South Koreans protest US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile deployment


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  • South Koreans protest US missile deployment
  • People from Seongju county hold the national flags of South Korea and banners to protest against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), during a rally in Seoul, capital of South Korea, on July 21, 2016. More than 2,000 people from Seongju county, where one THAAD battery will be deployed, gathered at a square in Seoul for a rally on Thursday, to protest against the deployment of THAAD. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)


    South Koreans protest US missile deployment

  • South Koreans protest US missile deployment. Thousands of South Koreans from Seongju county gathered in Seoul to protest against the government’s decision to deploy a U.S.-built THAAD missile defense unit in their home town. People from Seongju county hold the national flags of South Korea and banners…

“Stop the deployment! NO THAAD! NO THAAD! NO THAAD!” Protesters said.

“The way that the government made the decision completely on their own, without talking to residents first, is completely wrong. We are here to express the people’s anger living in Seongju,” Protest organiser Seok Hyeon-Cheol said.

“The missile deployment site is right in the middle of a city that has around 20,000 people. I can see it when I open the door of my house, the door of my house! And I can see it from my living room. That is why we strongly oppose the THAAD deployment. We oppose it for our children, and their children — for the future of our county, for our health, and our right to live,” Protester form Seongju County Kim An-Su said.

The protest follows a raucous standoff last week between residents and the country’s prime minister, Hwang Kyo-ahn, who was pelted with eggs and plastic bottles and trapped inside a bus for several hours when he visited the county to explain his decision to deploy the missile system there.

South Korea’s President Park Geun Hye has called for people to support the government’s plans. She said the move was “inevitable” because of a growing threat from the DPRK. South Korea’s defense ministry says the country’s THAAD missile system will become operational before the end of 2017.

A senior official of Seongju county (2nd L, front) attends a rally to protest against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in Seoul, capital of South Korea, on July 21, 2016. More than 2,000 people from Seongju county, where one THAAD battery will be deployed, gathered at a square in Seoul for a rally on Thursday, to protest against the deployment of THAAD. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

People from Seongju county hold the national flags of South Korea and banners to protest against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), during a rally in Seoul, capital of South Korea, on July 21, 2016.

People from Seongju county hold the national flags of South Korea and banners to protest against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), during a rally in Seoul, capital of South Korea, on July 21, 2016. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

People from Seongju county hold banners to protest against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), during a rally in Seoul, capital of South Korea, on July 21, 2016. More than 2,000 people from Seongju county, where one THAAD battery will be deployed, gathered at a square in Seoul for a rally on Thursday, to protest against the deployment of THAAD. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

HAAD poses real threat to security of China

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A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the US Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. [Photo/Agencies]

What has historically been ours is ours. Even if others say it is not. That is why, annoying as it is, the Philippines-initiated South China Sea arbitration is actually not worth the limelight it is being given.

It is time for Beijing to get down to real, serious business. It has bigger issues to attend to, the most imperative of which is the anti-missile system being deployed on its doorsteps. Because, while it was coping with the worthless arbitral award from The Hague, Washington and Seoul finalized their plan for the deployment of the US’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system in the Republic of Korea.

The arbitral ruling, which is null and non-executable, will have little effect on China’s interests and security in the South China Sea. But not THAAD, which is a clear, present, substantive threat to China’s security interests.

The installment of the US system in the ROK should be of far greater concern to Beijing, and warrants a far stronger reaction. Or should we say retaliation?

The ROK has legitimate security concerns, especially with Pyongyang constantly threatening nuclear bombing. With that in mind, Beijing has been adamant about de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and worked closely with Seoul and Washington in implementing and upgrading United Nations sanctions, and appealed tirelessly for restarting the Six-Party Talks.

But Seoul has brushed aside Beijing’s security interests while pursuing those of its own.

Washington and Seoul did claim that THAAD would be focused “solely” on nuclear/missile threats from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and would not be directed toward any third-party nation. But THAAD far exceeds such a need. Besides the far more credible threat from Pyongyang’s artillery, short-range and lower-altitude missiles is simply beyond the system’s reach.

While it will deliver a limited security guarantee to the ROK, THAAD’s X-band radar will substantially compromise the security interests of China and Russia, no matter how the United States shrouds its purpose.

Yet having made such a beggar-thy-neighbor choice, Seoul has in effect turned its back on China. By hosting THAAD, it has presented itself as Washington’s cat’s-paw in the latter’s strategic containment of China. All rhetoric about friendship is meaningless lip service with the deployment of THAAD.

Beijing must review and readjust its Korean Peninsula strategies in accordance with the latest threat from the peninsula, including its ROK policies.

That does not mean forsaking its commitment to de-nuclearization, or UN resolutions. But Beijing must concentrate more on safeguarding its own interests, both immediate and long-term.

Source: China Daily Updated: 2016-07-15

China can counter THAAD deployment

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The US and South Korea on Friday announced their decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system on the Korean Peninsula.

Apart from monitoring missiles from North Korea, THAAD could expand South Korea’s surveillance range to China and Russia and pose serious threat to the two countries.

Though South Korea claims it can reduce the surveillance range, the country cannot make the call as the system will be controlled by US forces in South Korea, and such cheap promises mean nothing in international politics.

We recommend China to take the following countermeasures.

China should cut off economic ties with companies involved with the system and ban their products from entering the Chinese market.

It could also implement sanctions on politicians who advocated the deployment, ban their entry into China as well as their family business.

In addition, the Chinese military could come up with a solution that minimizes the threat posed by the system, such as technical disturbances and targeting missiles toward the THAAD system.

Meanwhile, China should also re-evaluate the long-term impact in Northeast Asia of the sanctions on North Korea, concerning the link between the sanctions and the imbalance after the THAAD system is deployed.

China can also consider the possibility of joint actions with Russia with countermeasures.

