World View: U.S.-China Diplomacy over South China Sea Turns Vitriolic

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • U.S.-China diplomacy over South China Sea turns vitriolic
  • 400 die as illegal migrants flood into Italy from Libya
  • Illegal immigration from Mexico down sharply, but not for lack of trying

U.S.-China diplomacy over South China Sea turns vitriolic

One of China's planned artificial islands in the South China Sea
One of China’s planned artificial islands in the South China Sea

China is responding furiously to remarks by President Barack Obama that China has been using its “sheer size and muscle” to bully the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea:

We think this can be solved diplomatically, but just because the Philippines or Vietnam are not as large as China doesn’t mean that they can just be elbowed aside.

China’s Foreign Ministry called this “mind-boggling hypocrisy” by Obama, because “everybody can see who has the biggest size and muscle in the world.”

This is a sure sign that the Chinese are lying, because nobody is accusing China of bullying the U.S. The accusation is that China is bully the Philippines and Vietnam, an accusation that is sufficiently embarrassing to China that they chose to cover up their embarrassment by accusing the US of hypocrisy.

China continues to occupy regions in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to other countries, and continues a massive military to enforce its seizures. China has claimed the entire South China Sea, including regions historically belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. China’s claims are rejected by almost everyone outside of China, and China refuses to submit them to the United Nations court deciding such matters, apparently knowing that they would lose. Instead, China is becoming increasingly belligerent militarily, annexing other nations’ territories, and militarizing the entire sea.

In the latest developments, China has been building artificial islands in the South China Sea, in order to attack the Philippines, Vietnam, and other neighboring countries more quickly and violently. US Admiral Harry Harris, soon to take charge of the Pacific Command, told an Australian audience on March 31 that China was rapidly building “a Great Wall” of artificial islands in the South China Sea, totaling “roughly the size of Canberra’s Black Mountain Nature Reserve.” He said:

China is creating a great wall of sand with dredges and bulldozers over the course of months.

When one looks at China’s pattern of provocative actions towards smaller claimant states, the lack of clarity on its sweeping nine-dash line claim that is inconsistent with international law, and the deep asymmetry between China’s capabilities and those of its smaller neighbors – well, it’s no surprise that the scope and pace of building man-made islands raises serious questions about Chinese intentions.

According to a statement in Chinese state media:

As a matter of fact, Washington has long been adopting double standards on this issue, as it chooses to totally ignore the building work by other countries on islands owned by China, while showing “concerns” over China’s activities on islands and reefs over which it has indisputable sovereignty.

China has reiterated its adherence to the path of peaceful development and a defensive national defense policy, stressing that the construction work is ‘not targeted against any country.’

No other country in the region is building artificial reefs for military purposes, or indeed has the resources to do so. Not only does China not have “indisputable sovereignty,” their sovereignty is challenged by almost everyone outside of China. The United Nations has courts to resolve issues like this, but China is scared and frightened of using those courts because they know they would lose.

This increasingly vitriolic exchange of words is a major escalation in the situation, and a miscalculation by any party could trigger a military confrontation or a wider war.

China has been rapidly building its military for years with a variety of weapons and missile systems that have no other purpose than to preemptively strike American aircraft carriers, American military bases, and American cities. Generational Dynamics predicts that China is preparing to launch a pre-emptive full-scale nuclear missile attack on the United States. There is no guarantee that the United States will survive the subsequent world war. China Daily and Reuters and Sydney Morning Herald and The Diplomat

400 die as illegal migrants flood into Italy from Libya

A boat packed with 550 migrants, traveling from Libya to Italy on Tuesday, capsized, resulting in 400 deaths, many of them children. The 150 survivors were rescued and brought to a southern Italian port on Tuesday. This adds to the 500 previous migrant deaths so far this year, up from a total of 47 in the same time frame last year.

An enormous 280,000 migrants entered the EU illegally last year, and that number is surging sharply higher this year. In the waters off Sicily, as many as 8,480 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in the four days from Friday to Monday. They were rescued by boats from the Italian Coast Guard, assisted by the European Union’s Frontex border control boats, several commercial tugboats, and an Icelandic patrol boat. Aircraft and helicopters operated by the Coast Guard were brought in to help.

In one incident, the Icelandic vessel Tyr was already carrying 342 migrants from an earlier rescue operation, and was called on to help rescue 250 people aboard a second migrant vessel. After they were transferred to the rescue vessel, a speedboat approached the rescue vessel. Those onboard the speedboat fired several shots into the air, and then sped away with the empty migrant boat. This was the second time this year when the smugglers took back a smuggling vessel.

According to one official, “This is a sign that smugglers in Libya are running short of boats and are more willing to use weapons to recover those used to transport the migrants.” Times of Malta and VOA and Independent (Ireland) and Gazzetta Del Sud (Italy)

Illegal immigration from Mexico down sharply, but not for lack of trying

In the first six months of fiscal year 2015 (starting in October 2014), border agents captured 15,647 children traveling without parents crossing America’s southern border illegally. That is down 40% from the 28,579 apprehended at the same point in fiscal year 2014. The number of “family units” captured is down 30% from last year.

So the level of illegal immigration is down sharply, but not for lack of trying by the migrants. The reason is that tens of thousands of migrants who are trying to escape the violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are being stopped by Mexican police and deported back to their home countries. In 2014 alone, the United States provided a military aid package of $112 million to Mexico to help modernize and make more efficient Mexico’s border policing and militarization.

US law allows for quick deportation of Mexicans caught illegally trying to cross the border, and this has deterred a much larger wave of migrants from Mexico. But children coming from Central American countries are transferred to social workers at the Health and Human Services Department, which holds them until they can be placed with relatives or foster family sponsors. Some politicians are urging that the law be changed so that Central American migrant children are also quickly deported, but others are resisting this because of the level of violence in Central American countries. International Business Times and Washington Times and Al Jazeera

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, South China Sea, Philippines, Vietnam, Harry Harris, Australia, Libya, Italy, Iceland, Frontex, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras
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