China to Start Regular Patrols from Island in S.China Sea
"Jan 21 (Reuters) - China will base a 5,000-tonne civilian patrol ship on one of the main islands it controls in the disputed South China Sea and begin regular patrols, an official newspaper said on Tuesday, a move likely to add fuel to territorial disputes with neighbors."
The Dragon will base its new ship on Woody Island which it wrested from Vietnam supposedly in 1974. China now calls the Islands (about forty rocky out cropping and semi submerged reefs with one island large enough for human habitation provided there is elaborate logistic support from the main land) "Sancha City". The purpose of moving the home port of a flag ship like Coast Guard vessel to this contested and difficult to logistically support strong hold is to move the Chinese base of operations farther out to sea, closer to their claims on the Spratlys and other island chains besides the Paracels where Sancha City is located. China has one eye on bullying its neighbors into accepting the China Seas as a closed sea and territorial waters of China and the other on strengthening its crazy legal claims before the UN based on "effective administration" and "effective settlement". Most of the disputed islands are not really suitable for human habitation which is why China's neighbors have not wasted resources on Habitation. With an economy big enough to provide funds for imperial adventurism, the Dragon has taken advantage of the more frugal and sensible prior decisions of its neighbors. China claims that it always owned the islands and simply asserted control in 1974. There is some truth to China's claim of prior ownership in parts of the Paracels and even Woody Island, and a long history of Vietnamese claims, and no prior occupation until now.
China formally relinquished ownership of some of the Paracels to North Vietnam during the Vietnam war. This action tended to simplify things for both North Vietnam and China and make prosecution of the war slightly more difficult for South Vietnam and the United States. A unified Vietnam never agreed to the this one sided real estate transfer. Vietnam also didn't agree to China's claim over the portion of the Spratly Islands long claimed by Vietnam. China's answer in 1988 to Vietnamese objections over their land grab of the Spratlys? The Chinese Navy simply slaughtered more than 60 unarmed Vietnamese sailors who attempted to plant their flag on a semi submerged Spratly reef. Here is a link to actual film footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy2ZrFphSmc
According to the Reuters article quoted earlier:
"China will "gradually establish a regular patrol system on Sansha City to jointly protect the country's maritime interests", the report added. It will continue to build infrastructure on the island as well as a "joint platform for sharing maritime security data", it said. China is in an increasingly angry dispute with its neighbors over claims to parts of the potentially oil and gas-rich South China Sea. China lays claim to almost the whole of the sea, which is criss-crossed by crucial shipping lanes."
We consider the above to be a rank understatement. A Chinese general officer recently wrote of the Dragon's "Cabbage patch strategy". He noted the situation elsewhere in the Spratlys where Chinese Coast Guard craft maintained near constant patrol presence and how Chinese commercial fishermen entered the waters shortly there after forming a very dense flotilla "wrapping the island like the leaves of a cabbage". This cabbage patch procedure is very effective in terms of asserting "effective administration", but these islands are very difficult to occupy. Clearly the establishment of Sansa City and the basing of a flag ship like coast guard vessel there is a move designed to move a logistic base seaward to evolve from "effective administration to effective settlement on as many islands with enough dry land to support a building or two.
"(Reuters ) Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines also claim other parts of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands. China has a separate dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.
Our view is that China exploits the the EEZ and island claims boundary disputes between and among Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines as well as a territorial island dispute between Taiwan and Japan to push forward its own goal of converting the China Seas to territorial seas, and then turning all of the above states into subservient vassal states. China has a single purpose that it is progressing on steadily. We urge the people of the surrounding states to quickly settle your own boundary disputes in accordance with the present International Convention on the Law of the Sea and turn a united front on the Dragon. Join as plaintiffs against China in the UN tribunal, file friend of court briefs in the Chinese suits against others. Build up your naval and coast guard forces and every where you can patrol and occupy such islands that are clearly under your jurisdiction under the international convention. If there is an island that can lend itself to human habitation with heavy shore based logistic support that you are disputing with a neighbor, occupy jointly. Always keep in mind the Dragon doesn't care about the islands its the oil under the ocean's surface. The more Islands the Dragon controls the more exclusive economic zone rights it has.
The Dragon is entitled to a strip of territorial sea 12 miles from the mainland for the length of its coast except where its coast abuts another nation with less than 24 miles distance between. The Dragon is also entitled to an exclusive Economic Zone on average about 200 miles wide except where there is less than 200 miles distance between states. So China has a big defensible legitimate claim to a quite a few exclusive rights in the China Seas. However, China can have no legitimate claim to all of the Spratlys, especially those well within the recognized EEZ of the Philippines. certainly China can have no claim on anything within the EEZ or territorial seas of Malaysia. The Dragon is over reaching but her neighboring states have to realize that the goal isn't to push the Dragon back to China's mainland beaches but to keep her within her already large legitimate claim. In pushing back this gives the uncomfortable and confidence lacking present regime in China many face saving exits from what should become a failed aggressive policy. But for that to happen China's neighbors have to resist the Dragons divide and conquer, cabbage patch to habitation strategy.
Take the Dragon seriously for her real intent, owning your sea regions, destroying the international right of innocent passage through the area, and converting you to vassals of the Middle Kingdom. Get together, don't face this Dragon alone. A lot more than a bunch of semi submerged rocks is at stake.
Oh, and in a side note Reuters noted:
"Separately, the Beijing Times newspaper said that China would build the world's largest maritime surveillance vessel, a 10,000-tonne ship that it said would be larger than an equivalent Japanese ship, currently the world's largest surveillance vessel.
The report did not say when the ship would enter service."