News / Asia

Chinese Naval Fleet Heads Deep Into Disputed Waters

Chinese Navy warships take part in an international fleet review, April 23, 2009.
Chinese Navy warships take part in an international fleet review, April 23, 2009.
Simone Orendain
A small fleet of Chinese naval ships recently concluded drills in a disputed part of the South China Sea, some 80 kilometers from Malaysia’s shores. The People’s Liberation Army’s naval foray so far south is a first in recent memory.
 
The fleet of four ships headed to the Spratly Islands and made their way to James Shoal - less than 100 kilometers from Malaysia - to carry out their drills. The fleet included two guided missile frigates and a guided missile destroyer.  The Xinhua news agency says the vessels did formation exercises with some land-based aircraft, which were fighters and fighter-bombers.
 
Ian Storey of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies says the number of ships involved was “not significant.” 
 
“This, again, is designed to send a message that China has the capabilities to operate far from the mainland and also to land forces and retake these islands in order to resolve the dispute, should it so wish to do so,” Storey said.
 
Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
x
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Resources are at the heart of the disputes over sovereignty of the South China Sea.  The area is an abundant fishing location and is believed to hold significant hydrocarbon deposits.  It also straddles some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. China, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan all have total or partial claims there.
                                                                                      
James Shoal is almost 2,000 kilometers south of Guangzhou province.  And it is about 100 kilometers from Brunei.  But historically Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan have been more vocal that Malaysia and Brunei in opposing the presence of Chinese ships in waters each nation claims.
 
When these exercises first commenced, the Philippines said it “strongly objected” to the presence of Chinese military ships in waters where it has claims.
 
Storey says he expects Malaysia and Brunei will keep quiet about these exercises.  And he says it is no coincidence that PLA ships were near Brunei, which is chairing all meetings this year of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
 
Rommel Banlaoi heads the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research.  He also pointed out the significant role Brunei will play at next month’s ASEAN security forum.
 
“I think China is conveying a message to ASEAN that China is not only asserting its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, but testing its military capability to defend their territorial claims,” Banlaoi said.
 
Banlaoi says the disputes are high on the agenda at the April meeting. 
 
While some member countries like the Philippines prefer to deal with the disputes with the involvement of the international community, China has steadfastly sought one-on-one talks with each claimant country.
 
On Thursday, China Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei again reiterated China’s position on the South China Sea.
 
Hong says, China has played an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and that it is exercising its inherent right by holding these drills.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ching from: China
March 28, 2013 10:01 PM
Bejing is making enemy with their neigbors. They show off their strength with the disable. What's a shame!

by: SEATO
March 28, 2013 3:55 PM
Where is America's 7th fleet? Too scared to show your face? How could you call yourselves an Asia-pacific superpower when you let the Chinese fleet roam freely through South China sea,terrorising the whole region.America showed its untrustworthiness when it betrayed its South Vietnamese allies and let the Chinese grab the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam right under their noses in 1974.

The following year they left South Vietnam to be overrun by the North Vietnamese without making any effort to help.If you are not serious,you might as well let Japan run the show.I am sure with Japan at the helm,China would have to think twice before they attempt anything adventurous !

by: musawimelake
March 28, 2013 1:46 PM
They should proceed further and take over Malaka starit and police the water further , to hinder any American influence in the Bay of Bengal.
In Response

by: Senkaku from: South China Sea
March 28, 2013 5:16 PM
Ridiculous. Like Taiwan, Hainan should be its own sovereign nation. All those little islands belong to other people. China should only do what it does best: manufacture disposable plastic goods, and keep off the seas.

by: Hovhannes from: Montevideo
March 28, 2013 10:44 AM
China has played an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea? Mr. Hong must be joking. The People’s Liberation Army’s naval foray so far south is actually raising tensions in the South China Sea.
In Response

by: Anonymous
March 31, 2013 5:37 PM
I can't agree more.Mr Hong Lei is just a parrot who does not know what the heck he talks about.In order to maintain peace and stability in the region,China firstly has to renounce all its stupid and unreasonable territorial claims.Secondly,it has to scrap its weapon modernisation programs to make its neighbours less nervous.And lastly,learn to show respects for all the treasured human values such as freedom of expressions,religious belief,intellectual property and territorial integrity

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
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.

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