Flooding the zone: China Coast Guard patrols in 2022

PUBLISHED: JANUARY 30, 2023, AMTI

China’s coast guard presence in the South China Sea is more robust than ever. An analysis of automatic identification system (AIS) data from commercial provider MarineTraffic shows that the China Coast Guard (CCG) maintained near-daily patrols at key features across the South China Sea in 2022. Together with the ubiquitous presence of its maritime militia, China’s constant coast guard patrols show Beijing’s determination to assert control over the vast maritime zone within its claimed nine-dash line.

China Coast Guard Patrols in the South China Sea
2022

https://csis-ilab.github.io/amti-viz/coast-guard-timeline-2022/

AMTI analyzed AIS data from the year 2022 across the five features most frequented by Chinese patrols: Second Thomas Shoal, Luconia Shoals, Scarborough Shoal, Vanguard Bank, and Thitu Island. Comparison with data from 2020 shows that the number of calendar days that a CCG vessel patrolled near these features increased across the board.

The number of days the CCG patrolled at Vanguard Bank, a major site of Vietnamese oil and gas development that has seen standoffs between Chinese and Vietnamese law enforcement in years past, more than doubled, increasing from 142 days in 2020 to 310 days in 2022. Days patrolled at Second Thomas Shoal, where the Philippines maintains a precarious garrison aboard the BRP Sierra Madre, increased from 232 days to 279; those at Luconia Shoals, near important Malaysian oil and gas operations, from 279 to 316; and at Scarborough Shoal, traditionally fished and administered by the Philippines, from 287 to 344. Data on the reefs surrounding Philippine-held Thitu Island was not collected in previous analyses, but CCG vessels were on site 208 days over the past year. At some features, especially Scarborough Shoal, multiple CCG vessels were present simultaneously. Observed patrols across all five features amounted to 1,703 ship-days in total.

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The Maritime Fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia and Malaysia Respond to China’s Creeping Expansion in the South China Sea

CMSI Red Books

CMSI RED BOOKS

The Maritime Fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia and Malaysia Respond to China’s Creeping Expansion in the South China Sea

Scott Bentley , US Naval War College

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Description

China now is attempting to expand its control to the southernmost extent of its nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea, in waters ever closer to Indonesian and Malaysian shores. This area of the South China Sea, spanning from Indonesia’s Natuna Islands to the South Luconia Shoals, has greater strategic importance than the Spratly or Paracel Island chains farther to the north. Whereas the Spratlys have for centuries been regarded as “dangerous ground” and commercial mariners have avoided them, the vital sea lines of communication (SLOCs) connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans flow through this part of the southern South China Sea. Therefore, these areas are far more vital to international commerce and navigation than the dangerous grounds closer to China’s Spratly Islands outposts.

ISBN

978-1-935352-80-8

Publication Date

2023

Publisher

Naval War College Press

City

Newport, Rhode Island

Keywords

China Maritime Studies, China, South China Sea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Expansion

Recommended Citation

Bentley, Scott, “The Maritime Fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia and Malaysia Respond to China’s Creeping Expansion in the South China Sea” (2023). CMSI Red Books, Study No. 17.

The Maritime Fulcrum of the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia and Malaysia Respond to China’s Creeping  Expansion in the South China Sea

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VN bồi lấp một loạt 9 đảo ở Trường Sa, một năm tăng diện tích gấp 4 lần cả thập kỷ trước

VNYoutuber – 17-12-2022

Nghiên cứu của Tổ chức Sáng kiến minh bạch hàng hải châu Á gần đây cho thấy, chỉ trong năm 2022, Việt Nam đã bồi lấp mở rộng 9 điểm đảo ở quần đảo Trường Sa với tổng diện tích tăng thêm lên đến 170 hecta, gấp gần 4 lần diện tích đóng quân trong cả thập kỷ trước.

Philippines orders strengthened military presence after ‘Chinese activities’ near islands

Reuters – December 22, 20226:12 PM GMT+7

Filipino soldiers march in Thitu island
Filipino soldiers march in Philippine occupied Thitu island in disputed South China Sea, April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

MANILA, Dec 22 (Reuters) – The Philippines’ defence ministry on Thursday ordered the military to strengthen its presence in the South China Sea after monitoring “Chinese activities” in disputed waters close to a strategic Philippine-held island.

