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China Warns Against Joint Exercises in South China Seas

A general view of the third international workshop on the South China Sea, Hanoi, November 4, 2011.
A general view of the third international workshop on the South China Sea, Hanoi, November 4, 2011.
Shannon Sant

Chinese officials in Beijing are warning against any joint military patrols or exercises between Vietnam and the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea. 

Vietnam and Philippines military officials have discussed conducting joint exercises in the disputed region in meetings earlier this month. The exercises could include joint patrols of the Spratly Islands, which both countries and China claim as their own.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei warned against any exercises in the Spratlys, which China calls Nansha.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, he said, and the adjacent waters. Hong also said China is opposed to foreign countries’ violation of China’s sovereign rights and interests.

There have been a series of run-ins involving fishermen, military patrols, and other vessels in the disputed region in recent months, increasing tension over the competing territorial claims. Philippine and Vietnamese officials have discussed establishing a communication hotline for possible disputes, as well as sharing shipbuilding expertise.  

A visiting professor at the National University of Singapore, Huang Jing, a China foreign policy analyst, said Beijing is unlikely to back down on its claims to the resource rich waters.

“China is getting stronger and stronger, the so called peaceful rise, and the rise of nationalism in China on the one hand, and also the increasing demand for external resources and the market so all of a sudden the territory dispute in the South China Seas has become a kind of priority in the policy discussion and internal debate,” Huang Jing said.

China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all claim South China Sea territories. China has claimed the largest portion of territory

The various claims are expected to be on the agenda during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit Friday to Cambodia. The country is the head of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Philippine officials have said they are frustrated by Chinese efforts to block discussion of the South China Seas issue in the organization.  

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the focus of Hu Jintao’s visit will be strengthening China’s ties to Cambodia, where Chinese investment has grown rapidly in recent years.

China hopes through this visit China-Cambodia friendly relations and cooperation will be promoted, practical cooperation will be deepened and people to people exchanges will be enhanced, said Hong. He added that Beijing hopes for greater coordination in international and regional affairs.

China says its territorial claims in the South China Sea stem from 2,000 years of history when the Spratly Islands were an important part of China. Vietnam says China did not lay claim to this territory until the 1940s.   

The contested waters are rich in oil and natural gas reserves and serve as one of the busiest shipping lanes in Asia.

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by: Edward MJ
April 20, 2012 6:11 PM
I believe the United States should be vocal on its position on this issue. The Americans must remember that it will not be in their interest that the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea) wiii be controlled by China. The world must mobe now to weaken China in all fronts. A weaker China will be good for the world.

by: Dalai Dayak
April 12, 2012 6:47 AM
China should claim back all territories lost in the years when China was the sick man of Asia. When China asserted sovereignty of the south sea islands, the UN wasn't born yet. BTW what is Britain doing in the Falkland Islands?

by: Tran
April 11, 2012 10:10 AM
China has never grown peacefully throughout its history. It was all about wars and violence against its neighbors and even against its own people and cultures. China is acting like a wolf in the barn. It will eat all the barn animals one by one if no one stop it.

by: Paul
April 02, 2012 4:06 PM
USA is right in this situation. USA is not only helping the small Asian countries suffering very aggressive and violent attitude of China, but also to prevent China from robbing the sea of the World.
If is not only the topic of islands any more, it is the topic of the whole East Asian Sea( China call as South China sea). Ridiculously, China is trying robbing one Sea unreasonably. For sure, USA, Australia & many countries will stop this worst colonizer.

by: David le
April 02, 2012 3:59 PM
Many mainland communist Chinese sound exactly the same Hitler and Japan of WWII. Instead of discussing their claiming ownership of South China Sea right or wrong, they are just trying to threaten and bully small countries as big boss and big invader. They seem not to care about these regional countries, they are just concerning about the presence of USA .

by: Tran
April 02, 2012 2:59 PM
No one can divide China or any country. Many obvious areas of China were occupied before WW II, like many other countries, but each country gained back its areas. The Chinese are proud of being Chinese, then the other people are proud of being their own too. But the islands & the South China Sea surely do not belong to China. Do not always try to rob the others by power. If communist China continue unreasonably aggressive, regional countries and the World will be China's opponents.

by: Nguyen
April 02, 2012 2:44 PM
You are wrong completely Jonathan Huang. China has been very aggressive, invasive and bullying many regional countries for long history. Not only direct invasion, China has been always trying to control unfairly these countries' economy and internal affairs. Invading China treat the other people very cruelly. China do not take small countries seriously because we are weak, but it is not about power, because Vietnamese and others hate China extremely much. China is wrong.

by: China should respect international laws
April 02, 2012 10:28 AM
Japan should lead the way & counter Chinese aggression in West of Sea of Japan & South China Sea.The Chinese need to learn to respect other countries' sovereignty rather than taking the laws into their own hands & seizing more lands & seas from their neighbours.Japan is the rightful regional power who has the means,capability & technology to prevent China from Asia domination

by: howardtlewisiii
March 31, 2012 10:37 PM
Can't we just get along and park the guns at home?
The number of sauces a culture uses in their cooking is indicative of their civility. The Chinese use a huge variety of sauces in their cooking and I have enjoyed all that I have tried. Never make the cook mad on a ship or you will anger the crew.

by: Jonathan Huang
March 31, 2012 7:42 PM
China will never be divided, because we are the same ethnic, well at lest majority are. Before WWII, we used to have many warlords occupied each area but eventually we were unified, because we speak the same language we share the same culture and we are proud of being Chinese. Viet, philipino, you are not China's opponents, we dont take you seriously, our threat only comes from US.
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