World View: China Claims Sovereignty Over South China Sea Region

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • China's neighbors express alarm over militant new South China Sea policy
  • China conducts drills to prepare for new military policy in South China Sea
  • Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rally to support Morsi and Sharia law
  • Egypt's Morsi calls for constitutional referendum on December 15
  • Kim Kardashian starts a riot in Bahrain

China's neighbors express alarm over militant new South China Sea policy

China's '9-dash map' stamped into its passports (Reuters)
China's '9-dash map' stamped into its passports (Reuters)

China's neighbors are expressing alarm over China's belligerent new actions in claiming sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, including regions that historically belonged to other countries, including Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. China's new passports contain the "nine-dash map," a map that China uses to designate its claims with nine dashes circling the entire South China Sea. As I reported reported two days ago, China is now sending warships to the South China Sea and is preparing to board and take control of any ship in what china considers to be its sovereign "territorial waters." The Philippines, which refuses to recognize the new Chinese passport, is saying that China's new military policy is a violation of international laws. One senior Philippine naval officer has a different explanation:

"Those warnings [by China] are not directed at us. They might be trying to find out how far the United States would react because this could affect freedom of navigation in one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. If this is an official policy announced by Beijing, this is very serious and a cause of concern."

This may be just wishful thinking on the part of the Philippine official. It was just eight months ago that the Philippines were forced to back down in a naval confrontation with China over the Scarborough Shoal, some islands that are clearly the Philippines' sovereign territory. (See "8-Jul-12 World View -- China escalates military buildup in South China Sea")

Indonesia does not have a claim to the region, but it has been trying to act as a mediator in setting a Code of Conduct for China and its neighbors. The Indonesian government is now saying that unilateral actions by the China are exacerbating territorial disputes. According to Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa:

"We perceive the Chinese move as disingenuous, like testing the water, to see its neighbors’ reactions.

They can issue [the nine-dash map] but it will have no effect.

Indonesia’s focus will not be shifted [by any unilateral move]. We should concentrate on the completion of the Code of Conduct. I hope that we, ASEAN and China can focus on dialogue."

Reuters and Jakarta Post

China conducts drills to prepare for new military policy in South China Sea

A fleet of China's naval warships on Saturday morning carried out drills in the South China Sea to prepare for the new military policy of boarding and seizing ships of other nations that enter what China claims are its "territorial waters." China has not clarified the interpretation of its new military policy, and whether they will board and seize ordinary commercial ships passing through the South China Sea, which is one of the busiest commercial routes in the world. China Daily and Zee News (India)

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rally to support Morsi and Sharia law

After several days of protests in opposition to Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi and his recent constitutional decree granting himself dictatorial powers, pro-Morsi demonstrators finally came out to protest. More than three hundred thousand demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday to support Morsi and his constitutional decree, and to demand the implementation of Islamic Sharia law in the new constitution. One demonstrator, a Salafist, said that he was calling for the implementation of "God's Law":

"It's like a refrigerator that comes with its manual; when God created us, our manual was the Quran and the Sunna [the prophet Mohamed's teachings], and they are what we must follow.

He added that Morsi's recent decisions are an example of the enforcement's of God's law.

The protests began near Cairo University. In the evening, hundreds of Islamists marched onto the High Constitutional Court (HCC), which is expected to issue its verdict on the constitutionality of the Constituent Assembly, which wrote the new constitution. Al-Ahram (Cairo)

Egypt's Morsi calls for constitutional referendum on December 15

Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi announced on nationwide television on Saturday that he's calling for a referendum on December 15 to ratify the draft constitution that was just put forward by the Constituent Assembly. Popular opinion is split between Islamists and Salafists who favor ratification on the one hand, and the liberal and secularist opposition who oppose ratification. Morsi has promised to rescind the constitutional decree giving himself dictatorial powers if the draft constitution is ratified. For this reason, some analysts are predicting that many in the opposition will vote to ratify the constitution, rather than continue under a government with Morsi as dictator. Al-Ahram (Cairo)

Kim Kardashian starts a riot in Bahrain

Kim Kardashian poses with a young Bahraini boy in Riffa, Bahrain, on Saturday (AP)
Kim Kardashian poses with a young Bahraini boy in Riffa, Bahrain, on Saturday (AP)

Thousands of Kim Kardashian fans, who had paid up to 500 Bahraini dinars ($1,360) a ticket, broke into hysterical screams as the 32-year-old celebrity launched the Millions of Milkshakes franchise inside a mall in Riffa, the second largest city in Bahrain. However, about 100 Sunni Salafists demonstrated with banners against the visit, saying she was "an actress with an extremely bad reputation." Kardashian made glowing remarks about Bahrain, calling it "the prettiest place on earth." Reuters and Daily Mail (London)


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