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Ironduke
08 May 04,, 04:24
Spratly Islands

The South China Sea is defined by the International Hydrographic Bureau as the body of water stretching in a Southwest to Northeast direction, whose southern border is 3 degrees South latitude between South Sumatra and Kalimantan (Karimata Straits), and whose northern border is the Strait of Taiwan from the northern tip of Taiwan to the Fukien coast of China. The South China Sea region is the world's second busiest international sea lane. More than half of the world's supertanker traffic passes through the region's waters. In addition, the South China Sea region contains oil and gas resources strategically located near large energy-consuming countries.

The South China Sea encompasses a portion of the Pacific Ocean stretching roughly from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca in the southwest, to the Strait of Taiwan (between Taiwan and China) in the northeast. The area includes more than 200 small islands, rocks, and reefs, with the majority located in the Paracel and Spratly Island chains. The Spratlys links the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. All its islands are coral, low and small, about 5 to 6 meters above water, spread over 160,000 to 180,000 square kilometers of sea zone (or 12 times that of the Paracels), with a total land area of 10 square kilometers only. The Paracels also has a total land area of 10 square kilometers spread over a sea zone of 15,000 to 16,000 square kilometers.

Many of these islands are partially submerged islets, rocks, and reefs that are little more than shipping hazards not suitable for habitation. The islands are important, however, for strategic and political reasons, because ownership claims to them are used to bolster claims to the surrounding sea and its resources.

The South China Sea is rich in natural resources such as oil and natural gas. These resources have garnered attention throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Until recently, East Asia's economic growth rates had been among the highest in the world, and despite the current economic crisis, economic growth prospects in the long-term remain among the best in the world. This economic growth will be accompanied by an increasing demand for energy. Over the next 20 years, oil consumption among developing Asian countries is expected to rise by 4% annually on average, with about half of this increase coming from China. If this growth rate is maintained, oil demand for these nations will reach 25 million barrels per day - more than double current consumption levels -- by 2020.

Almost of all of this additional Asian oil demand, as well as Japan's oil needs, will need to be imported from the Middle East and Africa, and to pass through the strategic Strait of Malacca into the South China Sea. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region depend on seaborne trade to fuel their economic growth, and this has led to the sea's transformation into one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Over half of the world's merchant fleet (by tonnage) sails through the South China Sea every year. The economic potential and geopolitical importance of the South China Sea region has resulted in jockeying between the surrounding nations to claim this sea and its resources for themselves.

Military skirmishes have occurred numerous times in the past two decades. The most serious occurred in 1976, when China invaded and captured the Paracel Islands from Vietnam, and in 1988, when Chinese and Vietnamese navies clashed at Johnson Reef in the Spratly Islands, sinking several Vietnamese boats and killing over 70 sailors.

The disputed areas often involve oil and gas resources:

Indonesia's ownership of the gas-rich Natuna Island group was undisputed until China released an official map indicating that the Natunas were in Chinese-claimed waters.
The Philippines' Malampaya and Camago natural gas and condensate fields are in Chinese-claimed waters.
Many of Malaysia's natural gas fields located offshore Sarawak also fall under the Chinese claim.
Vietnam and China have overlapping claims to undeveloped blocks off the Vietnamese coast. A block referred to by the Chinese as Wan' Bei-21 (WAB-21) west of the Spratly Islands is claimed by the Vietnamese in their blocks 133, 134, and 135. In addition, Vietnam's Dai Hung (Big Bear) oil field is at the boundary of waters claimed by the Chinese.
Maritime boundaries in the gas-rich Gulf of Thailand portion of the South China Sea have not been clearly defined. Several companies have been signed exploration agreements but have been unable to drill in a disputed zone between Cambodia and Thailand.

Most of these claims are historical, but they are also based upon internationally accepted principles extending territorial claims offshore onto a country's continental shelf, as well as the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The 1982 convention created a number of guidelines concerning the status of islands, the continental shelf, enclosed seas, and territorial limits. Three of the most relevant to the South China Sea are:

Article 3, which establishes that "every state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles";
Articles 55 - 75 define the concept of an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is an area up to 200 nautical miles beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea. The EEZ gives coastal states "sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to" (above) "the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil..."
Article 121, which states that rocks that cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.

The establishment of the EEZ created the potential for overlapping claims in semi-enclosed seas such as the South China Sea. These claims could be extended by any nation which could establish a settlement on the islands in the region. South China Sea claimants have clashed as they tried to establish outposts on the islands (mostly military) in order to be in conformity with Article 121 in pressing their claims.

In mid-1991, fresh from diplomatic success in helping to end the Cambodian civil war, Indonesia took the initiative in seeking to open multilateral negotiations on competitive South China Sea claims, especially those claims involving jurisdictional disputes over the Spratly Islands. Indonesia has taken a leading role in diplomatic initiatives and cooperative agreements to resolve South China Sea issues, particularly through the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) forum, which has called for the peaceful arbitration of territorial claims. ASEAN includes all South China Sea nations except for China and Taiwan, and has held a number of working groups with China and Taiwan on related issues that have the potential to foster the cooperation and friendship needed to resolve the more contentious issues in the region. Indonesia hosted the first of these workshops in 1990. The ASEAN foreign ministers have reiterated the invitations to all parties directly concerned to subscribe to the principles of the ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea.

In late 1998 the presidents of China and the Philippines agreed to form a committee of experts to advise on confidence-building measures.

In late November 1999 officials of ASEAN agreed to draft a regional code of conduct to prevent conflicts over the Spratly Islands in advance of the ASEAN summit in Manila. The Philippines, which drafted much of the proposed code, sought to align ASEAN's members in a common stance against what it sees as Chinese expansionism in the Spratlys. China agreed to hold talks with ASEAN member nations on the newly formulated draft code of conduct. But China, which claims the entire South China Sea, signalled it was not ready to agree to the ASEAN draft. Vietnam wanted the code to cover the Paracels while Malaysia did not want the code to refer to all of the South China Sea. China, which is not an ASEAN member and claims all of the islands, opposes inclusion of the Paracels in the code. Australia has pressed for the proposed code to include a moratorium on the occupation of reefs and atolls or building on them.

In January 2000 photographs of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands were shown to the foreign ministers of the other eight ASEAN countries by Philippine foreign minister, Domingo Siazon. The photographic evidence showed that China had expanded installations on the reef since 1995, when it first started building what it said were shelters for fishermen. There are now four sites on the reef with installations that could be connected to form a fortress, like Gibraltar, or a five-star hotel for fishermen.

Southeast Asian countries, concerned that Beijing might be strengthening its claim to much of the South China Sea, called for restraint and strict observance of international law in a high-level meeting with China in January 2000.

China and the Philippines have discussed possible joint exploration for petroleum in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives, Jose de Venecia, said the chairman of China's parliament, Wu Bannguo, made the proposal 31 August 2003 during talks in Manila. China also pledged to increase investment in the Philippines. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing vowed to increase investments in the Philippines to match the growing Philippine investment in China. The two ministers also discussed the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

In September 2003 representatives of the Philippines, China and other claimant countries of the Spratly Islands signed a declaration of peace to promote the development of the resources in the disputed islands. The declaration will be signed at the Association of Parliaments for Peace (AAPP) conference in the Philippines.

Suggested confidence-building measures among claimant countries include joint research and development in the Spratlys. Among the suggestions to enhance the development of the Spratly Islands include the creation of a marine park; establishment of a South China Sea Institute for Marine Resources Management, conducting a joint survey and assessment of the mineral and hydrocarbon potential and implementation of maritime safety and surveillance measures.

SOUTH CHINA SEA TERRITORIAL ISSUES

Competing territorial claims over the South China Sea and its resources are numerous, with the most contentious revolving around the Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands (the Xisha and the Nansha in Chinese; the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa in Vietnamese). The Spratlys are claimed in total by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan, whereas Malaysia laid claim to parts of the continental shelf underlying the southernmost islands in the chain. Indeed, ownership of virtually all of the South China Sea is contested. The disputed islands in the South China Sea assumed importance only after it was disclosed that they were near the potential sites of substantial offshore oil deposits.

In 1939 the Japanese military government announced its decision to take possession of the Spratlys. France protested on 04 April 1939 when Japan announced it had placed the Spratlys "under its jurisdiction." In 1941 Japan forcibly took over the islands as part of its World War II strategy. During the War, France defended the Spratlys from Japanese military forces. In 1949 Vietnam "inherited" from France all former French rights over the Paracel Islands and the Spratlys Islands. Vietnam emphasizes "actual exercise of sovereignty over mere geographic contiguity" as a basic ground for its claim. In the 1951 "San Francisco Peace Treaty" Japan relinquished all titles and claims to the Paracel Islands and the Spratlys Islands. From 1956 to 1963, Vietnamese naval troops built "sovereignty steles" in the Spratlys.

The most proactive claimant in the region is China. In 1909 it seized some islands in Xisha (the Paracels). In 1946 it seized Itu Aba (in the Spratlys) and Phu Lan Island (in the Paracels). In 1950's China seized additional Hoang Sa (Paracels) islands, which it forcibly repeated in 1974. Vietnam claims that these acts were unlawful and that the United States in 1974 conspired with China for the take-over of the Paracels.

In January 1974, Chinese military units seized islands in the Paracels occupied by South Vietnamese armed forces, and Beijing claimed sovereignty over the Spratlys. Following their conquest of South Vietnam in the spring of 1975, units of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) nevertheless moved to occupy the Spratly Islands previously held by the Saigon regime. In 1978 Vietnam and the Philippines agreed to negotiate but failed to settle their conflicting claims to the Spratly Islands. Foreign Minister Thach, during a late-1982 visit to Indonesia, took a conciliatory position in discussing Vietnam's and Indonesia's competing claims to the Natuna Islands, and in 1984 Hanoi made a similar gesture to Malaysia in order to help resolve their conflicting claims over Amboyna Cay.

In a 1988 incident, possibly related to Cambodia because it potentially strengthened China's position at a future bargaining table, the ongoing dispute between China and Vietnam over sovereignty to the Spratly Islands erupted into an unprecedented exchange of hostilities. The situation was reduced to an exchange of accusations following the armed encounter. Vietnam's repeated calls for China to settle the dispute diplomatically won rare support for Vietnam from the international community, but elicited little response from Beijing. A conciliatory mood developed on both sides of the Sino- Vietnamese border in 1989, partly because Vietnam's proposal to withdraw completely from Cambodia responded to a basic Chinese condition for improved relations.

Mischief Reef is part of the Spratly Islands. Mischief Reef was discovered by Henry Spratly in 1791 and named by the German Sailor Heribert Mischief, one of his crew. China has sent naval vessels into the area and has constructed crude buildings on some of the islands. Beijing maintains that the shacks are there solely to serve Chinese fishing boats. Manila describes the buildings as "military-type" structures. According to reconnaissance photos by the Philippine Air Force, these structures do not look like fishermen's sanctuaries. They seem to have radar systems which are not normally associated with the protection of fishermen.

Itu Aba Island is used by Taiwan, ROC fishermen as a rest stop. Itu Aba Island is located at the northwest end of the northern part of the Spratly Archipelago near the Cheng Ho Reefs (Tizard Bank). In 1938 the Indochina Meteorological Service set up a weather station on Itu-Aba island which remained under French control from 1938 to 1941. When World War II erupted in 1941 Japan took control of said weather station.

On 08 June 1956 Taiwan sent troops to occupy Thai Binh Island (Itu Aba - Peace Island), the largest island in the Spratlys. Vietnam claims that "as late as December 1973, the Far Eastern Economic Review of Hongkong reported that a marker still stood there with the inscription: 'France - Ile Itu Aba et Dependences - 10 Aout 1933." The northwestern part of the Tizard Bank consists of Itu Aba in the west, Center Cay in the center, and on the east side Sand Cay, all claimed by Taiwan since 1955.

Since the end of World War Two, the ROC navy has guarded the island for over fifty years; they have a major responsibility to ensure the security of the South China Sea. A Taiwan, ROC garrison is stationed on Itu Aba on a permanent basis, making the building of roads and military installations an important task. As a result, the island now has well-built roads, and the soldiers keep it as clean as a well-kept park.

The the Kalayaan Islands, as Filipinos call some of the Spratlys, lie in a shallow section of the South China Sea west of the Philippine archipelago. Kalayaan is a rich fishing area that had been identified as a potential source of petroleum deposits. Tomas Cloma, a Manila lawyer, visited the islands in 1956, claimed them for himself, named them Kalayaan (Freedomland), then asked the Philippine government to make them a protectorate. Vietnam brands as erroneous the Philippine theory that the Spratly Islands were "res nullius" when Tomas Cloma "pretended to 'discover' the Vietnamese Truong Sa islands in 1956". Manila regularly tried to extract from the United States a declaration that it would defend the Philippines' claim to the Kalayaans as part of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America, but the United States just as regularly refused so to interpret that treaty. The Philippine government first put forth informal claims to Kalayaan in the mid-1950s. Philippine troops were sent to three of the islands in the Kalayaans in 1968, taking advantage of the war situation in the Republic of Vietnam. In 1974, the Philippine government declared that it had garrisoned five of the islands. In 1978 Marcos made formal claims by declaring that fifty-seven of the islands were part of Palawan Province by virtue of their presence on the continental margin of the archipelago. The Philippine military continued to garrison marines on several islands.

Layang Layang (Swallow's Reef, although there are no swallows present) is a small reef in the Spratly Islands, and is currently operated and managed by the government of Malaysia. Swallow Reef is the only reef in Swallow Atoll, which is exposed to the sea. The island is long and narrow, stretching from the northeast to the southwest. It is small in area, around 0.1 square kilometers. The amazing fact about Swallow Reef is that this tiny, exposed islet was practically man-made! It was built by the Malaysian government, which collected sand and connected two isolated reefs by filling the channel between them. The Malaysian government opted to build an airstrip, dive resort and military installation on this reef since in 1983. Seventy soldiers live on this island and the dive resort is open to any visiting scuba divers. Swallow Reef is fast hecoming another of Malaysia's premier dive destination

wabpilot
22 Jul 07,, 14:26
Bump.

badguy2000
22 Jul 07,, 16:14
Bump.
well, China's claim certainly has more historical legitimacy,because China has the longest history among those countries.

ROC and PRC both are the regimes of Chinese.their claim don't contradict each other.

The Chap
26 Jul 07,, 04:08
China. By degrees. The Malays and Indonesians have too many Islamic issues for the US to allow them territorial rights under law.

Stategically this would also keep Chinese tentacles out of Africa and the Middle East. With a local peterochemical resovior logistically and politically fragile sea routes are eliminated from Beijings "to-do" list:redface:

Zhang Fei
30 Jul 07,, 16:43
China. By degrees. The Malays and Indonesians have too many Islamic issues for the US to allow them territorial rights under law.

Stategically this would also keep Chinese tentacles out of Africa and the Middle East. With a local peterochemical resovior logistically and politically fragile sea routes are eliminated from Beijings "to-do" list:redface:There is no way Uncle Sam is going to allow China to dominate the region. Malaysia and Indonesia have been key American allies for decades. To allow China to claim the South China Sea as its private lake is just not on the agenda.

Zhang Fei
30 Jul 07,, 20:03
An account of a recent clash:


Official Chinese media have been conspicuously silent about a July 9th clash between the Chinese navy and Vietnamese fishing boats near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The Singapore newspaper the Straits Times reported on July 19th.

A group of Vietnamese boats fishing in waters near the Spratlys, 350km east of Ho Chi Minh City, came under fire from Chinese naval vessels on July 9. Military sources reported that one of the Vietnamese boats sank after the attack. One fisherman was killed and several others hurt… Military sources say two of Vietnam’s Russian-designed BPS-500 fast-attack craft raced to the scene but kept their distance due to the superior firepower of the Chinese ships.

According to Pham Gia Khiem, the Vietnamese deputy prime minister and foreign minister, the details of the incident are being investigated.

Despite official silence, the news about the shooting has been circulating in Chinese cyberspace, where there have been lively discussions about the latest clash near the Spratlys, the site of a bloody 1988 naval battle between the two countries. Internet bulletin board comments have ranged from smugness over how China “fixed” Vietnam, to calls for stronger military action against “the little apprentice.”

Earlier this year, in April, 41 Vietnamese fishermen were captured by Chinese naval ships in the waters near the Spratlys. They were released after fines were paid to the Chinese government.

Tensions in the area have been running high since March, when Hanoi announced a $2 billion natural-gas project near the Spratlys involving British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, and Petrovietnam. Beijing stated at the time that Vietnam’s action “infringed on China’s sovereignty, sovereignty rights and administrative rights.”

Chinese media and China’s online community were in agreement that the proposed natural-gas project was a challenge to Chinese sovereignty--a conspiracy by Vietnam to steal energy from China.

An April 22nd article on the Chinese navy's website accused Vietnam of “trying to follow Ukraine’s example” as it “gains Western support and assistance by taking advantage of Western hostility towards China.”

Other Internet postings recalled old grievances over previous Vietnamese “provocations,” including the 2004 Spratly tours organized by Vietnamese tourism officials, the renovation by Vietnam of an old airport on the Spratlys, and the participation of soldiers stationed on islands in Vietnam's 2002 National Assembly elections.

The earlier wave of belligerence in Chinese cyberspace subsided--though did not dissipate completely--with the June announcement that British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, and Petrovietnam are to halt the US$2 billion project.

As the economies of China and Vietnam continue to grow at breakneck speed, their search for resources to meet escalating domestic energy needs has given unresolved territorial disputes in the South China Sea an added strategic complexity. The fact that official Chinese media have been mum about the July 9th shooting suggests that Beijing may wish to prevent the incident from deteriorating into a threat to regional stability. But with energy security a main objective of China’s current foreign policy, it’s anyone’s guess when the next flare-up will be.

Here's the location of the clash. Note its proximity to Malaysia and the Philippines and its distance from China:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/_300886_sprat300.gif

Srirangan
31 Jul 07,, 03:12
well, China's claim certainly has more historical legitimacy,because China has the longest history among those countries.

ROC and PRC both are the regimes of Chinese.their claim don't contradict each other.
Going by that logic Egypt and Iraq/Sumeria should have valid claim over all of the planet. Flawed, do better.

zraver
31 Jul 07,, 05:04
If a point is drawn in the middle of the islands and divided by borders that actually touch the region extending form the border to the center point China is cut out.

Chinese historical claims are bogus and rely on the factthat Chinese (not China) culture was the only one advanced enough to leave artifiacts. But the fishig gorunds were not ignored by other local peoples.

China wants the region for 2 reasons 1 Energy and to 2 outflank India strategically and so far China has not shied away from being an imperialist bully. Long term this is good for the US beucase it will keep ASEAN in the US camp and help long term raproachment with Vietnam and alliance building with India.

xinhui
31 Jul 07,, 19:47
2 outflank India strategically

not everything PRC does is about India.........

xinhui
31 Jul 07,, 19:54
how do you explain ROC's claim?

Zhang Fei
31 Jul 07,, 20:34
how do you explain ROC's claim?I don't think anyone's ever said that this was specifically a Communist claim. Heck, the ROC (Taiwanese) map of Chinese territory includes Mongolia. And the Qing dynasty claimed Great Britain as a tributary state, demanding trembling obedience to the dragon throne. So what? Overweening arrogance is an ancient Chinese tradition. I've always maintained that China is a threat to its neighbors not because it is Communist, but because it is China, the original home of imperial hauteur and pitiless barbarian pacification campaigns. Democracy may temper that somewhat, if that ever happens. China's neighbors can only hope.

zraver
31 Jul 07,, 21:53
2 outflank India strategically

not everything PRC does is about India.........

about India and with India in consideration are two different things. India, Japan, and the US are China's main pacfic side strategic concerns.

xinhui
31 Jul 07,, 22:05
Zhang Fei

that is one racist statement you make.


zraver,

I recommend some history on the issue before you make such a claim.


Good days, gents.

zraver
31 Jul 07,, 23:07
what exactly is wrong with my statements oh enlightened one? Do you really propose that China does not take the combined naval and aerial might of the US, India, and Japan into consideration? 15 carriers, well over 2000 long range 4.5 gen fighters, a couple dozen 5 gen figthers, nearly 100 submarines, and effective hegemonic blockade at will of the critical commerce/oil lanes to the Indian ocean, plus of course nuclear wepaons and support for Taiwan and the unresolved colonial era border issues.

Nope China doesn't give any of those things even a passing thought.

xinhui
31 Jul 07,, 23:16
my point is that both PRC and ROC claims of South China sea existed long before the current security situation. The first naval crash between PLAN and South Vietnam Navy happened in 1974.

This thread is about Spratly islands, let's focus on that.

Zeng
01 Aug 07,, 01:28
Chinese historical claims are bogus and rely on the factthat Chinese (not China) culture was the only one advanced enough to leave artifiacts. But the fishig gorunds were not ignored by other local peoples.
zraver sir, The dear neighbors of China may feel offended by your comment like that :biggrin:



China wants the region for 2 reasons 1 Energy and to 2 outflank India strategically and so far China has not shied away from being an imperialist bully. Long term this is good for the US beucase it will keep ASEAN in the US camp and help long term raproachment with Vietnam and alliance building with India.

I feel a little bit funny that China is accused by an American for being “imperialist bully” ;)

zraver sir, Do you really think that it is necessary for US to build an alliance with so many countries to contain China? I didn't think that China has become such a power that deserves so much attention at least not in 30 to 50 years. If big Uncle Sam really needs to make so much effort to contain China, I will start to feel a little bit proud :tongue:

zraver
01 Aug 07,, 04:27
zraver sir, The dear neighbors of China may feel offended by your comment like that :biggrin:

nevertheless China's claims rely on ancietn maps and artifacts to over coem the fact that China doe snot directly border the area.




I feel a little bit funny that China is accused by an American for being “imperialist bully” ;)

Tibet, Vietnam, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Russia, Mongolia, its own native non-han population these are all disputes since 49 some resolved peacefully, most not resovled or not done so peacefully.



zraver sir, Do you really think that it is necessary for US to build an alliance with so many countries to contain China? I didn't think that China has become such a power that deserves so much attention at least not in 30 to 50 years. If big Uncle Sam really needs to make so much effort to contain China, I will start to feel a little bit proud :tongue:

Yes, 1.6 billion people witha racist outlook, and a massive manufacturing base with several on going disputes and a history of provocative acts. Better to build the allaince now then need it later and not have time to build it.

xinhui
02 Aug 07,, 17:58
Yes, 1.6 billion people witha racist outlook


Looks like the cat is out of the bag.




China Racks Up Points as Bush Team Snubs Asia: William Pesek
Bloomberg.com: Opinion (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_pesek&sid=aTDisJBzTkY8)
By William Pesek

Enlarge Image
George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- First came word that George W. Bush was blowing off Southeast Asia. Then Condoleezza Rice did the same. Next comes counting the costs of the U.S. ignoring the world's most vibrant economic region.

U.S. President Bush last month postponed talks with Southeast Asian leaders in September in Singapore. A week later, Secretary of State Rice scrapped her trip to Manila, where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is meeting this week.

ASEAN confabs often are inane talkfests that achieve little. If the average American knows about the group, it may be from viewing the YouTube clip of Rice's predecessor, Colin Powell, singing the Village People's ``YMCA'' at a 2004 ASEAN gathering. And Bush and Rice are focused on shoring up support for the war in Iraq.

Yet now is hardly the time for the U.S. to be slighting and alienating Asia's fast-growing economies. U.S. complacency toward Asia is enabling China to make greater inroads into a region that once was near the top of America's commercial and foreign-policy agendas.

China has been beset by bad public relations of late. Its product-safety scandal is a case in point. So are concerns that worsening pollution will derail the economy. And then, there are the actual growth figures. China advanced 11.9 percent in the second quarter, fanning concerns about overheating.

Asian Trade

For now, though, rapid Chinese growth is proving to be far more of a blessing than a curse for Southeast Asia. At a time when U.S. trade with ASEAN has barely budged since 2000, China is blanketing the region with an aggressive charm offensive.

Once upon a time, Japan was the big Asian power and, statistically speaking, it still should be. A $2.6 trillion economy would seem no match for Japan's $4.5 trillion worth of output. Chinese growth, though, has become far more important to Asian neighbors. Over the last seven years alone, China's trade with ASEAN's 10 member countries has more than doubled.

Five years ago, Asian leaders viewed China as a threat; now the focus is on riding its boom. China's growing economic, cultural and military influence is impossible to miss traveling around the region these days.

That's not to say China's rise is all good. Cheap labor and loose environmental standards mean China is a tough place with which to compete. An undervalued yuan comes with costs to Asian neighbors experiencing a big increase in their currencies. The Thai baht, for example, is up almost 20 percent versus the U.S. dollar this year. The Philippine peso is up 8 percent.

China's Rise

Asia's developing economies also may be relying too much on another developing one. While we are all used to China beating the odds and avoiding a crash, Asia's No. 2 economy faces daunting -- and growing -- risks.

China needs rapid growth to reduce poverty and dispose of bad loans in the banking system, while also cooling things down to avoid inflation and asset bubbles. It must keep pollution from overwhelming its outlook and figure out how to build a market economy while limiting free expression. Lots could go wrong in China.

At the moment, China is investing in Asia and becoming a viable trading partner where the U.S. once dominated. Supporters will say Bush and Rice are distracted by events in Iraq. Yet that's just the point. Bush's foreign-policy blunders are taking energy and attention away from where they should be.

U.S. Is Distracted

This is the second time in three years Rice has snubbed Southeast Asia. The region, let's remember, holds massive amounts of Treasuries, reducing U.S. interest rates. It boasts many of the most lucrative markets and is home to a number of geopolitically vital nations with which the U.S. should be building deeper ties.

Such inattention has enabled China to fill the void. ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong says a free-trade agreement with China is on track to be completed in 2010. The U.S., by contrast, ``is terribly distracted by other things,'' Ong says.

It's odd, really. U.S. officials are increasingly worried about China's military spending and global aspirations. This week's 27-member ASEAN Regional Forum offers a perfect opportunity to engage Asia. Instead, the U.S. is essentially forfeiting the event to an ascendant China.

When the Bush administration has engaged Asia it has been all terrorism all the time. Security is important to Asians, though it's hardly the main issue on their minds. Most care just as much about raising living standards. And the U.S. Treasury seems to have become an all-China-all-the-time operation. It's obsessed with the yuan at the expense of all else in Asia.

Wrong Impressions

Two decades from now, when the Bush administration's legacy is debated by historians, how the U.S. lost Asia will probably receive prominent attention.

The U.S. is by far the world's largest economy and it's likely to hold that title 20 years from now. Yet the Asian vacuum of the Bush years is doing potentially irreparable harm in a region still smarting over the 1997-1998 crisis.

Back then, a slow response to meltdowns in Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea convinced many that the U.S. didn't care about Asia. Justified or not, that impression persists today. By sending deputy John Negroponte in her place to Manila, Rice is buttressing the perception the U.S. is turning its back on the world's most promising economies.

To contact the writer of this column: William Pesek in Tokyo at wpesek@bloomberg.net

astralis
02 Aug 07,, 18:02
zraver,


Yes, 1.6 billion people witha racist outlook, and a massive manufacturing base with several on going disputes and a history of provocative acts.

so, all chinese have a racist outlook, yes? pardon me, but that sentence sounds...could it be...rather racist.

:mad:

Rockrocks
03 Aug 07,, 01:24
The day is not come that China stratically NEEDED the spartly islands.

Zeng
03 Aug 07,, 01:51
Yes, 1.6 billion people witha racist outlook,

zraver,

Your above statement is a racist comment toward Chinese people and can not be justified.

captchasep
03 Aug 07,, 08:30
The author of this article proposes a solution that may appeal to those inclined to liberalism. Long but there's a picture on page three that pretty much summerizes the paper. I guess a picture's worth 28 pages of words...The conclusion:


It is predicted that some kind of joint development, in no matter what form,
can be arranged for the disputed area in the South China Sea provided that all
the interested parties have the intention and good will to exert necessary
efforts in reaching the agreement.

I say it's never going to happen but it's the only solution I've heard in this whole thread.

xinhui
01 Feb 08,, 00:38
China Brief
Volume 8, Issue 3 (January 31, 2008) | Download PDF Version

Taiwan Lands on the Spratlys

By Russell Hsiao
On January 21, the Taiwan-based newspaper United Daily News reported that a C-130 transport aircraft in the Taiwan (ROC) Air Force conducted a one-day mission to the Spratly Islets, whose sovereignty is contested by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia and the Philippines (United Daily News [Taiwan], January 21). The mission's purpose is to test Taiwan's recently completed 3,795-feet landing strip on the fortified Taiping islet, whose completion was confirmed by Taiwan Minister of Defense Lee Tien-yu on January 29 (Wen Wei Pao, January 30). The project began in mid-2006 but its progress has largely been kept carefully under wraps by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense.

The route that Taiwanese military aircrafts use to reach the islets passes through an area of the Philippine's air information zone. The Taiwan-based newspaper Liberty Times reported that Taiwan obtained approval for passage from the Philippine Authorities for the purpose of "humanitarian rescue" (rendao jiuyuan) training, however, the Philippine's de facto embassy in Taiwan denied that the embassy ever received any such request (Liberty Times [Taiwan], January 30; Central News Agency [Taiwan], January 30).

According to the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, the landing strip reflects and strengthens Taiwan's sovereignty over the disputed islets. Moreover, the facility will allow Taiwan to demonstrate its capacity to be a constructive member in the global village, since the Ministry claims that the troops and facilities located on the islet will be able to provide logistic and emergency support to passing commercial ships and aircraft that encounter a crisis within its proximity. The Ministry insists that the strip would be used primarily for maritime rescue use and not for any offensive preparations for war (ETtoday [Taiwan], January 25).

Taiwanese newspapers widely speculate that President Chen Shui-bian will make a trip to the Spratly Islets either prior to the island's March 22 presidential elections or possibly even before the Lunar New Year, which starts on February 7. According to a report carried by the Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Pao, Defense Minister Lee reportedly stated that he is ready to prepare for such a visit, but has to receive a specific directive from President Chen (Wen Wei Pao, January 30). The idea was reportedly discussed between Defense Minister Lee and President Chen during a meeting on January 21 (China Times, January 24). President Chen makes annual visits to the Taiwan-administered islands of Kinmen and Matsu, as well as other military facilities to boost troop morale stationed along Taiwan's frontline to China. The Ministry of Defense insists that such a proposed trip should be considered as a routine inspection of military units.
Experts on military affairs speculate that since the F-16s' fuel capacity is incapable of making the full length of the islet trip to escort the president, which is some 960 miles from Taiwan's southern Kaohsiung city, the navy would probably send a Kidd-class destroyer to escort the president's aircraft for the remaining 155 miles to the islet (China Times, January 24; United Daily News [Taiwan], January 20).



Find this article at:

Taiwan Lands on the Spratlys (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373934)

1 Observer
01 Feb 08,, 01:38
zraver,

Your above statement is a racist comment toward Chinese people and can not be justified.

