Islands, not rocks: China rejects arbitration ruling

MANILA – China’s Foreign Ministry rejected Tuesday the ruling of an international arbitration court that nixed Beijing’s claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea.

In response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said the award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration “is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it.” Continue reading

The ‘Inevitable War’ Between the U.S. and China

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Chinese soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army Navy stand guard in the Spratly Islands, known in China as the Nansha Islands, on February 10. The Spratlys are the most contested archipelago in the South China Sea. Stringer/Reuters

 

Roughly 15 years ago, a Chinese fighter jet pilot was killed when he collided with an American spy plane over the South China Sea. The episode marked the start of tensions between Beijing and Washington over China’s claim to the strategic waterway. So in May, when two Chinese warplanes nearly crashed into an American spy plane over the same area, many in China felt a familiar sense of nationalist outrage. “Most Chinese people hope China’s fighter jets will shoot down the next spy plane,” wrote the Global Times, China’s official nationalist mouthpiece.

Though little talked about in the West, many Chinese officials have long felt that war between Washington and Beijing is inevitable. A rising power, the thinking goes, will always challenge a dominant one. Of course, some analysts dismiss this idea; the costs of such a conflict would be too high, and the U.S., which is far stronger militarily, would almost certainly win. Yet history is riddled with wars that appeared to make no sense. Continue reading

Two lighthouses in Spratlys solidify China’s territorial stake

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Huayang Lighthouse. (Photo/Xinhua)

 

China’s Ministry of Transport held a completion ceremony for the construction of the Huayang and Chigua Lighthouses on Huayang Reef, built on disputed Nansha (Spratly) island territory. The ceremony has marked the start of the operation of the two lighthouses.

The two lighthouses, as the first civil aids to navigation in Nansha waters, will greatly improve navigational conditions and reduce navigational risks and accidents by providing route guidance, safety information and emergency rescue and other public services to passing vessels, according to an official government statement. Continue reading

South China Sea: US mulls sending planes, ships near disputed islands

Reclamation work by China on Mischief Reef in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea.

 

Washington: The Pentagon is considering sending US military aircraft and ships to assert freedom of navigation around rapidly growing Chinese-made artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, a US official said on Tuesday.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter requested options that included sending US military ships and aircraft within 22 kilometres of reefs that China had been building up in the disputed Spratly Islands, the official said.

Such a move would directly challenge Chinese efforts to expand its influence in the disputed region by literally adding territory through a massive island-building exercise. Continue reading