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China, the Philippines and other countries, and the seas
« on: May 14, 2014, 06:57:52 PM »
let me have this thread devoted solely to the issue specified in the subject title, with opinions and news items from all possible sources from all sides.  as i wish to understand all narratives of this potential flashpoint, i may as well dedicate this thread to all who are interested in geopolitics and history, be they students, thesis writers, academicians, armchair historians, politicians.  comments are of course welcome. 

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Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2014, 07:02:08 PM »
Sunday Book Review

Sea Change
‘Asia’s Cauldron,’ by Robert D. Kaplan

By IAN MORRIS
April 17, 2014
International New York Times


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An American warship in Da Nang for joint U.S.-Vietnamese naval exercises in 2011, a reflection of increased tensions in the South China Sea. Credit Hoang Dinh Nam/Agence France-Press—Getty Images


This is the latest in a series of insightful books, like “The Revenge of Geography” and “The Coming Anarchy,” in which Robert D. Kaplan, the chief geopolitical analyst at the global intelligence company Stratfor, tries to explain how geography determines destiny — and what we should be doing about it. “Asia’s Cauldron” is a short book with a powerful thesis, and it stands out for its clarity and good sense from the great mass of Western writing on what Chinese politicians have taken to calling their “peaceful development.” If you are doing business in China, traveling in Southeast Asia or just obsessing about geopolitics, you will want to read it.


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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2014, 07:03:41 PM »
Kaplan starts out from some basic economics. More than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage (including four-fifths of all the oil burned in China) passes through the South China Sea. This commerce, Kaplan says, has turned that waterway into “the throat of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans — the mass of connective tissue where global sea routes coalesce,” investing its straits, shoals and islands with extraordinary strategic significance. At the heart of Kaplan’s book is a striking analogy that aims to explain what this will mean in the 21st century: “China’s position vis-à-vis the South China Sea,” he suggests, “is akin to America’s position vis-à-vis the Caribbean Sea in the 19th and early 20th centuries.”

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2014, 07:07:02 PM »
The parallel Kaplan draws is straightforward and convincing. Between 1898 and 1914, the United States defeated Spain and dug the Panama Canal. This allowed Americans to link and dominate the trade of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, transforming the meaning of geography. “It was domination of the Greater Caribbean Basin,” Kaplan concludes, “that gave the United States effective control of the Western Hemisphere, which, in turn, allowed it to affect the balance of power in the Eastern Hemisphere.”

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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2014, 07:07:59 PM »
In a rather similar way, he suggests, the South ­China Sea now links the trade of the Pacific and Indian Oceans; consequently, “were China to ever replace the U.S. Navy as the dominant power in the South China Sea — or even reach parity with it — this would open up geostrategic possibilities for China comparable to what America achieved upon its dominance of the Caribbean.” ­Because of this, the South China Sea is “on the way to becoming the most contested body of water in the world.”


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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2014, 07:09:45 PM »
Throughout the book, Kaplan tempers hard-nosed geopolitics with an engaging mix of history and travelogue (no reader is likely to forget his evocative comparisons of Hanoi and Saigon or his description of Borneo’s water villages) and also stresses the differences between the two cases as well as the similarities. Probably the biggest of these differences is that in the 1890s the revisionist power in the ­Caribbean — the United States — was militarily stronger than Spain, the status quo power, whereas in the 2010s the revisionist power in the South China Sea — China — is militarily weaker than America, the status quo power.

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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2014, 07:11:39 PM »
Kaplan is surely right to conclude from this that Beijing is unlikely to risk a military showdown involving Washington any time soon. Instead, he tells us — mixing historical analogies slightly — that China will “Finlandize” Southeast Asia. Confronted by the same kind of pressure that the Soviet Union applied to its Scandinavian neighbor during the Cold War, Southeast Asia’s governments “will maintain nominal independence but in the end abide by foreign policy rules set by Beijing.” Because Finlandization is so different from the way the United States threw Spain out of the Caribbean in 1898, the outcome will differ too.

“But,” Kaplan concludes, “the age of simple American dominance, as it existed through all of the Cold War decades and immediately beyond, will likely have to pass. A more anxious, complicated world awaits us.”

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2014, 07:12:43 PM »
These sentences might tempt readers to lump Kaplan into the company of “declinists,” writers who rejoice in announcing the imminent fall of the American Empire, but that would be too simple. ­Kaplan is in fact a leading proponent of the theory of international relations known as realism, which traces its ancestry back nearly 2,500 years to Thucydides. Kaplan is explicit about his intellectual debt to this tough-minded ancient Greek and, like him, glories in stripping away fondly held illusions to reveal the harsh reality of governments nakedly pursuing their own self-interest without concern for values, beliefs or ideology.


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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2014, 07:14:07 PM »
It is realism that keeps Kaplan’s book so refreshingly free of the breathless “oh my God it’s worse than you think” prose style that mars so much Western writing on the rise of China. In its place, however, realism encourages a Thucydidean detachment that some readers will find even more alarming. But that, Kaplan says, is the way it has to be, because the struggle over the South China Sea is going to be detached and unemotional. America’s struggle with the Soviet Union raised great moral issues and fired the passions of all involved; but it has proved hard to invest the South China Sea with the same philosophical freight as the Berlin Wall, despite the best efforts of some. (While writing a column for a newspaper — not this one — a few months ago, I was firmly informed that the editor wanted “less history, more scary stuff about China.”) “The fact is,” Kaplan observes, “East Asia is all about trade and business.”

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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2014, 07:15:06 PM »
The heroes in Kaplan’s story are hard, pragmatic men who recognize this, men like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew (“head and shoulders above most other leaders worldwide in the 20th century”) and China’s Deng Xiaoping (“one of the great men of the 20th century”). Realists to their core, both regularly turned on a dime, ditching what had once seemed to be deeply held convictions. Neither had much time for democracy; nor, it seems, does Kaplan. Admitting that such thoughts are “heretical to an enlightened Western mind,” he writes that “if you left the South China Sea issue to the experts and to the elites in the region, the various disputes would have a better chance of being solved than if you involved large populations in a democratic process, compromised as they are by their emotions.”

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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2014, 07:17:02 PM »
The solutions that would be reached, though, might not be the ones that most people around the South China Sea would want. In the course of his travels, Kaplan found the spirit of Lee and Deng much in evidence. One realist after another told him that they did not wish to be Finlandized or to replace America’s embrace with China’s; but realism teaches us that history is driven more by necessities than desires. “At the end of the day,” one Singaporean said, “it is all about military force and naval presence — it is not about passionate and well-meaning talk.” Since 2011, there has been much passionate American talk of a pivot toward Asia; but Vietnamese officials, realists to a man, respond by quoting a proverb — “A distant water can’t put out a nearby fire.”

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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2014, 07:19:24 PM »
Poor Southeast Asia. So far from God, so close to China.


ASIA’S CAULDRON
The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific
By Robert D. Kaplan
225 pp. Random House. $26.



Correction: May 11, 2014

A review on April 20 about “Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific,” by Robert D. Kaplan, referred incorrectly to “Finlandization,” a concept the author applies by analogy to China’s relations with its neighbors. The term describes the Soviet Union’s influence on Finland during the Cold War, not Russia’s pressure on the country during the czarist period.



http://www.nytimes.com/


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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2014, 07:42:16 PM »
WHAT THEY SAY...


Many scholars, though, think that China's claims are essentially bunk.  The Law of the Sea Convention, which China signed and ratified, abolished the idea of historical claims as a way to determine maritime rights.

-Keith Johnson
“When is a Rock Not a Rock?”
Financial Times
4 April 2014

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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2014, 07:52:07 PM »
. . .no international court or tribunal would agree to base its decision on arguments and contested evidence to the effect that China was the first country (several hundred years ago) to explore the South China Sea and discover, name, and administer its islands.  Mere reliance on alleged historical evidence of the kind invoked by Chinese commentators is insufficient to establish sovereignty over the waters enclosed by the nine-dash line or the islands of the South China Sea.

-Florian Dupuy and Pierre-Marie Dupuy
“A Legal Analysis of China's Historic Rights Claim in the South China Sea,” The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 107, No. 1
(January 2013), pp. 124-141

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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2014, 07:57:17 PM »
Despite frequent insistence from Beijing that its claims in the South China Sea are based on international law and encompass only the “islands and adjacent waters” within the nine-dash line, Chinese actions tell a different story. Second Thomas Shoal is not an island or even a rock.  It is a low-tide elevation that is not subject to any independent territorial claim under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or customary international law. The shoal belongs to whomever has sovereignty over the continental shelf on which it rests - by all indications the Philippines.

-Gregory Poling, “The Philippines’South China Sea Memorial: Sailing into the Wind,” Center for Strategic and International Studies
3 April 2014


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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2014, 02:22:45 AM »
PHILIPPINES SUBMITS MEMORIAL

Today, the Philippines submitted its Memorial to the Arbitral Tribunal that is hearing the case it brought against the People’s Republic of China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in January 2013.

The Philippines’ Memorial was submitted in conformity with the Rules of Procedure adopted by the five-member Arbitral Tribunal last August, which established 30 March 2014 as the due date for its submission.

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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2014, 02:23:45 AM »
The Memorial presents the Philippines’ case on the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal and the merits of its claims. It consists of ten volumes. Volume I, which is 270 pages in length, contains the Philippines’ analysis of the applicable law and the relevant evidence, and demonstrates that the Arbitral Tribunal has jurisdiction over all of the claims made by the Philippines’ in its Statement of Claim, and that every claim is meritorious. It sets out the specific relief sought by the Philippines in regard to each of its claims, and shows why it is entitled to such relief.

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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2014, 02:34:07 AM »
Volumes II through X contain the documentary evidence and maps that support the Philippines’ claims, all of which are cited in Volume I.  Volumes II through X consist of more than 3,700 pages, including more than 40 maps, for a total submission of nearly 4,000 pages.

The Memorial is the result of an enormous, collaborative effort by the extremely capable and dedicated legal team that has been serving the Philippines in this important case, headed by Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and a team of lawyers from various agencies, including the OSG, DFA, DOJ, and the Office of the President.


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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2014, 02:36:01 AM »
I also wish to thank other government agencies for their invaluable contribution in the generation of documents including:

The Department of Justice (DOJ);
The Department of National Defense (DND), particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Navy, and Philippine Air Force (PAF);
The Department of Transportation and Communications, particularly the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG);
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, specifically the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA);
The Department of Energy (DOE);
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR);
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI);

and other agencies such as National Museum, National Historical Commission, National Archives, the Philippine National Police, the Municipality of Kalayaan, and the UP Marine Science Institute.

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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2014, 02:36:57 AM »
We are also most grateful to our international legal advisers led by
Paul Reichler and his team of international lawyers, including Mr. Lawrence H. Martin, Professor Bernard H. Oxman, Professor Philippe Sands, and Professor Alan Boyle for their invaluable guidance and assistance.



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