So, then ... It was wrong?

xinhui
01 Feb 08,, 04:46
1 O,

if you don't know there is something wrong with "that" statement, I really don't know what to say.

1 Observer
01 Feb 08,, 13:40
Insensitive ... rude?
I'm not debating "that" ... I don't have much time for national "feelings"
Was it wrong?
Lets move along to the "history" part ... I'm hazy ... Are America and Brittain the only Imperialist dogs?

bolo121
01 Feb 08,, 14:08
Hmmm well speaking from personal experience way back when i was in uni
20 out of my class of 32 were chinese. I have never met such stuck up people and such ill concealed arrogance before in my life.
Heck i actually got on fine with the white folk.

T_igger_cs_30
01 Feb 08,, 14:12
Hmmm well speaking from personal experience way back when i was in uni
20 out of my class of 32 were chinese. I have never met such stuck up people and such ill concealed arrogance before in my life.
Heck i actually got on fine with the white folk.

Interesting comment, have had similar experiences in the professional world with Chinese

Officer of Engineers
01 Feb 08,, 14:20
Insensitive ... rude?
I'm not debating "that" ... I don't have much time for national "feelings"
Was it wrong? Of course it's wrong.


Lets move along to the "history" part ... I'm hazy ... Are America and Brittain the only Imperialist dogs?

Loaded question. There is no doubt China has experienced imperialism both as a victim and as a victor but by far, Chinese expansion has been historically limited to the Asian continent. Neither India nor China saw anything of worth in the rest of the world.

1 Observer
01 Feb 08,, 14:32
Wait up guys! I have noted some evidence of ethnocentricity absolutely every where I have been (deployed) I'd say it's normal ... furthermore, some "peoples'" sense of national pride may miscontrued as ... well, Iether that or Chinnese just don't like any one else iether. French seem to posses a distain for, me you, maybe them too. Americans get the nod for the R word towards non whites ... Her Majesties subjects ... well we all know they wrote the book on being called Haughty ... Russians? Every shade of color has its view, in both dirrections ... correction all 3 (or more)
watch this
....I'm going to "count coup" on this hornets nest ...
Racism is when any one of an ethnisity, other that of the accused's, takes offence, to any observation made.
Like I said, I don't have time for national "feelings" We can leave that to the touchy feely, more liberal types.
So! if they squawk ... Blame it all on insensitivty, (the type brought on by accute enviromental reaction syndrome )
Tell'em you've been afflicted (all that traumma right?) with Tourrets, and shout ...Shee-yuhtup! Just answer the fooking kwezshuns!

T_igger_cs_30
01 Feb 08,, 14:40
Wait up guys! I have noted some evidence of ethnocentricity absolutely every where I have been (deployed) I'd say it's normal ... furthermore, some "peoples'" sense of national pride may miscontrued as ... well, Iether that or Chinnese just don't like any one else iether. French seem to posses a distain for, me you, maybe them too. Americans get the nod for the R word towards non whites ... Her Majesties subjects ... well we all know they wrote the book on being called Haughty ... Russians? Every shade of color has its view, in both dirrections ... correction all 3 (or more)
watch this
....I'm going to "count coup" on this hornets nest ...
Racism is when any one of an ethnisity, other that of the accused's, takes offence, to any observation made.
Like I said, I don't have time for national "feelings" We can leave that to the touchy feely, more liberal types.
So! if they squawk ... Blame it all on insensitivty, (the type brought on by accute enviromental reaction syndrome )
Tell'em you've been afflicted (all that traumma right?) with Tourrets, and shout ...Shee-yuhtup! Just answer the fooking kwezshuns!

Settle down old chap, no need for hysterics, best engage brain a little before opening your "norf & sarf", not having time for "national feelings" may get you branded something more than being a racist ! and that could have far reaching effects....TTFN ;)

1 Observer
01 Feb 08,, 15:54
Settle down old chap, no need for hysterics, best engage brain a little before opening your "norf & sarf", not having time for "national feelings" may get you branded something more than being a racist ! and that could have far reaching effects....TTFN ;)

Dear Sirs: Zeng_xinren & xinhui:
I now see the error of my comments. It at once, becomes evident that I owe you an apology: I freely and unreservedly do retract them and that without coercion.
Hence, do I offer my humblest apologies and sincerest regrets the incident ever occurred.
From this post forth, I do also pledge, to keep far greater reign over my observations, and shall indeed cease and desist from the utterance of future thoughtless or inflammatory comments.
I look forward, in the spirit of cooperation, to continued mutual benefit from the commerce between our respective countries.