HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM?
Japan To Give Philippines 12 New Coast Guard Vessels and Signs Security Agreement with Philippines
SOURCE: The Japan Daily, July 30, 2012 and July 31, 2012
The Japan Daily reported yesterday that Japan is giving the Philippine Coast Guard 12 new purpose built Coast Guard patrol craft. The vessels will include ten 131 foot patrol vessels as developmental aid, and two larger craft as grants. Japan and the Philippines have been cooperating more in recent days in the face of Chinese aggression over out lying islands through out the China Sea area. Today the Japan Daily announced that Japan and the Philippines are entering a mutual security agreement, and the government spokesmen specifically named Chinese naval aggression in the region as the primary cause of concern.
OPINION: The American Admiralty Information Service (AAIS, operators of American Admiralty Books) believes that this is a positive development in terms of bringing China to the bargaining table over the final codification of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in the China Sea. China continues to claim the entire sea as as its territory including islands that are situated well within the EEZs of other nations. China has killed Vietnamese naval personnel over the issue. China has intruded into the EEZ waters of both Japan and the Philippines but has so far avoided exchanges of fire with these two U.S. allies, who are now allies in their own right.
This development which no doubt Chinese naval intelligence was well aware of as under discussion may be a driving force behind recent Chinese rapprochement attempts relative to the Indian Navy.
India and China have on going land border disputes, and India is suspicious of Chinese naval power projection into the Indian Ocean. However India has no territorial claims in the China Sea. India recently held joint naval exercises with Japan. India has an increasingly powerful navy that is experienced in aircraft carrier operations. If India were to join with Japan in a formal alliance the "dragon" might be effectively checkmated while offering China the face saving position of not being forced to the bargaining table by the U.S. Pacific fleet.
China's misbehavior is a major dampener on the proper leasing and licensing of oil exploration and production in what is thought to be an oil rich sea. An energy starved world needs a peaceful and orderly legal resolution to the conflicting claims in this area, the worst of which is China's legally insupportable claim to the entire area coupled with their attempts to use military and thinly disguised military muscle to enforce their will on weaker neighbors. Sometimes the best anecdote for an aggressive dragon is an assertive Tiger.
NOTE: We don't normally provide a hyperlink to the JAPAN DAILY in our News service section since it is a general interest vice maritime publication, but there is one today (July 31, 2012) in our headline service.