Ambiguity Reigns In The South China Sea

Ambiguity Reigns In The South China Sea
MaoNo / Pixabay

China is one of a number of of states with territorial claims in the South China Sea, which is an increasingly important geopolitical issue.

Political maneuvering related to the disputed Spratly Islands took a new turn this week, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaking on the issue, reports David A. Welch for The Diplomat.

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Worrying statement from Chinese Foreign Minister

Wang claimed that any flexibility on China’s claims would shame the country’s ancestors, and should “the gradual and incremental invasion of China’s sovereignty and encroachment on China’s interests” continue, it would be a black mark on its history.

The pronouncement reveals a peculiarity of Chinese foreign policy, in that culture and identity plays an important role in its decision-making process. Worrying about shaming your ancestors is not a common concern in foreign policy circles.

Wang’s statement may have been a tactical move which signals China’s intent to cement its place in the region. Beijing cannot be seen to back down from a foreign threat for fear of losing legitimacy in the eyes of the population. Such a pronouncement may signal China’s full commitment to defending an ever-expanding set of interests, but there is also the possibility that Wang was being genuine.

Justice motive in the South China Sea

Humans are very much concerned by justice, and the justice motive plays an important role in our interactions. It is defined as “the drive to correct a perceived discrepancy between entitlements and benefits,” and has a number of features. Psychologists tell us that when the justice motive is engaged, risk-taking behavior is increased, sensitivity to threats is decreased and we are less inhibited towards violence.

In the case of China, the sense that justice must be served in the South China Sea makes Beijing a dangerous actor. Another issue is that perceptions of justice are highly variable both within and between cultures, and in the South China Sea each claimant has its own perception of entitlements.

A society with clear rules governing entitlements will generally be well-ordered, and procedures are used to resolve disputes. Such a system must be maintained in the South China Sea, where conflicting perceptions of entitlements are causing problems.

Up to now, regional conflicts have been addressed with dialogue, but this approach leads to a lot of ambiguity. While some states have been more specific, Beijing has never fully specified the rights that it claims in the South China Sea. However the situation is complicated by ambiguities in international law regarding the maritime entitlements attached to features like reefs and shoals, as proved by the Philippines’ ongoing arbitration case.

Ambiguity may soon be reduced

Historical arguments are also used to promote claims, and history is not exactly clear. In addition, the status of some of the claims are unclear. China and Taiwan have almost identical claims, but it is not clear whether they are one claimant or two. If they are two, does Taiwan even have the right to make claims given its political status?

Although this ambiguity may appear to reduce the likelihood of conflict, there is no guarantee that the situation will not deteriorate. It looks increasingly unstable, and the ambiguity may soon be reduced. A ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration could clarify maritime entitlements in the Philippines’ case, ending an important legal case.

Should Wang’s statement provide evidence of China’s commitment to its own claims, ambiguities surrounding China’s exact wishes for the region may soon be reduced as well.

Geopolitical puzzle far from being solved

Ending the ambiguity in the South China Sea is not necessarily a good thing for all of the interested parties. Generally speaking, peaceful settlements last longer when each party gains something which matters to them. In order for that to occur in the South China Sea, disambiguation will have to be a carefully managed process, and will involve concessions made by each country.

The need for concessions is one difficult aspect of the situation, given the conviction with which each nation promotes its claim. Wang’s statement is not very encouraging for observers hoping that concessions will be made by China. It must be hoped that Beijing can see the bigger picture and not hold out for the total validation of its own claims at the expense of others.

A series of concessions must be made to ensure peaceful disambiguation, and the process must be tightly controlled to prevent the situation deteriorating into violence. It feels as though the story of the South China Sea may rumble on for the foreseeable future.

Updated on

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at</i>
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  1. LoL, Who is ISIS trying to terrorize, the hegemonic, hustler and predominant America? Only people who is over-matured call other immature.

  2. Lol, who is America trying to bully, the different terrorist groups around the world, including ISIS? and what does “over matured” means? You are doing terribly if you are trying to be a comedian.

  3. Only if America can grow up too from a bullish kid in this 21st century. You are really over matured since you are from the 12th century.

  4. Why don’t you follow Greece and Ireland’s example and GROW UP. The real issue is China’s immaturity. Need I remind you that we are already in the 12th century?

  5. Please get the book, “1421” and read it, and learn something about Chinese history.

    That’s 71 years before Christopher Columbus discovered America.

  6. ” You were saying that the Philippine claim to the Sprately is recent. The claim of the Sultanate of Sulu to the Palawan, North Borneo parts of Mindanao is relevant to the territorial claim of the Sprately. Speaking of historical account Admiral Zheng He according to Gavin Menzies sailed and landed in New Zealand and North America does that mean that China has also a valid claim
    to the New Zealand Islands and the North America?”
    As for the latter point This what Tomas Cloma did in 1956 and subsequently gave it to the Philippines under Mracos for 1 Peso in 1974, admittedly under duress. even though by then he had no sovereign or territorial rights to convey. Nevertheless The Philippines incorporated Kalayaan into Palawan province. Regarding your point Admiral Zheng’s first voyage was in 1405,
    according to Chinese sources the Nonsha/Spratly islands were discovered some years earlier. In 220 AD Nonsha was settled by Chinese monks who built a monastery there and other Chinese navigators had mentioned it as early as 23 AD. Other Chinese commentators put it much earlier.
    I accept that discovery is not sufficient but that is not the basis of either the Vietnamese or the Chinese claims.
    As to the first point I fail to see how Palawan is relevant to The Spratly/Nonsha islands. As ar as i am aware Palawan island is not disputed territory. Indeed the only gas field of the Philippines is located there. The only relevance perhaps is that the Philippines is touting it for a naval base for The USA and thus creating a need for China to reciprocate by building equivalent bases in the disputed region.
    Palawan is not the issue but the islands and features near Palawan are. There cannot be a 200 mile EEZ off Palawan island as that would impinge on the EEZ of the Spratly/Nonsha islands. Where a EEZ overlaps the boundaries can only be determined by arbitration and in that all parties have to agree to negotiate. That is international Law. One cannot simply claim an EEZ that impinges on another countries EEZ.
    As to a Philippine claim this is separate to the Sultanate of Sulu’s. It is also my understanding that the Sultanate of Sulu was different to the Philippines indeed the Official Gazette. The Government of the Philippines recognised this. (22 March 1915). “Memorandum Agreement between the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands and the Sultan of Sulu”. Whilst it is true that in 1915
    By this agreement, the Sultan relinquished all political power over territory within the Philippines (except for certain specific land granted to Sultan Jamalul Kiram and his heirs), but retained sovereignty rights as well as sovereignty rights over the territory of North Borneo and with the religious authority as head of Islam in Sulu. Hence The Sultanate claiming Subu. Any interpretation of this means that the Philippines cannot acquire rights to territory perhaps once controlled by the Sultanate as The Philippines as already noted lies East of 118 degrees Longitude and the disputed areas are west of that. It is also somewhat academic as the Sultanate had relinquished sovereign rights over all his possessions in favour of Spain according to the International Court of Justice. (International Court of Justice (2003). Summaries of Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders of the International Court of Justice, 1997–2002 Document (United Nations))
    You also asked
    “Who said that the heirs of the Sultante of Sulu dropped their claim to North Borneo!”
    The Phillipine Daily Inquirer did
    Ruben Sario; Julie S. Alipala; Ed General (17 September 2008). “Sulu sultan’s ‘heirs’ drop Sabah claim”.
    Aning, Jerome (23 April 2009). “Sabah legislature refuses to tackle RP claim”.
    As to an army raiding another country if that meant anything the USA would own Afghanistan, Iraq, Greneda etc. etc.

  7. Lol, let me see…so, based on your ‘grown-up’ logic Greece would own Germany and Iceland because Pytheas the Greek explorer was the first to explore those lands in the 4th century BC, or Ireland would now own America and Iceland because Brendan the Navigator who was an Irish monk discovered those territories in the 6th century? he, he, I guess we should all congratulate China for failing to grow up while the rest of the world has moved on!

  8. Who said that the heirs of the Sultante of Sulu dropped their claim to North Borneo! The Royla Army of the Sultanate of Sulu just raided North Borneo aka Sabah recently!

  9. Sulu is not off topic because the Sultnate of Sulu terrritory encompass the whole of Palawan Island. You were saying that the Philippine claim to the Sprately is recent. The claim of the Sultanate of Sulu to the Palawan, North Borneo parts of Mindanao is relevant to the territorial claim of the Sprately. Speaking of historical account Admiral Zheng He according to Gavin Menzies sailed and landed in New Zealand and North America does that mean that China has also a valid claim to the New Zealand Islands and the North America?BTW the North Borneo plebiscite was a sham!

  10. LOL, sounding more like typical words from filthy mouths of lawless, violent yet clueless arrogant with unfounded confident or lack of confidence – F handout beggar of Obama.
    F thought that USA belongs to them but most Americans just look down on this little lawless corrupted rat from far away, left behind by Spanish. .

  11. You may well be right the problem is whereas we can see the British version as it is in the Official Gazette of the government oft he Philippines 22 march 1915 the source for the alternative version is unreliable. If it is true it really does show how stupid the sultan was in not obtaining copies in Malay and English and having his translators correct it. After all the Chinese had no such problems with Hong Kong , a territory we relinquished at the end of its lease.
    The British version is
    “,,,hereby grant and cede of our own free and sovereign will to Gustavus Baron de Overbeck of Hong Kong and Alfred Dent Esquire of …”
    This can be seen , the alternate version
    “do hereby lease of our own freewill and satisfaction to…all the territories and lands being tributary to [us] together with their heirs, associates, successors and assigns forever
    and until the end of time”
    cannot be. Moreover the Sulu Sultan dropped their claim anyway and Malaysia’s position is that the inhabitants voted for self determination in 1963. Further i do not think it is a question of White swindling coloured people out of their birthright. Enough Coloured people do this to their own kind.
    However the discussion on Sulu is off topic.

  12. back in 50,when 1,200,000 chineses died of famines every years,in the rural of china,peoples cook death people to make soup,wonton,dumpling,xiumai

  13. Every single day since the PRC was established.
    Every single treaty with the Native American Indians were broken by the White man. White man spoke with forked tongue!!!!!
    The nonsense is nor on my part, but yours.

  14. Sure the British are honorable people they swindled the Sultan honorably by interpreting the word Padjack as cessation. Malay word Padjack means lease!.The United States also swindled the Sultan of Sulu by having two version of the peace treaty the Tuasog version was a protectorate while the English version was surrender of sovereignty. It seems to me that the “Whitemen’s Burden” is to swindle colored people out of their birth rights!

  15. Whether we British swindled the Sultan is a matter of debate, it does come down to a matter of interpretation , was it leased or ceded and that particular puzzle still carries on today where the Philippines is in dispute with Malaysia over Sabah (116 E) which they claim was only leased and falls within the 118 E territory boundary. What is not in contention is that the Sultanate ceded its rights to the other islands to Spain in 1851, (curiously the sultan was helped in his fight against the Spaniards by the Chinese.). By that logic Spain is also an interested party in the dispute
    as The Philippines only claimed territory east of 118 longitude in its independence, and subsequent treaties. They have never disputed the 1851 cessation or claimed it perhaps until
    now but that claim has no validity for the reason cited. It does seem that the Philippines is squabbling with many of its South East Asian neighbours over territory.

  16. @ Rusty Brain Dead, when did the US lie? It’s China known for untruthfulness and China is demonizing the whole world. Enough with your ludicrous rhetoric. Stop with your nonsense, you’re becoming laughable.

  17. “Historical” or myth just look at the nine dash line invented in 1947 the Southernmost part is James Shoal 22 meters below sea level. But to the Chinese this was an Island!

  18. Do you know what “cost of living” means???
    $1.25/day means a lot of money in rural China.
    As a matter of fact, I can live on $1.25/day in the U.S.
    A can of Chef’s Boyardee Beefaroni, 16 ounce costs 88 cents.
    A can of Dennison’s chunky chili, 16 ounce, costs 99 cents.
    Water is free in any city park or any office building.
    You just can’t live without being spoiled by your past.

  19. Your comments, and a lot of others are worse.
    All you people do is to repeat Uncle Sam’s lies and propaganda demonizing China.

  20. You don’t seem to get it!  If 150 million of you live on less than $1.25 a day, and 500 million live on less than $2.50 a day, you are a poor country – the scum of the earth. Our poor are your rich!

