Mar del Sur (Continuación)

Reversing China’s South China Sea grab

The South China Sea (SCS) is currently the focus of a dispute between the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The PRC has preemptively deployed military personnel and equipment to enforce their claims to a trumped-up, self-identified but unrecognized “nine-dash line,” an imagined boundary that is inconsistent with international law and commonly accepted international behavior.

The PRC has diverted significant dollar equivalents of capital from its faltering economy that would have been better invested in educating and providing health care to Chinese citizens, to build approximately 3,000 acres of military bases on a variety of dredged coral reefs hosting 9,800-foot-long runways, combat aircraft, surface-to-air missiles and other weaponry.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tuesday’s ruling by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea has bought a little clarity to the problems in the South China Sea, but it has not made solving the underlying problems significantly simpler.

In a bad day for China, the Tribunal ruled that Beijing’s ‘nine-dash line’ (its claim to between 60% and 90% of the waters of the South China Sea) had no legal basis because China’s claims of ‘historic rights’ to the waters of the Sea had been rendered invalid when it signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The judgement went on to say that none of the Spratlys, a chain of reefs and rocks at the southern end of the South China Sea where China has recently built seven installations, were ‘islands’ and therefore did not generate any territorial or economic rights regardless of who occupied them.…  Seguir leyendo »

El tribunal arbitral presidido por el juez Thomas A. Mensah ha decidido sobre la demanda presentada por Filipinas contra China en relación con las actividades de ésta en el mar de China meridional. La reclamación filipina tiene su origen en los incidentes del arrecife de las Scarborough en 2012, cuando buques chinos expulsaron a los pescadores filipinos que allí faenaban. Pero los conflictos en el mar de China meridional no son nuevos. Son múltiples los problemas territoriales que enfrentan a China con la práctica totalidad de esos países, fundamentalmente Vietnam, Malasia, Filipinas y Brunei, en las islas Spratly, y Taiwán y Vietnam, en las Paracel.…  Seguir leyendo »

China has taken a leap towards clarifying its claims in the South China Sea, but in a direction that could intensify frictions.

The International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea delivered a sweeping ruling Tuesday against China in an arbitration case initiated by the Philippines. The result significantly limits the size of the maritime zones and scope of maritime rights that China can legally claim. Minutes later, the Chinese government issued a statement. In it, China stakes claims to sovereignty over all land features in the South China Sea, as well as entitlement to internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf based on these islands, as well as historic rights in unspecified waters.…  Seguir leyendo »

The ruling by an arbitral tribunal of five members based in The Hague was simple and devastating. It declares that ‘China’s claims to historic rights… with respect to the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the “nine-dash line” are contrary to the [The UN] Convention [on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS]’. This is a result that Southeast Asia’s maritime countries have long sought. The way is now clear to resolve all the disputes in the region, if the participants choose to do so.

For decades, countries around the South China Sea lived under the shadow of a quasi-territorial claim that no one really understood.…  Seguir leyendo »

La sentencia de la Corte Permanente de Arbitraje (CPA) de La Haya en contra de los reclamos territoriales de China en el Mar de China Meridional será recibida con alivio en las capitales de la región. Pero es poco probable que revierta una de las tendencias más preocupantes en Asia: un alarmante acopio de armas en la región.

Según el Instituto Internacional de Estudios para la Paz de Estocolmo, Asia hoy responde por casi la mitad del gasto mundial en armamentos -más del doble que el gasto total de los países de Oriente Medio y cuatro veces más que el de Europa.…  Seguir leyendo »

La comunidad internacional ha sido informada del “fallo final” sobre el polémico “arbitraje sobre el mar Meridional de China”. Dado que este arbitraje viola el derecho internacional tanto en contenido como en procedimiento, el fallo carece de toda validez jurídica. China rechaza cualquier coacción que se ejerza para obligarle a aceptar el arbitraje. El asunto referido en el arbitraje es en esencia la disputa entre China y Filipinas por la soberanía sobre las islas del mar Meridional de China.De cara a esta disputa, los importantes hechos fundamentales no pueden ser ignorados:

En primer lugar, antes de la década de los 70 del siglo pasado, la comunidad internacional no tenía ninguna objeción al hecho de que China poseía la soberanía sobre las islas del mar Meridional de China.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Convención de Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho del Mar de 1982, que ha sido calificada como la constitución del Derecho del Mar, prevé en su Anexo VII un sistema de solución de diferencias que ha utilizado la República de Filipinas para llevar a la República Popular de China ante un tribunal arbitral ad hoc integrado por cinco prestigiosos juristas.

