Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Who owns the South China Sea islets in the eyes of the world?



Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, made a very important statement on South China Sea area.


She stated on July 23, 2010 at the ASEAN meeting in Hanoi: "Legitimate claims to maritime space in the South China Sea should be derived SOLELY from legitimate claims to land features." Translation: Why China has claim over some islands/islets so far away from its homeland? Although Mrs. Clinton is a lawyer, she is wrong… based on international convention. There are many other important key considerations (historic claim, administration, etc). If “distance” is the ONLY measure of sovereignty, then US needs to give up Guam; UK needs to give up Falkland Island (to Argentina). And, many islets in the world need to find new owners.

Many people, including many journalists, in the world do not realize that historically, China’s claim on South China Sea islands started in the Ming Dynasty (1368), followed by Qing Dynasty (1644), followed by Republic of China (1911). Some people argue that it started even before Ming Dynasty. The current Beijing government just inherited the national map from Republic of China (in 1949). So this old claim started some 700 years ago and way before USA was born.

I hope people can live in peace as we become more civilized… in cooperation and prosperity. So it is a good thing the countries are proceeding to clearly settle on a “new” national boundary/interests arrangement (ownership, benefit sharing, etc) that the neighboring countries can accept… with or without USA help. In my view, the faster the better… so less feeling and fishermen will get hurt.

I understand, as the sole global power, USA has the responsibility to maintain peace and order where it concerns our interests. But we need to be an “honest broker” (to gain goodwill and other benefits), otherwise whatever we do is not sustainable. By starting the discussion on the South China Sea islands with such a BADLY ADVISED statement, Secretary Clinton is SOWING THE SEED of another big problem for America and the Sino-American relationship. 

“The earliest discovery by the Chinese people of the Nansha Islands can be traced back to as early as the Han Dynasty. Yang Fu of the East Han Dynasty (23-220 A.D.) made reference to the Nansha Islands in his book entitled Yiwu Zhi (Records of Rarities) , which reads: "Zhanghai qitou, shui qian er duo cishi"("There are islets, sand cays, reefs and banks in the South China Sea, the water there is shallow and filled with magnetic rocks or stones"). Chinese people then called the South China Sea Zhanghai and all the islands, reefs, shoals and isles in the South China Sea, including the Nansha and Xisha Islands, Qitou.”

There had been NO dispute over the sovereignty rights of China to the South China Sea and the numerous islands in it, by any other countries, for all those periods.


But, when the Western colonialists started invading and squatting all over Asia in the last 300 years, taking advantage of the declining power of the Qing Dynasty, they intentionally carved out various regions of land and sea as their “protected territories”. Then they forced the Manchu Court to sign many bogus “treaties” in which they claimed the Western “sovereignty rights” over these Chinese territories!


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%E1%BA%A1ch_Long_V%C4%A9

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spratly_Islands


Excerpt from the above link:


“In 1933,
France reasserted its claims from 1887 to the Spratly and Paracel Islands on behalf of its then-colony Vietnam. It occupied a number of the Spratly Islands, including Itu Aba, built weather stations on two, and administered them as part of French Indochina. This occupation was protested by the Republic of China government because France admitted finding Chinese fishermen there when French war ships visited the nine islands. In 1935, the ROC government also announced a sovereignty claim on the Spratly Islands.”

On September 4th, 1958, the Government of the People’s Republic of China issued a declaration of the Chinese sea territories.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%E1%BA%A1ch_Long_V%C4%A9


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spratly_Islands


Excerpt from the above link:


“In 1933,
France reasserted its claims from 1887 to the Spratly and Paracel Islands on behalf of its then-colony Vietnam. It occupied a number of the Spratly Islands, including Itu Aba, built weather stations on two, and administered them as part of French Indochina. This occupation was protested by the Republic of China government because France admitted finding Chinese fishermen there when French war ships visited the nine islands. In 1935, the ROC government also announced a sovereignty claim on the Spratly Islands.”

On September 4th, 1958, the Government of the People’s Republic of China issued a declaration of the Chinese sea territories.


http://news3.xinhuanet.com/ziliao/20...ent_705061.htm


Excerpt from the above link (that are translated to English):


“(1) This width of the territorial sea of the
People's Republic of China is twelve national miles. This provision applies to all Territories of the People's Republic of China, including the mainland China and offshore islands, Taiwan (separated from the mainland and offshore islands by high seas) and its surrounding islands, the Penghu Archipelago, the Dongsha Islands, the Xisha islands (Paracells), the Zhongsha Islands, the Nansha Islands (Spratlys) and other islands belonging to China.”

