• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • South China Sea: China Drops a Bombshell

    On June 28, during a press briefing by the Chinese Ministry of Defense, Chinese military press spokesman Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng released a bombshell.

    Asked by an unnamed correspondent about China’s response to Vietnamese air force patrols near the Spratly Islands, Geng made the usual declaration about China’s claims to indisputable sovereignty over the Spratlys and their “adjacent waters.” He then stated that the PLA had begun “regular, combat-ready patrols” in waters under Chinese jurisdiction.

    The implication is clearly that the Chinese navy is now regularly patrolling the waters around the Spratlys and possibly elsewhere in the South China Sea.

    This is an alarming escalation of China’s efforts to assert sovereignty over the South China Sea region. Until now, the various confrontations and incidents in the area—whether with the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal; the Vietnamese over oil exploration efforts; or the United States in the separate incidents involving the USNS Impeccable, USNS Victorious, and the USS John S. McCain III—have had only civilian participants.

    There is a bewildering array of Chinese bureaucracies, each of which assumes responsibility for only a portion of China’s maritime interests, including fisheries, agriculture, and the State Oceanic Administration. While this has raised questions about inter-agency coordination in China, the PRC’s use of non-military vessels to make its point regarding sovereignty has also limited the potential for escalation.

    With the decision to begin regular naval patrols, however—and especially “combat-ready (zhanbei)” ones—the potential for escalation is far greater.

    Even more disturbing is that this measure seems to be part of a larger Chinese effort to exercise full sovereignty over the area. In mid-June, the Chinese State Council established a city-level administration over the various islands and waters of the South China Sea, including the Spratlys and Paracels, with its seat of government on Woody Island, an island in the Paracels seized from South Vietnam in 1974.

    Then, on June 23, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation invited bids for oil exploration in blocs well within 200 nautical miles of Vietnam’s coast.

    The Chinese are evidently establishing the legal and political framework to solidify their claims of sovereignty. And with the announcement of patrols, they appear to be taking their preparations to support those claims to the next logical level: that of defending them.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to South China Sea: China Drops a Bombshell

    1. asdf says:

      China defends her sovereign territory is hardly a bombshell.

      US lying about WMDs to invade Iraq is a bombshell. Get your facts straight!

    2. Seems another brainwashed author… China's act is absolutely foul! And evidently creating their own history regarding their ownership or sovereignty in the entire South China Sea. The Communist Greedy Government of China cannot defend herself in the trilateral talks with regards to the dispute. She keeps on bullying her neighboring countries by flexing their military.

    3. Henry says:

      Dean: You sounded surprised and called it " bombshell ". In South East Asia, we call it " small detail ". China has been quietly executing their attempt to control 90% of SCS for years with little resistance from their smaller neighbors and a lot of diplomatic neutrality from the West. Their method ranges from deadly use of force in 1974 ( occupation of Paracel islands from South Vietnam, 64 deaths ), 1988 ( occupation of 3 Spratly islands from united Vietnam, 34 deaths), sinking fishing boats, confiscating fisherman equipments for ransom, cutting oil exploration cables, fishing while issuing fishing ban to others… to educating their children that SCS is their backyard pond, based on self-proclaimed thousand years old map and first discovery. China may have a 21st century economic and military power but a 15th century mentality. Let's hope it's not too late for the global communities to wake up to this reality.

    4. HPD says:

      China will, eventually, run roughshod over this entire region, knowing no one will stop their adventurism…especially Mr Obama.

      Taiwan will be taken without a shot or a missile.just the threat, a look, a nod is enough to seal their fate-accompli…

    5. International says:

      This area is undisputably under the Philippines sovereignity, Existing laws must be followed and wanton intrusion by any foeriegn powers, mighty or small, will be dealt with and by the book or otherwise. So be it.

    6. How dare China…only America is allowed to do this.

      Snippets of Monroe Doctrine in history:

      …announced to Congress that the principle of the Monroe Doctrine should be strictly enforced and that the United States should aggressively expand into the West, often termed as Manifest Destiny.

      ..applied the Monroe Doctrine to Hawaii, told Britain not to interfere there, and began the process of annexing Hawaii to the United States.

