The Haiyang Dizhi 8, a survey vessel belonging to a Chinese government-run corporation, began surveying a large swath of seabed on July 3 northeast of Vanguard Bank (Bai Tu Chinh) off the coast of Vietnam. The ship was apparently undertaking an oil and gas survey across two blocks, Riji 03 and Riji 27, which fall within Vietnam’s continental shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The survey ship has been escorted by other vessels, including the China Coast Guard and maritime militia. At the same time, China Coast Guard ships have been harassing Vietnamese drilling operations in Block 06-01 to the south. Tiếp tục đọc “CHINA’S INCURSION INTO VIETNAM’S EEZ AND LESSONS FROM THE PAST”
On July 12, 2016, an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague issued its ruling in Manila’s case against Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. Convened under the compulsory dispute settlement provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the tribunal’s five arbitrators ruled overwhelmingly in the Philippines’ favor. Beijing refused to participate in the arbitration and rejected the outcome. Meanwhile, the newly-inaugurated president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, downplayed the victory in the hopes of coaxing China toward a more conciliatory policy and, as a result, international pressure on China to comply with the award has evaporated. The ruling clarified important aspects of UNCLOS and customary international law, but there was never much hope Beijing would accept its findings.
Nonetheless, many observers hoped that over time China might find politically face-saving ways to bring its claims and behavior into line with the substance of the ruling, even while rejecting the process. In the three years since the arbitral award, and since Manila’s adoption of a more accommodating policy toward Beijing, has China moved any closer to compliance? AMTI has compiled a list of actionable findings from the tribunal and assessed whether China’s recent actions are in-line with them. Overall, China is in compliance with just 2 of 11 parts of the ruling, while on another its position is too unclear to assess.
Arbitration Compliance Report Card
(Click each row for more information)
- China cannot claim historic or other rights within the “nine-dash line” beyond the territorial seas, EEZs, and continental shelves permitted by UNCLOS.
- Scarborough Shoal and high-tide features in the Spratlys generate territorial seas but not EEZs or continental shelves.
- Second Thomas Shoal and the waters around it are part of the EEZ and continental shelf of the Philippines.
- China illegally occupied Mischief Reef, which is part of the Philippine continental shelf.
- China illegally prevented the Philippines from exploiting the resources of its continental shelf.
- China violated the Philippines’ rights to fish within its EEZ.
- China failed to prevent its fishers from operating illegally in the Philippine EEZ.
- China illegally blocked traditional Filipino fishing at Scarborough Shoal.
- China allowed its fishers to illegally engage in environmentally destructive harvesting of endangered species.
- China illegally destroyed the marine environment through its island-building campaign.
- Chinese law enforcement vessels violated COLREGS by creating a risk of collision and danger to Philippine vessels.
|May 20, 2019 | AMTI BRIEF|
|After a sharp drop-off in activity from 2016 to late 2018, Chinese clam harvesting fleets have returned to the South China Sea in force over the last six months. These fleets, which typically include dozens of small fishing vessels accompanied by a handful of larger “motherships,” destroy vast swaths of coral reef in order to extract endangered giant clams. The clam shells are transported back to Hainan Province where they fetch thousands of dollars each in a thriving market for jewelry and statuary. Since late 2018, satellite imagery has shown these fleets operating frequently at Scarborough Shoal and throughout the Paracels, including at Bombay Reef. Tiếp tục đọc “China’s Most Destructive Boats Return to the South China Sea”|
|November 20, 2018 | AMTI BRIEF|
|Recent satellite imagery of Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands shows that China has installed a new platform at the largely untouched South China Sea feature, which is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. The modest new structure appears to be anchored on the north edge of the reef and is topped by a radome and solar panels. The development is interesting given Bombay Reef’s strategic location, and the possibility that the structure’s rapid deployment could be repeated in other parts of the South China Sea. Tiếp tục đọc “China Quietly Upgrades a Remote Reef”|
Vietnam continues modest expansions to its outposts in the Spratly Islands, most recently on Ladd Reef. Satellite imagery from March and June shows that Hanoi has dredged a new channel, which did not exist in older photos, and is expanding one of its two facilities (the other is a small lighthouse to the west) at the feature.
Gần đây, trên website của tổ chức Sáng kiến minh bạch hàng hải châu Á có đăng những ảnh vệ tinh cho thấy Việt Nam tập hợp 80 tàu ở vùng biển phía đông nam.
The project, many years in the making, was a joint venture between Repsol of Spain, Mubadala of Abu Dhabi and the state-owned energy company PetroVietnam. Commercial drilling was due to begin this April and oil and gas were expected to flow for at least 10 years. A specialised platform built in the port of Vung Tau lies idle, as do the contracted drilling rig and storage tanker. Tiếp tục đọc “China’s intimidation in the South China Sea poses an economic threat to Vietnam”
WASHINGTON: While attention in Asia has been distracted by the North Korean nuclear crisis in the past year, China has continued to install high-frequency radar and other facilities that can be used for military purposes on its man-made islands in the South China Sea, a US think tank said on Thursday (Dec 14).
Chinese activity has involved work on facilities covering 29 hectares of the Spratly and Paracel islands, territory contested with several other Asian nations, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies. The report cited satellite images. Tiếp tục đọc “While focus is on North Korea, China continues South China Sea buildup: Think tank”
Updated June 29, 2017
New imagery shows that while China is keeping attention focused on its negotiations with Southeast Asian countries over basic principles to manage the South China Sea disputes, its construction of military and dual-use facilities on the Spratly Islands continues. New missile shelters, radar/communications facilities, and other infrastructure are going in on Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs, suggesting that while the region is engaged in peaceful discussion, China remains committed to developing its power projection capabilities.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he confronted the American ambassador about the US’ inaction in stopping China’s construction of man-made islands that are now at the heart of a regional dispute in the South China Sea.
“Why did you not send the armada of the 7th Fleet,” the straight-talking president said he told US Ambassador Sung Kim. Tiếp tục đọc “Rodrigo Duterte to US: Why did you not send the armada?”
While China’s expansion of its seven outposts in the Spratly Islands has dominated headlines since large-scale dredging began at the end of 2013, efforts to upgrade its capabilities in the Paracels farther north have received relatively little attention. But the island chain plays a key role in China’s goal of establishing surveillance and power projection capabilities throughout the South China Sea. To this end, Beijing has undertaken substantial upgrades of its military infrastructure in the Paracels.
China occupies 20 outposts in the Paracels. As seen in the map above, three of these now have protected harbors capable of hosting large numbers of naval and civilian vessels. Four others boast smaller harbors, with a fifth under construction at Drummond Island. Five of the islands contain helipads, with Duncan Island housing a full helicopter base. And the largest of the Paracels, Woody Island, sports an airstrip, hangars, and a deployment of HQ-9 surface-to-air missile batteries. Tiếp tục đọc “The Paracels: Beijing’s Other South China Sea Buildup”