La reacción de China frente a la solicitud de establecimiento de un tribunal arbitral ha sido siempre de rechazo absoluto. Desde un principio, las autoridades chinas comunicaron que no aceptarían ni participarían en el arbitraje unilateralmente iniciado por Filipinas, ni siquiera con el fin de objetar la competencia del tribunal arbitral para decidir el caso.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’été s’annonce orageux en mer de Chine méridionale. Cet espace hautement stratégique, par lequel transite près de la moitié du trafic maritime mondial, est âprement disputé depuis quelques années. Pas moins de six États – Chine, Vietnam, Malaisie, Brunei, Philippines, Taïwan – revendiquent des droits souverains sur son sol, sous-sol et ses eaux surjacentes. Leurs prétentions sont principalement fondées sur la Convention des Nations Unies sur le droit de la mer de 1982 (CNUDM), aujourd’hui ratifiée par 167 États, dont ceux en litige, sauf Taïwan. La Chine considère toutefois que des titres historiques séculaires lui permettraient d’étendre ses droits bien au-delà des 200 milles marins (370,4 km) prévus par la convention.…  Seguir leyendo »

A vendor in Beijing stands behind a map including an insert depicting the 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea. Photo by Getty Images.

It is tempting to read China’s refusal in this case to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal in The Hague as the defiance of an arrogant superpower that views itself as above international law. No doubt many in Manila, Washington and elsewhere are purveying this view. But there is more here than meets the eye.

For decades, Beijing has complained that the global order was forged in an era when China was weak and the rules of the game are rigged against it.

But this lament is more difficult to sustain in relation to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which China helped negotiate in the 1970s and early 1980s.…  Seguir leyendo »

A new maritime balance in Indo-Pacific region

Recently it was reported in sections of the media that the United States and India have held talks about conducting joint naval patrols that could possibly include the disputed South China Sea.

The U.S. and Indian government officials were quick to dismiss the report. Washington suggested that while the U.S. and India have a shared vision of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, the two countries were not planning joint maritime patrols in the Indian Ocean or South China Sea. New Delhi also argued that there was no change in India’s policy of joining international military efforts only under the U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

Amid mounting regional concerns about Beijing’s assertive behavior in the South China Sea, President Xi Jinping stood with President Barack Obama last September in the White House Rose Garden and vowed that China would not militarize its newly constructed outposts in the Spratly Islands. But Xi was careful not to include Beijing’s Paracel Islands, in the north of the South China Sea.

China has now reportedly placed surface-to-air missiles on one of its Paracel outposts. While this act does not strictly contradict Xi’s commitment, it clearly violates its spirit.

Such actions are a big reason why the Asia-Pacific region is increasingly focused on the South China Sea.…  Seguir leyendo »

There is always a time when the intentions of an individual or that of a nation shift from the hidden to uncloaked. That is the point where the wise prepare for action. We have for over a decade warned of the rise of China and that its challenge to the world would ultimately not be a peaceful one, as so vehemently claimed by President Xi. Consequently, we have been following the construction of islands in the Spratly chain, based on the partially submerged reefs that lay below the high tide mark, all of which under UNCLOS (The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) were considered not to be sovereign territory.…  Seguir leyendo »

China’s Dangerous Ambiguity in the South China Sea

In October, Maj. Gen. Yao Yunzhu of the Academy of Military Science in Beijing asked in a speech at the Xiangshan Forum, the Chinese military’s annual dialogue with other states: What does militarization mean? She was responding to American concerns that China’s efforts to build up islands in the South China Sea contribute to international tensions.

