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World View: China’s Military Deploys Bombers and Closes Part of the South China Sea

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • China makes more delusional claims about the South China Sea
  • China continues to operate within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
  • China’s military deploys bombers and closes part of the South China Sea

China makes more delusional claims about the South China Sea

China's map of countries supporting them (China Daily)
China’s map of countries supporting them (China Daily)

China state media has issued a report with a map claiming that 70 countries are supporting China’s position to reject last week’s decision handed down by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague. (See my detailed analysis of the Tribunal decision in “13-Jul-16 World View — Philippines humiliates China in harsh Hague Tribunal ruling over South China Sea”.)

The text in the map shown above says:

More than 70 countries have publicly voiced support for China’s position that South China Sea disputes should be resolved through negotiations and not arbitration. In contrast, just several countries, mainly the United States and its close allies, have publicly supported the Philippines and called for observing the ruling as legally binding.

Once again, China’s claims are totally delusional.

India, for example, most assuredly did not voice support for China’s claim that disputes should not be resolved through arbitration. According to a statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs:

India supports freedom of navigation and over flight, and unimpeded commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the UNCLOS. India believes that States should resolve disputes through peaceful means without threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability.

Sea lanes of communication passing through the South China Sea are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development. As a State Party to the UNCLOS, India urges all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans.

The Indian statement was very carefully worded so as not to strongly confront China, but it certainly did not reject arbitration.

Prior to the Tribunal ruling, China claimed that 60 countries were in “a chorus” that publicly endorsed China’s South China Sea position. The list was completely delusional.

According to an analysis by the the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 8 countries have publicly confirmed their support, 4 have denied Beijing’s claim of support, and 45 have remained publicly silent or have issued statements that are considerably vaguer than indicated by China. In contrast, 11 countries plus the European Union have said that the arbitral award will be legally binding and have called on both China and the Philippines to respect it.

After the Tribunal ruling, an analysis by Lowy Institute seems to indicate that China has fewer supporters today than before the ruling – not surprising in view of the clarity and presentation of evidence in the ruling. According to Lowy, only three countries now reject the ruling: China, Taiwan and Pakistan. 34 nations have publicly called for the ruling to be respected. Others have either said nothing, or acknowledged the ruling positively.

Also prior to the Tribunal ruling was issued, China released “evidence” of its claims that turned out to be a complete hoax. ( “22-Jun-16 World View — China’s ‘ironclad proof’ of South China Sea claims revealed as hoax”)

It’s all very strange. The Tribunal’s ruling is purely symbolic in the sense that it has no way to enforce its ruling. Militarily, China is ignoring the ruling anyway, as it prepares for war with its neighbors and with the United States.

Despite all that, China continues to behave in a highly emotional, irrational, panicky, nationalistic manner, issuing delusional and fabricated evidence to support claims that everybody knows are false claims.

This is what makes China so dangerous. They believe that the US has been weakened by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and too anxious to risk another war. This is a major historic mistake that they will regret. They claim to be “peace loving,” but the way the world works is that every leader goes to war by claiming to be “peace loving,” and blaming the other side. China Daily and India Ministry of External Affairs and Lowy Institute (Australia)

China continues to operate within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ)

China has claimed that the airstrips on their artificial islands in the Spratly Islands are for civilian aircraft, and they backed up their claims by reporting on two civilian flights, an Airbus A319 chartered by China Southern Airlines and a Boeing 737 by Hainan Airlines, that landed on the airstrips.

We are getting used to outright fabrications and lies from the Chinese, and no one seriously believes that these airstrips will be used only for commercial flights. It is generally thought that China is preparing for war with its neighbors, and that these airstrips will be used for military purposes.

The claim that the artificial islands have only commercial use is laughable. As one analyst wrote sarcastically, “The business plan for the Spratlys would be interesting to read. Perhaps the Chinese would allow Philippine civilian aircraft to land at Mischief Reef to boost revenue.”

One of China’s artificial islands is on Mischief Reef, which the Tribunal declared is part of the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ), according to last week’s decision handed down by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.

Indeed, Mischief Reef is 300 km (185 miles) west of the Philippines’ island of Palawan, but 1,100 km (685 miles) from China’s Hainan Island. So it’s entirely within the Philippines EEZ, and therefore the artificial islands that China built are now the legal property of the Philippines. Press Trust of India and Reuters

China’s military deploys bombers and closes part of the South China Sea

China announced that it will now deploy a combat air patrol with long range bombers in the South China Sea as “a regular practice.” According to the Chinese military, “The PLA Air Force will firmly defend national sovereignty, security and maritime interests, safeguard regional peace and stability, and cope with various threats and challenges.”

Separately, China’s maritime administration said that it is closing off a part of the South China Sea for military exercises this week.

China is in a highly nationalistic, emotional, anxious and dangerous state, and is rapidly increasing its military across the South China Sea, preparing for war with its neighbors and with the United States. AP and India Times

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Philippines, South China Sea, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Spratly Islands, Mischief Reef, India, Taiwan, Pakistan, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines
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