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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs