News / Asia

China's Claims on South China Sea Grow Challenge for ASEAN, World

China's Claims on South China Sea Growing Challenge for ASEAN, Worldi
X
December 25, 2012 7:13 PM
China's increasing assertiveness about disputed territory in the South China Sea is posing a major challenge to unity in the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations. ASEAN summits this year in Cambodia failed to negotiate a much anticipated “code of conduct” and exposed splits between members. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok that indications are the competition for the resource-rich region is heating up.
Daniel Schearf
— China's increasing assertiveness about disputed territory in the South China Sea is posing a major challenge to unity in the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations.  ASEAN summits this year in Cambodia failed to negotiate a much anticipated “code of conduct” and exposed splits between members. Indications are the competition for the resource-rich region is heating up.

Protests in Vietnam against China, as it asserts claim for almost all the South China Sea, an area rich in oil, gas, and fish.

New Chinese passports feature maps staking claims to much of the region. Authorities also have declared the right to stop and search ships in disputed waters.

Violation of international law

Philippines foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez says that would violate international law.

" We will have problems with freedom of navigation and also lawful commerce," he said. "This would be a threat to all countries, not only in the region, but to all those countries that use these sea lanes of communication."

In April, ships from the Philippines and China had a tense two-month stand-off about  fishing grounds in the Scarborough Shoals.

x
China's foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, criticizes harassment of Chinese fishermen and Vietnam's exploration with India of disputed resources. 

"China opposes unilateral oil and gas development in disputed waters of the South China Sea. We hope that concerned countries respect China's position and rights," he said.

Beijing has avoided discussing the issue with the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations, despite overlapping claims with four of its ten members - Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam - as well as China and Taiwan.

ASEAN summits this year in Cambodia saw the host agree with China in quashing negotiations on a decade-old code of conduct in the South China Sea aimed at preventing conflict.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa cautions all parties against escalation, which he says appear aimed at preempting negotiations.

"They want to have a head start by having situations on the ground or situations at sea before that eventuality come about," he said. "And, this is what we need to … caution against.  Because, then we will have a tit-for-tat type of situation."

Increasing tensions

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan says increasing tensions have complicated attempts for a peaceful solution.

"We have to be an honest broker.  We have to be a neutral mechanism, effective mechanism of balancing various contending and competing interests who claim that they have legitimate interests in the issue," he said.

President Barack Obama, for the first time joined the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh as part of the  U.S. pivot to Asia. The increasing American  presence in the region is welcomed by many as a counter-balance to China's influence.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Henry Winn from: USA
December 26, 2012 7:19 AM
The Chinese continued escalation of hostilities in the South China Sea have not only placed this waterway in danger of regional armed conflicts, but also drew in superpowers participation with grave consequences. Their criminal and lawless acts must be called out and addressed by ASEAN immediately to prevent further damages.

Diplomatic niceties such as cautioning all claimants equally for the worsening condition or request for ASEAN to be neutral , are not working nor respected by China. Why cautions all claimants when no other country but China claimed the whole ocean, printed disputed map on their passport, violated COC and UNCLOS, attacked neighbors, bought out ASEAN chair Cambodia, hindered freedom of navigation...? How can ASEAN be neutral when its strategic sea is violated by a non-ASEAN and 1/2 of its members are under attack by China? Will the next COC help when the 2002 COC has not prevented China from stationing and building more military presence freely and causing an armed throughout the whole region?

The only working solution must involve non-China reconciled agreement by Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam using UNCLOS formula of EEZ rights, internationally assisted enforcement by UN and economic penalties to China if not complied. A bully China has used forces and only understands the language of stronger forces. Any response without the threat of united forces will not change their aggressive acts and with more time given, they may even become stronger and more bold. ASEAN and the civilized international communities must act now.

In Response

by: Ian from: USA
December 26, 2012 2:17 PM
Unfortunately, Chinese government already inserted a guy with the name Wang Hanling as an expert for Special Arbitration as well as a consultant into (DOALOS) the Division of Ocean affairs and law of the sea of the office for the Legal Affairs of the United Nations. So how much fairness do you think the outcome would be with the "fox guarding a hen house" scenario ? China planned every cunning move ahead of time , that is why you see a blatant bought off behavior of Cambodia recently during the Asean gathering .

In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
December 26, 2012 2:10 PM
@Henry Winn from: USA, then tell me why the US ally and democratic Taiwan has exactly the same claim as China's on south China sea and Diaoyu island?

Fact is Fact, South China sea is Chinese property.


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
December 26, 2012 3:25 AM
South china sea belongs to China for sure. Or why Taiwan has exactly the same claim as China? It is because South China sea belonged to China for a long period of history.
China is not being aggressive because China didn't ask one inch more than Taiwan did. China just simply inherited the property. Everyone should respect China's rights! Thanks!

In Response

by: Henry Winn from: USA
December 26, 2012 8:55 PM
The Chinese and Taiwanese claims are the same because they both originated from an 11 dash map of South China Sea, drew by the nationalist Chinese in 1947. The drawing was based on mostly recollected accounts of Chinese maritime merchants who traveled extensively throughout South East Asia and beyond. It was not meant to be a claim of ownership until some Chinese scholars found thousand years old records of general description for this waterway.

Official ancient Chinese map, however never included South China Sea as part of Chinese territory. All Chinese maps before 1947 showed the southern most point of China is Hainan island. Regardless, no country can claim the whole sea for themselves and Chinese neighbors, international law experts rejected this map and this claim all along. That's also why China and Taiwan refuse to join their neighbors at UNCLOS court for arbitration.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid