THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS CONTAIN NO GOOD NEWS.
Watch This Space Next Week For Shocking Videos Of The Dragon In Action.
China is boosting its "coastal forces" in the face of continuing disagreement over sovereignty in the "second island chain". It appears the Dragon's definition of "coastal forces" includes forces sufficient to dominate the ocean from their beach line to the high water mark on the beaches of their neighbors. The bad news is that the Dragon has a very bloody record in pushing its perceptions of its "rights" against neighboring states that are either weak or viewed as weaker than the Dragon and Friendless. Next week we will post a video that shows just how ruthless the Dragon can become in pursuing its claims that clearly run contrary to international law. We urge all of you who have been following our series "HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM" To view this and the related videos next week which allows at least Vietnam and the Philippines to give you their view of the Dragon in words and images. We will warn you now that the first video in the series will show the Dragon literally machine gunning unarmed sailors in waist deep water. Its not suitable for younger viewers.
The good news , if there is any, is that the latest in Dragon "Coastal Forces" seem to be a ratcheting down from the prior use of heavily armed naval forces. The bad news is that seems
to be simply a more sophisticated form of enforcing an illegal "land grab" and the apparently "kinder gentler" forces are sufficiently deadly to repeat the machine gunning incident that we will show you next week.
China is expanding its "Maritime Surveillance Forces". These forces are a paramilitary maritime police force separate and distinct from the Chinese Navy, the agency responsible for the the incident of mass murder at sea that we will show you next week. This new force operates under the State Oceanic Administration. Its larger vessels look much like our own U.S. Coast Guard's medium and high endurance cutters and are by no means incapable of high seas operations. By 2015 this relatively new force is expected to reach a strength of 16 aircraft, 350 vessels of various sizes, and a force of 15,000 officers and sailors.
China recently used a vessel of this fleet to meet and greet an Indian Navy vessel transiting from Japanese waters towards home waters. There was nothing threatening in the "meet and greet" except an announcement that the ship were providing an unsolicited "escort", through what was clearly international waters. This new force is being operated in a fashion meant to imply effective Chinese administration over all of the contested waters of the China Sea. While the vessels are less heavily armed than naval vessels they have far superior weaponry than the fishing, commercial transport, research, other non naval craft they routinely shadow. One of their often used tactics for international commercial vessels that they know are on innocent passage is to come within sight, raise the vessel on the voice radio, and "welcome" them to "Chinese waters" along with offers of routing assistance, aids to navigation information, etc.. The idea is that they are building their case for "effective administration" of the entire area of their excessive claim. Unfortunately we fear that these tactics are reserved for nations with strong navies. Watch our video of next week to see how the Dragon deals with the powerless.
As the "Maritime Surveillance Force grows and expands operations, disputes continue and grow more bitter between China with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. China claims over 648,000 square miles of ocean including all of the Spratly and Parcel Islands. In the incident that we will show you next week the Chinese literally machine gunned unarmed Vietnamese sailors waist deep in waters over a shallow shoal barely 200 miles directly off the coast of Vietnam and nearly 1,000 miles from the nearest point of land in China. The "crime" of the Vietnamese sailors? They were planting Vietnamese flags on the shoal which has been considered part of Vietnamese coastal waters and islands for about two hundred years.
The Dragon's expansionist ambitions are not limited to the South China Sea. A week before this posting one of their survey ships was spotted entering Japanese waters without the required notice provided for in a bilateral agreement between Japan and China over certain disputed waters near Japan. Once contacted the Chinese vessel then gave the Japanese Coast Guard vessel an explanation of its presence, its intended course and maneuvers, and finally provided notice as it turned to leave Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters.
The Dragon doesn't seem to comprehend the difference between the territorial sea and an ocean servitude. The world recognizes only a 12 mile "territorial sea" consisting of an ocean area off of a nation's coast in which the adjacent coastal state exercises sovereignty as if the "territorial sea" was a piece of their own land mass. Beyond this 12 mile wide "territorial sea" adjacent coastal states exercise varying degrees of control over specific activities to the degree that these controls don't interfere with the international rights of "innocent passage". For example for a distance of about 12 miles beyond the "territorial sea" there is a recognized "contiguous zone" in which adjacent coastal states have enhanced customs law enforcement rights. However to exercise those rights patrol craft commanders must have some form of "probable cause" for suspecting a customs law violation. For a distance of about 200 miles out from shore many adjacent coastal states have exclusive benthic (bottom dwelling) fisheries rights, and exclusive oil and mineral exploration and development rights. This area is somewhat coincidental with the newly evolved legal construct known as the Exclusive Economic Zone where the adjacent coastal state may have other exclusive economic development rights, but again subject to the requirement that such activities do not unduly obstruct freedom of navigation.
Here is another way of looking at it. The surface of the ocean is open to navigation by anyone to about 12 miles from shore. For a nation's naval or coastal forces to interfere with any vessel navigating outside of its 12 mile territorial waters it must have probable cause that the vessel it stops or delays has violated a specific exclusive state right within a well defined and recognized zone administered by the adjacent coastal state. The relevant international conventions contain specific guidelines for special cases such as overlapping coastlines of neighboring adjacent coastal states and island states. Rarely are any of these limited exclusive economic rights extended much beyond 200 miles from shore. In the case of the dispute between the Philippines and China over the Scarborough Shoal area it is not disproportional though a bit of an exaggeration to state that China is extending its EEZ claim across a wide swath of ocean to the virtual beach line of the Philippines.
When you see how China treated Vietnam in our posting of next week you'll realize why the latest pronouncement from China appears so chilling to the Philippines. Last week when Vietnam suggested that foreign states including the United States could have a role in arbitrating the various disputes over EEZ rights in the South China Sea, China's State Department issued a stern warning that all foreigners should keep out of the dispute. We believe that the relations between China and Japan and India indicate that China follows a two pronged approach to her ocean territorial ambitions. They keep the iron fist in a silk glove when confronting real naval powers like Japan and India, and simply punch the weak "right between the running lights" at every opportunity.
Now that they have publicly warned the United States and Western powers to keep out of their obvious land grab from their neighbors the hope that western powers could possibly drive a peaceful settlement are dashed. The Dragon has set itself up for a loss of face if it ever appears to be backing down from its land grab in the face of U.S. pressure. We believe the Philippines has escaped the treatment that China administered to the Vietnamese so far because the Philippines is perceived as under the protection of the U.S. Navy. Watch our second video next in Next week's blog on the Dragon to see a Philippine comparison of their military strength to that of China. We believe that the last hope of relatively peaceful and equitable settlement between China, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and the Philippines is the exertion of strong leadership and naval presence by a united front of India and China.
China loses no face settling with these two regional powers who in combination have more military might than China wants to face down. The Dragon becomes the "Middle Kingdom" when faced with power and reverts to the astute use of soft power to further its goals. China would probably revert to soft power means to further its oceanic ambitions and scale back its time table if really confronted by a Japanese/ Indian front.
We've been here before its called containment. China is not going to become a long lasting superpower. It is a Confucian state strongly acculturated with concepts of central control. The Chinese have worked near miracles in the recent past but their micro management required to run everything will eventually cause them to collapse on themselves. They have gained a lot of ground in economic competition with the United States by painting us as "busy bodies". They base this claim on the fact that there are certain moral lines we will not generally cross in business, and certain people that we will not do business with, and certain forms of government that we hold at arms length. China's appeal is that if you do business with them they don't care how you govern. Indeed China can be quite accommodating to the most severe domestic repression by governments it trades with. By contrast while our own record is not great, such actions at least generate protest among some U.S. population segments and the media.
Domestic protest of government foreign policies is not a factor in China and there is no free press or media to protest. The Dragon simply can't go the distance as the world discovers just how ruthless it can be, and as it expends its hard won treasure on "control" at home and a broad. Most of the world in fact does value some moral principals in business. The rest of the world simply needs to cooperate in suppressing the Dragon's appetites until it finally burns its lungs on its own fiery breath. India and Japan wake up to the Dragon on your door step, stand up for your weaker neighbors before the his divide and conquer game envelopes you, or a big power confrontation explodes on your door step. Watch this space for a close up and highly visual view of the Dragon at work next week. We'll leave that post up for a while in the hopes that those of you who have been following the story of the swimming dragon will alert your friends, fellow workers, and neighbors to the videos. We'll make next week the Week of the swimming dragon and then we'll get off this subject for while to see if other opinions and view points re offered. But next week let's look at the Dragon as seen by his weaker neighbors.