PM Najib: UNCLOS is the solution for ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

Chairman for ASEAN Summit 2015 Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak urges to quickly implement the Code of Conduct (based on Document of Conduct ASEAN inked which include China in Nov 2002 and UNCLOS 1982) to resolve the multiple claims of South China Sea or ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.

Channel News Asia story:

ASEAN needs to address China’s reclamation in disputed sea: Statement

By Melissa Goh, Malaysia Bureau Chief, Channel NewsAsia
POSTED: 28 Apr 2015 19:54

UPDATED: 28 Apr 2015 23:59 A day-late release of the concluding ASEAN summit statement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was stronger than expected on the South China Sea.

LANGKAWI: ASEAN needs to urgently address Beijing’s reclamation work in the South China Sea.

This was the key takeaway as Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak wrapped up a summit that focused on the issue as a potential threat to regional stability.

A day-late release of the concluding ASEAN summit statement by Prime Minister Najib Razak was stronger than expected on the South China Sea. It reflected concerns by the Philippines and Vietnam and was amended at the last minute and only released a day after the summit ended.

Analysts had expected the grouping to steer clear of comments about China, but Manila has warned that failure to call China to task over the reclamation work on islands it also claims would undermine ASEAN credibility and solidarity.

Najib denied that the issue has split the grouping. “I see there is strong ASEAN unity and solidarity, we may defer slightly in our approaches but we are all on the same page – the principles on how we deal with South China Sea.”

He said ASEAN would continue to engage China through non-confrontational means by adhering to international laws, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

ASEAN foreign ministers meanwhile are tasked to urgently address the issue and push for early conclusion of a code of conduct with China in the South China Sea.

But the Philippines still wants an international tribunal. “We are still pursuing our case for arbitration in a tribunal,” said Philippines Foreign Minister Alberto Rosario.

However, other member countries prefer a softer approach. “China is an important partner of ASEAN and ASEAN is an important partner for China. We will try to intensify our dialogue with China,” said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner. Two-way trade is targeted to reach US$1 trillion by 2020. Beijing in the past year has tried to improve ties with its ASEAN neighbours by unveiling plans for massive investment in Asian infrastructure.

ASEAN, Najib said, is supportive of China’s proposal to help build new overland and maritime trade routes between Asia and Europe under the one belt one road initiative.

– CNA/ec


We have had extensive and repetitive discussion here about the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ and China’s attitude and aggressive approach towards the motive of expanding its control and territorial claims all over South China Sea.

We would to add a commentator’s take on the matter and brief history on the development of the unsubstantiated claims by China:

“Simply put, if the Chinese have their way, we will lose about a quarter of our territory! Yet not much has been really made known to public, as if we can simply sweep this under the proverbial carpet. In comparison, we are so concerned about a bunch of rag tag fighters taking over a small kampung named Tanduo in Lahad Datu.

Much had been said about Chinese claims over most of South China Sea and how it is according to them, “indisputable based on historical facts and maps”.

Check out the following link to The Philippine’s Institute of Maritime and Ocean Affairs.

They took the pain to researched and published all these maps going back to 1136 AD where a stone etched map from Fuchang, China made during the Song Dynasty. The map titled ‘Hua Yi Tu’ or ‘Map of China and the Barbarian Countries’ was published in the 1900s and is now in the Forest of Stone Steles Museum in Xi’an, China. (Yup – they call everybody else “barbarian”).

This and another 71 maps, including 15 maps from China itself consistently show Hainan Island as the southernmost territory of China. On the other hand the sometimes 10 dash line, sometime 11 dash line and more recently 9 dash line is only based on some Chinese idiot’s sketch in 1947. It is only officially lodged (vaguely and not in compliance with UNCLOS or international standard and norm) to the UN in 2009!!

The Chinese “Historical Facts” is just a Giant Historical Lies!! Yet they have no qualm pushing their way and pretending like they are in the right.”

Published in: on April 29, 2015 at 12:47  Comments (8)  

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  1. If you care to analyst carefully; those Aseans countries which are at loggerhead with China are staunch allies of the US. Almost all of them have American Military or Naval Base on their land. China also had maritime disputes with Japan, Korea and of-course, Taiwan too. All are allies of and armed by the US.
    Malaysia adopted a ‘non-aligned’ stance towards super-power’s fight for world dominance. We had manned Layang-layang atoll, but were not harassed in anyway, by China. What I heard, China’s military vessel, in display of ‘friendly passage’, would turned its cannon turret in opposite direction, in vicinity of Layang-Layang Island.
    Therefore, if Najib, as an Asean leader now, wants to negotiate with China over disputes in South China Seas, its best to leave-out the American or the West. Engage Russian instead, to hold-back China’s aggression to intimidate American in the far-east.

  2. “South China Sea: Time to Change the Name” – a commentary by Yang Razali Kassim, a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) – publication/rsis/co15102-south-china-sea-time-to-change-the-name/

    His key point is that “the South China Sea disputes have exposed Asean’s vulnerabilities. The once impressive image of Asean unity and cohesiveness has been punctured.”

  3. Talk about “Asean unity and cohesiveness has been punctured”, leads one to point out that China has never had unity in the country for relatively long periods of time, too. Not even under communist dictator and master manipulator Mao Zedong.

    Even now, power struggles keep going on in the Chinese Politbureau. One bloke who had high ambitions and a lot of power other than the President was only a week or so ago removed from office and arrested.

    And the Chinese Minister of Defence may not be in tandem with the policy of the President and others. Likewise, the Chief of the Peoples’ Liberation Army or the Armed Forces appears to have punctured relations with the civilian authorities.

    Otherwise, how else would anyone describe the belligerence of the PLA in the midst of the goodwill building efforts the Chinese President has been making in recent times. They cannot be cakap tak serupa bikin like the DAP.

    They are a huge country and a Permanent Member of the Security Council. Can anyone say they are jokers? I don’t think so. But those who try to belittle ASEAN in the context of China’s intimidation in the South China Sea are.

  4. Here are interesting views of an American Asst Professor that have been put out at the Boston Global Forum and now written in an article asking what should the US do about the South China Sea issue –

    “.. while other claimant states have occupied features that fall well within their 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as well as their continental shelves, China, in contrast, is trying to achieve de facto sovereignty over features, which fall hundreds of miles away from its southernmost province of Hainan.

    “So far, China’s sweeping “nine-dashed-line” claims in the South China Sea, based on its vaguely-defined notion “historical rights,” has hardly convinced any serious legal scholar outside China.

    “Lastly, China’s construction activities could pose direct threat to freedom of navigation and overflight across the South China Sea, threatening not only the territorial claims of other claimant states, but also the national interests of extra-regional powers such as Japan and the United States.”

    So, folks, not just us but the Americans and others have also been talking, criticizing and whacking China over what they are doing in the South China Sea. Let’s keep on bringing the matter up. They call it “engaging” – diplomatically and not so diplomatically, etc. People don’t think it will lead to World War III – now 70 years since World War II. We must have our voices heard. As often as possible, as much as possible and as loud as possible.

  5. So, what should the US do about the South China Sea issue? Here are some of the suggestions:

    Obama has bluntly said, “Where we get concerned with China is where it is not necessarily abiding by international norms and rules and is using its sheer size and muscle to force countries into subordinate positions.” How to get China stop the aggressive posturing without risking a diplomatic breakdown and/or an armed confrontation with China in the western Pacific will be Obama’s foreign policy legacy. 2 years to do it.

    Meanwhile, Beijing is trying to preempt two major developments in 2016 – the expected conclusion of the Philippines’ ongoing arbitration proceedings against China at The Hague, and the change in the United States to a more hawkish leadership, either Democratic (Hillary Clinton) or Republicans. As the Secretary of State 2009-2012, Clinton managed to rattle her Chinese counterparts with her tough language and strategic resolve.

    China seems to be interested in handing down a fait accompli to the tribunal at The Hague as well as the incoming leaderships in the United States, Vietnam, and the Philippines.


    • First, US has to re assure its military allies in the area. Philippines need expanded joint military exercises with advanced military hardware from the US. US has more than doubled the number of American troops, which participated in the latest Philippine-U.S joint military exercises close to the disputed features in the South China Sea. US has also asked ASEAN to organize joint peacekeeping patrols there.

      US has been having serious discussions on whether Japan can also contribute, with Japan’s “Self Defense Forces” (which theoretically has no offensive capability due to Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution) potentially participating in joint air patrols in the South China Sea, where the bulk of Japanese energy imports pass through.

      The Obama administration is said to be trying to convene a regional “coalition of the willing” to rein in Chinese maritime assertiveness. But it is only US that has the capacity for deploying a swift and decisive response. ASEAN is still divided on the issue of joint patrols, which have been vehemently opposed by China, while top Japanese defense officials admit they are still “fully occupied with patrolling Japanese territory [Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands].” (Personally, I don’t mind Japan re-arming themselves, even to nuclear capability, as a deterrent to
      bullying in the South China Sea.)

      This means US will have to move ahead with the necessary counter-provocation operations just as it did during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis, when it deployed two aircraft carrier battle groups to keep Chinese territorial ambitions in check. Given China’s rapid military modernization since the mid-1990s, this will not be easy. (It is however noted that China has only started its aircraft carrier construction – the first one went on sea trial only a moth or so ago.)

      The writer says at the minimum, US will have to preemptively identify any ADIZ in the South China as a “redline,” augment the naval and coast guard capabilities of its allies, and negotiate necessary Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to ensure the further crowding of the contested features will not lead to an outright conflict.

      Yes, wait for UNCLOS to be implemented but I agree the US should do the above.

      • Yes, but will the US commit “boots on the ground” in the South China Sea if push comes to shove and China ups the ante?

        After Iraq and Afghanistan, I doubt that the US public will have much sympathy for another military mission in South-east and East Asia.

        But apart from the US, who else in Asean has the capacity to do the “heavy lifting” vis-a-vis China?

  6. China is a State Party to UNCLOS but continues to argue its claims based on what it stated as historical in nature. It is its economic and military power that have enabled it to flex its muscles and to ignore all protests against its reclamation and construction of installations in various geographical features in the South China Sea. It will be a tough dispute to resolve because China refuses to play the game by the rules UNCLOS and Code of Conduct.The dispute is likely to prolong indefinitely. China will capitalise on this indefinite timeline to continue to build w however it wants to build like air strips, military front post etc. What can stop China? Military ? Diplomacy?

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