China Claims Sea

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 24, 2011 | Go to article overview

China Claims Sea


Byline: Miles Yu, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

CHINA CLAIMS SEA

There is no international water within the South [China] Sea. So stated the official news outlets of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, the People's Daily and its subsidiary the Global Times on Monday. The article was written by Pan Guoping, a law professor at China's Southwest University of Law and Politics.

Publication of the article appeared timed to coincide with a dramatic strategic shift by the United States toward a focus on the Asia-Pacific region, to deal with an increasingly militant Chinese military presence.

The Chinese are citing what they call the nine dotted line theory as the legal basis for claiming the vast majority of the South China Sea as its own maritime area.

According to this theory, which first appeared in vague references in the late 1940s and was reiterated sporadically by the communist government since 1949, nine disconnected dots form a U-shaped area that includes the overwhelming majority of the South China Sea that China now says are its sovereign waters. No international organization or countries on the outer edge of this U-shaped area recognize the nine-dotted line.

China has put forth similar claims in the past, especially in recent years, with increasing inflexibility and bluntness. In response to China's ambitious claim, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton officially stated in remarks in Hanoi in 2010 that The United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia's maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea.

Monday's official-sounding article vehemently countered the secretary's assertion. The United States is only a passer-by in the South [China] Sea, Mr. Pan wrote. As a country that has no sea coast in the region, does the United States have freedom of navigation and flight in the South [China] Sea?

The answer is no! There is no international water in the South [China] Sea!

What should China do to counter the hegemonic passer-by in its own backyard? The author doesn't blink: "China should act with stronger force .. to resolutely repel [America's] interference, defend China's nine-dotted line area that

history has bestowed to us"

The comment was the clearest statement to date indicating the official Chinese Communist Party mouthpieces are specifically denying international freedom of navigation in one of the world's busiest and most crucial waterways that China claims as its exclusive sovereign water. …

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