The deployment of THAAD will surely have a long-term and significant influence. South Korea will be further tied by its alliance with the US and lose more independence in national strategy.

North Korea’s nuclear issue has further complicated the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but the country’s possession of nuclear weapons also results from outside factors.

The biggest problem of the peninsula’s messy situation lies in US’ Cold-War strategy in Northeast Asia, and its mind-set of balancing China in the region. Neither Pyongyang nor Seoul could make their own decisions independently, as the region’s stability and development are highly related to China and the US.

The whole picture of the situation on the Korean Peninsula could not been seen merely from the view of Pyongyang and Seoul. China’s relationship with North Korea has already been affected, and ties with South Korea are unlikely to remain untouched.

China is experiencing the pains of growing up. We have to accept the status quo of “being caught in the middle.”

China should neither be too harsh on itself, nor be self-indulgent. Being true to itself, China will fear no challenges

Source: Global Times Published: 2016-7-9

China urges Philippines to quit arbitration; Pushes back against US pressure


China urges Philippines to immediately cease arbitral proceedings

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http://english.cctv.com/2016/06/09/VIDESodRMnJFJdiaDZ3JKzuo160609.shtml

<<< Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei (Source: fmprc.gov.cn)

BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) — China on Wednesday again urged the Philippines to stop its arbitral proceedings and return to the right track of settling relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comment at a routine press briefing.

The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement saying that disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea should be settled through bilateral negotiation.

Hong said that by unilaterally initiating the arbitration in 2013, the Philippines had turned its back on the possibility of solving the issue through negotiation, leading to a dramatic deterioration of relations between China and the Philippines.

China and the Philippines have reached consensus on settling maritime disputes through bilateral negotiation in a number of bilateral documents, but the two countries have never engaged in any negotiation on the subject-matters of the arbitration, said Hong.

By unilaterally initiating the arbitration, the Philippines has violated its agreement with China as well as its own solemn commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), he said.

This is an abuse of the dispute settlement procedures of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and is against international law, including UNCLOS, he added.

The door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiation is always open, he said. “China will remain committed to settling through negotiation the relevant disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.”

“China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China,” Hong said. – Xinhua

BEIJING: China has urged the Philippines to “immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings” and “return to the right path” of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea, through bilateral negotiation.

In an official statement released yesterday, the Foreign Ministry reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment to a settlement via two-way negotiations, rather than an arbitration unilaterally sought by Manila against China in 2013.

Ties between Beijing and Manila were sunk after the initiation of the arbitration. From the very start of the arbitral process, China has refused to accept or participate.

In the wake of recent comments made by various Chinese officials about the arbitration, the statement said “the door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiation is always open”.

Observers and the media have increasingly called on Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and his expected administration to quit the arbitration and return to the table for two-way negotiations.

The arbitral case is still pending. Some media and observers said the expected ruling by the arbitral tribunal would be made in a few weeks.

China will remain committed to settling through negotiation the relevant disputes “on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law,” the ministry wrote.

In the past weeks, Washington has publicly pressed Beijing to accept the ruling.

That also included a call from US Defence Secretary Ash Carter on Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said although it remained to be seen if the incoming Philippine administration would quit the arbitration and return to the table for talks, “it is apparent that the arbitration – from its very beginning – has led to increasing, not decreasing, number of problems between Beijing and Manila”.

“Other regional countries will come to the conclusion that embarking on such an arbitration will obtain no benefit, not to mention resolving any of the existing disputes,” Wu said.

Jia Duqiang, a researcher of South-East Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said as the arbitration process came to a critical moment, all parties knew clearly that “no good will serve any party if the big picture is damaged”.

He also said the incoming administration was re-evaluating its policies towards China. — China Daily / Asia News Network

China pushes back against US pressure

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SINGAPORE: China rebuffed US pressure to curb its activity in the South China Sea today, restating its sovereignty over most of the disputed territory and saying it “has no fear of trouble”.

On the last day of Asia’s biggest security summit, Admiral Sun Jianguo said China will not be bullied, including over a pending international court ruling over its claims in the vital trade route.

“We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” Sun told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where more than 600 security, military and government delegates had gathered over three days.

“China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interest, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea.”

The waterway has become a flashpoint between the United States, which increased its focus on the Asia-Pacific under President Barack Obama’s “pivot”, and China, which is projecting ever greater economic, political and military power in the region.

The two have traded accusations of militarising the waterway as Beijing undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction on disputed features while Washington has increased its patrols and exercises.

On Saturday, top US officials including defence secretary Ash Carter warned China of the risk of isolating itself internationally and pledged to remain the main guarantor of Asian security for decades.

Despite repeated notes of concern from countries such as Japan, India, Vietnam and South Korea, Sun rejected the prospect of isolation, saying that many of the Asian countries at the gathering were “warmer” and “friendlier” to China than a year ago.

China had 17 bilateral meetings this year, compared with 13 in 2015.

“We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now and we will not be isolated in the future,” Sun said.

“Actually I am worried that some people and countries are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice. They may build a wall in their minds and end up isolating themselves.”

During a visit to Mongolia today, US secretary of state John Kerry urged Beijing not to establish an air defence identification zone (Adiz) over the South China Sea.

Kerry, who will visit China next, said an Adiz would be “a provocative and destabilising act”, which would question Beijing’s commitment to diplomatically manage the dispute.

The South China Sea is expected to feature prominently at annual high-level China-US talks starting in Beijing on Monday, also attended by US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

US concerns about Chinese trade policy and the difficulty foreign businesses say they face operating in China will add to what will likely be difficult discussions. — Reuters

Related: 

Philippine politicians, experts, opinion leaders call for bilateral talks with China on South China Sea issue

Politicians,international relations experts and opinion leaders from the Philippines on Wednesday called on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to start bilateral talks with China on the South China Sea issue as soon as
possible.

