china: China’s activities in South China Sea under scanner

China has historically claimed much of the South China Sea as part of its territory, including the Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands, Pratus Island, Vaker Banks, Macclesfield Banks and Scarborough Shoal. All of these locations fall under the controversial “nine-dash line” marking, based on a 1947 map. According to the IJ-Reportika (investigative journalism) report, in 1946 he published a map containing 11 dashes or dots by the Chinese government.

However, the two dashes for the Gulf of Tonkin were later removed when a treaty with Vietnam was signed. Many of China’s neighbors, including Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, have attempted to claim these lands as their own and have rejected the questionable maps.

The main problem with the “9-dot line” lies in the fact that it is an arbitrary collection of dashes with no specific coordinates. Based on this map, China claims over 80% of her in the South China Sea. No official explanation of its origins or exact boundaries has ever been provided by China. Moreover, the areas that China claims as part of its territory directly compete with the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of several countries in the region, including Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Reportica.

Despite protests by these countries, China has deployed deep-sea fishing fleets to the EEZs of Vietnam and the Philippines. According to data reported by IJ-Reportika, China made more than one million hours of her fishing last year via longline vessels, tuna purse seines, squid jiggers and trawlers. China’s DWF activities are less important in the South China Sea, but overfishing and climate change are depleting the region’s marine resources. Since 2000, catch rates have decreased by 70% and the region’s big fish stocks have decreased by 90%. Despite declining marine resources in the region, it is surprising that China’s activity is increasing in the region while other countries’ fishing activities in the region are banned.

Since 1999, China has banned fishing in waters including the disputed Gulf of Tonkin and the Paracel Islands from May to August each year. Vietnam condemned the ban, saying, “Vietnam urges China to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel Islands…not to complicate the situation for maintaining peace, stability and order in the East Sea.” Stated. The Philippines responded to the ban, saying, “This ban does not apply to us. Our fishermen are encouraged to go out and fish in our waters in the West Philippine Sea.”

Interestingly, the ban does not apply to Chinese fishermen who hold official licenses to fish in disputed waters. It is worth noting that her DWF vessels in China are not only intended for fishing, but also operate as a de facto maritime militia under the control of Beijing authorities. There are also reports of Chinese construction activities in the Spratly Islands in the past decade. Legally speaking, the region is not part of China’s territory, but it does allow China to build coral reefs, islands, and other formations and militarize them with ports, airstrips, and other infrastructure. IJ-Reportika pointed out that they haven’t even stopped.

According to multiple media reports and satellite imagery, over the past decade they have carried out construction activities on four vacant lots in the Spratly Islands. A Chinese seagoing vessel was seen unloading from a hydraulic excavator used in a landfill project. At Eldad reef in the northern Spratly Islands, new topographic features exposed only at high tide have also been reported to emerge above the water surface. Images show large pits, piles of debris and excavator footprints at the site. Similar activity has taken place on the island of Panata in the Philippines, where a new boundary wall was seen around the feature. These activities have expanded some sandbars and other formations in the region by at least a factor of ten. China’s land reclamation activity directly contradicts a 2016 ruling by an international tribunal that other countries in the region have been compelled to implement. own development work. The Asian Ocean Transparency Initiative reports that Vietnam has expanded dredging and reclamation operations at several outposts in Spratly, creating about 1.7 square kilometers of new land in 2022. The Philippines is also increasing its military presence in the region, according to IJ-Reportika, following reports of landfill operations and moorings by Chinese ships in the region.

As tensions rise in the region, China is investing more in its navy and coast guard to defend its territorial claims and increasing its presence in the region through its fishing fleet. The region could prove to be of great military importance if the US decides to join a regional war in support of Taiwan’s sovereignty struggle, IJ-Reportika noted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *