2/2013 How Far Will The Dragon Swim? Update: 6/2/2015 Since we first published this post China has ceased using "coast guard like vessels" and has formed her various maritime law enforcement agencies into a single unified "coast guard" more efficient , more brutal than her previous arrangement described here. The abuses described here continue in 2015 but conducted more efficiently by the Chinese Coast Guard.
HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM WEARING A BADGE?
The Dragon's Version of a Coast Guard Never Needs A Warrant To Break Down The Door To A Neighbor's House.
THE ILLUSTRATION ABOVE IS BASED ON A NASA PHOTO. NOTE THE PROXIMITY OF THE SPRATLYS TO THE PHILIPPINES. NOTICE THE PARCEL ISLANDS ABOVE THE PHILIPPINES. THESE ARE ABOUT EQUIDISTANT FROM CHINA'S HAINAN ISLAND AND THE COAST OF VIETNAM EXCEPT FOR A SMALL COLLECTION OF VERY TINY ISLANDS AND SHALLOW REEFS THAT STRETCH OUT FROM THE MAIN BODY OF ISLANDS ALMOST TO THE MAIN LAND OF VIETNAM. THE DRAGON CLAIMS THEM ALL AND SHOT TO DEATH OVER 60 VIETNAMESE SAILORS WHO WERE UNARMED AND ATTEMPTING TO MARK A SEMI SUBMERGED REEF ONLY A FEW MILES OFF THEIR OWN SHORE IN THE 1980s.
According to Chinese Sources the "routine fishery administrative patrols around the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea will be carried out to better safeguard the legitimate interests of Chinese fishermen." In Dragon speak the Nansha Islands are the same islands the rest of the world calls the Spratlys.
Most of them are very close to the Philippines , some are close to Vietnam, few if any are anywhere near 200 miles from any part of the Chinese mainland. The normal limit of a national exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is 200 miles from a nation's mainland, but that rule certainly doesn't apply if one nation faces another across an arm of the sea narrower than 400 miles , and certainly across a relatively narrow sea one nation can't claim islands more than 200 miles from its own shore when they are far less than 200 miles from another nation's shore unless there is a history of effective settlement. The Spratlys have no native population and lack the fresh water and elevation and arable land to have been occupied by humans without highly uneconomic support from a mainland logistic system. Only in recent days as a direct result of Chinese aggression have any of the islands developed a population. China, the Philippines and Vietnam each occupy one or more islands, the Chinese illegally.However the Chinese being vastly richer and more powerful than the neighboring and more legitimate claimants have the only population that remotely looks like a "settlement" vice a garrison. While all of the islands with populations are artificially sustained China alone does not fear actual attack by the more legitimate claimants. Now they intend to infuse the entire island group with "fisheries patrol ships", lightly armed Coast Guard like vessels with police power over Chinese nationals and so they claim over anyone else in "their" waters. This is a blatant and totally transparent land grab.
The Chinese have curbed the shooting since the 1980s but kept up the constant threats and invasive presence daring anyone to shoot at them. There is a method to their madness. They are filing cases with UN tribunals making claims on these islands based on effective administration. They are deliberately trying to put a face other than straight forward naval conquest of their neighbors territory by shoving out the weaker Coast Guard like forces of the adjacent coastal states and operating their own as if they owned the neighborhood.
Wu Zhuang, the Chief of the South China Sea Fishery Bureau under the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has asserted that enhanced fishery patrols in the territorial waters surrounding the Nansha Islands ( Spratlys ) are a top priority for 2013. In fact such patrols have never been in conformance with international law and were increasing in frequency throughout 2012, so this is exactly what we expect. This is the Chinese form of maritime land grab. First pin a badge on some of your sailors and call them "fish cops", then send their ships into your neighbors exclusive economic zone and in some cases actual territorial sea. Meet any resistance with threats of deadly force and dire consequences . Finally complain to the United Nations that you effectively administer the islands of your neighbors and they keep violating your rights. Meanwhile everyone sits on pins and needles knowing that the only cure is to send China's naval power in every form to the bottom of the sea but everyone is waiting for China to fire the first shot, something they are only likely to do now by mistake. China wants that UN mandate so she can declare the south, East China Seas and the Yellow Sea an interlocked string of Chinese lakes, control all sea traffic in and out and own all fisheries and mineral rights while impoverishing her neighbors. Today, the nation that fires the first shot regardless of the provocation is always the one blamed for "starting the war" and the "aggressor". The conquered territory taken by the "aggressor" is never recognized internationally. In history as written by the dragon the islands were uninhabited and ignored for centuries until China established strong administration and populations in the islands, then they were invaded (by their actual owners) and China repelled the "aggressors" after they opened fire.
There is just one flaw in the Dragon's plan. War with the Philippines or Japan means war with the United States, there is no mention in our defense treaties about who shot first. If China keeps up the aggressive behavior it is only a matter of time until a miscalculation occurs. The Dragon is betting the farm on U.S. weakness at that point due to the inept Obama Administration, a stalemated Congress and tremendous financial problems.The Dragon fully expects to send the United States Navy back to Pearl harbor to never be seen west of the Pearl Harbor sea buoy again. Of course if the United States fails to shoot itself in the foot
on schedule it could make short work of the Chinese navy at this point despite the Dragon having a shorter logistic train, and more hulls. Combined with Japan and the Philippines China would be made short work. Combined with India and Australia in an allied fleet the Dragon is toast. So the dragon keeps play this dangerous game. It is so unfortunate that China is proving itself daily to be too irresponsible and thug like to trusted with a world class navy. The state of lawlessness on the oceans is such that the World could have used another world class navy. India is that Navy, not China , China has made herself an enemy of all mankind with her maritime behavior.