(The Declaration by PRC, as clear from the above excerpt, specifically spells out the Xisha and Nansha islands, among other islands and sea boundaries.)


On September 14, 1958, ONLY 10 DAYS LATER, Vietnam Prime Minister at the time, Pham Van Dong, sent a cable to the Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, on behalf of the Vietnam government, expressing complete acknowledgment and support for China’s claims.


http://conghambannuoc.tripod.com/


Excerpt from the above link (that are translated to English):


“The Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam acknowledges and supports the Declaration on September 4th, 1958 by the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), on the PRC’s decision concerning China’s sea territories.”


The International community has been overwhelmingly supporting China’s legitimate and inviolable sovereign on the sea territories claimed by China.


http://www.southchinasea.org/docs/In...20the%20Na.htm


“2. The International Civil Aviation Organization held its first conference on Asia-Pacific regional aviation in Manila of the Philippines on 27 October 1955. Sixteen countries or regions were represented at the conference, including South Viet Nam and the Taiwan authorities, apart from Australia, Canada, Chile, Dominica, Japan, the Laos, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand and France. The Chief Representative of the Philippines served as Chairman of the conference and the Chief Representative of France its first Vice Chairman. It was agreed at the conference that the Dongsha, Xisha and Nansha Islands on the South China Sea were located at the communication hub of the Pacific and therefore the meteorological reports of these islands were vital to world civil aviation service. In this context, the conference adopted Resolution No. 24, asking China's Taiwan authorities to improve meteorological observation on the Nansha Islands, four times a day. When this resolution was put for voting, all the representatives, including those of the Philippines and the South Viet Nam, were for it. No representative at the conference made any objection to or reservation about it.”


It is evident from all above historic records, international treaties, and acknowledgment by ALL regional neighbor-countries, that China has the INDISPUTABLE lawful and legitimate sovereignty over the South China Sea and all the offshore islands on it.


US won't take sides in South China Sea dispute

Updated: 2012-05-02 12:24 By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)

The United States said on Monday that it would not take sides in the Huangyan Island standoff between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea and reiterated support for a diplomatic resolution to the territorial dispute.

Washington does not take sides on competing sovereignty claims there, but has a national interest in maintaining freedom of navigation as well as peace and stability, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, after meeting top diplomatic and defense officials from the Philippines.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin attended the 2+2 dialogue with their US counterparts, Clinton and Leon Panetta, in Washington.

"The United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all those involved for resolving the various disputes that they encounter," Clinton said. "We oppose the threat or use of force by any party to advance its claims."

Gazmin alluded to tension with China over islands in the South China Sea as he called for the need to "intensify our mutual trust to uphold maritime security and the freedom of navigation".

"We should be able to work together to build a minimum, credible defense posture for the Philippines, especially in upholding maritime security," Gazmin said.

The Philippines and China have been embroiled in the Huangyan Island dispute, with both nations stationing vessels there for nearly three weeks to assert their sovereignty.

China on Monday highlighted remarks made by the Philippine president about de-escalating the tension over the island, urging the Philippines to "match its words with deeds" and return to the proper pathway of diplomatic solutions.

Speaking of the tension, Philippine President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III said he had issued instructions to his military, telling them not to intensify the issue.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin stressed that there is no change in China's stance of using diplomatic channels to peacefully resolve the issue, which was triggered when a Philippine warship harassed Chinese fishermen and raised concerns over China's sovereignty of the island.

The Philippine officials also stressed diplomacy when asked what aid they had requested from Washington, saying that Manila sought to bring the South China Sea issue to international legal bodies.

Clinton reaffirmed the US commitment to the 60-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines, calling the Philippines a country "at the heart" of the new US strategy toward the Asia-Pacific.

Washington would help improve the Philippines' "maritime presence and capabilities" with the transfer of a second high-endurance (coast guard) cutter this year, Panetta said.

The US emphasis on neutrality and a diplomatic resolution would encourage Manila to be more restrained on the Huangyan Island issue, said Fan Jishe, a US studies expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"Washington doesn't want territorial disputes between its Asian allies and China to be obstacles to China-US relations," he said.

Xinhua and Reuters contributed to this story.

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