      … used the principle of the Monroe Doctrine to argue for forcefully removing the Spanish from Cuba.

      …ceded to the United States for the sum of $20 million, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, and Cuba (until granted formal independence from the US in 1902).

      …as part of the Iran-Contra affair. Among other things, it was revealed that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had been covertly training "Contra" guerrilla soldiers in Honduras in an attempt to destabilize and overthrow the government of Nicaragua and its President, Daniel Ortega. CIA director Robert Gates vigorously defended the Contra operation, arguing that avoiding U.S. intervention in Nicaragua would be "totally to abandon the Monroe doctrine".

      Critics of the Monroe Doctrine argue that in practice the Monroe Doctrine has functioned as a declaration of hegemony and a right of unilateral intervention over all the Americas: a sphere of influence “to leave America for the Americans” The new Monroe Doctrine should be America for Americans, and Asia for Americans too".

      China has no right to sovereignty to their historical lands, all their islands belong to us now.

    7. Henry says:

      tried to be the 1st one for you but can't because you won't post! What's wrong?

    8. ONLY IN AMERICA CAN A PERSON SHOW LENIENCY (TOLERANCE,MILDNESS,LACK OF SEVERITY) TO A MOVE OF BOLDNESS BY SOME PUSHY PERSON,AND NOT FEAR TO BE OVER RUN! THAT IS, IF YOUR NOT UP AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT WITH A I KNOW WHAT YOU NEED AND YOUR GOING TO ACCEPT IT ULTIMATUM! WITH THE CHINESE, PRESIDENT NIXON WAS STRAIGHT FORWARD, AND WAS FIRM WITH WHAT WE WOULD ACCEPT, AND WOULDN'T ACCEPT! THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION IS WRAPPED UP IN SUBTLETY(KEENNESS OF MIND, CUNNING; ARTFULNESS;ELUSIVENESS;DELICACY; A SUBTLE SCHEME; SUBTLE REASONING.ETC.) WHEN POLITICIANS HAVE THAT AS A KNOWN QUALITY ABOUT THEM, PEOPLE BECOME WARY(CAUTIOUS,CAREFUL,CIRCUMSPECT,WATCHFUL,SCRUPULOUS,MORE ATTENTIVE TO WORDS SAID). THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN APOLOGIZING TO OTHER COUNTRIES, FOR INCIDENTS THAT HE HAS DECIDED NEED REDRESS! THAT IS A FORM OF WEAKNESS IN THE EYES OF COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT REGARD CIVIL RIGHTS FOR THEIR OWN PEOPLE, AS WE DO WE DO FOR OURSELVES! TO SPEAK OPENLY WITH A PERSON WHO YOU KNOW IS HONEST IS A VIRTUE! TO TRUST THE WORDS OF KNOWN ABUSERS TO THEIR OWN PEOPLE, IS UNWISE! WALLYWORKSWELL@YAHOO.COM

    9. Richard says:

      The dragon has woke up and the world will shake.

    10. Bob says:

      What sea are we speaking of again? The South 'China' Sea? So why, pray tell, should we in the West get our shorts in a wad when China exercises sovereignty over a Sea that has their own name stamped right on it? Apparently our lust for empire knows no bounds. America will fall, in part, because we failed to heed the exhortation of our Founders to avoid entangling treaties and be a friend to all. Instead, we have become the modern Rome. Bend the knee and pay homage to the USA or be invaded and destroyed. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, China will be too big a nut to crack.

    11. The fact that the protest was allowed to go ahead in authoritarian Vietnam indicates how relations between Hanoi and Beijing have deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks. The Vietnamese patriots protest against Chinese aggression in East Sea with the establishment of Sansha city and China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s call for bids to explore for oil in the Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The patriots want also to pressure Vietnam’s government to take a stronger stand to protect the national territorial integrity. The patriots support the new Maritime Law of Vietnam, which was passed last month by Vietnam’s National Assembly reaffirming the Vietnamese sovereignty on Paracel and Spratly islands.
      Vietnamese held second weekly anti-China rally http://eyedrd.org/2012/07/vietnamese-held-second-
      Vietnamese Americans held anti-China and anti-Vietnamese Communists rallies http://eyedrd.org/2012/07/vietnamese-americans-he

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×