News / Asia

South China Sea Dispute at 'Impasse,' Report Says

In this photo taken on July 20, 2012, a fishing boat sails past the Meiji reef off the island province of Hainan in the South China Sea. China's newest city, on a small, remote island in the South China Sea, is also claimed by Vietnam.
In this photo taken on July 20, 2012, a fishing boat sails past the Meiji reef off the island province of Hainan in the South China Sea. China's newest city, on a small, remote island in the South China Sea, is also claimed by Vietnam.
VOA News
An international research organization says the South China Sea territorial dispute has reached an impasse and the prospects of finding a resolution are diminishing.

The International Crisis Group said in a report Tuesday the likelihood of a major conflict between China and Southeast Asian rival claimants remains low. But it warned "all of the trends are in the wrong direction."

The report was released after ASEAN, a 10-member Southeast Asian regional grouping of nations, did not agree on a code of conduct to uniformly resolve the maritime disputes at a regional summit in Cambodia last month.

The Brussels-based ICG says without a code of conduct for handling incidents, tensions in the South China Sea could "all too easily be driven to irreversible levels."

China claims nearly all of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer region, which is believed to hold large oil and natural gas deposits. The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the sea.

A series of relatively minor disputes, mostly involving fishing vessels, has played out over decades. But tensions began to escalate last year, with several claimants accusing Beijing of being increasingly aggressive about its claims.

In recent months, China has been engaged in a tense standoff with the Philippines over an uninhabited group of islands known as Scarborough Shoal. China further angered its neighbors this week by authorizing the deployment of a military base on the Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam.

But the ICG report says China is not the only regional power stoking tensions. It also said Vietnam  and the Philippines were "enlisting outside allies, with considerable energy."

The report says China has "worked actively" to exploit divisions among Southeast Asian nations, giving preferential treatment to those who support its position in the dispute.

The discord among ASEAN nations has widely been attributed in part to political pressure from China, which would rather deal separately with the five nations with which it has maritime disputes, rather than confront ASEAN as a whole.

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Comment Sorting
by: Bose from: India
July 28, 2012 1:05 PM

China is on the way for its death ... china;s dooms day is inevetable.Half of the world will fight with chinese alone its time to teach china a lesson

by: Charlie from: UK
July 25, 2012 4:50 AM
With America trying to form a united front among the ASEAN countries against Chinese aggression on one side and China buying friendship and support from some ASEAN states on the other side,so that China could manipulate the situation at will,it is definitely an Impasse.If China gets its way,it is everyone' loss,not just Vietnam and the Philippines

by: levancao from: vietnam
July 25, 2012 4:14 AM
vietnam and Philippines love peace but China is aggressive
In Response

by: nolan from: China
July 25, 2012 11:02 PM
China and Chinese love peace very much!
But don't think and misunderstand Chinses kindness flabbiness then any small countries can bait our country.
Don't like as a rascal to defy China!
Otherwise they will be beated back!

by: Anonymous
July 24, 2012 3:25 PM
ASEAN has been the only political body as a group facing China aggression in South China Sea. China konws that well that's why China tries to destroy ASEAN unity,take away their strength. They did it with help from Cambidia on July 13th,2012 at Canbodia's capital city.

by: Charlie from: UK
July 24, 2012 2:48 PM
South China Sea is clearly an international sea until China started all the territorial disputes by claiming the whole area belong to China historically,which is totally unacceptable in terms of international laws and is apparently a violation of its neighbours' sovereignty.China has been resorting to military & economical threats,intimidation & harassment to force their wills on their neighbours & to make their intentions heard.In these times and age you can't just encroach into another country's territory,deliberately fabricating a dispute,force yours terms on them and systematically driving them off their own lands.Where is the UN?

Where are the USA and Russia? Why didn't any of them condemn China's aggressive behavior rather than just saying it is in their national interest to maintain freedom of navigation in the area? We must act now before it is too late,before China take the laws into its own hands and seize the whole area by force.China has never had any respect for human rights or any laws.They always distort the truth and history to suit them.Look at the Tianmen massacre in 1989 and all the military crackdowns in Tibet and Xinjiang to see for yourselves.You couldn't just draw a map and mark everything on it your territory and expect everyone else to accept it.It is scandalous.It was a big mistake that America help liberate you from Japanese rule,otherwise you wouldn't have had a homeland left,let alone going around claiming everything yours!
In Response

by: Alan from: UK
July 31, 2012 11:30 AM
@Charlie: I totally agree with you about the role of UN. They should act right now before it's too late. The right place for greedy Chinese Government is nowhere but prison.
In Response

by: Nolan from: China
July 25, 2012 11:26 PM
Who you are! It looks like you know everything in the world。 You are god? Pls didn't blether if you did not have investigations and pls respect the trues.
The fact is the South China Sea belongs to China according to any history facts. Only recent years because of the sea resource some rascal countries want to get additional profits they begin to disturb the peacing order. Of course China never says the whole South China sea belongs to China. But the "Nansha" and "Xisha" and "Dongsha" archipelago are Chinese territories. Are you know about it clearly?

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