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

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More