Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) personnel parade during the open day of Stonecutter Island Navy Base in Hong Kong Saturday, March 6, 2010., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Solid evidence supports China's sovereignty claim over Huangyan Island
English.news.cn 2012-05-10 21:16:29
BEIJING, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Historical evidence and international laws strongly support China's sovereignty claim over Huangyan Island in the South China Sea, said an article carried by the PLA Daily Thursday.
Based on general practice in international affairs, historical evidence and laws are two inseparable factors to judge and prove a country's sovereignty over a certain territory, said the newspaper, the mouthpiece of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
For centuries, China has claimed sovereignty over Huangyan Island while the Philippines' recent arguments were simply tricks and self-contradictions, according to the article.
CHINESE FIRST DISCOVERED HUANGYAN ISLAND
According to many historical documents, Chinese first discovered the group of reefs and islets about 550 sea miles south of Hainan Island, and the surrounding waters in the South China Sea, and named the area "Zhanghai," or the Rising Sea, as early as over 2,000 years ago.
From the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279) to the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-1912), Chinese called these islands "Shitang" and "Changsha," which included Huangyan Island, as part of the Zhongsha Islands.
In the 13th century, Emperor Kublai Khan of China's Yuan Dynasty assigned an astronomer named Guo Shoujing to conduct a territory survey to unify the calendar nationwide, said Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Research Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank.
Huangyan Island was chosen as one of the 27 measuring locations in the survey in 1279, which was clearly recorded in the official historical documents, said Li, quoted by the newspaper.
CHINESE HAVE LONG COLONIZED HUANGYAN ISLAND
The waters around Huangyan Island are traditional fisheries for Chinese fishermen. They have not only fished in the waters but also built docks and other facilities on the islets.
The Chinese government has also sent several expeditions to Huangyan Island. In October, 1977 and June, 1978, scientists from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences twice conducted field surveys on the island.
In April, 1985, the South China Sea Branch of the State Oceanic Administration sent a research team to the island for a comprehensive investigation.
In 1994, a research team erected an 1-meter-high cement monument on the island.
CHINA HAS LONG EXERCISED JURISDICTION OVER HUANGYAN ISLAND
China's long-term effective jurisdiction over Huangyan Island offers an important proof for its sovereignty claim. There were a number of government actions involving the island, for instance, the territorial survey in the 13th century, the newspaper article wrote.
Li Hongyun, expert with the Law School of the Peking University, told the newspaper that the Chinese government officially announced the name of Huangyan Island respectively in 1935, 1947 and 1983 and all the official maps published by Chinese governments in different historical periods marked Huangyan Island as Chinese territory.
The island has been consistently under administration of China's Guangdong province first and Hainan province later. It is currently administered by the administration office for the Xisha Islands, Zhongsha Islands and Nansha Islands under Hainan province.
Since the 1970s, the Chinese government has approved many applications from foreign adventurers requesting to visit the island, Li said.
These actions are entirely official and governmental, which directly proves China's sovereignty over the island, Li said.
INTERNATIONAL TREATIES EXCLUDE HUANGYAN ISLAND FROM THE PHILIPPINES
The territory of the Philippines is set by a series of international treaties due to its special history.
Zhang Haiwen, deputy director with the China Institute for Marine Affairs, told the newspaper that all the related international treaties, including the Treaty of Paris (1898), the Treaty of Washington (1900) and the Treaty between Great Britain and the United States (1930) have stated clearly the west limit of the Philippine territory is 118 degrees east longitude, while Huangyan Island, located 117 degrees 48 minutes east longitude, is outside this limit.
Moreover, the 1946 Treaty of General Relations between the United States of America and the Republic of the Philippines, the 1952 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, the 1961 Republic Act No.3046 and the 1968 Republic Act No.5446 have reaffirmed the legal effects of the above-mentioned treaties and once again expressively defined the Philippine territorial limits which never included Huangyan Island.
OFFICIAL PHILIPPINE MAPS LONG EXCLUDE HUANGYAN ISLAND
"During a rather long period, the Philippine legal documents, official papers and national maps never involve Huangyan Island," said Li Guoqiang.
Under the Philippines domestic laws and regulations, including the 1935 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Huangyan Island is outside the territory of the Philippines and even the baseline points and baseline of the Philippine territorial waters have never touched upon Huangyan Island.
Philippine maps published in 1981 and 1984 also indicate that Huangyan Island is outside the country's territory.
Until 1997, the Philippines never challenged China's jurisdiction over Huangyan Island and repeatedly stated that Huangyan Island was not part of its territory.
The documents issued by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority of the Philippines on Oct. 18, 1994, and by the Philippine Amateur Radio Association to the American Radio Relay League on Nov. 18, 1994, both confirmed that the Philippine border and sovereignty was stipulated by the Article 3 of the Treaty of Paris (1898) and Huangyan Island is outside of Philippine territory.
NO LEGAL BASIS FOR PHILIPPINES' DEMAND
The Philippines argued that Huangyan Island was its "inherent territory" because the island was in its 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.
Li Hongyun told the newspaper that, as a basic principle clearly stated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country must have sovereignty over the land before it claims sovereignty over the adjacent sea waters.
The Philippines claimed sovereignty over the waters before making a claim for the land, which was obviously wrong, Li said.
It recently claimed sovereignty over Huangyan Island on the basis of exercising jurisdiction on the island and cited the case of the Island of Palmas, which confirmed the principle that a country could claim sovereignty for its long-term and effective jurisdiction over the land.
"China agrees on the principle and, it is based on the principle that China has sovereignty over Huangyan Island for it has implemented long-term and effective jurisdiction," Li said.
In addition, geographic proximity, which formed part of the Philippines' claim, is no solution to territorial entitlement as international laws and practices have early defined.
Such examples can be found everywhere in the world that a country owns a remote land that is geographically nearer to other nations, the article said.
The principle of geographic proximity would no doubt cause big chaos if it was applied in territorial affairs, the article said.
U.S. plans 10-month warship deployment to Singapore
Thu, May 10 2012
By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first of a new class of U.S. coastal warships will be sent to Singapore next spring for a roughly 10-month deployment, the Navy said on Wednesday, spotlighting a move that may stir China's fears of U.S. involvement in South China Sea disputes.
Deployment of the shallow-draft ship "Freedom" will help refine crew rotations, logistics and maintenance processes to maximize the class's value to U.S. combat commanders, Rear Admiral Thomas Rowden, the Navy's director of surface warfare, told reporters.
"We'll be deploying the ship for about 10 months in the spring of next year" to Singapore, he said in a teleconference. "In the meantime, we're prepping her for success in the execution of that deployment."
Singapore is strategically located along the Strait of Malacca, the chief link between the Indian and Pacific Oceans through which flows about 40 percent of world trade.
The government has discussed hosting up to four such U.S. "Littoral Combat Ships," or LCS, on a rotational basis at its naval facilities. Both countries have said the deployment stops short of a basing agreement.
It signals Washington's "commitment to the region and enhances its ability to train and engage with regional partners," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his Singapore counterpart, Ng Eng Hen, said in a joint statement last month after meeting at the Pentagon.
President Barack Obama last year ordered stepped-up emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region in a "rebalancing" of U.S. national security planning after a decade of land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Included in the so-called pivot to the Pacific would be the LCS stationing in Singapore, a rotational U.S. Marine Corps presence in northern Australia and new areas for military cooperation with the Philippines.
China has territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan across the South China Sea, each searching for gas and oil while building their navies and in some cases, their military alliances.
China's military warned the United States last month that U.S.-Philippine military exercises had raised the risk of armed clashes over contested waters amid a standoff between Philippine and Chinese vessels in a different part of the South China Sea.
Littoral combat ships are an entirely new breed of warship. Capable of speeds greater than 40 knots, they are designed for modular, "plug-and-fight" missions for mine-clearing, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.
Manned by as few as 40 core crew members, the Freedom will require a relatively small footprint in Singapore for maintenance, Rear Admiral Jim Murdoch, the program executive officer, said in the teleconference.
"A much smaller" U.S. group than 40 would be permanently deployed to the city-state, including U.S. naval and contractor personnel, he said. In addition, teams would have to come in and out when the ship is docked in Singapore for routine scheduled maintenance.
Talks on details of arrangements between the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii-headquartered U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Singaporean authorities were continuing, Murdoch said.
There are two different LCS designs. One, including the Freedom, was developed by an industry team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. The other is built by a team led by General Dynamics Corp. The Navy wants to buy as many as 55 such ships. Twelve have been funded so far, six of each type.
The Freedom has been dogged by hull cracks and engine problems, but the admirals voiced confidence that kinks would be ironed out in time for the Singapore deployment.
Philippines on alert over anti-China protest, Beijing frets
Thu, May 10 2012
MANILA (Reuters) - Security was tightened in the Philippines capital on Friday ahead of anti-Chinese protests over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, with both Beijing and Taipei warning their citizens to be on guard for violence.
Some 1,000 people from civil society and political groups were expected to march to a Chinese consular office in Manila to protest against what they say are Chinese intrusions, as tensions increase in the long-standing territorial dispute.
The row in the South China Sea is potentially the biggest flashpoint for confrontation in Asia, and tensions have risen since the United States launched a policy "pivot" last year to reinforce its influence in the region.
"The United States' shift in strategic focus to the east and its entry into the South China Sea issue has provided the Philippines with room for strategic maneuver, and to a certain extent increased the Philippines' chips to play against us, emboldening them to take a risky course," said the Liberation Army Daily, the chief mouthpiece of China's military.
The Philippines is one of Washington's closest allies in the region. The South China Sea islands, believed to be rich in oil and other resources, are claimed wholly or in part by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
Beijing has warned Chinese nationals in Manila to stay indoors, avoid demonstrations and refrain from confrontations with locals. It has urged Manila to ensure the safety of its citizens. Taiwan issued a similar warning to its nationals in Manila.
In Beijing, authorities stepped up security around the Philippines' embassy, with squads of police waiting in streets near the mission and plainclothes guards also monitoring passers-by.
For China's ruling Communist Party, which is heading toward an end-of-year leadership succession, the dispute with Manila can divert attention from recent energy-sapping scandals over sacked Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and blind dissident Chen Guangcheng.
Many Chinese, including military officers, have said popular anger could grow if Beijing remains too soft in responding to rival claims in the South China Sea. A hard approach to the dispute could underline a message of patriotic unity while serving as an antidote to domestic problems.
The Shanghai government-run website, eastday.com, published a photograph on Thursday that it said showed a reporter from a local TV station planting the Chinese flag on the main reef of the Huangyan island, the Chinese name of Scarborough shoal, where the Philippine coast guard and Chinese civilian ships are engaged in a more than month-long staring match.
Besides Manila, organizers planned protests at China's embassies and consulates in the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and other Asian capitals. However no one showed up to a scheduled protest in Sydney.
Philippine officials said they expected the Manila rally to be peaceful.
More than 100 policemen were guarding the office tower housing the Chinese consular office, with hundreds more on standby to help with crowd control.
(Reporting by Manny Mogato and Roli Ng in Manila, Chris Buckley and Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing, and Jonathan Standing in Taipei; Writing by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Jonathan Thatcher)