China's blatant deception of the South China Sea

Chinas blatant

By the end of August 2019, amidst high tension in the South China Sea due to China’s aggression toward its South China Sea neighbors, and before the visit to China by Philippine President Duterte, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines - Mr. Antonio Carpio (one of the main figures in the Philippines v. China case in the Arbitral Tribunal in 2013) spoke out about China's deception, emphasizing that China's claim on the so-called "sovereignty" in the South China Sea was the fake news of the century, as well as a huge fraud to mankind that shouldn’t exist.

Speaking at the University of Ateneo de Davao in the Philippines on August 23, 2019, Mr. Antonio Carpio called on Filipinos and other Southeast Asian countries to take the initiative in reporting the truth and exposing China's false rhetoric about the South China Sea, stating that "We cannot wait for the Chinese government to tell their people that it is a false history, we have to do it ourselves and this will take time"; "we have to educate ourselves and the people of the world to convince the Chinese people that it is false history and [they] have to give it up."

In challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea, the US Navy is getting more assertive

In challengingWASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy conducted more freedom of navigation operations in 2019 than in any year since the U.S. began more aggressively challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea in 2015.

The Navy conducted seven FONOPs in the South China Sea last year, according to records provided by U.S. Pacific Fleet. The FONOPs are designed to challenge China’s claim to maritime rights and dominion over several island chains in the region, which have put the U.S. and its allies at loggerheads with China.

Patrols by U.S. warships come within 12 miles of features claimed by China, including features that the Asian nation has converted into military installations. The patrols are meant to signal that the U.S. considers the claims excessive. China views the patrols as irritating and unlawful intrusions into its waters.

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Competition in the South China Sea: Who will become the global hegemon?

CompetitionSouth China Sea dominium has been the area of dispute since the end of WWII. All six littoral nations; China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippine, Malaysia, Brunei, are claiming sovereignty of the South China Sea. This all started in 1968 when the United Nations announced the potential of immense underground resources buried in the South China sea.

The number of disputes in this area has quadrupled in the last ten years. There were 7 disputes in the 2000s compared with 26 disputes in the 2010s. The tensions on the South China Sea have been heightened not because of the six nations in dispute but because of the conflict between China and the United States. Even though the U.S is not claiming sovereignty of the South China Sea, they nonetheless exert enormous influence in the area.

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China's Fake South China Sea Islands Could Become More Trouble Than They're Worth

China fake islandsDuring World War II Japan found that control of islands offered some strategic advantages, but not enough to force the United States to reduce each island individually. Moreover, over time the islands became a strategic liability, as Japan struggled to keep them supplied with food, fuel and equipment. The islands of the SCS are conveniently located for China, but do they really represent an asset to China’s military? The answer is yes, but in an actual conflict the value would dwindle quickly.

The Installations

China has established numerous military installations in the South China Sea, primarily in the Spratly and Paracel Islands. In the Spratlys, China has built airfields at Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross, along with potential missile, radar and helicopter infrastructure at several smaller formations. In the Paracels, China has established a significant military installation at Woody Island, as well as radar and helicopter facilities in several other areas. China continues construction across the region, meaning that it may expand its military presence in the future. The larger bases (Subi, Mischief, Fiery Cross and Woody Island) have infrastructure necessary for the management of military aircraft, including fighters and large patrol craft. These missiles, radars and aircraft extend the lethal reach of China’s military across the breadth of the South China Sea.

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The US is patrolling the South China Sea more than ever

The US is patrollingUS Navy patrols near disputed features claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea hit a record high last year, newly released figures show, as the Trump administration ramped up its efforts to challenge China’s territorial claims in the contested waterway.

US Navy vessels sailed within 12 nautical miles of features claimed or occupied by China seven times in 2019, according to data released by the US Pacific Fleet – the highest number of so-called freedom of navigation patrols (FONOPs) since Beijing controversially began constructing artificial islands around disputed reefs in the waterway in 2014.

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The United States strives to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific strategy to contain China

UntitledIn November 2017, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit held in Da Nang-Vietnam, US President Donald Trump introduced the concept of a "free and open Indo-Pacific,” and said it would support the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in investing in high quality infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific, and incentivize private sector investment, become an alternative to state-directed initiatives for countries in the region.

While the Trump administration's Indo-Pacific concept was not clear at the time, with the policy framework not yet in place, analysts say that the US’ free and open Indo-Pacific strategy was to counterbalance China's "Belt and Road Initiative”, preventing China from expanding its influence in the region and the world. This strategy was later adopted by three other countries in the region - Japan, Australia, and India, which later became known as the "Quad" (including the United States).

Vietnam should take a tougher stand against Chinese encroachment

2As Chinese Haiyang Dizhi 8 geological survey vessel group repeatedly violated Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf since early July 2019 – not only moving closer to the Vietnamese coast, expanding its activity scale, but also increasing its aggressiveness, the Institute for Legal and Development Policy Studies on October 6, 2019 held a seminar on the South China Sea in Hanoi. Many researchers, experts and former officials, including Dr. Hoang Ngoc Giao, Mr. Hoang Viet, Major General Le Van Cuong, former Ambassadors Nguyen Truong Giang, Nguyen Trung and Truong Trieu Duong participated in the seminar.

Participants in the discussion shared the view that the aggressive activities of Chinese Haiyang Dizhi 8 geological survey vessel group in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf were "extremely serious"; China's escalating moves in this area of the South China Sea are "putting Vietnam in a very dangerous position".

China continues to push forth its encroachment of in Vietnam's waters

1The latest tracking data that Ryan Martinson from the US Naval War College updated on September 30 showed China's Haiyang Dizhi 08 returning to Vietnam's waters for the fourth time.

China’s Haiyang Dizhi 08 vessel group increased its violations by sailing further into the waters of Vietnam, only about 100 nm away from the Vietnamese coast. The areas where the vessel group operates this time were the nine oil and gas blocks which China illegally invited for bidding in 2012.

This area is completely within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf measuring from its central and southern coasts, overlapped with oil and gas blocks which Vietnam is oil and gas production contracts with foreign partners from Russia, India, USA, etc.

US, China rivalry puts Vietnam in a no-win bind

US-China-Vietnam-Diplomacy-Global-Times-900x540When a Chinese survey ship departed energy-rich waters claimed by Vietnam, many saw the two sides’ three-month standoff over the Vanguard Bank as indication that Hanoi is becoming bolder in challenging Beijing in the South China Sea.

Over the last three years, China has forced Vietnam to cancel two oil exploration projects in the sea, including one with Spanish energy giant Respol, as Hanoi opted for conciliation over confrontation in both instances.

There were even reports in 2017 that Beijing had threatened to use force if Hanoi did not shut down energy exploration in a contested sea area. In the latest showdown, Vietnam attempted to engage Beijing “at least 40 times”, according to one strategic analyst, while not yielding its position.

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South China Sea chaos: China accused of ramping up tensions with surveillance balloons

tải xuốngCHINA has been accused of creating an early warning system to protect its illegal island fortress on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Satellite images showing surveillance balloons above the man-made Mischief Reef have been seen as further evidence of China’s militarisation of the strategic stretch of water which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Defence analysts said the balloons were capable of carrying array radars, infra-red and optical sensors and electronic jamming and surveillance devices which could form an airborne warning and control system.

They said the balloons effectively completed an overlapping network of radars and satellites reaching far into the South China Sea to detect low-flying aircraft and small vessels and enabling Beijing to put the whole region in lockdown.

Mischief Reef is believed to boast bomb-proof aircraft hangars, underground fuel storage facilities and ammunition bunkers.

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ASEAN and the South China Sea: Vietnam's Role as Chair

Asean handshakeOn November 4, the ASEAN chair’s gavel was passed to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam at the closing ceremony of the grouping’s annual summit in Bangkok. Vietnam will serve as the chair of ASEAN, the most important international organization in Southeast Asia, through 2020. This will be a crucial year for the grouping as it attempts to reach the goals set forth in the ASEAN Vision 2020, which was released in 1997 and envisions the establishment of a region of peace, prosperity, and stability. It is especially significant for Vietnam because the chairmanship will offer a unique opportunity to engage the region to take constructive action on the South China Sea disputes which have long threatened regional peace and security. With the chairmanship in hand, now is the time for Hanoi to be more active in fulfilling both its regional and its national responsibilities in the South China Sea.

ASEAN and the South China Sea: Vietnam's Role as Chair

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