The ministry did not specify what activities those were and its statement follows a report this week of Chinese construction on four uninhabited features in the disputed Spratly islands, news that Beijing has dismissed as “unfounded”.

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Vietnam co-hosts seminar on UNCLOS’s outcomes

VNA Friday, December 09, 2022 11:19  

Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Head of the Permanent Delegation of Vietnam to the United Nations (centre) at the event. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam, in coordination with Greece, Egypt and Senegal, on December 8 hosted a workshop on achievements and challenges since the adoption of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 40 years ago.

Main topics at the event were the outcomes of the convention, sea level rise and the relationship between UNCLOS and Sustainable Development Goal 14, which is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

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It’s time to elevate partnership between Vietnam and Indonesia into a comprehensive strategic partnership – OpEd

Locations of Indonesia and Vietnam. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

Locations of Indonesia and Vietnam. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

   Veeramalla Anjaiah  0 Comments

eurasiareview – By Veeramalla Anjaiah

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc will make a historic visit to Indonesia, a G20 member and de facto leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), from Dec. 21–23, 2022, to reshape strategic ties between the two countries. President Phuc will be accompanied by First Lady Tran Nguyet Thin, several senior officials, and a business delegation.

This will be Phuc’s first visit to Indonesia ever since becoming Vietnam’s president on April 5, 2021. His state visit marks a new milestone in the 67 years of bilateral relations between Vietnam and Indonesia.

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PIRACY AND ARMED ROBBERY AS AN EVOLVING THREAT TO SOUTHEAST ASIA’S MARITIME SECURITY


BY LEE YIN MUI | DECEMBER 7, 2022
AMTI UPDATE

This article is part of Evolving Threats to Southeast Asia’s Maritime Securitya series of analyses produced by experts convened by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

How has piracy/sea robbery evolved over the last 20 years?

Piracy has existed since ancient times, wherein pirates looted vessels carrying commodities. Today, piracy and armed robbery against ships (PAR) continues to pose threats to maritime trade.[1]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Southeast Asia witnessed a surge in piracy and sea robbery incidents in Asia. Over 200 incidents per year were reported which prompted Asian countries to seek expanded frameworks for regional cooperation.[2] One incident that particularly stood out was the hijacking of the Japan-registered vessel, Alondra Rainbow on October 22, 1999. Within hours of departure from Kuala Tanjung, Indonesia for Port Miike, Japan, ten criminals armed with pistols and knives boarded the ship from a speed boat and seized command. On 29 Oct, the 17 crew were set adrift in an inflatable life raft. The Japan Coast Guard and Japan Ship Owners’ Association appealed to coastal states for assistance, and on November 13 the Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy boarded the vessel, now renamed Mega Rama, and arrested the pirates. These events, coupled with the escalating situation of PAR in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS), led Japan to champion the deliberation of an agreement among the Asian countries to combat PAR in Asian waters.

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South China Sea: Taiwan’s live-fire drills irked Vietnam. Was Beijing the real target?

  • Taiwan’s recent military exercises near Taiping Island, which Vietnam claims, were ‘illegal’ and a ‘serious’ territorial violation, Hanoi fumed
  • But observers say the drills were aimed more at Beijing, as Taipei fears its far-flung islands could be easy pickings for mainland China’s military
Maria Siow

Maria Siow

scmp – Published: 8:30am, 11 Dec, 2022

A Taiwanese patrol boat fires a ship-to-ship missile during a military drill in 2006. Vietnam slammed Taiwan’s recent live-fire exercises near Taiping Island as “illegal”. Photo: AFP

A Taiwanese patrol boat fires a ship-to-ship missile during a military drill in 2006. Vietnam slammed Taiwan’s recent live-fire exercises near Taiping Island as “illegal”. Photo: AFP

Vietnam was quick to voice its displeasure this month at Taiwanese military drills near a South China Sea island that both claim, but analysts say the incident speaks more to Taipei’s anxiety for its outlying islands’ continued security than the state of its relations with Hanoi.

