Friday, October 23, 2015

Dragon Light Houses

CHINA HAS STARTED TO OPERATE LIGHT HOUSES IN

THE SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTED ISLANDS

 Đá Tây LightSouthern Vietnam Maritime Safety Agency
China has begun operating two light houses somewhat similar to the Vietnamese primary seacoast light depicted above in the South China Sea. The Chinese Ministry of Transport recently held completion ceremonies for the 154 ft tall (50 meter)  Huayangand Chigua lighthouses on Huayang Reef in the Spratly Islands according to a news release from the official news agency Xinhua. The Spratly's are also claimed entirely or in part by Taiwan, Malaysia, the Phiippines, Vietnam, and Bruni. In terms of the present International Convention on the law of the sea the Philippines has the best claim on much of the Island chain since it is situated well within the accepted exclusive economic zone  (EEZ) of the Philippines as provided in the convention. Vietnam has a couple of the islands just outside of its 12 mile territorial sea , Taiwan has some reasonable claims, Malaysi and Brunei have arguable claims over some islands near what should be negotiable EEZ boundaries with each other and the Philippines. But the Dragon claims the entire sea and all of its wealth as its exclusive property practically to the South China Sea beach line of the Philippine main Islands.  

 Regional tensions have been rising as the Dragon has become more assertive about its claims to the entire south China Sea. The Philippines and her alley the United states have expressed concern that China's land reclamation claims around reefs and atolls are simply cover for the eventual militarization of such feature to further bully the Dragon's neighbors. As usual the Dragon is unimpressed with either the Philippine military which is fact is beefing up, including with Japanese help, a bit of a surprise given Japan's constitution and the their brutal occupation of the Philippines during WWII. But the Dragon also makes claims on Japanese owned Islands in the East China Sea, so we guess the enemy of my enemy becomes my friend. As usual the Dragon simply laughs at the amateurish actions of the Obama administration. The Dragon clearly hasn't paid the slightest attention to the Obama Administration's call to freeze such activity. 


 The Spratly with few exceptions are uninhabited and uninhabitable without some very uneconomic engineering which China can afford buts its rival claimant neighbors can not. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea generally provides for a 200 mile from shore line EEZ. China routinely stands armed guard with its coast guard over islands nearly 900 miles from the Chinese mainland. The Dragon claims that the light houses are for aids to navigation purposes and oil spill response equipment staging without mentioning territorial claim issues. However, "effective administration" is the second best claim for soverignity over disputed territory behind "effective settlement"". The dragon builds light houses, then enforces exclusive fishing rights, then claims exclusive mineral rights despite having much less proximity to the reefs and islands than rival claimants whose rights are supposed to be assured by international convention. Its a skillful use of  "law fare " backed by serious war fare capability. We repeat out usual assertion. The Dragon is a thug state. Interesting first use of light houses as an offensive weapon in a war of territorial conquest. We are surly living the Chinese curse; "may you live in interesting times". 

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