General Yao poses a fair question. Why is China singled out as the culprit when the United States is the dominant military power in Asian waters? The United States maintains a naval presence in the Asia-Pacific that entails military cooperation with numerous regional powers, including other claimants to disputed territory and maritime zones, such as the Philippines and Vietnam.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. Navy sailors on the deck of the guided missile destroyer Lassen in the South China Sea on Oct. 28. Corey T. Jones/U.S. Navy

The dangerous game of chicken now being played out in the South China Sea, with American warships sailing provocatively close to a clutch of new-made Chinese islands, is only the beginning of what looks to be a lengthy and epic tussle.

That’s because a detailed plan, hatched in Beijing decades ago, is currently being unrolled, with the aim of demonstrating that the Pacific Ocean is no longer an immense American-dominated lake, but an ocean belonging to the world, with no navy or nation wielding a monopoly of power across its waters. How the United States deals with China’s latest moves will determine to no small degree the future serenity of the planet.…  Seguir leyendo »

China’s government isn’t happy.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the country’s Foreign Ministry warned that U.S. actions had «threatened China’s sovereignty and security interest, and has put the safety of personnel» in danger.

The statement was issued in response to the U.S. decision to dispatch the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen for several hours on a «freedom of navigation» operation near the disputed waters of Subi Reef, which has drawn international attention since China began constructing an artificial island there.

But although the Lassen was deliberately sent to within 12 nautical miles of the feature (12 miles being the hypothetical width of territorial sea around Subi), and despite China warning against the use of «gimmicks,» the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

A floating dock of the Indian navy is pictured at the naval base at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, July 1, 2015. REUTERS/Sanjeev Miglani

The Indian Ocean may be the only ocean named for a country, but it’ s still heavily contested territory. Both China and India, who have major strategic interests there, are suspicious of each other. Their struggle for leadership in the “emerging world” will play out for decades and all around the globe, but today the Indian Ocean is Ground Zero.

The South China Sea is home to overlapping claims by China, the Philippines, and other countries in the region. And the Arctic Ocean, increasingly, has seen a build-up of U.S. and Russian troops, lured by the possibility of billions of barrels of untapped oil.…  Seguir leyendo »

Desde diciembre de 2013, China ha añadido más de 1,200 hectáreas a islas en el Mar Meridional de China. Las implicaciones geopolíticas de estos esfuerzos de reclamación de tierras están bien documentados: la mayor parte de dicha actividad se llevó a cabo en las Islas Spratly, un archipiélago en las aguas entre Vietnam, Malasia y Filipinas, países que junto con China, Taiwán y Brunei tienen reclamaciones contrapuestas  sobre esta región.

Existe menos debate sobre el impacto ambiental del proyecto, mismo que bordea lo catastrófico. Las actividades de China ponen en peligro a poblaciones de peces, amenazan la biodiversidad marina y crean un riesgo a largo plazo para algunas de las formas de vida marina más espectaculares del mundo.…  Seguir leyendo »

While the increasing militarization of the South China Sea strains Asia-Pacific’s stability and security for the long term, the region’s humble fishing fleets pose more immediate, frequent, and less managed risks. If properly organized, however, those same fleets could offer one way to develop a culture of compromise and cooperation.

After running a controversial program of land reclamation in the South China Sea, China has recently started to build facilities on its artificial island outposts. Unsurprisingly, neighboring countries remain anxious about Beijing’s ultimate intentions, fearful especially of military threats.

But the more urgent concern – to China as much as to its Southeast Asian neighbors –  is the likely emergence of even bolder maritime law enforcement and fishing fleets.…  Seguir leyendo »

What are Chinese attack submarines doing in the Indian Ocean, far from China’s maritime backyard, in what is the furthest deployment of the Chinese Navy in 600 years? Two Chinese subs docked last fall at the new Chinese-built and -owned container terminal in Colombo, Sri Lanka. And recently a Chinese Yuan-class sub showed up at the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

The assertive way China has gone about staking its territorial claims in the South and East China seas has obscured its growing interest in the Indian Ocean. This ocean has become the new global center of trade and energy flows, accounting for half the world’s container traffic and 70 percent of its petroleum shipments.…  Seguir leyendo »