  21. There is a stela in Hainan Island that say this is the most southern part of China! So how can China now assert that they own the submerge reef in the Sprately!

  22. @ Rusty Brain Dead, what? Your argument is irrelevant. Do the people on this thread a favor, put pertinent comments or just go away because your comments are so hideous.

  23. in 1950 MAO’s communist regime killed and murder,starvation of 80,000,000 chineses,in 1989,DENG killed and murder 300,000 chineses student in TIANAMEN SQUARE,in the 90 china communist killed FALON GONG,prison murder and sell human body part

  24. Where did you get these figures from?? From Uncle Sam’s propaganda demonizing China to prevent China from rising. Besides, the cost of living is much much less in China than in the U.S. What is the cost of a pound of rice in the U.S. as compare to China???

  25. Oh!!! Yeah!!! I see a lot of human remains all over the world, especially in the Middle East, a lot of human remains in the U.S., too.

  26. Read and weep Poor Rusty: Once again! More than a hundred million Chinese live less than $1.25 a day! That’s more than the population of the Philippines. More than five hundred million Chinese live on less than $2.50 a day. That’s one-third of China’s population. Many of them don’t know what the next meal will be. Will it be fetus for lunch? Again!

    Never trust the Chinese! They lie, steal and cheat.

  27. @ jim okay, you dimwit, piece of work, improve your horrible diction first before you call Filipino and Vietnamese people lowly educated. Just from your grammar, I reckon you’re also Asian but was molested during the war. Go away you piece of manure.

  28. @ Rusty Brain Wyse, CNN-Hundreds of dead communist farmers massacred at Yinchuan Province. You may want to look around your nearest China Town in the US, you’ll see human remains there.

  29. After WWII, the WWII victors set the world orders, such as the boundaries of leftover colonies and European nations, the Japanese surrender treaty, the form of governments in the left over colonies, etc. China’s Dash Lines is one of them. There are more Chinese immigrated to South East Asia nations hundreds of years ago the the other way round. That means Chinese discovered and stopped by the islands in the South China Sea earlier than the people of those nations. The 200 miles EEZ of other nations intrude into Chinese territorial waters

  30. Your brain is completely full of clorox and bleach.
    Don’t you have better things to do than repeating lies and Uncle Sam’s propaganda????

  31. There is no “fact”. It’s all American propaganda demonizing China. The “fact” is: Americans murder their own people.
    Just look at the number of people murdered by the police.
    Johnnie Cochran, criminal lawyer, had a quote:
    “The most powerful person in the U.S. is a street cop. He could summarily execute you on the spot”.

    If this man were not videotaped by a passerby, he would have gotten away with murder.

  32. In a bilateral negotiation with the Philippines, China will say: “One for you, two for me; two for you, three for me…”. Then, separately, it will say the same to Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, & Taiwan. China cannot be trusted. It’s the land of thieves, liars, and cheaters. China, if you want negotiations, do it multilaterally with all claimants.

  33. Get out, thief! Better leave soon enough and save your dirty a55! While there’s still time, go to UNCLOS and show your tea-dipped historical proof.

  34. The Sultanate of Sulu which the British swindled out of his Sabah holdings and which pre-dated the Republic of the Philippines have also a legitimate claim to the area!

  35. The USA is the wealthiest and mightiest nation on earth, and may I add – the most generous. China is very far behind. Look at the facts: Over a hundred million Chinese (100,000,000) live on less than $1.25 a day. That’s more than the population of the Philippines. More than five hundred million Chinese (500,000,000) live on less than $2.50 a day. That’s one-third of the total population of China. Inspite of your rise during the last decade, China remains poor. Your wealthy are the USA’s poor. Now you know where you are, thief.

  36. not true none of the other nations have agreed to UNCLOS ion only the Philippines. Vietnam has sent a position paper but has not joined the dispute Moreover it is not arbitration as that would come under ITLOS or the ICJ and not UNCLOS. Portuguese navigators called in the Mar da China.
    it was only later that it was called the south china sea and it is this name that is recognised by the
    The International Hydrographic Organization. The historical basis for the claims of Brunei, Vietnam and China/Taiwan are widely available, Moreover what China actually claims is confusing, mostly they state waters surrounding the relevant islands which if they owned it is consistent with maritime law.
    What is puzzling is why ,when the Philippines claimed that they had no territories west of 118 degrees
    longitude in treat after treaty and even their own constitution , do they believe they won anything west of it an even issue licences to drill oil to foreign companies.

  37. According to international law, the discovery of a terra nullius itself does not
    sufficiently legitimize any legal status for the discovering State over that territory.
    To acquire sovereignty over the terra nullius, a State must effectively occupy that territory.
    There are two principles that govern this effective occupation. The first is the principle of
    actuality, which requires that the State actually possesses the terra nullius, considers it as
    part of the State’s territory, and exercises State authority and administration over it for
    a reasonable period of time. In addition to the material (corpus) element, the actual
    possession also requires the intentional (animus) element of whether a State wishes to
    possess the terra nullius. The second is the principle of publicity, which requires that
    the possession by a State must be announced to, or acknowledged by, other sovereign States.
    An individual or a company cannot acquire sovereignty over a territory. Both Vietnam
    and China/Taiwan have Historical evidence to confirm this long before the Philippines was even a country.
    To some extent so does Brunei. Further your own government (i assume you are Filipino) is arguing at The Hague
    that the Scarborough Shoal is not an island and hence is not entitled to a EEZ and thus lies within the EEZ of the Philippines.

  38. Then why does the Philippines increase its military spending, indulge in war exercises with two of China’s potential foes Japan and The USA , wait until a Japanese is heading UNCLOS and will thus nominate a judge in China’s absence . Why did the Philippines renege on joint development of Oil in The south China Seas. How is it other south east Nations have negotiated with China and succeeded. Why is it that previous Filipino presidents negotiated deal after deal with China but Aquino can’t. China is not going to use military force not because of the USA or Filipino threat but because it wants the goodwill of the Asean partners for the silk road. as China and Hong Kong take 70% of Filipino exports why do they need to use military force.

    Remember too hat 200,000 Filipinos work there and how many more do their wages support?
    Once the Philippines signed military pacts with Japan and sought the return of US military bases, China had to act to safeguard its own security. The president rejected the military chiefs advice to take back the Nonsha/Spratly islands by force where remember you have military and naval bases. Instead he opted to build an island where he could place the military and navy should it be needed. The Philippines then decided to have an exercise with Japan, the USA and Australia – proving its need . The Courts are not an equalizer either,
    Russia and the USA have both ignored rulings from different UN courts and gone their own way. China has already stated it will not comply either Also remember the situation only occurred when Aquino after Obama’s statements on containing china sent the gunboat to harass Chinese fishermen at Scarborough reef. Before Aquino and his complete misunderstanding of China, China and the Philippines were extremely good friends.
    Deals were negotiated beneficial to The Philippines . Consider the wording of the Joint Statement on the Signing of a Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking in The Agreement Area in the South China Sea March 14, 2005
    “The three parties affirm that the signing of the Tripartite Agreement will not undermine the basic positions held by their respective Governments on the South China Sea issue and will contribute to the transformation of the South China Sea into an area of peace, stability, cooperation, and development in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.”

  39. Are you absolutely insane? Have YOU read UNCLOS? What the hell do you think it says. You keep bumping your gums about UNCLOS and demanding that all and sundry read it. Yet you offer nothing concerning it. it is, in general governed by international law. In this instance, the international maritime court. That is where the arbitration on this matter, in conjunction with the regulations of UNCLOS should be debated. YET, china refuses to do this. Why? Because their claims a insane. A little like you. Full of bravado and hot air, indicating nothing.

  40. Both Vietnam and South Korea have engaged in bilateral talks with China over aspects of Territorial disputes.
    One of the reasons the creatures are endangered is because of the activities of Chinese and Filipinos. Remember that most of the forestry and fisheries of the Philippines was destroyed not by China but by the wilful ignorance of the Filipinos. Report of the house of lords and house of commons 2010. I challenge you to name one Asean country that wants multilateral talks, Aquino is alone and acting like a spoiled child especially when he failed to get his way in 2 Asean conferences . But the big problem is whereas Vietnam, Brunei , Malaysia and China (especially if we see Taiwan as part of China) have strong claims historically and factually to the area. The Philippines was not even in existence when these countries placed the islands under their governance and they only are there because they sent a military force to occupy it. something you claim China does.

