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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid