Lessons from Paracels Pt XI: The Panda Strip in Nine-Dash-Line

China is apparently building a military installation in disputed island of multi-claimants Spratlys, which is supposed to be deep in the Philippines EEZ as defined under United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

The Independent story (taken from Associated Press)

What is China building on this tiny island? Philippines government releases image of reclamation in the South China Sea

Government not clear what China would build on the reclaimed land, with an airstrip a possibility
OLIVER TEVES MANILA Thursday 15 May 2014

China PLA N building an air strip on the atolls which is clearly deep within the philippines' EEZ, as defined by UNCLOS

China PLA N building an air strip on the atolls which is clearly deep within the philippines’ EEZ, as defined by UNCLOS

The Philippine government on Thursday released military surveillance photos of Chinese land reclamation on a reef claimed by Manila in the South China Sea that it said showed Beijing violated a regional agreement not to escalate territorial disputes.

Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Charles Jose said the pictures show Chinese aggressiveness in asserting its claims over the entire South China Sea.

The aerial photographs were accompanied by a caption stating that they were obtained from “Philippine intelligence sources.” The caption said the “extensive reclamation” by China on the Johnson South Reef, called Mabini by Manila and Chigua by Beijing, was “destabilizing.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila had no immediate comment, but a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing has said that the area is part of China’s territory, and that any Chinese activities at the reef should be of no concern to Manila.

Jose noted that a 2002 nonbinding agreement between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations calls for restraint in conducting activities in the region that would “complicate or escalate disputes” and to not inhabit uninhabited areas

“We want to show people that (China’s) actions are part of its aggressive behavior to assert its claim in violation of the DOC,” or Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which was signed by China, Philippines and nine other ASEAN members, Jose said.

Chinese-made structures stand on the Johnson Reef, called Mabini by the Philippines and Chigua by China, in the Spratly Islands in South China Sea (AP) Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said a stronger accord and international arbitration would offer more lasting solutions to the territorial conflicts. A proposed legally binding “code of conduct” between China and Southeast Asian countries is seen as a mechanism to prevent a major armed conflict in the disputed waters. Manila sought international arbitration against Beijing in January 2013 after Chinese government ships took control of a shoal claimed by the Philippines off its main island of Luzon.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Wednesday that it was not clear what China would build on the reclaimed land, but that an airstrip was a possibility.

A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the issue, said it could also be used as a military base and a resupply and refueling hub. The official said the reclamation was first detected by air force planes six months ago.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippine military has been monitoring Chinese activities at the reef for several months. “For whatever purpose (the reclamation was done) we still do not know, but we are almost sure that there will be a base,” he told reporters Thursday.

An airstrip or a military base on the reef would boost the mobility of Beijing’s naval and air forces in the South China Sea region, far from the Chinese mainland.

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose accused China of ‘aggressive behaviour’ (AP) The pictures showed “before-and-after” images — from an untouched reef in 2012, followed by another showing a concrete building jutting out of the water, and the reclaimed land two years later. Philippine aircraft helping search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane in March reported reclamation work was continuing, Jose said.

Del Rosario said Manila lodged a protest against China last month, but that Beijing has ignored it.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing on Wednesday that the reef was part of China’s territory and any construction there is covered by its “sovereignty rights.”

The Philippine government estimates that the Chinese have reclaimed a land mass of at least 30 hectares (74 acres) from the reef, which Manila says is part of its western Palawan province. What has emerged from the coral outcrop appears like a vast tree-less island of white sand in the middle of turquoise blue waters.

One of the released pictures shows a long pipe connected to a large dredging vessel on the northwestern edge of the reef. A concrete building, likely to be China’s outpost on the reef, stands on the southern edge of the emerging islet. A ship is anchored close by.

The reef, part of the Spratly Islands chain, is also claimed by Vietnam, which fought a deadly naval battle against China in the area in 1988.



It is very obvious that China is on empire expanding mode and they are really to take by force without having any shred decency to observe and reapect the UNCLOS and the DOC signed with ASEAN in November 2002 in Phnom Penh.

They were adamant to stake their claim, based on the unsubstantiated imaginary ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ and their strategy is get the aggrieved ASEAN member to go face-to-face bilateral talks to resolve China’s aggression, China is not interested to have a group dialogues for the multilateral claims and even go to UN ICJ.

Published in: on May 16, 2014 at 04:00  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is too much. Extremely provocative. Highly ultra kiasu. Reflecting the DAP and the Tsunami Chinese thinking and attitude in this country. Wanting more, more and more endlessly. Not thinking about the rights and opportunities of the others, including those who have a Special Position in this country.

    The mainland Chinese are still communists. Looks like communist terrorists of the Chin Peng variety aided by Mao Zedong. Watch out folks.

    Let’s roll out the usual and/or new arguments for getting our country properly aligned with one of the Super Powers, for we don’t have any power relative to the nasty PLA Navy etc. The most logical is the US. You may think of others but the British is not that super any more. Now a “reluctant Super Power”, diminishing role in, if not soon to be completely out of hot spots like Afghanistan.

    Poor Philippines. Let’s hope the US air and naval assets have started to amass sufficiently at the Clarke Air Force Base and Subic Naval Base in the Philippines. And both the Filipinos and the Americans show their forces around the construction site on the tiny island to protect the principle of the EEZ as defined under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas. And yet, bloody China is a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.

    Let’s keep on whacking and wanking the Chinese. And maybe pray that a huge tsunami will wash away the landing strip any time now and every time they repair it.

    • The American public places more importance on domestic issues than on international developments.

      And this is reflected in the priorities and agendas of the Democrats and Republicans in the US House of Representatives and Senate.

      US big business? They are more interested in getting the TPP FTA concluded, with more markets being opened to US companies and financial institutions. And more interested in doing business with China than with an Asean Economic Community.

      So, unless China directly attacks US military assets in the region, the US will just huff and puff away, and try to get Japan, India and South Korea to do the “heavy lifting”.

      Possibly the Chinese are too savvy to do this. All they have is to “slice and dice” within the region and play off one country against another.

      It’s going to be a torrid time, especially for Asean countries which have no strong domestic, Congressional, influential diaspora or big business support in the US.

  2. US must do more. They are the International Policeman we have to count on. Russia may not be suitable to do the job. What happens in Ukraine now leaves us a lot in doubt about their regard for international law,

    U.S. warns China its actions in sea disputes are straining relations

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China’s “provocative” actions in maritime disputes with its neighbours are straining ties with the United States, raising questions over how the world’s two biggest economies can work together, a senior U.S. official said.

    The strong comments from Washington come after deadly anti-China riots broke out in Vietnam in response to China towing an oil rig into a part of the South China Sea claimed by both Hanoi and Beijing.

    “This is raising some fundamental questions for us about China’s long-term strategic intentions,” the U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. He said Beijing’s move appeared to fit a “pattern” of advancing territorial claims through coercion and intimidation.

    The Philippines has said China is reclaiming land on a reef in the oil- and gas-rich South China Sea that both countries claim, and is building what appears to be an airstrip on it. It has offered the United States the use of an underdeveloped naval base on a nearby island to ensure U.S. warships can enter the vicinity.

    A belligerent Chinese general pointed the finger at Obama’s strategic shift toward Asia, saying it had encouraged countries such as Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines to make trouble with Beijing. Vietnam and China are now grappling with one of the worst breakdowns in relations since the neighbours fought a brief border war in 1979. But not much US action yet in the South China Sea.

    Hello US, more action, less rhetoric, please.

    • It’s all a big wayang actually.

      The US and China will be two global “hegemons”, with Japan, India, S Korea and the EU reduced to the status of ” minor hegemons” or “bit players”.

      Asean? Well, it has to latch on to the apron strings of one of the two global ” hegemons”.

      And pray that it’s interests don’t get sacrificed in the “hegemons'” global power games!

      • The first “innocent”, non-offensive, plainly dissenting comment I come across from you.

        Leading to a pleasant blogging atmosphere among us.

        Well done, mate. Let’s maintain this atmosphere.

      • No worries, mate. We live and learn.

        While we may agree to disagree on racial, religious and socioeconomic matters within the country, all of that should be put aside in the face of existentialist external threats to Malaysia.

        But look around you. Every Asean country is seemingly doing it’s own thing.

        And this is where China gets to “slice and dice”, as Helena J posted.

        I, for one, will be interested to see where India goes after a landslide victory for Modi and the BJP. Can we expect a more ” muscular” foreign and defence policy from India, or will Modi’s rightwing ultra-Hindu nationalist views cause concern in the region?

        The last thing we need is ultra nationalists to be in power, both in China and India.

        Especially when the US is more caught up in it’s domestic agendas and politics!

  3. Now they have a forward base for their fighter jets

    • But the US have their bases in nearby Philippines, also in Guam, and have troops in South Korea.

      And not sure what developed from this bit of news in 2004 –

      US-Japan to Establish Military Base Near Taiwan
      Oct 14, 2004 – US Reportedly Eyes Island Near Taiwan As Military Base … news site, ET Today, reported Wednesday that Japan and the U.S. had recently …

  4. “Malaysia Cautious In Dealing With Dispute In South China Sea – Hishammuddin

    KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 (Bernama) – Malaysia has always been cautious in dealing with maritime dispute in the South China Sea to reduce tension and to maintain peace in this region.

    Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said to this end, Malaysia and the other Asean countries need to work as one entity to preserve the security.

    “It is important for the Asean leadership to ensure that there is no miscalculation involved in the geo-political powers. We must decide our destiny so that it will be easier for us to avoid interference by any third party,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from the Australian Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs at Wisma Pertahanan, here today.

    He was commenting on the statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the importance for parties involved to reduce tension and find solution to dispute in the South China Sea after attending the Asean Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, yesterday.

    Hishammuddin said Malaysia could be the model in this matter (maritime dispute) via leadership including military cooperation and not just via political channels…..”. – Bernama


    con·fused, con·fus·ing, con·fus·es v.tr.

    a. To cause to be unable to think with clarity or act with intelligence or understanding; throw off.

    b. To cause to feel embarrassment.

    c. To mistake (for another): e.g. confused cowardice with patience.

    d. To make opaque; blur:

    “To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice”
    – Confucius

  5. […] part of South Vietnam. Recently, evidence demonstrated that China under the protection of PLAN is building an airstrip at Johnson South Reef, that is deep in the Philippines […]

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