratlys or Scrobourgh Shoal. India's interest is similar to that of the United States, namely general freedom of the seas; much trade to and from India passes through the South China sea, but India doesn't have territorial claims in the area. Most importantly India and Japan are serious naval powers, together they could well be dominant, the Dragon respects power.
While Japan is closely tied to the United States, India has held the U.S. at arms length. China "loses face" if it appears to knuckle under U.S. pressure. However by contrast China can be seen as dealing fairly with its fellow regional powers, neither one of which alone is in a position to dictate terms, but together have the type of power that the Dragon respects. China is a Confucian state in the mind of our experts, who see a Confucian state as being almost obsessed with central control. Those obsessed with control have a natural aversion for losing face or exposing the iron fist encased in the silk glove. The United States is the wrong party in our opinion to directly deal with the misbehavior of the Dragon. We have our interests and we need to state them, but then we should fall behind the leadership of a united front of Japan and India, so far behind that we do not appear as puppet master but as concerned party willing to abide by a fairly negotiated settlement that adheres to international law. The Dragon is aware that we have a big stick in the form of our Pacific Fleet if the Dragon should try to maul our Japanese friends, or the more neutral but trusted Indians. But we must avoid waving that stick about for the Dragon would rather die fighting than appear to knuckle under to a rival power that it feels it rightfully "owns" given the amount of debt of ours that it holds.
In the end however, the Dragon, the master of soft power knows that the massive debt is also a powerful weapon it has handed the Eagle. If the Dragon was to actually attack the honest brokers of India and Japan the United States would appear very legitimate in the eyes of the world in canceling its debt to China. After all it would hardly be a moral position to be critical of China's actions as immoral, illegal, and harmful to our allies, friends, and neutrals and continue to prop up their economy which fuels their armed forces. We would be relieved of a tremendous debt burden without any real damage to our international credit standing and cripple the Chinese economy in one blow involving no kinetic energy. When it comes to debt, sometimes the debtor nation has the creditor over the barrel. The big unanswered question is; will India and Japan join hands and step up to the plate as powerful regional leaders?
We hope that you will take the time to study the issues of the South China Sea. These are issues that could spell peace or war. As illustrated by the first video these are issues that some have already died over. The longest video lasts a little less than eight minutes. Invest a little time in obtaining the several different view points and relevant information on this important issue from our blog and hyper-linked videos. Tell others about this resource and the issues. Obviously we have an opinion on the issue and that is that leadership by India and Japan is critical. But we don't have all the answers. As the first video illustrates the Spratly disputes are the first place since the fall of Tibet where the Dragon has truly shown its teeth and fiery breath. We will leave this posting up longer than usual so that our visitors may find it easily. Once we publish a new post this one will still be there you just have to scroll down. Please read, view, discuss, and give us your comments.
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