 Studio interview: Arbitration will not solve dispute

For more insights into the South China Sea issue, we have as our studio guest Jia Xiudong, a Senior Research Fellow from the China Institute of International Studies. Q1. China insists the Philippines
unilateral arbitration is illegal. So how much do you think the arbitration can help solve the maritime dispute?

Beijing believes Manila is politically motivated

 China believes that there are political motivations behindthe arbitration by the Philippines, as it is an open denial of China’ssovereignty. It brings uncertainty to how China would solve disputes with other countries.

South China Sea FAQ 2: What are China’s historical claims to the South China Sea?

 What are China’s historical claims to the South China Sea?

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Analysts pooh-pooh US Defence Secretary’s ‘self-isolation’ as an exaggeration


Analysts refute Ashton Carter’s China ‘self-isolation’ claims

SINGAPORE – US defense secretary’s China “self-isolation” claims were totally incorrect, local analysts said here on Saturday.

In a speech delivered here Saturday at the on-going Shangri-La Dialogue, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation, but analysts here refuted Carter’s remarks as one-sided and over-exaggerated.

As China develops, Asia-Pacific countries had built close relations with not only the United States but also China, which proves Carter’s China “self-isolation” claims at best “exaggerated,” said Huang Jing, Professor and Director of Center on Asia and Globalization, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf

Video:
South China Sea Is Indisputable Part of China

Video:
8th China-U.S. S&ED & 7th CPE

Carter’s claims are misinterpreting China’s policies, and are not in line with the two countries’ consensus on forging new pattern of relationship, said Colonel Lu Yin, Associate Researcher from the Institute of Strategic Studies of China’s National Defense University.

The colonel noted that Carter’s remarks revealed logical paradoxes in the US rebalance strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

“I don’t see it possible that without efforts from China, the United States can realize its rebalance strategic in the Asia-Pacific region as well as achieve common prosperity as envisioned,” said Lu.

In his half-hour or so speech, the US defense secretary mentioned the word “principle” for as many as 37 times. In Professor Huang Jing’s view, it is fairly disputable that the United States does faithfully stick to principle.

When asked about the fact that not only China, but countries including Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam all had similar construction actions, Carter said there are differences in the scale of such activities.

If one really sticks to principles, it doesn’t matter what scale the actions might be, any construction activity is against the principle, argued Professor Huang.

On matters of navigation freedom, the professor said that navigation freedom should be guaranteed, but any country’s freedom shall not be at the cost of posing threats to others.

Although tensions in the South China Sea are included in Carter’s speech, analysts pointed out that the US defense secretary had also elaborated on the fact that China and the United States do have cooperation potentials over a number of international agendas. To safeguard peace and stability in Asia-Pacific, the two countries need to cooperate.

Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow with S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said that Carter actually adopted a relatively “mild” approach when addressing disputes in the Asia-Pacific and gave much emphasis on setting up security networks in the region.

William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security, said he thought the US-China relations are far more inclusive.

It’s a broader relationship, although they disagree on the South China Sea issue, they can agree on many other issues which are important, such as the cooperation in cyber space, the DPRK issue, and climate change, he said.

The two countries are preparing for their upcoming strategic economic dialogue as well, he noted.

“To put it very simply, even though there are tensions in the South China Sea, I think the relationship is broad enough and strong enough, and has enough institutional mechanism for both sides to avoid their differences and work on potential solutions,” said the researcher.

China refutes US defense secretary’s China ‘self-isolation’ claims

SINGAPORE – A high-ranking Chinese military official Saturday refuted US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s “self-isolation” claims about China.

“Carter’s claims are incorrect and do not accord with the actual situation,” Guan Youfei, director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of the Chinese Central Military Commission, told the media.

Guan’s comments came after Carter’s claims at the ongoing Shangri-La Dialogue that China’s military activities in the South China Sea would isolate itself.

Guan said the United States should learn lessons from the wars it had waged in the Asia-Pacific region after World War II and play a constructive role in the region.

Guan urged the United States to keep its security pledges, withdraw troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible, stop arms sale to China’s Taiwan and refrain from holding military drills on the Korean Peninsula.

Guan said China has made great efforts in promoting international and regional security cooperation since its reform and opening-up, and China’s achievements in areas such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and naval escort missions are obvious.

China will continue to enhance cooperation with other Asia-Pacific countries under the Belt and Road initiative in various fields, the Chinese military official added.

The US defense secretary had earlier made similar accusations against China in a speech delivered at the US Naval Academy. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had responded, saying such claims reflected “American-style mentality” and “American-style hegemony.”

Sources: China Daily/Asia News Network

Chinese Admiral reiterates stance on South China Sea

Related:

Firm line taken on sea dispute

Beijing will not sit by and see several countries throwing the South
China Sea into chaos, the head of China’s delegation to Shangri-La
Dialogue said.

Seeing beyond the viewpoint of conflict may be a way out

Neither the Chinese nor the United States military backed off from where they stood in previous exchanges over the South China Sea issue.

Arbitral tribunal abusing its power

Despite China’s strong opposition, the arbitral tribunal announced in late October 2015 that it can judge on seven of the 15 submissions, and linger over some other submissions.

China meets with ‘enlarging circle of friends’

During a 55-hour period ending Sunday, 64-year-old Admiral General Sun Jianguo took part in a whirlwind of military diplomacy comprising 17 two-way meetings on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in
Singapore

 

Even the claimant countries in the waters want to prioritize safeguarding peaceful development in the region.

Asia doesn’t welcome return to Cold War

But Carter won’t change his attitude. He represents a clique that is eager to sustain Washington’s hegemony in the Western Pacific by reinforcing military deployments and containing China’s peaceful rise.

