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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs