Home / Culture and Society / China Promises Peace While Sailors Say They Are Being Fired Upon

China Promises Peace While Sailors Say They Are Being Fired Upon

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China is speaking out of both sides of its proverbial mouth. China loudly declares that it has no violent intent in an area which includes the Philippines, islands of Vietnam, and others, yet China has taken very provocative, even warlike action in South China Sea waters (also called the West Philippine Sea).

Speaking in Singapore, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said that “China is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.” In a speech to an Asian security summit in Singapore, in response to allegations of Chinese military aggression in the South China Sea, he made the claim that freedom of navigation and overflight in that region had never been impeded  .

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs sent a message to the Chinese embassy on June 2, 2011, protesting activities of Chinese vessels, citing repeated incidents of Chinese aircraft and naval vessels entering Philippine territory and taking provocative acts, including the use of naval gunfire, against unarmed fishing vessels. In March of 2011, the Philippines filed a protest with the United Nations regarding Chinese vessels harassing a survey vessel in the same area. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said these actions by China hamper “normal and legitimate fishing activities of the Filipino fishermen… and undermine the peace and stability of the region.” They said such behavior could lead to “unfortunate incidents.”

China’s provocations are not limited to the Philippines. In the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, on Sunday, June 05, students and other young people demonstrated near the Chinese Embassy carrying signs reading, “Stop Chinese Invasion of Vietnam’s Islands.” Demonstrators sang the Vietnamese national anthem as they marched through the streets of Hanoi. The specific charge is that on May 26, China destroyed a cable on a Vietnamese state owned boat, representing PetroVietnam, and doing seismic research.

The government of Vietnam is concerned that China is upgrading its navy destroyers and frigates so they can “sail further and strike harder.”  China may be preparing an aircraft carrier, according to the Vietnamese.

China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia and Brunei have competing claims to various parts of the waters, including the potentially resource-rich Spratly islands, the Paracel Island area, and adjacent waters. Documents regulating these areas include the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Part 5, Article 55, which discusses overlapping claims in that region. The document most mentioned in the current discussions is a 2002 agreement signed by China and the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states which is mild and may be difficult to enforce. After reaffirming a commitment to the 1982 agreement, the 2002 declaration stresses such ideals as “The promotion of a peaceful, friendly and harmonious environment” and “mutual trust between the two sides” and emphasizes hopes that the parties concerned “undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”

The overall issue has to hinge on the vast superiority of the Chinese Navy, the helplessness of the island nations and Vietnam, and most importantly, on the matter of the rich undersea deposits of mineral wealth that may be involved.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Glenn Contrarian

    When I first heard about all the different nations claiming the Spratly Islands – this was maybe fifteen years ago – I knew then that sooner or later the Chinese would take it. Neither Vietnam nor the Philippines – nor the other claimants who include (IIRC) Malaysia and Indonesia – will be able to stop the Chinese even if they all banded together.

    To make matters worse, I strongly doubt America will interfere at all, and certainly not on the side of those opposing China.

    IMO, the other nations should realize that while their national pride demands they at least appear to try to keep the Spratlys, it would be wiser for each of them to approach Beijing and essentially sell their respective claims on the Spratlys for a few billion USD each…and the way to sell this would be to show the Chinese that it’s cheaper to buy than to take.

    And then the first nation – most likely Vietnam or the Philippines – to leap to provide services and logistical support for the Chinese oil industry in the Spratlys…would be the one that would make the most profit.

    Sometimes pride is important – but here, pragmatism is paramount.

  • Mitchel Eisenstein

    China must be stopped. China is the new United States in that it is a marriage of Communism and Capitalism with the Abortion of freedom and the rebirth of world tyranny as its Child. China is businesses dream come true; the enforcement of low wages and high profits without any social contract other than whats written by a corrupt government who works hand in hand with business to finance its growth. We are at war with China and Wall Street run amok. The people need to take down this two headed medusa run by Hedge fund owners in Manhatten and Generals in China.

  • John Lake

    A June 7 report from Reuters indicates that the Philippine Government is concerned about the Chinese show of force in the South China Sea, and is hopeful for intervention from the United States. In a carefully worded statement, that government maintained that “A U.S. military presence in the South China Sea can help protect rights of smaller countries”.
    Philippine Secretary of Defense, Voltaire Gazmin reminds us that United States “has a stake in the stability, security and freedom of the world’s second-busiest sea lane.”
    An article in the Vietnamese news source, Phayul, includes the words, “The region is observed by many as a possible flash point in the future for US-China military rivalry.”
    The area in the South China Sea has traditionally, and by some documentation (see above article) been used by China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. The area is described as having “huge deposits” of oil and natural gas.
    The United States presence in the region includes only forward bases used by American Military ships during drills with Southeastern Asian allies. The United States regularly makes visits to the Philippians as U.S. Military vessels pass through the South China Sea. U.S. presence in this area has declined since 1992.
    On Saturday U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates used the phrase “increasing concerns” in discussing the Chinese provocations. Secretary Gates acknowledges the weak documentation and treaty history of the area. “I fear that without rules of the road and agreed approaches to dealing with these problems that there will be clashes.”
    Gates was asked if the Chinese words and actions were contradictory; he said, “I don’t think it has risen to that level yet”.
    China meanwhile has clarified the Chinese position. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made a statement that Beijing has “indisputable sovereignty” in the area.
    “China and Vietnam have reached a number of important understandings on appropriately resolving the Spratlys issue and protecting the stability of the South China Sea, and we hope that Vietnam will make real efforts to implement these understandings”. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said, “attempts to complicate the situation there [the area in question] run contrary to the will of the international community”.

  • China speaks with forked tongue!

  • John Lake

    An accurate and descriptive interpretation!