China’s determined efforts over the past two decades to seize control of almost the entire South China Sea is nothing short of classic aggressive imperialism. What’s remarkable is that it has been done without basically firing a shot, using the Chinese People’s Liberation Army concept of “military soft power.” This tactic is designed to defeat the enemy without fighting. Make no mistake: China views the United States as the enemy. Under President Obama’s strategy to fundamentally transform America, our country doesn’t confront our enemies, it embraces them. China has the perfect enemy.
When the United States withdrew its forces from the Philippines in 1992, this created a vacuum, which presented China with an unprecedented opportunity to expand its influence and territorial objectives. In 1993, China announced its illegal claims to almost the entire South China Sea as part of its territorial waters. The claim is based on China’s questionable Nine-Dash Line maritime claim and includes large sea areas of internationally recognized economic zones belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.
There is no question that what China has accomplished over the past two decades – both economically and militarily – has been remarkable. When I took the first U.S. Navy Task Force back to mainland China on Nov. 3, 1986, 37 years after the Communists seized power in 1949, its navy was nothing more than a coastal navy, and not a threat to anyone. However, since then, China – with a double-digit increase in its military budget – has dramatically modernized its military forces and specifically built a navy designed to confront the U.S. Navy. More recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping is in the process of transforming China’s military force’s mission from just a defensive posture and regional power to one that will potentially be capable of challenging the United States globally.
It should be noted that while China is a signatory to the United Nation’s Law of the Sea Treaty, it has stated that any sea area it “unilaterally” claims as its territorial waters is excluded from arbitration and will not be submitted to any treaty tribunal for resolution. However, the Philippines challenged China’s claims over the South China Sea in 2013 by stating that the Nine-Dash Line maritime zone is illegal because it violates the 2006 U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty that sets out exclusive zones and territorial waters. China refused to participate in the challenge based on their previous unilateral declarations and its questionable claims that go back to the Ming Dynasty.
In a separate action, according to a June 1 article in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, China appears ready to impose air defense identification zones on the South China Sea – zones similar to the one they have in the East China Sea. One source said the timing of any declaration would depend on security conditions in the region, particularly the U.S. military presence, operations and diplomatic ties with regional countries (read: Vietnam). Here we have the classic case of China, the aggressor, presenting itself as the “victim” because the U.S. military is exercising its traditional “freedom of navigation and right of innocent passage” under recognized international law. China has chosen to view these legitimate operations as a challenge to China’s illegal claims in the region and, therefore, we are forcing China to declare air defense identification zones to protect its sovereignty. What nonsense.
Full article: China’s imperialism on the South China Sea (Family Security Matters)