  41. I can see your WORDS are far WORST than Filipino/ Vietnamese you are referring to—-You must have a BIGGER problem in your mindset?

  42. Yup, all China had to do is “announce” to the whole world that a certain territory is theirs and it becomes theirs. What kind of pathetic reasoning is that?

    China is interrupting decades worth of peace in this region, and for what? The fact that China blocks another country from doing anything within its own 200-mile exclusive economic zone is disturbing and very troubling.

    If your only argument that these part of the world belongs to china because “I was fishing here first” then yours and your country’s argument is painfully IMMATURE to start a war over. Grow up


  44. All of those you chinese here need to go back to china and live a poverty life and learn a good lesson of world geography, ethical, honesty that those chinese don’t know or have, all you have are EVILS, STEALS, COPY, BAD MOUTH.
    The We must sanction china and train them like a dogs how to respect our rules.

  45. Jim, I can’t agree with more. These are the two most hopeless countries in Asia. Pinoys would stock their virgins in Manila and US bases. But the American troops still would not show up if the Chinese really go there. The Vietnamese want to lick Americans’ a*s and ask for more agent orange to get the Americans to help them. Yet the most they can get are the obsolete equipment.

  46. Only monkeys claim territories by distance. Look how far Falkland Islands are from Britain than Argentina. Look at how the sea border is drawn between Greece and Turkey. The world know what kind of people are the pinoys, human dredges.

  47. There is no ambiguity in the sovereignty issue in South China Sea. China announced the Dash Lines right after WWII and received no renunciation from other WWII victors, including USA. That means the islands, shoals, reefs and rocks within the Lines belong to China and China has the sovereign right to do whatever is appropriate on them. For others to interfere with China’s sovereign work will endanger the peace, stability, security, freedom of navigation and prosperity in the region. China will not be pushed over anymore as that had happened during the colonial days.

  48. Most of these Filipino/Vietnamese trolls are lowly educated and they can’t comment on the issues. All they can do is trolling. Are you guys feeling ashamed that you guys just trash and can’t do anything else. So both the Philippines and Vietnam people are full of these lowly educated people. I can’t see there is any hope for these two tiny little countries

  49. Don’t talk in empty statements like most of the Filipinos or Vietnamese do here. Tell me and all readers here what exactly you want to say. I don’t accept trash from your mouth. You people can’t comment, go back to your country and go to schools and get education and come back here.

  50. America has the largest prison population in the world, and the largest police forces in the world. Many are locked up in death row waiting for execution. Now, doesn’t that constitute “they even murder their own people”???

  51. Well, it’s up to the rest of the word to get China out of the South China Sea. China certainly will not give up South China Sea without a fight.

  52. No, on the contrary, all other nations must vacate the South China Sea.
    China has sole right to ALL South China Sea because they have historical proof that owned it.

  53. chineses ancestor should be ashame of chineses for being rapes by 8 nations from behind HAHAHHAHAHHAHUHUHUAAAAAAAAAAA,chin-suk-cox has protest—-why you dont rape me in the front??????the white men say —-more tight from behind HIHIHIHIHAHAHAHAHAH I liked it this way chin

  54. That’s right, like the Europeans and Americans for the last 3 hundred years, the power of the gun speaks the loudest, and is always right.

  55. And all of the nations involved in this have agreed to arbitration by the Maritime court. Oh, right, except china of course.

    Your are full UNCLOS. What does the UNCLOS convention say about these kinds of disputes? Nothing. China is claiming ALL resources held in this stretch of water. ALL. Including fishing rights, mineral rights and anything else of value.

    Your ignorance of what is actually happening in the South China sea (incidentally, the name South China sea was a name given originally by Portuguese navigators, not the chinese) cannot be hidden by sprouting UNCLOS. UNCLOS is a non-binding agreement on the principle of maritime ownership and protection.

    Please explain then, oh master of the oceans, the historical claims of china and why, oh why they have any relevance in this era? Things change. Borders and nations change. You cannot just keep quoting “historical” claims for everything. You cannot keep saying, “we owned this 500 years ago, so it is still ours”.

    The claims of china in the entire area of INTERNATIONAL waters is ludicrous.

  56. Talk is cheap. Can anyone tell me what is the legal basis used by the Philippines or Vietnam to claim territory in the South China Sea?


  58. It shows that you are totally ignorant of the UNCLOS. You don’t even know what historical right or the UNCLOS is. Go home and study the UNCLOS, then come back and you won’t be an empty vessel.

  59. Its f*ckwits like Yahoo that lead people astray. There is NO ambiguity in the South China sea. The areas are either national maritime waters of the surrounding nations or international waters belonging to nobody.

    The chinese are claiming these waters (according to what they are teaching now in schools) because some poet put some characters on rocks on the islands, years ago.

    Stop supporting this crap. Look at the map you morons. China has NO claim to anything there.

  60. In a bilateral negotiation, China will say: “One for you, two for me; two for you, three for me…”. China offered bilateral negotiation with the following condition: That the Philippines first admit that China owns the Sea … and that’s not acceptable. The Philippines is open to a multilateral negotiation with all claimants involved and without the condition stated above.

    China is a land of thieves, liars and cheaters. These shameless people cannot be trusted!

  61. Chinese politburo is felonious and atrocious, they even murder their own people. They ain’t worthy of respect and trust.

  62. Today sovereignty is at China’s front burner. Unless you accept their sovereignty there’ll be no talk. After many many attempts to make negotiations and failed, Philippines go to court. The court is the equalizer between the big bully and a small powerless state. War is not Philippines option neither is it wise for anyone. In war there will be grief, heartaches, destruction and mourning. After wars enemies become friends. We want to be friends without war.

  63. The Chinese fishermen were hazrvesting endangered specie the likes of sea turtles and gaint clams.BTW name a member of the ASEAN with claims to some of the Sprately Island agreed to a bilateral talks with China? None, zero zip!

  64. This is not entirely true, the situation had been continuing for years with sovereignty put on the back burner. Even when two states China and Vietnam did go to war there was no alteration of the territorial boundaries. It is correct that the claims of Taiwan and China are the same as China regards Taiwan as a province similar to Hong Kong, Macau and Tibet. Previously 3 countries did agree to joint development but one the decided to go it alone and issued licences to companies to operate in disputed waters. True China did place an oil rig in disputed waters but they withdrew that and have since placed it in Chinese waters being nearer to Hainan than Vietnam. One Country has constantly exacerbated the situation, first by sending gunboat to arrest fishermen where previously they had been fishing amicably with the other countries fishermen. That country has placed military bases , naval bases on the islands which hitherto they had never actually owned or governed. They also involved themselves in Military exercises with nations who are not sympathetic to China and have shown by their actions in invading many other countries that they are not peaceful nations,
    The same country, unlike other Asean countries has refused to negotiate bilaterally.
    The same country has bullied other nations Fishermen , constantly holding their ships to ransom as well as confiscating their catches for fishing in waters that they have fished and their countries have governed for centuries. The same country has also imprisoned many Chinese fishermen for supposed poaching in disputed waters. How many Filipino fishermen are in Chinese Jails. China should make concessions but whilst the little country acts so aggressively and even takes them to court where the court cannot really decide then how can it back down. Just as the USA could not back down previously with the Munroe doctrine or when the UN court ruled on Nicaragua.

  65. Like so many other writers in the West, this author left out the context within which the statement about ancestors was made. Wang Yi also said, in the same speech, “U.S. ships took Chinese troops to reclaim the Spratlys after they were occupied by Japan during World War Two” as published in Reuters. American actually recognized Chinese right to these islands immediately after the world. Until American authors are less biased, learn about the post-WWII international order set up with China in the Potscam Declaration and study how the American changed that in the San Francisco Conference of 1951 (: by excluding China, the dispute will not end. If the American Indians, the natives of Hawaii and Diego Garcia, the Mexicans are as strong as China, they will be remembering their ancestors also!

  66. Commie China should get out of the Spratly’s and Paracels, and that would really please Chinese ancestors.That’s because the Asian neighbors will get more friendly and cooperative, and will trust commie China more. This method is a lot better than the bullying method commie China has undertaken so far. The Chinese bullying method has alarmed their neighbors into more defensive posture rather than a welcoming one. Repent, the end is near.

  67. ANCESTRAL SHAME for Communist Regime in Beijing is completely just LOSS of FACE,
    And that statement is absolute WORLD LAUGHING STOCK—

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