Image for the news result

China urges US, Japan to stop pointing fingers on South China Sea

Philippine ship towed over safety concerns – No more tricks allowed in South China Sea


China confirmed on Wednesday that it sent ships to the Wufang Jiao, an atoll of the Nansha Islands, to tow a stranded Philippine ship to ensure navigation safety and protect the marine environment.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei made the remarks at a daily press conference in response to a Philippine media report that said China’s Wufang Jiao did not allow Philippine fishermen to approach it.

According to Hong, a foreign fishing boat was stranded near Wufang Jiao at the end of 2015. After several failed towing attempts, the shipowner abandoned the ship and removed all its major equipment.

To prevent the stranded ship from affecting navigation and damaging maritime environment, China’s Ministry of Transportation sent salvage ships to tow the ship and dispose of it appropriately, Hong added.

During the process, China persuaded fishing boats in the operation waters to leave to ensure navigation safety and necessary operation conditions, Hong said, adding that the salvage ships had returned after the operation.

The spokesperson reaffirmed China’s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters. China will implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) comprehensively and effectively with the members of ASEAN and jointly maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea, Hong added.- Xinhua

No more ship-grounding tricks allowed in South China Sea

The Chinese foreign ministry confirmed Wednesday that China had towed away a foreign ship that was grounded on Wufang Jiao in the South China Sea. For safety concerns, China urged nearby fishing ships to leave.

However, Philippine media and some Western reports rendered a different picture of the same affair, saying several Chinese ships were sent to patrol the surrounding waters after a Philippine boat was grounded, and “blocked” the waterway.

In their reports, Wufang Jiao and the surrounding waters are the Philippines’ “traditional fishing grounds.” Due to the blockage of Chinese vessels, Philippine fishermen could not go fishing, feeling they were being bullied by China.

This is not the first time a Philippine vessel was grounded on South China Sea islands and reefs. In 1999, the Philippines sent a warship and grounded it on Renai Reef. Manila kept promising to China that it would tow it away as soon as possible, but 17 years have passed, and Manila shamelessly broke its promise, delivering provisions to the ship and reinforcing its structure, in an attempt to make it a permanent stronghold.

In recent years, China has taken countermeasures to prevent Philippine ships conveying construction materials to the ship, but out of humanitarian consideration, China allowed the Philippines to deliver provisions to the crew. Now the ship, a focal point of Sino-Philippine tension, is in bad condition and about to fall apart.

China will never allow Wufang Jiao to be a second Renai Reef. Towing away the grounded Philippine ship is a once-and-for-all measure to leave no troubles behind.

The Philippines is untrustworthy in the international community, often resorting to dirty tricks to deal with diplomatic issues. What it did on Renai Reef is a vivid reflection.

China has been exercising self-restraint amid fishing disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea. However, Manila has captured and sentenced Chinese fishermen several times, and even shot Taiwanese fishermen dead. Manila’s barbarity finally triggered a standoff near Huangyan Island in 2012. Since then, China has been in full control of the island.

Now, Manila hopes it can bring US troops back, like a Mafia gangster asking their “godfather” for help. The Philippines, obviously aware that international arbitration has no jurisdiction over territorial disputes, filed a petition to an international court in Hague. China’s non-participation in the arbitration is protected by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, but the Philippines, with the support of the US, has used this chance to taint China’s image internationally

All these shenanigans cannot twist the fact that it is the Philippines that breaks its promises and makes troubles over and over again. China’s countermeasures are reasonable.

China has overwhelming advantages against the Philippines, but its disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea are complicated due to the West’s bias for Manila. China should be resolute in defending its legitimate rights, and be wise in dealing with the West’s prejudice and US military and diplomatic interventions.

In recent years, China has gained major progress in stemming the encroachment of the Philippines in the South China Sea. Beijing is regaining strategic initiative in the region. The Philippines will have a new president this year, and Benigno Aquino III will step down. After the shift in leadership, Manila will be a spent arrow, and will have nothing left in its bag of tricks. – Global Times

 

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Political issues deserve diplomatic solutions to South China Sea disputes


REFERRING to “Ripples and rumbles in South China Sea” (see below) by K. Thanabalasingam, I wish to share a few more points vital to the issue.

Conventional knowledge is that China’s claim to the islands is arbitrary and violates International Law. But what is left out is an impartial overview of the whole situation based on historical considerations and facts on the ground.

Claims made by Vietnam and China are mostly centred on history. The rest of the claimants are late comers after the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco and 1982 UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).

To avoid complicating the issue, knowledge of history has to be put in perspective. Since there are no “historical titles” to validate, then whatever historical facts, maps or records have to be considered as evidence. At least it sheds light to validate its case.

China has been consistent in her claims since 1279. Marker stones and light houses were on the islands but most were destroyed by Vietnam and the Philippines. Even early European records affirmed Chinese fishermen took annual sojourns on Spratly islands for part of the year.

One interesting event that happened in 1953 involved a Tomas Cloma, (director of the Maritime Institute of the Philippines) who threw away all the marker stones and made a unilateral claim on some Spratly islands and later in December 1974 was forced to sell to the government for 1 peso only, now known as Kalayaan.

All these facts are buried and often not revealed by the West.

The infamous Treaty of San Francisco, also known as Treaty of Peace with Japan, was drafted by US and Allied Powers to settle post-war issues affecting nations. Whatever the circumstances, China/Taiwan and Korea were not invited to attend the negotiations which deprived them of a fair chance and the right to present their cases. This also breached the Cairo/Potsdam declarations.

After the devastating long war, China got the raw end of the deal with unsettled lands and islands. Scholars and historians viewed this as a deliberate manoeuvre by Western Powers especially the US to create ambiguities to serve their covert interests.

I totally agree with Thanabalasingam on the recent statement by the US and Allies to pre-empt the tribunal’s verdict in favour of the Philippines is an act of prima facie and undermines the whole proceedings of the court. That is why under Article 298 of UNCLOS, China declared that it does not accept compulsory arbitral procedures relating to sea boundary delimitation in 2006. Without guessing, one could easily decipher why the Philippine chose the arbitration court.

On the ground, it doesn’t need a military expert to see what’s happening in the region. It is a tussle between China and US with puppets (the Philippines, Australia, Japan, Vietnam) joining in the fray.

The US’s sole interest is to maintain her status quo and dominance in the region. China, a rising power, is a direct competitor. When Obama announced the pivot to Asia in 2012, tensions started building up day by day with increasing deployment of military assets to frightening level.

More bases have been opened to the US in the Philippines, Japan, Australia, and some Asean nations, creating a “ring of fire” to contain China.

To harness support US raises up the heat and false alarms on China’s threat to “Freedom of Navigation”, etc. Do you expect China to remain docile and silent? Freedom of navigation was not an issue for decades. Deliberately intruding into sovereign territory with frigates, spy planes, etc are direct provocations.

Sad to see nations taking sides just to gain a little leverage to support their claims. As far as I can see, these islands are “bread crumbs” created to inflict tension and even wars among nations. Political issues deserve diplomatic solutions. Don’t allow a Middle East or Ukraine crisis in Asia.

I trust my country will take the path of engagement and diplomacy.

By Ali Saw Kuala Lumpur The Sundaily

Ripples and rumbles in the South China Sea

AFTER the conclusion of the 27th Asean Summit and Related Summits chaired by Malaysia here in late November 2015, I felt optimistic the year 2016 might see a lessening of tensions in the South China Sea and perhaps even witness a Code of Conduct being signed between all the claimant states. I suppose this was hoping too much.

What we have seen instead is a rapid increase in tensions caused by China’s actions in the South China Sea. Understandably, claimant Asean states are anxious and concerned over these latest developments.

Since the start of this year, China has conducted several test flights from its airfield in the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands Group. There was also news reports that China had moved an oil rig into disputed waters between China and Vietnam.

This brings to mind the January 1974 Chinese/Vietnamese clash over the Paracel Islands with Vietnam suffering heavy losses and being evicted from the Paracels.

More recently it has been reported and confirmed that China has installed long-range anti-aircraft missiles on Woody Island in the disputed Paracels chain.

This does not auger well for calm and confidence-building between the various Asean claimant states and the Republic of China.

In addition, the occasional reported intrusions of Chinese coastguard vessels into other nations’ territorial waters is cause for concern.

The recent statement by the US and some European nations that China must abide by the decision to be made by the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, hearing the Philippines request to invalidate China’s claims, is rather premature in my humble opinion.

The US and other western nations’ statement would have been better coming after the tribunal’s verdict expected sometime near the middle of this year, if it turns out to be in Philippines favour. As it is, I feel the statement pre-empts the tribunal’s verdict.

I had written an article on the South China Sea dispute and stated my personal views in June 2015. I am of the firm belief, based on International Law and UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), that China’s claim to virtually the whole of the South China Sea is arbitrary and unprecedented.

No country has ever claimed such a large expanse of international maritime waters before. There is no provision anywhere that I am aware of for a historical claim, especially when such a claim has never been exercised or enforced until more recent times. China is not only a party to UNCLOS but it has also ratified it. Therefore, China is bound by UNCLOS.

A point to bear in mind is that there are laws and rules to what constitutes an island. Under UNCLOS no shoal or reef can be reclaimed and turned into an island.

A reclaimed land is artificial and not natural. Hence the question of territorial waters or other claims for the artificial island does not arise.

The Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by all members of Asean and the People’s Republic of China on Nov 4, 2002 unfortunately has a number of setbacks. There is also a Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). Although this is mainly to avoid any untoward sea incident between US Navy ships and Republic of China Navy (ROCN) ships. I feel that CUES should also be used more by Asean claimant states’ naval ships and the ROCN ships.

Although I am disheartened by the latest developments in the South China Sea, I sincerely hope that these ripples and rumbles do not develop into a full blown hurricane or typhoon.

By Rear Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri K. Thanabalasingam was the third chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy and the first Malaysian to be appointed to the post.Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

The U.S. should keep away from the South China Sea for regional peace

China is forced to deploy defensive facilities on islands in the South China Sea in response to early militarization action from other parties and to the U.S. close-up reconnaissance in this region, said a China’s professor who specializes in international affairs.

Shen Dingli, a professor specializing in international affairs from Fudan University, wrote in a column that if the U.S. expects fewer disputes in the South China Sea, the country should not choose any side and not support those who infringe upon China’s national interests. The U.S. should make those countries withdraw from the region.

Shen stated that the U.S. should reduce its close-up reconnaissance in the region so that China will not need to spare much time to deploy forces in the region.

According to Shen, statements of spokespersons from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Defense clearly show China’s attitude towards this issue.

First of all, China deploys defensive facilities in order to cope with other countries’ militarization in this area. Secondly, China benefits from freedom of navigation and China is willing to maintain this freedom within the international law in cooperation with ASEAN countries. Thirdly, China urges the U.S. to respect its legitimate interests when it comes to sovereign of artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Shen also said that if the U.S. really cares about China’s deployment of radars and missiles on relevant islands, it should reduce the close-up reconnaissance by its missile destroyers and strategic bombers in this area.  By Yuan Can (People’s Daily Online)

US militarizing South China Sea

Compared with the progress Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State John Kerry seem to have achieved on sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, finding common ground to resolve their differences over the South China Sea has proved more difficult.

Just as Wang has stressed, the responsibility for non-militarization of the South China Sea is not China’s alone. The United States should lend an attentive ear to China’s stance.

On Tuesday, at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, said China’s deployment of missiles and new radars on its islands and reefs in the South China Sea and its building of airstrips are “changing the operational landscape” in the waters.

The media in the US also hyped up China sending Annihilates-11 fighters to the Xisha Islands. These voices may be a prelude to Washington escalating the flexing of its muscles in the South China Sea.

Yet as a non-regional country, it is irresponsible of the US to intervene in the South China Sea in disregard of the possibility that has emerged that China and the other parties to the disputes in the waters will be able to stabilize the situation rather than let it spiral out of control.

If those in the region were allowed to settle the disputes themselves, the South China Sea would be free from concerns and troubles within the foreseeable future.

It is the US’ direct interventions in the South China Sea that are exacerbating tensions and adding uncertainty.

The US’ provocative signals have seriously increased Chinese people’s sense of urgency to strengthen the country’s military capabilities. When US military vessels and warplanes intruded into the 12-nautical-mile territorial seas around China’s islands and reefs, Chinese people have reasons to believe their country should not remain indifferent even if its military might is still inferior to that of the US.

On issues concerning national sovereignty, the Chinese military will follow the will of its people.- Global Times

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Philippines violated agreements and laws by filing arbitration over South China Sea


 

China: Rejection of the Philippines’ arbitration ‘in line with law’

 Foreign Minister Wang Yi says China’s rejection of arbitration filed by the Philippines over terroritorial claims, is in line with the law. His remarks came after talks with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in Beijing on Wednesday, as Australia called for a resolution to the South China Sea disputes through peaceful means, including arbitration.

“China is actually following international law by not accepting arbitration regarding sovereign and maritime entitlements. Because after joining the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 2006, China issued a declaration according to the rights given to China by Article 298 of the UNCLOS. We issued a government statement excluding China from being subjected to the compulsory settlement measures. The Chinese government will continue to stand by the declaration.” said Wang Yi.

China in 2006 declared it would not accept arbitration of disputes concerning territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Wang said.

“Chinese government will certainly stick to this position,” Wang said, adding that more than 30 countries, including Australia, have also made similar “exclusive” declarations.

He gave a list of reasons why the Philippines’ arbitration attempt is invalid and unacceptable, including unilateral moves without consulting China, which goes against international norms, as well as the common sense argument that arbitration applications are usually lodged only when all other means are depleted.

China and the Philippines have several agreements that disputes should be solved through dialogue and consultation.

The Philippines has also signed the fourth article of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which states that disputes should be solved by those countries directly related, through negotiation and consultation.

Wang said that the Philippines’ arbitration attempt violated previous agreements and raised suspicion of its complicated international background or even hidden political motives.

The minister listed reasons why the Philippines’ arbitration attempt, first made in 2014 to a UN tribunal, is invalid and unacceptable. He said it was a unilateral move by the Philippines, which goes against international norms on arbitration, and that they have not yet exhausted other means to reach a resolution. Wang Yi also said any deployment of defense facilities on China’s own territory would be legitimate.

Wang further said the Philippines not only violated a number of agreements by filing arbitration without China’s consent … but also did not follow the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea. According to him, any arbitration should only be filed after all possible solutions are tried and failed.

“The Philippines betrayed our trust and went against justice to file for arbitration. That made us wonder whether they are making these decisions following complicated international circumstances.   They may even have political purposes that they don’t want to share,” he said.

This was in response to western reports that an advanced surface-to-air missile system was deployed to one of the disputed islands in the South China Sea.

“I hope that media everywhere will turn their attention to the lighthouses that we have built on some of the islands in the South China Sea. They are in operation now and they have been very useful in ensuring the safety of passing ships in those waters. The meteorological forecast facilities and other facilities will provide assistance and rescue and emergency response to the fishing boats in those waters. Because I think all of those are actions China, as the biggest state in the South China Sea, has undertaken to provide more public goods and services to the international community and play a positive role there. ” said Wang, ” As for the limited and necessary self-defence facilities that China has built on the islands and reefs stationed by Chinese personnel, this is consistent with the self-preservation and self-protection that China is entitled to under international law. So there should be no question about that.”

The Chinese Foreign Minister also stressed that demilitarization benefits all, but it can not be applied to only one country, or with double or even multiple standards. He said demilitarization in the South China Sea needs joint efforts from countries both in and outside the region. The Chinese Foreign Minister said China noticed that during the just concluded meetings between the US and ASEAN, the two pledged to achieve demilitarization in the region. He said China hopes they can keep their word. Xinhua

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China responds to US’s militarizing the South China Sea

China responds to US’s militarizing the South China Sea


It is the US that is militarizing the South China Sea

The U.S. has recently been hyping the idea that China is militarizing the South China Sea. It first criticized China for deploying missiles in Yongxing Island, then claimed in a report that China is building a radar system on islands or reefs in the Nansha Islands.

However, plenty of evidence suggests that it is the U.S. rather than China who is actually militarizing the South China Sea.

First, the U.S. is clearly “a thief calling on others to catch a thief” when accusing China of escalating militarization in the South China Sea.

It is the U.S. that has been enhancing military deployment in neighboring regions of the South China Sea.

The U.S. not only acquired access to eight military bases in the Philippines, the superpower has also continued increasing its military presence in Singapore and sent warships and aircraft to the South China Sea.

What’s more, it has repeatedly pressured its allies and partners to conduct targeted military drills and patrols to play up regional tension.

Besides selling weaponry to the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries, the U.S. also repeatedly sent missile destroyers, strategic bombers and anti-submarine patrol aircraft to approach or even enter relevant reefs and islands, as well as the adjacent waters and air space of China’s Nansha and Xisha Islands. Such acts betray ambition to provoke China.

Secondly, the U.S. obviously has a guilty conscience when criticizing China for deploying national defense.

As islands and reefs in the South China Sea have been an indisputable part of China’s territory since ancient times, China is entitled to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.

By deploying necessary defense for its own territory, China is exercising the right of self-preservation granted by international law to sovereign states. This has nothing to do with militarization and is completely legitimate.

China’s defense is not fundamentally different from the defense installation by the U.S. in Hawaii. If other countries have zero intention to threaten China’s sovereignty and security, they needn’t worry about defensive measures.

Thirdly, the U.S. revealed its double standard when criticizing China’s construction on the Nansha Islands.

Such construction falls completely within China’s sovereignty. The light houses built by China on its stationed islands and reefs, as well as the facilities for meteorological observation, emergency shelter and rescue, are public services and goods offered by China to the international community as the largest coastal state in the South China Sea.

They are by no means military facilities, but the U.S. has continued picking on China nonetheless.

In contrast, the U.S. turns a blind eye to military actions taken by the Philippines and Vietnam on the Nansha Islands, which they illegally occupy.

Lastly, so-called “safeguarding navigation freedom” is just a cover-up for the U.S. to destroy peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The U.S. military has been carrying out “navigation freedom” activities for a long time. Such activities, in essence, are challenges to other countries’ sovereignty and jurisdiction in their own waters and exclusive economic zones. The U.S. carries out these activities just to maintain its own maritime supremacy.

The freedom of navigation and flight over the South China Sea, to which all countries are entitled under international law, has never been threatened. Over 100,000 vessels from various countries pass through the region every year without a hitch.

However, the “navigation freedom” actions conducted by the U.S. destroy peace and tranquility in the South China Sea and escalate regional tensions.

Not only won’t this selfish and overbearing act help to peacefully resolve the South China Sea issue, it will further disrupt regional peace and stability.

The U.S. must realize that as a party not concerned in the South China Sea issue, it should respect the efforts of China and concerned nations to peacefully handle their own disputes and safeguard the stability of the region.

If the U.S. intends to make sincere contributions, the best way is to stop stirring up tensions through risky military actions in the South China Sea.

–  By Zhang Junshe – The author is a research fellow of China’s Naval Research Institute

China said on Friday that it does not intend to pursue militarization of the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea and criticized U.S. air and naval patrols in the region.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, adding “China is serious about its commitment not to pursue militarization of the Nansha Islands.”

Hong made the remarks after U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said commercial satellite imagery suggested “very recent” placement of missiles on Yongxing Island that goes against China’s pledge not to militarize the South China Sea.

“We see no indication that … this militarization effort, has stopped. And it’s doing nothing … to make the situation there more stable and more secure,” Kirby said at a regular news briefing on Thursday.

Hong said that demilitarization in the region is not a matter for just a single country. “There should not be double standards or multi-standards for demilitarization in the South China Sea, and the process requires joint efforts from countries in the region and beyond.”

He said the United States is strengthening military deployment in the South China Sea and frequently sends military vessels or planes to waters in the South China Sea to conduct close-in reconnaissance against China.

He also accused the United States of sending missile destroyer and strategic bombers into waters and airspace adjacent to the Nansha Islands and had its allies hold targeted joint military exercises or joint cruises in the region.

The U.S. actions have escalated tensions in the South China Sea and constitute the militarization of the South China Sea, said Hong.

Yongxing Island, the largest island in the Xisha Islands group in the South China Sea, is an inherent part of China’s territory, he said.

In 1959, the Chinese government set up an administrative office and the ensuing government facilities on the Yongxing Island.

The deployment of defense facilities on Yongxing Island amounts to China exercising its sovereignty and it has been going on for decades, he said, urging the U.S. side to learn the basic facts regarding the South China Sea before commenting on the issue.

HQ-9 missile prompted by US threat

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that “There is every evidence, every day that there has been an increase of militarization of one kind or another,” referring to the reported Chinese deployment of missiles in the “disputed” islands in the South China Sea. He said “it’s of serious concern” and the US will “have further very serious conversation” with China. The US media has responded strongly to the allegations that China has deployed HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles on Yongxing Island, one of the islands in the Xisha chain. US Senate Armed Forces Chairman John McCain suggested the US consider “additional options to raise the costs on Beijing’s behavior.”

The HQ-9 missile is a typical type of defensive weapon. The Xisha Islands are Chinese territory and have long been under China’s actual control. Previous disputes in the South China Sea did not involve this area, but this time the US has targeted Yongxing Island in Xisha to attack China’s “militarization” of the South China Sea. Washington intends to not only tarnish China’s image, but also expand the disputes so as to contain China’s activities in the Nansha Islands.

The confrontation between China and the US in the South China Sea is likely to escalate. The whole of Chinese society should be cool-minded and be prepared for long-term competition with the US.

First, we should be clear about the country’s stance toward the South China Sea. We are safeguarding our legitimate rights without any radical moves. Island building in Nansha and missile deployment in Xisha are in accordance with international law.

Second, China cares about developing ties with all regional countries. The missiles in Yongxing do not target any South China Sea claimants.

Third, China should send clear messages to the outside world that its defensive deployment in Yongxing targets external military threats. The freedom of navigation in the South China Sea only applies to civilian vessels and aerial vehicles. Outside warships and jet fighters must obey the principle of “innocent passage.” American warships and flights have constantly made provocations in the South China Sea. The US is bold about imposing pressure on China, and China must make an appropriate response.

Fourth, how the PLA deploys weapons and the defense levels should be determined by the threat level from external military forces. If the US military stages a real threat and a military clash is looming, the PLA may feel propelled to deploy more powerful weapons.

Fifth, China does not want to see an escalation of Sino-US frictions in the South China Sea, but it should let the US know that its every single provocative act will face countermeasures from China.

Sixth, the main risks come from the uncertainty of intensity of China-US competition. It is unrealistic for relevant countries to woo the US to balance China.

