U.S. Warship Challenges China Claims Over Fortified South China Sea Reef

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    • #445094
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      U.S. Warship Challenges China Claims Over Fortified South China Sea Reef
      BY JOHN FENG 9/8/21 AT 5:47 AM ED

      he United States Navy said it dispatched a destroyer to challenge “excessive maritime claims” in the South China Sea on Wednesday by sailing the warship near one of China’s fortified features in the Spratly Islands.

      The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold conducted what was its second freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) to be reported by the Navy this year, after a similar mission around the disputed Paracel Islands in July.

      The FONOP took the American vessel within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, the U.S. 7th Fleet said on its website. Citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the statement noted that the reef—controlled by China but also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan—is not entitled to a territorial sea as it is submerged at high tide…


      Completely unnecessary provocation by the US.

      Ostensibly, this entire US approach seeking allies in Southeast Asia against China rests on the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). One has yet to see any American publicly question the soundness or jurisdiction of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) “compulsory arbitration” decision against China in 2016 purportedly based upon UNCLOS. China had opted out of UNCLOS with respect to the South China Sea disputes ten years earlier. The ITLOS was shepherded by a Japanese diplomat and jurist who had been Japan’s former ambassador to Washington. Shunji Yanai, the ITLOS director, appointed four of the five “arbitrators” to the Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal.* The decision was one sided, and based on little more than illogical reasoning and clever wording. What does one expect in what amounted to default judgement in the absence of the principal party who never acquiesced to jurisdiction? Neither the PRC nor Taiwan recognize the decision. The decision is void for lack of jurisdiction both in terms of process and subject matter. The ITLOs decision on the Philippines maritime dispute with China is a poor decision upon which to stake out international policy.

      *News Analysis: Shunji Yanai, manipulator behind illegal South China Sea arbitration (Xinhua) 13:12, July 17, 2016; http://en.people.cn/n3/2016/0717/c90000-9087223.html

      UNCLOS is inapplicable to “the issues of sovereignty or historic titles and rights.” Disputes between states arising before the implementation of the Convention on the Law of the Sea are also not subject to its jurisdiction.* The constant references to the PCA’s inapplicable and void UNCLOS based decision in Western media is just one sided advocacy that omits countervailing facts and arguments. The decision is based upon faulty logic and bizarre findings applied to reach a decision unfavorable to China despite the obvious lack of jurisdiction. Among the bizarre findings dismissing Chinese claims to an EEZ in the Spratleys out of existence is the fiction was that Itu Aba (Taiping Island) was “not an island.”

      *The South China Sea Arbitration (The Philippines v. China): Assessment of the Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility Sreenivasa Rao Pemmaraju Author Chinese Journal of International Law, Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2016, Pages 265–307, https://doi.org/10.1093/chinesejil/jmw019 Published: 20 June 2016 https://academic.oup.com/chinesejil/article/15/2/265/2548386

      It is somewhat telling that the US never even ratified UNCLOS. The UK not too long ago rejected an international tribunal decision on the Chagos Islands, where the US Diego Garcia base is located. No sanctimonious statements on the rejection of the “rules based order” heard on this issue. In geopolitical terms, the US continues to act as a 20th Century hegemon in the western Pacific, and South China Sea. Yet, the region is returning to a more traditional pattern that existed among Asian states and China before the days of “gunboat diplomacy” and the century of humiliation. This is reflected primarily in the “soft” dimension of Chinese economic and diplomatic relationships with its neighbors rather than in the military dimension with which the US is obsessed for domestic reasons. It is up to the states in the region to negotiate their conflicting EEZ claims in the South China Sea. The US so called “Freedom of Navigation” (FON) operations are a wedge to bootstrap US military and commercial interests onto the EEZ claims of neighboring states in the region with the traditional US gunboat approach.

      As an elected official, Harris was in a position to exercise her own judgement, apply some diplomatic tact, and speak with restraint and subtlety. Instead, out of ignorance or cynicism, she chose to opt for jingoistic sloganeering to appeal to the “blob” back home. Why would regional Asian states be willing to accept the position of a belligerent US official to the detriment of their own national interests? Why would they be interested in a militarized approach to regional issues promoted by the US, Japan, and Australia, risking military confrontation with their number one trade partner, China?

    • #445097
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      • #445098
        • Total Posts: 1,468

        It’s like some random passerby on the sidewalk or road in front of a home telling the owner I think you misplaced the fence between you and the neighbors and I’m here to tell you where to get off. And by the way, you don’t own the mineral rights under your land either, my oil and gas companies have contracts with your neighbor who is the real owner. And when I come through here don’t mess with me!

    • #445104
      • Total Posts: 3,709

      How long before the US declares the Great Wall of China as a threat to America’s national security and demands that it be dismantled!

      All governments lie to their citizen's, but only Americans believe theirs.

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