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PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN ON CHINA’S MARITIME MILITIA


PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER 18, 2021 amti.csis.org

Over the past year, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies conducted a study of China’s maritime militia using remote sensing data and open-source Chinese language research. The resulting report, Pulling Back the Curtain on China’s Maritime Militia, features the most comprehensive study to-date of the structure, subsidies, and ownership networks of China’s maritime militia in the South China Sea, as well as a methodology for identifying Chinese maritime militia vessels and a list of over 120 militia vessels thus identified.

The full report can be accessed here:

Pulling Back the Curtain on China’s Maritime Militia (full PDF download)

Translations:

Menyingkap Semula Tirai Tentera Maritim Cina (Malay Translation)

Vén màn sự thật về Dân quân Hàng hải Trung Quốc (Vietnamese Translation)

Executive Summary

Since completing the construction of its artificial island outposts in the Spratly Islands in 2016, China has shifted its focus toward asserting control over peacetime activity across the South China Sea. A key component of this shift has been the expansion of China’s maritime militia—a force of vessels ostensibly engaged in commercial fishing but which in fact operate alongside Chinese law enforcement and military to achieve Chinese political objectives in disputed waters.

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Hệ sinh thái biển Việt Nam: Cơ hội phục hồi?

TS – Võ Kiều Bảo Uyên

Điều gì đẩy các ngư dân đến nỗi tuyệt vọng đằng sau cánh cửa nhà giam của những nước láng giềng? Và tại sao dù biết kết cục cay đắng đó, nhiều người dân vẫn liên tiếp dấn tàu vào khu vực đánh bắt cá trái phép? Và lí do gì khiến nỗ lực gỡ thẻ vàng của Việt Nam vẫn chưa thể thành công?


Đánh bắt thủy hải sản trên vùng biển đảo Phú Quốc. Ảnh: Thuyền trưởng Nguyễn Văn Thành.

Trong căn buồng giam ở Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia, ngư phủ Việt Nam tên Nguyễn Văn Tư, 64 tuổi, một mình vật lộn với những cơn đau nhức ở cẳng chân. Mùa hè hai năm trước, tàu cá ông làm việc bị bắt quả tang đang thả lưới trái phép trong vùng biển Indonesia. Theo luật pháp nước này, những ngư dân làm thuê sẽ không bị phạt tù. Tuy nhiên, Tư đã không đủ tiền mua vé máy bay về nước sau phiên tòa nên bị giữ lại suốt 20 tháng qua. 

Hàng trăm ngư dân Việt Nam giống Tư đang đợi chờ ngày về từ các nhà giam kham khổ của Indonesia nhưng có lẽ tình cảnh của Tư bi đát hơn cả. Ông bị tách ra khỏi đồng hương và bị giam riêng biệt do bị nghi mắc bệnh phong.

Thực trạng ngư dân Việt Nam xâm phạm vùng biển nước khác phổ biến đến mức, năm 2017, Việt Nam đã bị Ủy ban châu Âu (EC) rút thẻ vàng cảnh cáo hoạt động khai thác thủy sản. Theo số liệu thống kê của lực lượng Cảnh sát biển Việt Nam, hàng ngàn ngư dân trên hơn 1.000 tàu cá bị lực lượng chức năng các nước bắt giữ trong ba năm 2017-2020.  


Lượng tàu cá Việt Nam tăng gần gấp bốn lần trong 20 năm qua. Tàu cá từ biển miền Trung và vùng Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long chiếm lần lượt 50% và 25% tàu cá toàn bộ đất nước. Biểu đồ: Thibi.co

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Vietnam won’t be pressured into joining U.S.-led Cold War against China

peoplesworld – October 28, 2022 11:24 AM CDT  BY AMIAD HOROWITZ

Vietnam won’t be pressured into joining U.S.-led Cold War against China

Communist Party of Vietnam leader Nguyen Phu Trong, left, meets with China’s Communist Party leader Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2015. | Xinhua

HANOI—The Socialist Republic of Vietnam will not be coerced into joining the United States-led effort aimed at isolating China and provoking conflict as part of its Cold War 2.0 foreign policy.

That’s a major message expected to come out of the upcoming visit to China by Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Trong will travel to China to pay an official visit to the newly re-elected Communist Party of China leader Xi Jinping. Trong will be one of the first world leaders to visit China since the closing the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, earlier this month.

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What Big Oil knew about climate change, in its own words

theconversation.com

Four years ago, I traveled around America, visiting historical archives. I was looking for documents that might reveal the hidden history of climate change – and in particular, when the major coal, oil and gas companies became aware of the problem, and what they knew about it.

I pored over boxes of papers, thousands of pages. I began to recognize typewriter fonts from the 1960s and ‘70s and marveled at the legibility of past penmanship, and got used to squinting when it wasn’t so clear.

What those papers revealed is now changing our understanding of how climate change became a crisis. The industry’s own words, as my research found, show companies knew about the risk long before most of the rest of the world.

Surprising discoveries

At an old gunpowder factory in Delaware – now a museum and archive – I found a transcript of a petroleum conference from 1959 called the “Energy and Man” symposium, held at Columbia University in New York. As I flipped through, I saw a speech from a famous scientist, Edward Teller (who helped invent the hydrogen bomb), warning the industry executives and others assembled of global warming.

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The Emperor is Wearing No Clothes: Beyond Hydrocarbons in the South China Sea


asiapacific.ca

Published:October 3, 2022 – Author: Tabitha Grace Mallory

Feature Map: Biodiversity in the South China Sea

Read the full report

We need only call to mind the first half of 2022 for an array of the extreme, energy-related global challenges we all face. Around the world, local versions of climate change effects—the temperatures, wildfires, droughts, storms, flooding—underscore how important it is for us to transition away from our overdependence on fossil fuels. And our energy sources don’t just have environmental implications but security ones as well. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the latest rendition of the resource curse. At the heart of it all, fossil fuels are what enabled and amplified the murderous narcissism we see in Vladimir Putin and created a country with an unbalanced and unhealthy domestic economy able to profoundly destabilize energy flows and prices around the world.

The South China Sea (SCS) brings together its own assortment of these complex challenges and factors. Competing security concerns, resource needs, and nationalisms shape the motivations of the claimants. Much of the attention and conflict has centred on the oil and gas in the seabed. Estimates of SCS hydrocarbon volumes vary; only some of these resources are proven reserves that have been confirmed and measured, and are actually recoverable. But even in more generous assessments, the SCS only provides us with a small percentage of the global total of oil and gas reserves, and even less of the overall energy mix if we include non-fossil-fuel energy sources.

Beyond hydrocarbons, in a two-way tie with the adjacent Coral Triangle, the SCS has the highest level of marine biodiversity in the world. SCS fisheries feed and employ millions of people in the region. It’s true that conflict over these living marine resources also drives the territorial disputes in the region, and a wide variety of human activity degrades the SCS ecosystem. Yet drilling for hydrocarbons in the SCS threatens this vulnerable marine habitat even more, while also clearly contributing to geopolitical and security tensions in the region—and to climate change.

Given how destabilizing oil and gas pursuits have been for the SCS since the 1970s, we might ask ourselves whether we want to keep drilling for fossil fuels there. Do the costs and risks outweigh the benefits?

Download this 21-page report (button above) from Dr. Tabitha Grace Mallory, an inaugural John H. McArthur Research Fellow, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and the Founder of China Ocean Institute and Affiliate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.

Below, explore the rich marine biodiversity of the South China Sea, one of the most hotly-contested maritime jurisdictions on the planet, in this original map created by the author and APF Canada graphic designer Chloe Fenemore, based on historical and contemporary maps cited in the full report.

Feature Map: Biodiversity in the South China Sea

https://www.asiapacific.ca/sites/default/files/Map%20of%20Biodiversity%20in%20the%20SCS.svg

Tabitha Grace Mallory

Tabitha Grace Mallory is the Founder of China Ocean Institute and Affiliate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. Dr. Mallory specializes in Chinese foreign and environmental policy. She conducts research on China and global ocean governance and has published work on China’s fisheries and oceans policy.

Dr. Mallory is an inaugural John H. McArthur Research Fellow, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada launched in 2021 to provide research opportunities for exceptional, mid-career scholars who are working on programs and research areas with direct relevance to Canada and Canada’s interests in Asia.