Last, China should adopt an active approach to cope with an opinion war and express its stance to the world. China holds firm strategic initiatives in the South China Sea, and the US has no actual effective tools to contain China in the waters. It is best at rhetoric offense, so we must reason with it head-on. – Global Times

Washington’s destabilizing role in South China Sea

 

South China Sea. (Photo/Xinhua)

After failing to get its way at the first U.S.-ASEAN summit in California, Washington appears ready to grasp at anything that could be used against China.

And the media hype over China’s deployment of a surface-to-air missile system in Yongxing Island, part of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, just provided Washington a much-needed excuse to once again criticize Beijing for its alleged role in “militarizing” the region.

For starters, China has indisputable sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and deploying limited and necessary national defense facilities on China’s own territory has nothing to do with militarization in the South China Sea.

China has repeatedly made it clear that it has no intention to militarize the region. Its activities are mainly for maintenance purposes, improving the living conditions for the stationed personnel there and providing more public goods in the region.

With trillions of dollars’ worth of goods traversing the patch of water every year, the South China Sea is vital both to global trade and to China’s development. Beijing has no reason to disrupt one of its own crucial arteries of trade.

Meanwhile, the United States, which has become fixated on the South China Sea since Washington announced a pivot to the Asia-Pacific, has been the primary source of destabilization in the area.

It has conducted a slew of naval and air patrol trips in the vicinity of the China-owned islands, which is in clear violation of China’s sovereignty, not to mention international law.

In addition, it has also reopened military bases in the Philippines, in a move widely interpreted as stirring up tension in the region.

Furthermore, some countries in the region are taking more provocative measures to press for illegitimate territorially claims ever since the U.S. put the South China Sea on its radar.

If there were a ranking for destabilizers in the South China Sea, there’s no doubt Washington would top the list.

China’s practices in the region are defensive in nature, and it sees direct talks between rival claimants rather than military means as the best way to resolve any dispute.

For the sake of regional stability and the common good, let’s hope the United States honor its previous commitment of not taking sides on the issue or stirring up tensions. Only then can the South China Sea be home to calm waters. Xinhua

Military factors injected by US provocation in the South China Sea

In an exclusive report, Fox News claimed that it obtained civilian satellite imagery which appears to show China’s HQ-9 air defense system on Yongxing Island, part of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. Fox News used this as evidence that China is increasingly “militarizing” its islands and “ramping up tensions in the region.” Many Western media picked up the news.

They probably aren’t clear about the differences between the constructed islands in Nansha Islands and Yongxing Island in Xisha. The disputes over the sovereignty of islands in Nansha are sharp, while the Xisha Islands are under the actual control of China.

China has released the baseline of the territorial sea to the Xisha Islands and their sovereignty is not disputed. Meanwhile, Yongxing is the largest of the Xisha Islands and the location of the city of Sansha. Defensive weapons were deployed on the island in the past. Even if the presence of the HQ-9 system is true as the West has claimed, it is a matter of China’s sovereignty and it is fully legitimate for China to do so.

US authorities and opinion have paid particular attention to the “militarization” of the South China Sea, which shows the absurdity of US-style hegemonic mentality. The US, an outsider, has injected the most military elements in the region. It will reopen military bases in the Philippines. It also advocates its allies, Japan and Australia, to join its military navigation in the South China Sea. The biggest act of militarization is that it sent warships within 12 nautical miles of islands claimed by China.

Facing more frequent provocations from the US military, China should strengthen self-defense in the islands in the South China Sea. The deployment of defense systems is not in the domain of militarization, as militarization of islands often means they are built into a fortress to become an outpost of military contests.

Guam is a typical example of US militarization. In recent years, Guam has deployed offensive nuclear submarines and various missile systems which are aimed at deterring China, making it the new pillar of US military deterrence in the Pacific.

At least currently, China finds it does not need to militarize the islands to cope with the other South China Sea claimants. As long as Washington does not inject tensions, China has no motivation to do so. Uncertainties in the future come from the US side.

Once the US repeatedly sends warships to make provocations at Chinese islands and threatens the security of Chinese people and facilities on the islands, more military equipment should be deployed to counter US provocations. This is common in contemporary international relations.

Once the South China Sea is militarized, it will only add to China’s strategic costs. Therefore, China will hardly resort to the last choice. But China is not the decisive factor, as it is propelled to react due to provocations from the US and its allies.

China is serious about ensuring stability and prosperity around the South China Sea and has invested enormous energy and resources. The region is adjacent to the route of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative and China’s efforts are eliminating vulnerability caused by a lack of security trust.

Even if the HQ-9s are deployed on South China Sea islands, regional countries would not raise much concern as these claimants have no intention to fight for air supremacy. Jet fighters from the US, an outside country, may feel uneasy when making provocative flights in the region. To us, that’s a proper result. – Global Times

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US militarizing South China Sea

On issues concerning national sovereignty, the Chinese military will follow the will of its people.

Commentary: U.S. has hard time justifying criticism of China’s actions in South China Sea

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — The U.S. government is recently
struggling China Sea, because it is clear that it is the United States,
not China, that is the real source of militarization of the region.

China’s deployment of a surface-to-air missile system on the Xisha
Islands, an inherent part of China’s territory, is defensive in nature
and falls within its sovereign rights and international law.Full Story

China Voice: Provocation no good for peace in South China Sea

BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — Sending a warship to another country’s
territorial waters without notice is hardly the right thing to do,
regardless protocols and codes.

The Saturday maneuvers of a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer 12
nautical miles off Zhongjian Dao, Xisha Islands, was “deliberate
provocation”, according to China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Yang
Yujun.

It also drew angry outcry from Chinese on the Internet, with many
comments much more radical than the official response. The Chinese
people have every reason to feel offended. Full Story 

U.S. should be more inclusive in diplomacy

When the U.S. is excluding others such as China, China pursues a philosophy of openness, transparenc[Read it]

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