Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unreasonable Behavior by China in South China Sea

The events of the past few days in the East Sea (South China Sea) are neither strange nor difficult to understand. They are a trick to take advantage of the new self-drawn border defined by the so-called 'cow tongue line' to take 80 percent of the 3,500,000 square kilometers of the territorial waters that Vietnam calls the East Sea.
Self-Drawn and Unrecognized Map
Based on their self-drawn and unrecognized map, they developed a strategy and act as if those sea borders had been accepted long ago, in some French-Manchurian treaty or the San Francisco Conference of 1951.
In the role of self-acclaimed master, every year they think up the 'fishing ban,' and hold military exercises in the sea areas they claim for themselves in spite of the fact that other countries, including Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam, have been in this sea area for a very long time.
In response to the disputes, ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries have shaken hands and come up with a joint declaration of conduct to show humanity, civilization, and friendliness while waiting for an acceptable solution agreed by the parties that have lived with overlapping continental shelves for generations.
Declaration of Conduct
ASEAN countries involved in the East Sea have behaved in a civilized manner, according to the 'Declaration of Conduct.' For example in 2009, Malaysia and Vietnam signed the joint submission of the continental shelves, which means that it was possible to discuss reasonably and to share like human beings. However, China strongly objected to Malaysia and Vietnam at that time and saw it as collusion.
Aware that outsiders were interfering and using the rule of 'might makes right,' ASEAN countries formally invited China to join the signing of the civilized and humane 'Declaration of Conduct' in 2002.
Through this declaration, ASEAN and China committed to resolve all territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to violence or the threat of violence, and committed to refrain from actions which may complicate the situation or exacerbate the disputes and have an impact on peace and stability.
They went ahead and signed, but in reality they act as if they had never signed the declaration. One day they impose a fishing ban, the next day a fisheries patrol, then maritime surveillance, then military exercises. They use their superior numbers and behave as if the entire vast territorial water is their own pond so they can freely conduct fisheries patrols and surveillance.
Continuous Probes
At the end of April last year, when three of Chinese fishery patrol ships inspected a Malaysian vessel, Malaysia sent a fighter jet to the scene. In March this year, when two Chinese patrol boats played the 'surveillance' game with a Philippine ship, the Philippines dispatched two armed OV-10 Propeller Aircraft, although they are a poor and weak country. After that incident the Philippine government submitted a complaint to the United Nations. Since then, Malaysia and the Philippines have gained some peace in this vast sea area.
These continuous 'probes' are aimed at gauging the reactions of each country. On his recent visit to the Philippines, the Chinese defense minister was questioned about the Chinese surveillance ships and the MIG-29 trespassing into Philippine territory. The Chinese minister denied it. 'It's not our plane. We suggest that you investigate its origin,' he said. He meant that it was a Malaysian Air Force plane.
The Chinese defense minister still has a sour taste about the Malaysian air force MIG-29 that buzzed a Chinese fishery patrol boat at 10:30 am on 29 April last year. Malaysia and the Philippines have woken up to the principle of going with the flow while waiting for the 'Declaration of Conduct' (DOC) to become a binding 'Code of Conduct' (COC) for the countries involved.

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