Vietnam labels Taiwan drills on disputed island ‘serious violation’

China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which about US$5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Taiwan’s claim to Itu Aba is complicated by the fact that China considers Taiwan sovereign territory. Taiwan and China both claim the South China Sea using old maps that date back to the late 1940s when the Nationalists ruled China. Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam labels Taiwan drills on disputed island ‘serious violation’”

(Taiwan) President plans more troops on Itu Aba

Taipei Times

MORE FIREPOWER?An official said that the government would consider whether to add short-range anti-aircraft missiles as part of a review of the island’s defenses

By Lo Tien-pin, Chiu Chun-fu and Aaron Tu / Staff reporters, with staff writer

A soldier aims his rifle next to a military transport plane on Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island) in the South China Sea on March 23.

Photo courtesy of a group of reporters visiting Itu Aba Island

As tensions rise in the South China Sea, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) plans to send additional troops to reinforce the nation’s sole foothold in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), government officials said yesterday, adding that short-range anti-aircraft missiles could be positioned on the island for the first time. Tiếp tục đọc “(Taiwan) President plans more troops on Itu Aba”

CSIS – AMTI Brief – April 14, 2016

East China Sea Tensions: Approaching a Slow Boil


Mounting tensions over the disputed Senkaku Islands have been a constant in Sino-Japanese relations since Tokyo purchased three of the five islands in 2012. For the last four years, Chinese coast guard vessels have regularly patrolled in the vicinity of the East China Sea islands and have often entered within the 12-nautical-mile territorial sea around the Senkakus, engaging in a cat-and-mouse game with their Japanese counterparts tasked with maintaining Tokyo’s control over the features. Meanwhile, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) patrols around the Senkakus and Japan’s southern islands have led to regular scrambles by the Japanese Air Self Defense Force. Tiếp tục đọc “CSIS – AMTI Brief – April 14, 2016”

CSIS: Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, March 22, 2016

Exploring Itu Aba: A Virtual Tour of a South China Sea Islet

On January 23, AMTI Director Gregory Poling and Ambassador José Abeto Zaide, now with the Manila Bulletin, became the first foreigners to visit Itu Aba (Taiping Dao in Chinese)—the only feature in the Spratly Islands occupied by Taiwan. They accompanied a delegation of Taiwanese experts and officials, including the ministers of foreign affairs, mainland affairs, and environmental protection. President Ma Ying-jeou made his first visit to the island five days later. Using the graphic below, you can explore each location the group visited. And even more images and video follow.

Itu Aba has a lot of attention lately thanks to its inclusion in Manila’s arbitration case against Beijing’s South China Sea claims. The Philippines’ legal team has argued that Itu Aba cannot sustain human habitation and is therefore legally a “rock,” entitled to only a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea, and not an “island,” which would generate an exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Manila believes that if Itu Aba—the largest naturally formed feature in the Spratly Islands—is not an island, then none of the Spratlys are. Taipei has insisted Itu Aba is an island, and the debate has focused on details such as the availability of drinkable water and arable soil.

For more on the debate, listen to recent AMTI podcasts with Paul Reichler, lead counsel for the Philippines, and Shen Lyu-Shun, Taiwan’s representative to the United States, or read “Is There Drinkable Water and Topsoil on Itu Aba?” by Yann-huei Song.

Read on…

  Tiếp tục đọc “CSIS: Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, March 22, 2016”